on March 6, 2013
So, at first I was uninterested in this game because I've never played the series or really thought about it. After reading reviews and seeing gameplay media I decided I'd give it a try. My first impressions have been very good, I'm enjoying the game. I would particularly praise the realistic animations (running, jumping, climbing) and Lara's character. While other games often make situations such as the one depicted in the game cheesy with poor voice acting and unrealistic scripting, Tomb Raider does a good job of convincing you that Lara is saying/doing what someone in her situation might actually say/do. So far I have enjoyed the story, which is supplemented by Lara's periodic journal entries and notes written by her colleagues (with whom she is shipwrecked) found around the island.
Tomb Raider's graphics are beautiful, and TressFx is a very interesting feature. It makes Lara's hair look great, but my video card (GTX 660) sadly struggles too much with it and I have to disable it or play at 20, maybe 30 at max fps (I understand this does not happen on AMD cards and may be fixed by Nvidia drivers?) The gameplay, while not incredibly innovative, is well done and entertaining. Sneaking around the thugs who seek to capture/kill Lara and taking them out silently with the bow from behind cover is a particularly gratifying "ha, got you" experience. The RPG elements (xp, leveling up skills for combat and foraging) and weapon upgrades are a nice touch. Another plus would probably be the fairly open world that is presented in the game, and the variety of non-story areas to explore. My only complaint about the gameplay (for which I take off a star) is that I feel there are probably too many quick time events that usually result in death if failed, and sometimes it is hard to figure out what you're actually supposed to mash. I understand that these were probably intended to help carry the immersion through the cutscenes, but even the best QTEs can be irritating at times.
Finally, I'd like to talk about crashes with GTX 600 series cards and tessellation on. When I first played this game, I encountered this problem but I was able to fix it by reverting my drivers to 310.90 and now I am able to play on ultra settings with no crashes. I find it reassuring that this is a driver problem rather than the game itself. According to Nvidia, this problem arose because Crystal Dynamics didn't provide final game code until soon before release and they are working on a new driver as we speak. I plan to update my drivers when this is released.
In short, this is a great action/adventure game with a believable feel and will, as of now, run fine on nvidia cards with some driver work. I would certainly recommend it.
Edit: I've read a lot of people saying the download isn't available on Amazon. If that's still true, try just getting the product key from your order page and redeeming it on Steam- that's what I did.
Another edit: Nvidia finally came out with a new beta driver- this version (314.21) runs stable. It also slightly improved performance with TressFx on my 660, now I can achieve around 30-40 fps. I still run on Ultra with TressFx off, however, because I much prefer 40-60 fps.
on March 8, 2013
Firstly, I'm not very good at reviews, so forgive me if this isn't as organized as others.
I just finished this game, and I feel like I've actually survived an adventure on an island. Not many games can make me feel like the main character is supposed to be feeling.
First and most obviously are the graphics. This game looks beautiful on my fairly decent PC. My monitor only goes up to 1600x900 and it already looks great. I'm kind of scared to see how it looks in 1080p whenever I get a new monitor.
There is a thing called "tressFX" which pretty much turns her hair from one big chunk into individual strands; it looks alright, but it takes down my FPS by about 20 just from that one setting, so I leave it off. There's also something about it that's very distracting during gameplay. Other than that, this game even at medium settings looks wonderful.
Gameplay is great. I can tell they worked really hard to fix all the things fans have been complaining about for like... 15+ years. It has none of the movement or camera problems from previous games and it's easy to tell they rebuilt it from the ground up with fans in mind. Everything moves fluidly from one obstacle to the next and I couldn't really tell where one animation ended and the other began (granted, I wasn't looking either).
There are zip lines everywhere. Eventually I had to ask myself, "Who the hell would put these here?" Because sometimes they are in the most random out-of-the-way places!
Gun play is pretty good, though I played with an XBox controller and those tend to be pretty inaccurate for shooting (plus I'm pretty inaccurate anyway :]]). The upgrade system for skills and weapons is great and very well thought out to make it feel like you are actually growing from a scared individual, into a badass who eventually says, "Alright, enough of this s***!" and then the real ass-kicking ensues. (You'll see what I mean as you upgrade more!)
The only frustration I found with this game were with the enemies. It seems that every enemy seems is a sharpshooter. Whether they are shooting with a machine gun, shotgun, bow and arrow, or throwing grenades or molotovs, and no matter how far away they are, they always seem to be dead on every time. It can get very frustrating when dealing with more than a few enemies at a time, or even when you're behind cover. You will think you are hiding, but then get hit with a molotov from across the map, which will push you out into the open while everyone else is shooting at you.
