Easy combat, deadly wall climbing
I liked the game so much, in fact, that after finishing it on Seasoned Raider difficulty I immediately started a new playthrough on Extreme Survivor. I have to say, though, that unless you are going for the achievement, mere Survivor is quite enough. Extreme Survivor is the same except the game is saved only at campfires. And that can lead to frustration.
Few times in the game there is a long firefight followed by cutscenes and then a platforming section where failing will often lead to an instant death and cause you to do everything all over again. And platforming is what (if anything) kills you in Rise of the Tomb Raider.
It also helped that the ludonarrative dissonance that was in the previous game is now gone. Lara is no longer shocked about having to murder hundreds of people. She is just surviving. They are trying to kill you, so you kill them first and that is it. Otherwise the game is very much like the previous one, even surprisingly so.
Improved Tomb Raider
Down to the structure of the story progression, Rise is almost a copy of the first game. All the same features return if only slightly refined or expanded in some areas. Linear story sections take turns with more open areas that again have optional tombs to raid. I do not recall what the tombs rewarded previously but in Rise you get a unique skill perk from each and that is good design.
In addition to crafting materials gathering, there is some unnecessary backtracking needed to access places that require an upgrade gained in a story mission. It makes sense for areas such as the Soviet Installation as you cross them multiple times. But something like the single rope arrow requiring, relic-holding cave in the Siberian Wilderness is completely unnecessary.
Or how you have to revisit the Wicked Vale area added in the Baba Yaga DLC just for two documents if you do the mission right away when possible and do not have the wire spool upgrade yet. The DLC's boss fight is great, though. It has maybe some influence from Far Cry 3's silly drug-induced boss fights but instead of QTEs you beat the witch through actual gameplay.
20th Anniversary release
Rise of the Tomb Raider has all kinds of additional content. After playing through the game twice, I did not feel like touching most of the non-campaign stuff but I did beat Lara's Nightmare once and go through the Croft Manor walking simulator. There is also Endurance, Cold Darkness, and score attack mode that uses the campaign's maps.
All of them have a card system to increase or decrease challenge and score. With credits gained from the mode you can buy more cards in random lootboxes. You can also buy them with real money. I am surprised that you cannot buy crafting materials or ancient coins for the campaign. Did Crystal Dynamics stand up to Square Enix and say no for double-monetizing their singleplayer game? Maybe Eidos Montreal should have done that with Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
The next title in the series is rumored to be called Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It will be interesting to see if they will continue with what is essentially remaking the same game or will they deviate from the succeeding formula to something even better?