Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Release Date Announced

The Tomb Raider series is one of those classic gaming franchises which has a huge consumer following, titles ranging from the early days of both The Sega Saturn and also the PS1 all the way through to the latest incarnation of the series “Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One next-gen console. Talking of the aforementioned “Rise” title, new details have been announced for this version of the game for the PC Platform.

So, what are the details? Rise of the Tomb Raider will be officially released on PC on January 28th 2016 and has been announced by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics. The game will support 4K resolution and will be able to provide players with a stunning experience.

Rise of The Tomb raider will also be available through both physical and also online retailers which include Steam etc. There will also be various editions of the game and this will include a standard edition that will be priced at $59.99 dollars (£40.91), a Digital Deluxe Edition that will feature the game and its DLC pass for $89.99 dollars (£61.37) and a collector’s edition.

On the subject of the collector’s edition, below is an image to illustrate this, it will feature a Digital Deluxe version and a 12-inch Lara Croft statue, replicas of Lara’s journal and jade necklace and a steel case. It will be priced at $149.99 dollars (£102.28) and It will be also available at Square Enix’s online store, and yes I understand the irony of an image stating January 29th.

Other information includes the notion that it will be fully compatible with Windows 10 and the US edition has also been given an “M” rating, this means that the game might include elements such as intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language. The minimum specs which have been confirmed by Square Enix for the PC version are as follows,

Rise of the Tomb Raider PC Minimum Specifications:

  • OS: Windows 7 64bit
  • Processor: Intel Core i3-2100 or AMD equivalent
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 650 2 GB or AMD HD7770 2 GB
  • RAM: 6 GB
  • HD Space: 25 GB
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • Input: Mouse + Keyboard

Image courtesy of gearnuke

Rise of the Tomb Raider Only Sold 63,000 Copies on Launch

Microsoft’s timed exclusivity deal with Rise of the Tomb Raider was shrouded in controversy and caused a great deal of anger from fans. Historically, Tomb Raider is perceived as a Sony property, despite being a multi-platform release and releasing on competing systems like the SEGA Saturn. Many critics didn’t understand why an agreement was reached given the high development costs of the Tomb Raider reboot and sales required to break even. Clearly, Microsoft must have offered a huge amount of funds up front to help with the game’s development.

Despite having the financial support of Microsoft, Rise of the Tomb Raider is performing quite poorly and only sold 63,000 units on launch. In comparison to this, the previous game shipped 183,000 units in the same period. The Xbox One’s limited user-base was undoubtedly going to result in lower sales but this is well below Microsoft and Square Enix’s expectations. This begs the question, why are the sales so poor?

The answer is very simple, and revolves around Fallout 4’s hugely successful release. Microsoft underestimated the enthusiasm for Fallout 4 and stupidly launched Rise of the Tomb Raider on the same date. As a result, Fallout 4 received all the major headlines and trended on social media. This is a crying shame, and I cannot comprehend why the game’s release date wasn’t changed. Fallout 4 is probably the most anticipated game since the Witcher 3, and it’s incredibly foolish to try to compete.

Who knows what the future holds for the Tomb Raider franchise, but the sales figures are awful at this time. The numbers will improve as people move on from Fallout 4, and it launches on other platforms. However, the exclusivity deal look to have categorically failed in shifting a large number of units.

Crystal Dynamics Cuts Rise of the Tomb Raider Multiplayer to Focus on Campaign

Nowadays, it seems that most games have to have a multiplayer component to it. While the Tomb Raider reboot released in 2013 included a multiplayer element, the sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider apparently will not. Developer Crystal Dynamics had been mum on what the multiplayer would look like and it appears that is because there will be no multiplayer section. According to the Offical Xbox Magazine, the decision was made to refocus resources from the multiplayer section and devote them to the singleplayer campaign to make it that much better.

In some ways, the move mirrors the one EA and DICE chose to do with Star Wars Battlefront where they cut out the single player campaign to focus on the multiplayer section. While EA’s decision was controversial, the Tomb Raider one probably won’t be. That’s because Star War Battlefront has long had a single player campaign that was relatively well-loved and played. On the other hand, Tomb Raider has historically had no multiplayer section and the one that came with Tomb Raider 2013 wasn’t that well received.

Overall, if Crystal Dynamics is able to provide a compelling single-player campaign, it’s unlikely most gamers will have complaints. The game is set to launch on the Xbox One and 360 later this year in November. Being a timed exclusive, the game won’t arrive on the PC and PS4 till mid to late 2016.

Thank you Forbes for providing us with this information

Tomb Raider Scores Global Franchise Record with Over 8.5 Million Copies Sold

While we all knew that Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider was a big success back in 2013, we did not know how big up until now. It seems that Tomb Raider has been classified as the IP’s biggest success and even surpassed other series’ sales with over 8.5 million copies sold.

“Crystal Dynamics, a Square Enix studio, today announced that the award-winning TOMB RAIDER® (2013) has sold more than 8.5 million copies worldwide, more than any other game in the legendary Tomb Raider franchise’s history. Originally released in March 2013, the game also set franchise sales records for its first day and month.”