You start to feel like you're playing pinball and you're the ball. I would love to see an update in the future where the enemies at least miss SOMETIMES. But I guess they countered that by adding the dodge system.
Speaking of which, the dodge system works alright. It does what it's supposed to, but when there are a lot of enemies you spend more time ducking and rolling all over than you do actually attacking. You can't stay still (even behind cover) for very long because so much is coming at you at once.
The cover system is alright. I found it weird that there's no crouch button, so the only time you can take cover is when the game says you can. There were some moments where I wanted to crouch and sneak up to an enemy, but the game didn't put me in the position, so the enemies ended up seeing me. Although there are stealth kills in the game, I don't think the game was ever supposed to have stealth as a focus. Unfortunate for me, because I'm so used to these kinds of games having at least a moderate amount of stealth focus.
Another thing about enemies that I would expect to be absent from all games nowadays is the fact that enemies always know exactly where you are. There was a moment in a very dark, very wide forest, where I tried to shoot a grenade at a wall and I missed, so after it exploded I ran to hide in some tower. And all of the enemies that were left in that area knew exactly where to start shooting, even though none of them were even close by when the grenade went off. Most games like this nowadays have some kind of system where if you break line of sight, the enemy will have to look for you again. Not this one, which got a bit annoying after awhile.
Story-wise, I thought Tomb Raider was phenomenal. It was intense from beginning to end and by the time the end came, like I said, I felt like I had actually survived some time on an island full of people wanting to kill me. I felt like I had actually solved a mystery. I don't play many games where the story actually makes me feel like I'm a part of it like that. Most games, even when the story is good, still feel like I'm just a player who's guiding a character through the level. There's no feeling of risk or survival because you're pretty much bulletproof and can easily wipe out an entire army from the get-go. With this, there's a really sense of growth. You feel like you are growing with the character, as opposed to just learning how to use them.
The Gametrailer review said that it's weird how Lara goes from this innocent girl to this violent person who's executing people with finishing moves, but I think that adds more to the idea of growth. That she was put in a situation where she really had to do these merciless things to people in order to stay alive.
5 Stars :0).
on March 5, 2013
After preloading and starting the game when it was released, the game would not launch. It turns out the Direct3D error failure to launch was due the enabled "Exclusive Full Screen" setting. Once disabled, I ran the game in Ultimate graphics mode.
Everything... was what I wanted from a Tomb Raider reboot. The TressFX hair is excellent, and the lighting and voice acting is excellent at well. But after 30 minutes of playing, CRASH! Booted back to Windows 8 Desktop.
Crashes occur on computers, so I just relaunched and didn't think anything about it. Then again, the same crash occured twice more in the next 30 minutes. I got worried. Searched online and it turns out that all GTX 600 series cards are crashing in Tomb Raider.
Wonderful game from the hour I've played, but highly disappointing that we're gonna have to wait for a patch. Despite this, the game looks and feels great. I've been playing Tomb Raider since the first one came out in stellar SVGA. This definitely gives old fans an amazing reward for sticking with our perpetual number one virtual girlfriend through the good and bad times.
Apparently this crash is from an Nvidia driver issue which is being worked on right now as opposed from the publisher. Also, the additional videos you can download from Steam are currently not available yet.
Still, a solid release if you're not playing an a GTX 600 series. People have claimed these crashes can be avoided by disabling Tessalation and Exclusive Full Screen. I simply, refuse to turn off
Tessalation, it just looks too good not to run it with. I will wait for the patch...
As of the latest Tomb Raider patch and Nvidia BETA drivers (GeForce 314.21 beta) everything works perfectly. There are no more crashes on my GTX 690 and the game is fluid. Everything is stable, and unless you have the fastest PC in the world, you probably cannot run at Ultimate detail with Ultra Shadows and TressFX. The GTX 690 (i5-3570K) can only run at playable framerates on Ultimate and TressFX with Normal Shadows (approximately 45-60 fps). On Ultra Shadows and Ultimate framerates drop considerably to ~35 fps which is too choppy.
Now as for the actual game... it is still 4 stars out of 5. Overall, the game is AAA quality, but there are still some minor nuisances that still detract from the immersion. Such things like poor obstabcle detection (some walls are of seemingly equal height but do not allow interaction until you are in the designated "hotspot") or some graphic clipping (notably from the use of the preorder Hunter Skin near the shoulders while running) are essentially annoying and yes... you can "look away" but this is what makes this game not perfect. I haven't tried multiplayer (probably never will) because frankly, Tomb Raider just isn't a multiplayer game for some of us (you know who you are!).
