I like Rise of the Tomb Raider a lot, yet sadly I really don't think it got the attention it deserved; so much so, that at points around its release I felt a bit like its only cheerleader in a stadium full of opposition fans. Of course, this was almost entirely down to the game releasing as a timed exclusive for Xbox One and Xbox 360. By holding the game back from PS4 owners (and PC), Square angered a massive chunk of Lara's fanbase. Add to this the fact that the Xbox One isn't performing as well as Sony's console is in the 'sales war' and you've got the perfect recipe for a game to sell relatively poorly. At least now PC gamers can see why Rise of the Tomb Raider should have received more of a fanfare.
You can find my full review of the Xbox One release here, which goes into plenty of detail about why I think Square Enix's game is so wonderful, but to summarise: Rise of the Tomb Raider feels like a proper adventure, one in which you make discoveries, explore unbelievable locations, and tops this off with some heart-pounding action sequences. It helps that the dev team has created one of the most gorgeous games I've ever played, with gigantic underground tombs that dazzle and far-reaching vistas that inspire. This aspect is all the more impressive on PC, providing you've got a decent rig to game on.
I tested the game on an i5 PC with 8GB RAM and an Geforce GTX 980. Running at 1080p and with all the visual settings set to their most advanced (apart from antialiasing), there's no denying Rise of the Tomb Raider is a showpiece title. I managed to get a fairly solid 60fps, but did notice that there were some substantial stutters when the game transitioned into in-engine cutscenes. Cutscenes also displayed some bizarre image quality issues, such as blood spurts appearing to be almost stickers in nature, placed over the image, and the same for a massive rush of water towards the starts of the game. Hopefully these visual anomalies can be patched out.
Perhaps not surprisingly, considering Square Enix put out an incredibly competent version of Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox 360 (a console that's 10 years old!), the game scales rather well so can run on significantly inferior hardware to what I listed above. On the lowest settings, Lara's tomb raiding is far less pleasing on the eye, but it still holds together pretty well.
This is a comparison screenshot, with the game running at max settings on the top and lowest settings on the bottom.
You can find more Rise of the Tomb Raider comparison screenshots here.
How good the game looks in comparison to the Xbox One release will very much depend on your PC's specification, of course. The Xbox One game looks wonderful, but here you can achieve far better performance in open spaces and more impressive image quality – two areas of the Xbox One release that were compromised in order to deliver the high quality visuals.
I absolutely recommend Rise of the Tomb Raider. It was my favourite game of 2015 and nothing has been lost in the months since its release. On PC it can look even more spectacular, so just buy it, yeah.
Version Tested: PC
9 / 10
- Thrilling action
- Great sense of adventure
- Looks amazing on top spec PC
- Some graphical glitches