Tag Archive

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Preview PT 2: Every Beginning Has An End

Posted on May 2, 2018 by Rae Michelle Richards

This is Part 2 of my comprehensive preview of the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider based upon an hour long play session and interviews at last week’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider reveal event. Square Enix USA covered my travel expenses and accommodations to attend the event. If you missed my breakdown on how Shadow of the Tomb Raider is evolving the established Tomb Raider formula – check it out here.

Later this week and early next week I’ll be publishing a pair of video interviews with a Gameplay Systems Designer and Producer from the game.

Debut Trailer

SotTR’s First Hour

Spoiler Warning: The following hands-on preview discusses the ending of Rise of the Tomb Raider and how it affects Lara’s motivation towards the villans in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Both the events of RotR’s ending and the identity of SotTR’s villans are discussed at length. Several names and events have been blacked out to help readers avoid spoilers.

I got the chance to go hands-on for Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s beginning hour during the reveal event in Montreal, Quebec last week. My play session kicked off approximately 15 minutes into SotTR’s campaign I was told by one of the developers at the event. Lara alongside Jonah – who players of Rise of the Tomb Raider should recognize – find themselves hunting down a set of Mayan relics before the Trinity Organization can get their hands both the Box and Silver Key of Ixel Chel.

Legends say that by using the mystical power contained within the Box in combination with the Key, the holder of both Relics can reshape the world. This transformation takes the shape of a powerful world shattering Earthquake, a massive volcanic eruption and a drowning Tsunami. While Trinity’s intentions with these devastating powerful forces is not made entirely clear – surely they will kill a lot of the Earth’s population in doing so.

Avoiding an apocalyptic scenario isn’t the only thing at stake for Lara Croft in this third entry of the rebooted franchise. Given how Rise of the Tomb Raider ended – after Lara spending the entirety of RotR processing the suppressed memory of her father’s suicide, it is revealed that the Trinity Organization orchestrated his death – there is a personal factor driving Lara’s determination to see things through to their conclusion. SotTR’s antagonist, Dr. Dominguez who heads up Trinity will pose an equal intellectual, as well as physical challenge, to both Lara and Jonah this time around. Perhaps it is Crystal Dynamics / Edios Montreal’s intention to have the player question whose approach to averting the Mayan apocalypse is best? – if a disastrous power is going to be unleashed upon the world should it be used in a way that allows some of humanity to live?

My demo began with Lara and Jonah arriving at a South American festival that gave off a vibe similar to that of Dia de Muertos with banners, fireworks and attendees sporting skeleton face paint. To hide her identity Lara dons a hooded poncho and a partial Skull Mask that, to be honest, looked absolutely amazing on her! Our heroes must stay hidden from Trinity security forces all while gaining access to one of the organization’s Dig Sites in order to find out where the Key of IX Chel is located. As Jonah distracts armed men by approaching them and asking about an on-going party, I guided Lara through the city streets, which acted as a basic movement tutorial.

Things opened up as I progressed through the Dig Site, with SotTR prompting me about the basics of stealth – hiding in bushes, watching enemy alert statuses – as well as a basic primer on how to run and gun my way through a given situation. Hiding in the lush South American brush and striking guards from close quarters is just as exhilarating as it sounds. Towards the Dig Site’s conclusion I decided to change my approach and use the small sub-machine gun that Lara came equipped with to dispatch the remaining patrols.

Gameplay seamlessly shifted things to the first real Tomb of Shadow’s first hour – “Hunter’s Moon” – which saw me utilizing Lara’s climbing expertise to effortlessly climb and repel Lara into the once hidden temple belonging to Ix Chel (when I wasn’t missing the button prompt to connect two jumps together and falling to my death). Rope Arrows from the previous two titles where key to solving a quite ingenious puzzle involving an abandoned mine cart and a wench. Without giving away the solution, after solving the mine cart puzzle and another clever puzzle involving large weights Lara finally had one of the two coveted Mayan artifacts in her possession.