The title still sells for a fair £14.99 price on Steam or other sources, but the sales record essentially means that Microsoft has potentially secured a next big hit with their Xbox One exclusivity agreement for the upcoming Rise of the Tomb Raider title.

Thank you PixelGamerUK for providing us with this information

Tomb Raider 10 Confirmed for PC and PS4

When Microsoft announced at Gamescon in Cologne this year that the new Tomb Raider game would be an Xbox One exclusive, it sparked a lot of rage amongst players and headlines in the media. But Microsoft said limited exclusivity, and that made people believe that it would also come to PC and PS4.

We’ve already seen Amazon list the Xbox360, PS3 and PC version, but that might just be based on their own speculations. Now the developers behind the game, Crystal Dynamics, have made it clear that “Tomb Raider revive” will be landing on both the PC and PlayStation platforms.

There has been no official word on why the limited Xbox One exclusivity, but Microsoft must have given them a real good deal for it and I wouldn’t be surprised to see special edition boxes for this game. Crystal Dynamics has promised their goal is to create the perfect game for players to work on all platforms.

The Xbox One version is planned for the Christmas holiday sales 2015 and the PC and PS4 version is expected March to May 2016.

Thank you to MyDrivers for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of Crystal Dynamics

TressFX 2.0 To Simulate Hair, Fur And Grass Physics At A Less Performance Cost

If you played the latest Tomb Raider, then you probably know about TressFX. If not, then you should know that it is the technology used to simulate Lara Croft’s realistic-like hair inside the game.

TressFX is AMD’s realistic hair rendering technology used to render and simulate numerous individual strands of hair. Now AMD has revealed the next version of TressFX, having better performance and easier integration into games. In addition to hair simulation, TressFX is now in development to simulate other things like grass and fur.

“TressFX is AMD’s realistic hair rendering technology which renders and simulates the physics of thousands of individual strands of hair. It was first used in Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider, released earlier this year. Now AMD is introducing TressFX 2.0, a newer version of TressFX with better performance and easier integration into games. Additionally research is now being done to use TressFX for other things besides hair, like grass and fur. In this talk we will cover how TressFX rendering and physics works, the improvements made in TressFX 2.0, and the research which will be used in future products.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aAWJAe8k8sQ[/youtube]

Tress FX 2.0 is said to have better integration into games and less performance drops, where we should expect the same effects generated in the first version of TressFX, but at a lower performance cost.

Thank you Guru3D for providing us with this information

New Trailer Released For Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition At Spike VGX

Crystal Dynamics, a Square Enix studio today announced that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on January 28th, 2014. One of gamings most famous action-adventure series sees a young and inexperienced Lara Croft transforms into a hardened survivor in one of the best re-boots we’ve seen in years. Those not content with a lazy console port will be happy to hear that this fully re-built version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One features stunning graphics that should really benefit from the AMD hardware of the new consoles.

  • An all new Lara model created to take advantage of the power of next-gen consoles
  • TRESS FX technology that delivers realistic hair simulation and motion with every strand being physically active
  • Shader and lighting reworked to showcase the raw physicality of Lara’s journey through sweat, mud, and blood materials and effects

A physical world put in motion thanks to brand new hardware architecture:

  • The world has been dynamically brought to life using complex physical world simulation on trees, foliage, cloth, weather, lighting and effects
  • All texture resolutions have been created at 4x resolution for maximum resolution and detail
  • In-game characters, enemies and destructability have been enhanced for added depth and realism
  • Subsurface scattering technology implemented to capture the most physically accurate lighting simulation and deliver a great sense of believability
  • Native 1080p gameplay gives outstanding visual fidelity and showcases the beauty of Yamatai in all its high definition glory

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.

“’Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ is so named as it’s exactly what we’ve custom built for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles,” said Crystal Dynamics Executive Producer, Scot Amos. “The new hardware let us finally express the original vision in all of its glory. This was a continued labor of love. We pulled the game apart and rebuilt it with painstaking detail to add enhanced visual storytelling but without changing the award winning tale. The end result is a cinematic living world. We can’t wait for fans and newcomers alike to experience this rebuilt epic adventure.”

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will be available on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 from January 28th, 2014, priced at $RRP59.99. If you missed out on the original release (our review), then this could be a great time to join the series and check out one of the best action adventure games 2013 has to offer.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/7SSNTEbcW0s[/youtube]

Thank you Tomb Raider for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider PC Review

It’s taken me longer than I would have liked to complete this game, but after a few late nights and a few important jobs swept under the carpet, I did it, I finally completed Tomb Raider!

Hailing from the talented minds of Crystal Dynamics, although when I say talented I do know that the studio has had some rather off pace titles over the years, yet they are the people who made games such as Legacy of Kain – Soul Reaver, so we do know that they are capable of creating something special from time to time.

There is no point in hiding behind the truth however, the Tomb Raider franchise has been stinking of rot for a good few years now, and while there may have been one or two half good games in there, or at least enough to please the loyal fans, I think the games have gone down hill since the early PlayStation 2 days. What the franchise needed was some new blood and a complete reboot in the backside! Fortunately, that is exactly what Crystal Dynamics have done, throwing us right back to a time of a 21yr old, much less experienced in the art of exploring, and scared Lara Croft.

