The newest Shadow of the Tomb Raider trailer shows off its ‘stunning world’ and they aren’t wrong… the world looks incredible and makes me giddy with excitement to see this running on an Xbox One X. Not to get ahead of myself, I got serious Tomb Raider chills from watching this – I’m talking the original game from the days of the first PlayStation console.
Vast vistas, lush environments and Lara standing at the base of an imposing piece of ancient machinery makes for all the ingredients that made the original game so damn good. I hope that this third title in the new look series can finally hold a torch to what made Tomb Raider so good.
A new team is forming. Marvel are joining forces with Crystal Dynamics, Square Enix and Eidos Montreal for a new Avengers project under the hashtag of #Reassemble.
The announcement came with the following teaser, which shows a lot of destruction and rubble – have the Avengers been torn apart, destroyed even – followed with the reassemble hashtag, it would certainly seem so.
The multi-year, multi-game partnership should be enough to get you all in a muddle and excited about the prospect of these studios coming together, but hold on… more details on the project and other planned games in the partnership won’t be announced until 2018… that’s quite the wait!
Rise of the Tomb Raider will receive its first piece of DLC at the end of December.
Endurance mode will test your survival skills to see how long you can keep Lara alive. Starting with nothing, you must scavenge to survive the harsh environments and fend of man and beast, while keeping Lara’s hunger at bay and keeping her warm at night as temperatures plummet.
The new mode arrives December 29th and includes a new weapon and an outfit – let’s hope it’s something warm!
In early 2016, the first piece of single player campaign content will arrive – Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch – is a hidden forest located in Siberia. The mystery of a lost expedition will lead Lara into a new tomb with more puzzles to solve, enemies to defeat and some pretty trippy hallucinations to contend with. The DLC also includes an outfit and a new bow.
Cold Darkness Awakened hasn’t been given a release window in 2016 but will take Lara to a decommissioned weapons research base where beasts and men have been turned into mindless killers – this horde style mode will pit your combat skills against increasingly difficult odds, so be sure to scavenge for equipment and stay on your toes – it’s going to be a rough ride for Lara.
There are challenges to complete and even a way to stop the madness unfolding at the base, but it may not be a simple solution – here’s hoping that this mode takes some influence from Call of Duty’s excellent zombies series! Like the other two pieces of content, there’s also a new outfit and weapon included.
I enjoyed the last Tomb Raider game so much that I bought it for the Xbox 360 and then again for the Xbox One. Unsurprisingly then, I’ve been a little bit excited about Rise of The Tomb Raider. After just under 20 hours of climbing, crafting and exploring I can finally give you my thoughts.
Rise of the Tomb Raider starts in Siberia with Lara and her friend from the last title, Jonah. They are on another adventure looking for an ancient city hidden somewhere within the snowy mountains. In typical Tomb Raider fashion the tension is high as the blizzard around them causes them to become separated. Here you’ll get a taste of how the game plays out with some dangerous jumps as you scale the sides of a mountain.
After the excellent intro the game goes back in time to fill you in on why Lara and Jonah are in Siberia. You’ll head off briefly to Syria where you’ll get your first look at a what the new tombs have to offer, as well as a new gameplay mechanic – translation.
In true Tomb Raider Tradition, exploration is key, whether you are filling in parts of the story by picking up tape recorders that have been dropped, or hunting for wood to be used to create more arrows to use, there is always something to discover. Different locations have ancient tomes, notes, tablets and art that Lara can read that reveals extra information such as locations on maps. Read as much as possible, some items require a certain level of language knowledge to allow Lara to translate everything.
After making your way through the different puzzles that include all the different skills expected from Lara, you’ll end up back at Croft Manor to discover just why she needs to be in Siberia and once back in the snowy wilderness, the first thing you’ll notice is the way Lara has to wade through the deep snow, it slows her down and reduces what she can do, leaving you to look for different way to move around your environment.
