Lara’s Back. Back Again. Lara’s Back. Tell your Friends.
It’s been a busy news day, made all the better by the official announcement (and worst kept secret ever) that Lara Croft is back on September 14th in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third game and climactic finale in heroine Lara Croft’s origin trilogy, which began in 2013 with Tomb Raider and continued in 2015 with Rise of the Tomb Raider, which is currently available on Xbox Game Pass.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be unveiled to the world on April 27, 2018.
In a not so cryptic tweet yesterday, Xbox Live’s Major Nelson hinted that eight new games are winging their way to the Xbox Game Pass service. However, in the accompanying picture its quite clear that one of these eight will be Rise of the Tomb Raider.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was originally released in November 2017 and follows Lara Croft as she ventures into Siberia in search of the legendary city of Kitezh, whilst battling a paramilitary organization called “the Trinity” that intends on beating her to the city’s promise of immortality. As of November 2017, the game has sold nearly 7 million copies. In 2017 the game was updated to be Xbox One X Enhanced so X owners amongst us can now play in glorious 4K!
A smart move by Microsoft as the new Tomb Raider film is getting it’s theatrical release in March also, so interest in the franchise will be heightened, and I guess they hope that movie goers will head home to their console and maybe pick up a Game Pass subscription in order to continue their time with Lara.
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.
Join Greg Giddens and Neale Jarrett for a new episode of the This is Xbox Podcast – episode 16 Spartan Neg Reporting For Duty – where the duo are back to their old trick, talking about games they’ve been playing and news that interests them.
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.
Although it hasn’t been officially announced, reports suggest that Xbox Gold members will be getting their hands in Bioshock Infinite & Tomb Raider on the Xbox 360 and Rayman Legends on the Xbox One as part of the Games with Gold promotion.
The info was revealed on one of Microsoft’s internal sites and NeoGAF managed to get hold of the info.
Other details included the fact that over 100m games have been downloaded since the promotion began and to celebrate Microsoft will be giving away double the free games in April.
I’ve played both Bioshock and Tomb Raider, but they were also two of my favourite games on the 360 and I haven’t got Rayman so it’s a good month for me! What do you think of the lineup?
Check out these lovely new screenshots for the upcoming timed exclusive Rise of the Tomb Raider – how long is the exclusivity? Your guess is as good as ours but for now we shall relish in the light that we have Tomb Raider and the PlayStation doesn’t!