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Rise of the Tomb Raider

What a fantastic addition to the Tomb Raider saga. The scenery is beautiful, the dialogue and cutscenes gripping, and the story so far just makes you want to delve in deeper and deeper. I simply can't get enough of it so far.

The gameplay mechanics are almost an exact copy from the reboot, but that's hardly a bad thing. They do expand on it more, since you can craft even more items, weapons, and outfits( some are unlocked simply by playing ). There are also caches of ancient coins hidden through the game, which can be exchanged for better weapons and gear here and there. Let's not forget the option diversion of extra challenges where you do some proper tomb raiding after figuring out the puzzles involved. Add in some side missions given by NPCs and there's plenty to do besides the main storyline. The same NPCs can also offer new missions later on, so it's worth checking in on them from time to time.

Thank goodness then, that the game has a quick travel system;which is accessible via campfires. The campfires are also where you craft, and upgrade your items; along with listening to Lara's thoughts, and that of her father. Combat is a pleasure, and you can opt for a guns blazing approach, or a stealthier system where you also gain more experience. As such stealth is somewhat the preferable playstyle, but you can mix them rather well. A nice addition of it, is the ability to now craft some weapons on the fly. You can make arrows, and even some homemade bombs which can be used from picking up cans during fight scenes, or even bottles of alcohol to make molotov cocktails. When it comes to graphics settings the game has a plethora of them, everything from NVIDIA Gameworks' features such as HBAO+, to AMD's TressFX implementation Pure Hair. Both of which adds to the amazing visuals of the game. Pure Hair; unlike TressFX 1.0 used in the 2013 version does not however knock off 28% of your performance. Instead the difference between Off, On, and Very High is a little 2-4 frames per second. Not only does it barely affect performance, but it looks absolutely lovely. Even some of the enemies look like they shampoo and condition now. If only it also accumulated blood, mud, and other muck. At least it does get wet, and also gather snow.

After having just played with everything possible maxed bar FXAA instead of SSAA at 1440p. I can honestly say the game looks breathtaking, and runs rather well. SLI scaling still needs work, and the lowest fps I've seen was 48 for a split second. The rest ranged from 76 average in the snow areas, to 90+ in the Temple ruins. Although there are some random drops to mid 60's at time for no apparent reason. I think that might be the SLI scaling bungling up. I really enjoyed the 2013 Reboot and played it on a Mac Pro no less. Rise so far is fantastic, and is certainly action packed right from the start. I would heartily recommend it to any Tomb Raider fan.


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