Throughout the game I stuck with my trusty bow, not only was it useful for silently taking out enemies, but it helped me create new opportunities by pulling apart weak structures and was also central to certain puzzles. There are plenty of other weapons to use during the game, all of which can be upgraded as long as you have the resources available. Just like the previous Tomb Raider, the action revolves around a hub area – the campfire – each one acting as a gateway to story sequences and optional challenge tombs. It’s here you can upgrade your weapons, and Lara herself. There are three abilities to upgrade, Brawler, Hunter and Survivor. Everything you do in-game, will earn you XP and each time you level up you are rewarded with a skill point to invest into one of your abilities.
The abilities range from being more resistant to fire and explosions to being able to craft resources more efficiently. Crafting is vital to your survival in the game and it’s handled in a very efficient way. Without having to pause the game or wait to go back to camp, you can use the right trigger or button to create extra ammo, including smoke grenades, Molotovs and explosives. You can also craft different types of arrow including fire, poison and explosives. The game almost forces you to try the different types out at first, but as long as you hold a combination of them in your invenmtory, you’ll have no problem surviving.
The combat isn’t vastly different from the last game. Enemies are easy to defeat at first before they get wise to Lara and start to use shields and extra amour, but it’s nothing she can’t handle. Lara relies on stealth far more and has some excellent takedown moves. There are plenty of places to get into cover within the environment, although it can be frustrating if you are found no matter how far away you move from the enemies – they seem to have a knack of hunting you down – it’s kill or be killed.
The different puzzles you come across are great. Clicking on the right stick will highlight everything around you that you can make use of and Lara will give you hints if you get stuck. It was rare I actually needed her advice, it would have been great to be able to turn them off within the settings. The different tombs are fantastic and are well worth taking the time to play through.
The story this time is much better than the previous game, it feels more gritty and every time I thought I was nearing the end, something else came along. The different locations are excellent, and the game looks stunning – the screenshots really don’t do the locations justice. The subtle movements Lara makes when getting out of water, or warming her hands as she stands near fire help show the attention to detail, making the game feel like a living thing. Of course some of the action sequences are a little predictable – that ledge was going to crumble as I leapt over to it – but it never reduced my enjoyment or failed to highten my anticipation of falling. The game clocked in at around 16 hours, with a completion level of 61%. After the game ends you can fast travel around the different camps to collect anything you may have missed.
There is no multiplayer in Rise of the Tomb Raider, but there is still plenty to do away from the campaign. Expedition mode is an excellent way of playing the different chapters of the game while earning bragging rights against your friends as you score the most points.
There are four modes to play, Score Attack, where you have finish in the quickest time possibly while chaining scores by killing enemies and collecting items. Then there is Chapter Replay and Chapter Replay Elite, the latter allowing you to carry over your upgraded skills and weapons. Finally Remnant Resistance sets you five objectives to complete in different areas. All the modes can have cards applied to them. Challenge cards set you tasks such as not dying or taking damage, or for scoring a certain amount of head shots within a certain time. There are also modifiers that increase Lara’s abilities, giving her extra weapons and there’s one card that gives everyone a massive head! Coins can be earned that can be used to purchase more card packs to use across this mode.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is a fantastic game, with a much improved story, some great new mechanics and it’s set in some superb environments. Expedition mode is a great addition and I’m already excited for the next game – it’s easily the best Tomb Raider ever!
Microsoft had a decent showing in their booth, with Rise of the Tomb Raider the standout game for me. Lara’s latest adventures have been expanded somewhat from the trailer of a cold and unforgiving climb in her latest escapade and I can thankfully announce that along with a definite refinement of the control systems used on the reboot, we have actual Tomb’s to explore this time. Rather than the small-scale “shrine” style tombs of its precursor these ones feel particularly more in line with the tombs of the original series, with a sequence of puzzles and traps to navigate to succeed.
Combat and Stealth have also had a distinct overhaul although the trusty pick, bow and handgun all make a return for her adventures looking for the lost city of Kitezh.
With enhanced combat and stealth moves, as well as an improvement to what parts of the environment you can interact with, this looks to improve on the reboot on all counts.