This is where things went from standard action movie fare – as seen in the previous two titles – to nearly world shattering. A ginormous tidal wave quickly engulfs the cavernous tomb and sweeps Lara out and onto the city streets. What follows is an almost indescribable amount of devastation as the large wave carries Lara, innocent pedestrians, cars and anything not firmly cemented into a foundation along with it.

As the water subsides and Lara rejoins Jonnah for the first time since the opening minutes of the demo she surveys the sheer damage the tidal wave has unleashed. Suddenly the roaring blades of a helicopter come from behind and within an instant the duo are face to face with Dr. Dominquez who promptly swipes the dagger of Ix Chel from Lara’s possession without a grandiose speech or monologue – RoTR’s Konstantine, he is not.

It is here in the closing seconds of SotTR’s first hour that the impact of all of this destruction catches up with Lara. I could see the anguish and guilt stricken across her face as she begins to plead with Jonah to go on to the next dig site and capture the box before Trinity can. It is here the Jonah snaps back at Lara in quite an unexpected fashion – essentially saying “Not everything is about you Lara, you want to act on a myth and a scrap of information when the people HERE need us. We can make a difference here.” With just a few short sentences he bring’s Lara’s attention back to devastation caused by the removal of the Key and away from her larger quest – reminding her of the human cost that can come when the stakes are this high.


Rise of the Tomb Raider Gets Xbox One X Enhancements With New Patch

Posted on November 7, 2017 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix has released a patch for the Xbox One version of Rise of the Tomb Raider that adds additional visual fidelity and graphic options for the newly released Xbox One X. If you’re on the bleeding edge and scored one of Microsoft’s brand new 4K console you can enjoy full native 4K support, Hight Dynamic Range support, three different performance profiles and so much more. 

Developer Nixxes Software handled the Xbox One X enhancements for ROTR – previously they worked on the 20th Anniversary edition of ROTR for PS4, the Tomb Raider Enhanced port for PS4 and one of the ports of Deus Ex: Mankind divided as well.  Owner of Microsoft’s latest console also get all of the additional content originally included with the 20th Anniversary Edition for free as well.  

Here is a breakdown of all of the Xbox One X exclusive enhancements as well as a trailer provided by Square: 

Xbox One X players can choose from one of three visual modes:

  • Native 4K: (full 3840 by 2160) for the highest fidelity resolution
  • Enriched Visuals for stunning graphic upgrades
  • High Frame Rate for the smoothest possible gameplay

New Xbox One X tech enhancements for Rise of the Tomb Raider include:

  • HDR display support for more vibrant and accurate color representation
  • Spatial audio support, including Dolby Atmos®, for true 3D audio
  • Enhanced texture resolution for Lara Croft®, NPCs, and environments for even more immersive and realistic details

Additional visual enhancements include:

  • Improved volumetric lights
  • Improved reflections
  • Enhanced foliage
  • Upgraded polygonal detail
  • Improved anti-aliasing
  • Amplified texture filtering


PS4 Pro Enhanced Announced, 4K Videos Available

Posted on September 12, 2016 by Ellen McGrody

Horizon: Zero Dawn on PS4 Pro

PS4 Pro Enhanced

Following last week’s PlayStation Meeting, Sony announced more details about the PS4 Pro. In addition to adding 4k game videos to their YouTube channel, Sony confirmed details concerning PS4 Pro Enhanced. Acting as a new labeling system for game releases, the new logo implies a game uses some or all of the features of the new console.

As discussed last week, the Pro offers graphical enhancements to existing and upcoming PS4 titles. Enhanced will mean that a game takes advantage of any combination of these tweaks. A Pro Enhanced game will offer 4K resolution, HDR capabilities, and/or higher frame-rates. Older titles can offer software updates with these features. Newer games will come with this label on packaging or on PlayStation Store pages.

Because of Polygon‘s reporting, we know developers won’t be able to charge for Enhanced upgrades to older titles. In addition, as Enhanced can entail HDR lighting, users of the original PS4 and the new Slim model will benefit as well.

Gameplay videos are available from Horizon: Zero Dawn, Mass Effect Andromeda, and more. You can view every 4K PS4 Pro video on Sony’s playlist. Note that you’ll need Chrome in order to view 4K YouTube videos on your computer.


