February 09, 2016

Rise of the Tomb Raider - PC Review

Rise of the Tomb Raider has had a very strange release plan, coming out on Xbox One and Xbox 360, with the PC release happen two months later and the PlayStation versions still to come. Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix have been working on making sure the PC build is the best version of the currently released ones and it shows.

I won't recount the story or gameplay here, for that you can read the original Xbox One review, this is all about how the game performs and plays on PC. Controlling Lara with a mouse and keyboard was quite a different challenge than with a controller, to the point that after a few hours, I did have to swap to a controller. There is nothing inherently wrong with how Lara moves or handles, but there are times when the keyboard layout becomes more of an inconvenience than anything else. Using the mouse to aim is fluid, as it should be, but Lara is not the most adept at changing directions on a dime, which is only heightened by the keyboard controls. Using the menus is faster with a mouse than it is with the keyboard, but as you can only upgrade when at a base camp, you are not in a rush for time, so it does not matter which method you use here.

The one area that Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC excels over its console versions is in visuals and how it handles the game world as a whole. When you look at the game on Xbox One, it does look very nice, but when you compare it to the PC version, it looks like the Xbox 360 does to Xbox One, the added features found in the PC build just make the world come alive like nothing else. The addition of extra particles in the air might not sound like anything special, but when you walk through the snow covered trees and see light dustings of snow fall to the ground, or as the light punches through the forest, seeing dust and leaves contained within, is a sight to behold.

Of course the real power of the PC is in the hardware that you run, so those with a lower spec machine, will likely not get to experience the game in as much detail, but even when I dropped the settings down, to see how it looked, it was still very impressive.

Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC is so far, the best way to play the game, if you have PC capable of doing so. Even with a lower spec machine, missing out on this game would be a disservice to yourself.

Thanks to Square Enix for providing the game for review

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