Being built specifically for the current gen has allowed Crystal Dynamics to expand not only on the game mechanics themselves but also the look of the game as the visual effects and environments look a good deal cleaner and crisper than the previous incarnation.
With the next in the series of Lara Croft’s adventures gaining ground on it’s release date, developer Crystal Dynamics have confirmed something that not everyone was expecting.
While they are at an advanced stage of Rise of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One, it would appear that multi-tasking is little beyond these mere mortals. Square Enix have confirmed that experienced Dutch studio, Nixxes, are developing the 360 version of the Xbox exclusive.
In a Game Informer interview Darrell Gallagher from publisher, Square Enix, confirmed that it was a demo from Nixxes that helped convince them to release on the older platform.
The Xbox 360’s ecosystem is still super strong. There are millions of players out there who have an Xbox 360 and those console translations take time. So we did a test. Nixxes put together a tech demo of Rise of the Tomb Raider content running on Xbox 360 and we were totally blown away by what they achieved. But the existence of that game isn’t limiting our work on the Xbox One version.
Nixxes have handled ports of previous Tomb Raider titles in the past, including the Definitive Edition of the 2013 reboot release.
In case you’ve forgotten how this is shaping up, here’s the announcement teaser from last year.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is released next week for Xbox One and is a rebuilt version of the original 2013 released game. The Definitive Edition of the award-winning action-adventure includes all of the original downloadable content, plus digital versions of the Dark Horse comic, Brady Games mini-art book and the Final Hours developer videos. Customers who pre-order will receive special art book packaging featuring never-before-seen concept art.
Lara Croft in unprecedented detail:
– An all new face and head for Lara, hand crafted exclusively for next-gen!
– TRESS FX technology that delivers realistic hair simulation and motion for the new Lara
– Increased polygon body density with new sweat, mud and blood materials and effects
A world in constant motion:
– Underbrush reacts as Lara passes by, wind whips tree branches and tattered cloth around, rain pierces through searchlight beams as individually lit particles
– All texture resolutions have been increased by over 4x for maximum detail
– In-game characters have been enhanced for added realism
– Subsurface scattering technology literally renders the world’s beauty beyond skin deep
– Native 1080p gameplay for outstanding visual fidelity
When the news broke that Tomb Raider was set for a reboot on home consoles, I nervously felt that one of my all-time favourite gaming franchises might never be as enjoyable again. Whilst my hopes were set pretty high, I did not for one moment think it would ever be the most amazing gaming experience with an extraordinary story that has you hooked with every moment as it was. Every step and every breath I played of Lara Croft reeled me into the survival-adventure further, then before long my heart was pounding with the anticipation of what could happen next.
Now Game Director Daniel Bisson narrates the team’s top ten favorite moments from the game – spanning from action-packed escape scenarios, puzzles, and quieter moments of discovery and personal triumph.
I’m sure Square-Enix and Crystal Dynamics have already celebrated an almighty launch for Tomb Raider when it was released on March 5th this year, but now the news has hit that Tomb Raider is the UK’s biggest launch of 2013 to date. Surely something new to celebrate – right?
The UK charts show that Tomb Raider has taken the all-format top spot with the game selling more copies that the first Xbox 360 Tomb Raider: Legends in 2006 and in first week sales outselling Aliens Colonial Marines by more than two to one, as monitored by Chart Track.
…it’s been a long time since a game has come along where you feel the characters sense of endearment and desperate search for hope. The new Lara Croft will take you into the unknown, pull at your heart strings and then rely on you to escape from a long-lost mythical island where history combined with gruesome acts of cruelty try their best to imprison you. Lara is a young woman who has to rely on stealth and instinct to advance through the environments; so in the new rebooted Tomb Raider, it’s less about puzzle solving and very much about survival in a tomb raiding experience I can guarantee that you have never experienced!
Tomb Raider will receive its first DLC map pack “Caves and Cliffs” on March 19th 2012 for 400 MS Points.