They also included a Batman-esque Detective Mode (Survival Instincts) which will help new players to the series as the older games made you work to find bonuses, relics and artifacts. Luckily, the programmers hide relics from view, so you cannot just use Survival Instincts to find them all. Good old players like me. Bonuses like GPS and Salvage though are shining brightly as if in plain sight.
For old Tomb Raider fans, this reboot is a true reboot. Forget what you know about Lara Croft from original cannon. This teenage girl is completely different from the grown woman we've known in years past. There are many surprises and changes to her story which will make your jaw drop. The cinematic scenes are also rendered using the game's engine, so it is best to optimize for framerates.
Bottom Line: This game is currently one of the best looking PC games on the market right now and only a true monster overclocked PC will run it with everything maxed out. It is a good game and worth buying if you're a die hard fan. Again, there are some control, environmental and graphical flaws; but not so much that the game is unplayable or unenjoyable. I am not sure if the graphical bugs are due to me running Nvidia, but I'm sure they're still working on more patches.
So it turns out they put a perk in this game that allows Lara to see all the relics and artifacts on the map. So much for good ol' Tomb Raiding :( That particular perk takes out any difficulty into finding the items, and essentially takes away from thoroughly searching a level on your own. I had not "unlocked" the perk early game so I had no idea it was there until I unlocked it (with full regret). This perk effectively takes out the fun of "raiding" and exploration (it also makes me wonder why anyone would buy the strategy guide). Also towards mid game the AI mechanics are lacking, and makes some of the sequences overly predictable. Once you get used to the AI (by the end of early game) the difficulty level goes way down. It seems the developers did not do anything to make the AI "smart" over the game period. That's unfortunate, but then again the older TR games did not exactly have very smart AI either. It is disappointing that most fights just feel like roadblocks hindering the story as opposed to adding to it.
I've also run into more clipping graphic bugs, in some areas it would show no walls but when you got up close to grab a book/relic the walls would instantly reappear (this might be again due to me running Nvidia...). I wish I could comment on AMD but I can't (then again the game is optimized for AMD).
I still think the game is worth buying if you're a die hard fan or just want to benchmark/show off your fast system. For those on the fence, or non-TR fans, perhaps it is best to wait for the hype to blow over. Still a fun game, but playing about halfway thru the game, I'm starting to see where they made significant changes to the series to help out "newbies". This is akin to what Ubisoft did to the Rainbow Six series from Raven Shield to Vegas. They took the "old fun out of it" to make "new fun and accessibility". This TR is made to be very forgiving and very accessible as you work through the game. I don't mind increasing accessibility (it's usually always a good thing). I do mind making it very forgiving even at the hardest difficulty (which is HARD, and what I am playing on), it doesn't feel hard at all. Perhaps the older TR games were much higher in difficulty in doing a complete 100% run, which is probably why it gave so many fans the satisfaction (ex: Croft Manor in TR: Anniversary, or even Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light). All one has to do to get 100% here is to set a marker on the relics/bonuses and follow the marker. All motivation for independent exploration is gone from the game, that is what I personally believe gave TR such a uniqueness to it. You had to raid the tombs fully to get 100% completion, now it's a set it (the market) and forget it affair (follow the marker). Now if you never cared to do any of the old TR to 100% completion, then you'll love this game. If you did, you'll find it very lacking and untrue to the series in that regard.
Nevertheless, I must commend the devs for making a true reboot, but graphics/acting aside I much prefer the old reboot of TR: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld due to the satisfaction of exploration and raiding. This is my last update, and hopefully this gives true and new TR fans a better look inside this new TR. Final Rating: 7/10
on April 2, 2013
This re-boot of the classic Tomb Raider franchise is characterized by fantastic graphics, good voice acting (especially by the lead) and generally fun and varied gameplay.
As compared with the prior iterations of the series, the game is more combat-heavy (quite a bit), less puzzle-oriented and more fast-paced in general as a result. However there is plenty to explore on a large island, plenty of secrets to be discovered, platforming to be done, caves and tombs to explore and so on, together with a fairly good storyline as the core. The top-notch graphics on the PC really make it a standout from the optical perspective as well.