Broken Deals: Cheap Xbox Ones, Games & More

Posted on April 19, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

It has been awhile since we’ve featured some amazing gaming deals here on the site. With recent releases like the new Rachet & Clank and Dark Souls III tearing up the sales charts and adding to people’s gamerscore / trophy count it is about time for us to feature some new deals. I think this week’s edition of Broken Deals might appeal to those looking to jump into the current generation or pick up a new console.

Amazing Xbox One System Deal 

First up we’ve got an absolutely stellar deal on a refurbished Xbox One console via Ebay.com. Coming in at just shy of $190 this is the cheapest I’ve seen an Xbox One console – new, refurbished or used – if you haven’t jumped on Microsoft’s latest console for exclusives like Sunset Overdrive, Halo 5 and others perhaps this is the deal you’ve been waiting for.

XboxOne DealsRead More


Square Enix Unveils GDC 2016 Panel Line-Up

Posted on March 10, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix

Square Enix announced their line-up of talks for the 2016 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco California. In total Square has 9 presentations set across the first four days of the conference. Topics range from the use of interactive story mechanics to handle tough issues like suicide, mental illness and loss in Life Is Strange, to the process of optimization that Just Cause 3 developer Avalanche Studios used in conjunction with Iris graphics to make the world of JC3 explode with such fidelity. In terms of franchises, this year’s session line-up from Square focuses on games that have already been released like the two mentioned above or titles that are on the horizon like the upcoming Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. Final Fantasy fanatics looking for more information on FFXV will have to look elsewhere – that title will get its own huge event at the end of the month.

Tomb Raider 2013 005

Staff from BrokenJoysticks.net will be in SF for a portion of GDC and will bring you every video, podcast and article that we can line-up! In the meantime here is a small selection of Square Enix’s GDC 2016 line-up:Read More


Direct x12 Support Found In Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Launcher

Posted on February 8, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

It looks like the planned DirectX 12 support for Square Enix’s recently released PC port of Rise of the Tomb Raider may still exist in the game’s files. By updating the game’s Steam version to the latest build and then replacing the main executable with the 1.0 found on the installation DVD an Enable DirectX 12 option will appear.

Reddit user -Olek found out how to enable these menu options and quickly posted them to the /r/PCGaming sub-reddit. Files referencing DirectX 12 can be found in the V1.0 files on the original installation DVD. Here are the exact steps that -Olek followed:

Wanted to post this asap.
Messed around with the Rise of the Tomb Raider files on the latest Steam version.

“Monitor” launches the game and it stops working after the developer startup screen.
“Exclusive Fullscreen” opens the setup menu.
“Display” opens the official website page for the game.
“Graphics” opens the official Tomb Raider facebook page.
“Options” opens the official Tomb Raider youtube page.
“Stereoscopic 3D” opens the Square Enix support page.
“Enable DirectX 12” closes the launcher.

Forgot to clarify that this was achieved by replacing ROTTR.exe with the original executable from the retail version.

Earlier last year there was some speculation that Rise of the Tomb Raider might be the first Xbox One title to use DX12 technology however it appears as if that was never formally confirmed. Could Square Enix unveil a DX12 patch for Rise of the Tomb Raider somewhere down the line? Or are these references to DirectX 12 simply left overs from the development process?

Here is a look at the DX12 enabled launcher:



Rise of the Tomb Raider Minimum PC Specs Announced By Square Enix

Posted on January 5, 2016 by Rae Michelle Richards

Square Enix’s sequel to 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, Rise of the Tomb Raider will be making its way to Windows PC on January 28th 2016 the publisher announced alongside the game’s minimum specs.

The minimum specs for Rise don’t seem so bad – the game only requires 25GB of install space, which is similar to the PS4 / Xbox One console versions. In terms of required graphics hardware you’ll need to be running an NVIDIA Geforce 650  or an AMD HD 7770 or better with at least 2GB of video ram. In realistic terms this means as long as you are running mid-tier hardware from 2012 Rise of the Tomb Raider will run albeit with some features disabled.

