After a very promising start that made me think this one would be even better than Tomb Raider (2013), with superior graphics, a glimpse to a beautiful, snowed mountain and then a desert area, and very similar mechanics, tight platforming and type of action-adventure, movie style story... it went a bit downhill from then on. It still was pretty good, but some of the things that made me like the previous game so much were not as well done this time around.
Lara's story arc during the first game was very compelling, struggling in a strange island with no survival skills or combat experience, but learning on the go and having a bunch of comrades to rely on and bond with. But now she was a more than competent fighter and adventurer from the start and, in some ways, that made her character a little dull, with no personal development and often feeling more like playing as Rambo during the fights. The simplistic level design of the stealth and combat sections probably didn't help in that matter, with many of them being small and repetitive, with a reduced number of the same enemies walking a short path or just charging at you when alerted, making this encounters brief, easy and unmemorable. And I didn't even care that much about the characters you meet, including the antagonists. They were plain and forgettable so the narrative suffered again, especially from not having as much of that friendship and camaraderie component, to give a similarly simple and silly supernatural story some extra depth and focus.
Some of the environments, especially the tombs, looked great and the character models and graphics in general were a clear improvement that allowed for some amazing vistas but, in general, the visual design of many of the open areas was less impressive, despite the better technology, and the level layouts sometimes felt rushed and uninspired. On paper, it may have had a bigger number of different locations but I found the original's island more interesting and varied.
I don't want to end this review leaving the wrong impression. The fact that I really enjoyed the preceding game made me focus more on the things I didn't like as much in this sequel and why it didn't have the same impact on me but, to be fair, many of the things I liked are still there and, on its own, it was a worth playing and quite entertaining action-adventure.
More info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rise_of_the_Tomb_Raider