The one reason I rated it down from what would otherwise have been a 5-star rating was the presence of too many quick-time events. These are essentially sequences in the game that require the player to press certain buttons that are generally unrelated to other actions taken in the game but are picked to be pressed in certain sequences scripted for that specific event. So, the player's knowledge of the control set is no help. Instead, the player must follow prompts given on the screen that really have no relation to the controls of the game otherwise. This may be a fine and accepted form of gameplay on console devices, but in a PC game it is unbelievably irritating to the point where it discouraged me from continuing to play the game several times. Not due to "difficulty", mind you -- there isn't anything particularly difficult in terms of skill, here -- rather it is learning a scripted event by playing through it unsuccessfully several times until the player gets the specific timing of the scripted key presses down sufficiently to clear the event. That's not a form of gameplay that I personally find appealing at all, and its inclusion in a PC game is irritating enough to warrant a one-star downgrade.
on July 1, 2013
Tomb Raider is a gorgeous game. At times, the game was simply brilliant. Unfortunately, all this was marred by extremely tedious use of Quick Time Events and some very poorly designed sequences. Several times a cut scene starts and you sit back to watch when suddenly you die because an entirely pointless QTE happens, like you needed to pressing the down key. Why? A bigger problem is that many actions all too often require an absurd precision in timing. At that point the game ceases to be about thinking or even reacting fast; it becomes you trying to figure out the precise timing required to mash a button. In more than one scene, you have to hit a key exactly when the QTE prompt pops up. A tenth of a second late and you die. This isn't fun.
Fortunately, there were enough times in the game where I was simply having a blast to counter the annoying parts.
So, if you like Tomb Raider at all and can tolerate third person shooters, wait for this to be on sale and give it a try.
Update 9/29/2014: I upped my review to four stars for the simple reason that this game, along with Far Cry 3 and Bioshock Infinite have stuck with me and have become the standard by which I now measure new games.
I should also add that the cut scenes graphics are simply magnificent and have really set the bar for quality.
on March 5, 2013
This game is amazing! I'm so glad I preordered it from Amazon. This game looks and plays like nothing I've ever seen before. I thought Skyrim with mods was beautiful; Tomb Raider tops it! AAA+ title and a must buy for anyone that considers themselves to be a gamer. Did everyone see the laundry list of PC exclusive additions to the game engine? Amazing! And the frame rate hovers around 60 fps the entire time! You're doing yourself a disservice if you skip 2013's game of the year so far. Thank you Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. And Lara Croft's hair is beautiful! Very, very good first impression playing this game. And in 3D the game looks even more special and runs butter smooth if you have the horsepower to push.
on July 14, 2013
I picked this game up about a day ago and could not put it down until I had beaten it. The story was interesting and the game play was very fun. I really enjoyed the aspect of improving my skills and upgrading my weapons along the way. Collecting artifacts and solving the various tomb puzzles were a nice addition to the main story. Graphics were very good and smooth even on my 2 year old Alienware laptop using normal settings. I have never played the Tomb Raider series previously, but that is not a problem since this is the first game in the reboot of the series. Square Enix did a great job with this game and I am really looking forward to a sequel.
on March 5, 2013
When Uncharted first came out, Nathan Drake was often quoted as a male Tomb Raider for Uncharted drew inspiration from Indiana Jones like action movies and Lara Croft's Tomb Raider series. But Uncharted quickly became the household name of PS3 stable with slam bang, over-the-top Hollywood summer blockbuster-like action, big set pieces and impeccable pacing along with charming likeable protagonist Nathan Drake.
Tomb Raider is a reboot and the origin story of Lara Croft from a long running franchise that combines action game with the elements of game such as puzzle solving and platforming, but in the past, the biggest asset of the series had always been none other than her voluptious phisical assets. The series' popularity began to tumble as the series went on for 9 games and 2 rather bad movies, asthetically still stuck in the PS1 era as late as 2009 Underworld with one dimensional character and juvenile sexual innuendo, and was eventually dethroned by the new comers like Uncharted series.
Uncharted expertly mixed and mashed the borrowed elements from Tomb Raider and made them its own, and became PS3 mega hit and one of the most popular game of this console generation; Pupil became teacher.
Now the circle is complete. Heavily influenced by Uncharted series, Lara Croft is back with a vengeance.
While Uncharted borrowed many elements from Tomb Raider series, Uncharted never resorted to directly copying and pasting, Tomb Raider seems a little too similar to Uncharted series. Unmistakenly benchmarked Uncharted series both stylistically and mechanically, and also reminiscent of Far Cry 3 in some ways. Then again, Lara is simply returning the favor.