I don’t want to dive right in and ruin the story, surely half of the fun of a single player game is discovering that part your selves! But what I can say is that the game starts with you suffering a ship wreck, separated from your friends and co-workers and basically stranded on an island full of mystery, treasure and cultist nut jobs… so a lot like LOST then!

This is where the most interesting dynamic of this game comes into play, survival. Where games such as Uncharted, or of course many of the Tomb Raider games prior to this one were action adventure titles, this is simply a survival adventure game. There is a bigger emphasis on life being fragile, and while sure, you can still take a bullet to the belly and be ok a few moments later if you don’t take another one, you’re certainly easier to kill than is normally the pace for a modern game.

Gun fights are shaky and brutal, Lara is not some gun wielding ninja and your equipment isn’t that great to start with either. Shaky hands, scrambling for cover, minimal health and some well coordinated enemies, that will communicate with each other to circle around you, use fire to burn you out of cover and destroy your environment, or use shields to charge up on you, all of which adds up to some pretty chaotic but entertaining fights.

The AI isn’t the best in the world, but its certainly better than most any adventure game and the dialogue between enemies feels a little better than just triggered scripts, especially as they react to their environment dynamically as they try to find you and pursue you.

Gun battles, fire and other weapons are one thing, its what happens when Lara runs into the wrong end of them that gets me, “she dies” would be one way of putting it. However, Crystal Dynamics have put a lot of effort into the death scene animations of Tomb Raider and its easy for the first few to catch you off guard and make your eyes go wide. I can see some sadists jumping off every edge, getting killed in every quick time event and more just to see what happens. Unless you want to see her impaled through the throat, crushes, burned, strangled or maybe even worse, I would keep her alive! As grim as it all sounds, it plays really well on the survival adventure aspect I was talking about, and it shows how the character is more fragile and prone to death, of course that illusion is ruined by the fact real life doesn’t have save points / checkpoints.

The PC edition of this game certainly has a few benefits over the console counterparts, and while sure, they also look fantastic they’re a far cry from what this game engine can do on a high end gaming PC. Most famously for this game is TressFX, a fancy physics based hair simulation that gives Lara a more realistic head of hear, doesn’t sound like much does it? Well your half right, it does look fantastic, and it is better than the more rigid hair model, but her hair does have a complete and utter seizure from time to time that can ruin the effect. Also if you own a Nvidia card, good luck getting the TressFX setting to work as intended, this is an AMD trick that Nvidia hasn’t quite emulated yet, even if they say they’ve patched it, I beg to differ.

All the major features are here FXAA, SSAO, AO, High Precision, Tesselation, AF and high resolution support. Should you have the system to enable them all to maximum the game world really comes to life in terms of detail that put it with the best looking games on the market today. Unfortunately not everyone has an SLI capable gaming rig, equipped with powerful i5 CPU’s and Crystal Dynamics have been good at creating a versatile engine that allows for good gaming performance as the cost of graphical fidelity on lower end systems, a humble Core2Duo is enough in some cases.

The main story will take you around 9 hours to complete but if you bolt right through the game, your only getting half of the experience that the game offers. Through out the game you will find items like books, GPS beacons and wall markings that lead you off the beaten track, into caves, tunnels and more in the search for rare artifacts and some interesting level based puzzles. It’s a great way of getting some extra play time and fortunately its a sideline that’s entertaining to complete. It’s also important to find items such as food, ammo and salvage, the most important however is salvage. Using this salvage you can upgrade your guns, axe, bow and any other weapons you pick up on your travels. While the game starts with a shaky handed Lara and a clapped out old bow, salvage will see you with the precision of a skilled hitman and the moves to match in the latter half of the game.

Overall its a solid gaming experience, on one had you have the classic exploration that made tomb raider famous, as you figure out the best way to climb a set of obstacles to trigger a door or event to progress to the next section. Add to that the high action gun fights that made games such as Uncharted popular. Throw in the survival aspects and plenty of scenarios that put the life of a 21 yr old, inexperienced adventurer on the line constantly and you’ve got your self a game that can keep you on the edge of your seat more than once throughout its story.

I’ll admit, the story is a bit dull for my liking but it does help push the action and exploration along and its the gameplay that really matters here. The only issue I have with the game is that its caught what I call “Uncharted Disease” and where the developers at Naughty Dog have some of the best camera work in a gaming, a trend to try emulated that in recent years has caused a widespread case feeling like your game character is being followed by a very drunk camera man, does it really need to wobble that much Crystal Dynamics?!

If you love the original Tomb Raider series, you’re going to really enjoy this new adventure. The same is true for those who hated the original Tomb Raiders as this brings the game into the modern age, loosing all the old issues with the poor ledge grabbing mechanics and actually making the series enjoyable once again, just don’t bother with the tacked on multiplayer and you’ll be fine.

I’m still awarding the game our Gamers Choice award and even though it has some little niggles like the camera and poor multiplayer, the core gaming experience is by far one of the best of the last the last 12 months. If you’re not playing the new Tomb Raider, you’re missing out on a great game.