Rise of the Tomb Raider

I had made so many awesome screenshots (stop laughing!) for this game, or so I thought, then I found out that my screenshot tool doesn’t make screenshots for DX12 games but, of course, also doesn’t say so. At least I learned that Steam can screenshot DX12 (so I still managed to make some during the last half of the game). It’s kinda disappointing though, that an extra tool would fail at it.

Anyway, overall I very much welcome the TR reboot, the gameplay is a lot of fun, the level design is usually rather sweet and this package makes the game really motivating to me. I was especially in favor of the many “realistic” animations they put in for LC – loved those. I didn’t have to make myself finish it, I wanted to.

I thought now might be the ideal time to start playing it, because I’d noticed that the tenth patch was released only a few weeks prior. This sounded like the game should be in a rather pristine condition by now. So my surprise couldn’t have been bigger, that this game is still riddled with bugs which are impossible to overlook.
I have the “20th b-day celebration/complete edition” and the game throws out a ton of screens for every installed DLC at the beginning. These messages are clearly supposed to pop up only once during the first start, but they always appear, forcing me to click them away each time (the same goes for the Square Enix account the game wants me to log into – has to be skipped at each start, despite an extra screen suggesting it too will only appear once).

No settings in the audio/languages section of the options are saved, all of them reset each time the game is closed. So each start of the game is a small nightmare, before playing the game can begin.

It happened a few times to me, that I couldn’t activate the survival mode (think Batman Arkham Detective Vision), nothing would happen. But it would always work again if I restarted the game. There was another issue with one of the tutorial screens popping up again and again, although I wasn’t performing the action it was for. As if the countless DLC messages at each start weren’t bad enough, the game additionally forced me to endure this as often as possible.

As mentioned I played the game in its DX12 mode, which worked really well, except for the last campaign cutscene. Every single time this soldier was stabbed, the game would crash. Easy to reproduce. To watch the final scene of the game, I had to switch to DX11, for the first time.

As we all know, LC has never been a deep character or anything like that and none of the previous TR games were ever known for a good or even memorable story, but this is 2016 and stuff I would have overlooked in 1996, do disappoint me now. The story, if one can call it that, is entirely forgettable and doesn’t even reach the level I would call “serviceable”. Movies like “Die Hard” don’t have a deep story either, but it’s well presented, give us SOMETHING.

While the cool gameplay makes me usually forget how terribly disappointing every story bit is, I still couldn’t overlook some truly cringe-worthy scenes (and believe me I tried). Out of the ~4 named characters this game has (besides LC), one of them is supposedly friends with LC, this character gets hurt bad and is about to die (he’s maybe minutes from kicking the bucket) – but luckily LC is after a gadget that can heal/give immortality to people (a much lamer and less interesting version of the holy grail from last crusade basically). So I obviously expected LC to find it and heal her friend with this thing, saving him last second. But no, the first thing LC does, once she finds the MacGuffin, is to destroy it and the next time she sees her friend, he’s completely healthy and healed up again anyway, as if he was never hurt… How?!? Could it be worse? Probably, but still… I just can’t understand how it is possible that we still have to put up with crap like this in 2016. And this game is a major blockbuster, there should be some sort of QA for the story bits. Low budget indie games often do it so much better! Games such as RotTR should be able to do at least as much. I only had to laugh a few times when someone told me, that this friend actually was a recurring character from TR 2013 – zero memory of this guy.

Who knows how awesome these games could be, if they would put in more than just fun gameplay and awesome animations for LC!

The same continues with these logs that are spread throughout the world. They even got actors to read all of those texts, but none of them contain any information I am interested in. None of them reveal anything of value. You’d hope they’d shine some new light on things, add to the experience, but no. They are literally nothing but sheer collectibles. As another element that was taken straight from the Batman Arkham games, this too could have been so much better. So to get at least something out of it and to keep my mind occupied and not just my hands, I role-played the whole game as the Cerys an Craite spin-off, CDP would never make. Lara wears almost the same armor after all.

The additional “story” DLC in Croft Manor only further points out that LC isn’t a real character. Like James Bond she’s rebooted every few years in story and looks (which also makes no sense whatsoever). Since the series started in 1996, this is at least the third incarnation now. I’m still hoping they’ll never do this to Indiana Jones, but since Star Trek and Star Wars I should probably accept that it’s going to happen sooner or later. Member Berries and all that.

All in all the game is better even than the first of the reboot and current survivor-series. It’s obviously been a while since I played Tomb Raider, but I remember extremely annoying bits with QTE’s they thankfully scaled back to a healthy amount in RotTR. Those were pure evil. :P

I still would like them to fix all these bugs, but after one year and 10 already released patches, it’s most likely crazy to still expect anything.

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