Uncharted has always been high on action and exuberant charm of Nathan Drake, but light on puzzle and platforming, semi-auto at that. Tomb Raider still offers more puzzle-solving and manual platforming action of the past. The puzzles are all environmental and on-hand tool-based. The method you traverse implements 'Metroid-vania' style progress; you acquire new weapons and gears, and they will be used to reach areas that were inaccessible without them.
But this time, Tomb Raider pumps up the volume in action department; it offers better gun play mechanic, proper stealth and melee combat than any entry in the series, and better than Uncharted series in some way.
The strength of Tomb Raider also lies with expertly designed game world full of diverse style and location within the confinement of single island. The Dragon's Triangle Island is not an open world like Far Cry 3, but more like Dark Souls, the whole island all interconnected. You can freely traverse each area without restriction. While the story is very focused and linear, the actual tomb raiding is aplenty and all optional and you can freely go back to them anytime you want to via various camp fire sites at which you also upgrade your weapons and skills.
I very much love the fact that many developers started to make games that offers smaller and more focused but tightly constructed open world / open level design (games like Arkham City and Dark Souls to name a few) rather than giving you a huge empty world that stands as nothing more than the playground for mindless mayhem and destruction. If you can't beat Skyrim in the amount of freedom and the size of the game contents department, this is definitely the way to go.
Lara Croft is highly vulnerable and the new Tomb Raider plays like a realistic survival horror movie at times. As you progress to earn xp and upgrade your various skills, you will become an expert killing machine.
The story is well-paced and well-told. But if you look for any trace of Lara Croft's past cool demeanor, charm and sex appeal, you will be sorely disappointed.
CGI cutscenes look most natural and impressive yet shown in video games. It is breathtakingly beautiful. CGI cutscenes and games are pretty much seemless. All the bells and whistles for PC-specific graphical options are available, and Tomb Raider is a looker even when you don't max out all the options. Tomb Raider joins Crysis 3 as the true next generation graphics in 2013. The next generation is definitely here in terms of graphical prowess.
The game is also very long. It took me well over 20 hours to complete the campaign without raiding any tomb and the majority of hidden treasures not found. But I always take stealth method over run and gun method if given choice, the most of you will spend 12-15 hours for the campaign. And if you enjoy searching for hidden items and collectibles, you got your hands full long after the main campaign is complete.
The tone is disturbingly serious. The raw violence unseen in any game can be quite brutal and jarring; not the violence itself (we've seen plenty of more violent games before) but the tone is very harsh, and it doesn't gel quite well with the Lara Croft we've known for a long time.
While Lara and Roth, her mentor figure are very well-drawn, the minor characters are all one dimensional and honestly very annoying. I wanted to end them all myself during my playthrough.
The movement of Lara is too nimble (not to be confused with being agile), and that causes some unnecessary mistakes during close-up encounters with enemies.
Tombs are all scaled down from the past Tomb Raider series, and those puzzles are also one and done to the treasure chest.
Multi-players hasn't been well-received by the gamers so far, but I'm never a fan of multi-player, so I skip the review on it.
Despite being derivative of Uncharted, the new Tomb Raider is an exhilirating, pulse-pounding action adventure game that offers a long single player campaign with plenty of action, platforming, environmental puzzles and exploration. It matches everything the best of Uncharted throws, minus magical super-charm of Nathan Drake, but with bigger game world, more contents and graphics to make Nathan Drake cry for mommy. The new Tomb Raider is just as good as Uncharted in my opinion.
So join the expedition. If you loved Uncharted series and Far Cry 3, you will love the brand new adventure of newly shaped Lara Croft.
on March 5, 2013
A+ 100% in Graphics, Sound, Gameplay, Voice Acting & Fun Factor. Great Atmosphere and detail that will draw you in. A new favorite in my PC game library along with Farcry 3, Skyrim, Battlefield 3, Black Ops 2 and Borderlands 2. Works your system, had to drop settings down to "Ultra" from "Ultimate". (According to their built in benchmark) (GTX-580, i7, 12GB RAM)
on January 25, 2015
Requires Steam, and that makes the game unplayable. Yes, yes, I updated Steam, I ensured my graphics card was updated, etc. If I had known Steam was required, I would not have purchased, for many reasons. This just enhances the suspicions I had otherwise, or at least adds the final nails in the coffin. If you want to mess with another gaming provider on top of the purchase, and don't mind signing up for who knows what, really, go for it. And good luck.
Buying the cd/dvd is probably the only way I can play this game.