In terms of exclusive Windows PC features Rise of the Tomb Raider will feature support for 4K resolution, if your rig is up to snuff. It will also be one of the first games to use NVIDIA’s VXAO technology – which provides a voxel based performance boost for lower end GPUs and the game will be fully integrated into the Windows 10 Xbox game software.

Multiple editions of Rise of the Tomb Raider are available for Windows PC. The standard edition will set you back approximately $59.99 USD, the Digital Deluxe Edition will cost aprox $89.99 USD and it includes the Season’s Pass along with all existing DLC. If you are feeling like spending the big bucks there is a physical collector’s edition that includes all of the above, a free copy of 2013’s Tomb Raider, a replica necklace and journal from the game and a 12 inch Lara Croft statue.

If you are feeling adventurous you can pre-order Rise of the Tomb Raider here.

Tomb Raider Minimum Specs

Minimum OS: Windows 7 64bit
Processor:  Intel Core i3-2100 or AMD equivalent
HD Space: 25GB
DirectX: DirectX 11

Rise of the Tomb Raider CE

Here is everything included with the physical collector’s edition for Rise of the Tomb Raider.


Rise of The Tomb Raider Demo Now Available On Xbox One

Posted on December 20, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

Microsoft and Creative Dynamics have released a demo version of Rise of the Tomb Raider for Xbox One. Spotted by an eagle-eyed Neogaf user this demo version of the appeared on the Xbox Live web-store this evening.

It’s unknown as of press time what the demo contains in terms of content or how large the download is. As I do not have an Xbox One I’m unable to try it out at this time. The full version of Rise of the Tomb Raider clocks in at 20.86GB.

You can add the Rise of the Tomb Raider demo to your download queue by following this link.

The Xbox.com store offers this brief synopsis of the game:

“Featuring epic, high-octane action moments set in the most beautifully hostile environments on earth, Rise of the Tomb Raider delivers a cinematic survival action adventure where you will join Lara Croft on her first tomb raiding expedition. “



Tomb Raider vs. Fallout: Under Pressure

Posted on November 14, 2015 by Kenny Keelan

Lara Croft and her Tomb Raider games have always been under some degree of scrutiny: whether it was what got her attention in the first place, the quality of her games, or the fact that, to this day, her releases have almost always been up against some stiff competition. From the time her character was conceived, she has always faced some kind of adversity in the mainstream spotlight. With the latest release in the franchise, she has to rise up to, perhaps, her greatest challenge yet: being released in very close proximity to the hype train arrival that is the release of Fallout 4. Love it or hate it, Fallout has been a show stopper and this game has been stopping hearts ever since its formal announcement.Read More


Rise of the Tomb Raider Coming To PlayStation In Holiday 2016

Posted on July 23, 2015 by Rae Michelle Richards

As it turns out the console exclusivity deal for Crystal Dynamic’s Rise of the Tomb Raider is simply a timed exclusive deal, something neither publisher Square Enix or Microsoft mentioned during the games numerous appearances at E3 2014, Gamescom 2014 or this past E3.

In a press release issued this morning Square Enix confirmed that Rise of the Tomb Raider will be released on Xbox One on November 10th this year, on Windows 10 PC / Steam sometime in early 2016 and finally on PlayStation 4 one year after the Xbox One version in Holiday 2016. Development duties for all versions is being handled by Crystal Dynamics.

In all honesty this kind of takes the wind right out of the word “exclusive” – sure we’ve seen other publishers, most notably Activision with time locked content in Destiny on PlayStation Platforms, lock away content for an unspecified amount of time. But this whole deal with Rise of the Tomb Raider is a bit different because Square & Microsoft failed to acknowledge that the game would ever come to other platforms although many in the industry expected that Rise would eventually make the jump.

Check out the E3 2014 trailer for Rise of the Tomb Raider below. We’ll probably hear more about the game at Gamescom this August.

[youtube id=”nczWRxOalkY”]


Get the latest articles and news from BrokenJoysticks and a selection of excellent articles from other sources.

Simply fill out the form below and you’ll be on your way to getting our upcoming newsletter.