Rise of the Tomb Raider (PC review)
The wait is finally over, at least for the PC users. Rise of the Tomb Raider has officially been released on PC as of January 28, 2016, after being exclusive on Xbox One since November 10, 2015. I’ve already played and beaten the game on Xbox One, so I’ll be giving my overall review of it, but first let’s talk about how good the PC port is.
For starters, I am running it on an AMD R9 390 graphics card with an FX-8350 processor both at default clock speed. So you can imagine the look on my face when I saw the Nvidia logo on the intro screen. After watching the game struggle on MAX settings and having to tone some settings down to slightly increase performance, a quick look to Digital Foundry cleared things up a bit: this game will work your PC to the BONE! I turned down some minor settings and I got some great results, that is until Ireach crowded areas, then the framerate just sinks faster than the Titanic (too soon?). Poor PC performance aside, users should be satisfied that they’re getting one of the best games of 2015 on their platform.
The story is set one year after the events of the last game, with Lara Croft still struggling to cope with the psychological damage and public ridicule. Now she’s obsessively looking for a relic that her late father was looking for called The Divine Source before a dangerous religious establishment called Trinity gets it first. While the plot doesn’t feel special, it manages to pique my interests with finely-performed acting and great motion capture for in-game cutscenes. Camilla Luddington continues to kill it as Lara Croft and I look forward to seeing her in the future installments that Rise of the Tomb Raider sets up in the end.
In a market dominated by open-world video games, I’d classify Rise as… kind of open-world. Amongst all the corridors, there are various hub worlds featuring their own sidequests that reward you with tools among completion. The upgrade system in this is vastly superior to that the previous game’s and believe me I tried my best to fully upgrade Lara, but alas, there are so many weapons and upgrades. The three categories (Hunter, Survivor, and Brawler) make their return with old and new options. Crafting also brings a whole new layer to the third-person combat; if you collect enough resources, you’ll be able to craft arrows, bombs, and molotovs in quick succession. Some of them require using objects in the environment to be crafted, like molotovs require picking up bottles that may be laying around in an area. Did I mention I had the most fun with molotovs in Rise? Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever been satisfied with molotovs in any other game but this one!
Let’s talk about the tombs, because it wouldn’t be a Tomb Raider game without raiding a tomb or two. All of these tombs are optional, but if you skip them all, why are you even playing a Tomb Raider game to begin with? You’ll find them all throughout the game world and they include well-designed environmental puzzles that’ll reward you with special skills. Some of these tombs range from an iced shipwreck, an ancient cistern, and Russian mine. I didn’t find most of them to be too difficult, but the ones that were required some heavier thinking… I’m proud to say I didn’t resort to a FAQ for any of them.
If you’re looking for something else to play other than the amazing campaign, Expeditions are the next best thing. They give you the option to replay story chapters, tombs, or custom levels to achieve certain challenges such as completing without dying, achieving a number of headshots, collecting emblems, etc. You can also equip cards that give you abilities that make things easier or harder for an added bonus of credits. These credits can be use to buy more cards or if you don’t have enough you can resort to the microtransactions to buy more. While I admittedly wasn’t a huge fan of Expeditions, I have to admire all the effort put into it and if you’re an achievement hunter, you’ll definitely have a blast or pull out a few hairs with this.
Overall, I’m kind of disappointed. Not by this game, not at all, it’s great! It’s just that not alot of people played it last year, what being an Xbox One exclusive coming out the same day as Fallout 4. The game itself is fantastic, it has some of the best Metroidvania qualities blended together perfectly, but the PC port is rather shoddy. It’s not a poorly-optimized port, it just demands too much from the hardware. But if you can look past that, I highly recommend you get Rise of the Tomb Raider on either the Xbox One or PC.
Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms