The scores for Squeenix's reboot of Tomb Raider are pouring in like live snakes into an overly-elaborate trap set by a long-dead civilisation. Generally, people seem to be quite upbeat about this beat-up new Lara. But how does the young adventuress perform on PC? We can't tell you alas, nor give you our opinion of the game at large, as we've not yet been issued PC code. Sob.
Hopefully, we'll be getting code later today as promised and have someone ready to raid tombs in all their graphically-enhanced glory the moment the opportunity presents itself. Square Enix have had excellent form with their PC ports of late, so we'll be sure to let you know if their latest effort matches the standards set by Sleeping Dogs' lustrous PC-specific sheen.
The spry Lara Croft tumbles onto PCs on March 5, but Square Enix is taking a machete to the wait with another look at Tomb Raider's combat, which apparently involves the good Ms. Croft's natural skill at wanton slaughter. Stealth takedowns, melee slug-outs, and shooting sprees all show up, though the common result throws a lot of blood everywhere and turns the young adventurer into a rather brutal killer.
You're also shown how upgrading at campfires and discovering tombs to raid improves your arsenal and unlocks secondary combat abilities such as a rather messy pickaxe backstab and the option to stab bandits in the face with an arrow. In fact, there's lots of stabbing going on in this trailer. Also, exploding barrels! Even a desolate tropical island is the perfect home for those classic, illogical game cylinders.
Square Enix says you'll encounter "rare opportunities to cause larger explosions," a fine plus for bloodthirsty survivalists but also another way of saying, "Prepare to run into the scripted-event monster." Still, Tomb Raider's various scraps look interesting enough, if only diluted somewhat by the linear impression of it all. I'm still hopeful for an engaging action-platformer on March 5.
The usual rule of thumb for news writing is that any headline that ends with a question mark can be answered with a no. Here, though, it's an emphatic yes. Looking over the announced system specifications for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot, your PC will almost certainly be fine. That is, unless your PC is a cardboard box with some string and wire stuffed inside it. You do realise that isn't a PC, right?
Here's what budding survivalists will need:
Minimum system requirements for PC
Windows XP Service Pack 3, Windows Vista,7,8 (32bit/64bit) DirectX 9 graphics card with 512Mb Video RAM: - AMD Radeon HD 2600 XT - nVidia 8600
Let's see what you'll get with those affordable mid-range components:
Very high resolution textures with up to 16x the amount of data Detail Tessellation to enhance the detail on many surfaces in the game Higher quality shadows High quality bokeh depth of field with near-blur Tessellation algorithms used to smooth out geometry Improved cloth, SSAO, quality wetness effects, and post-filter effects. LOD quality is adjustable for better quality on higher-end machines.
Tomb Raider also launches with Steamworks integration, so expect cloud saving, Steam server matchmaking and full Big Picture support. Reasonable requirements aside, Square Enix's PC porting efforts have been relatively strong of late, so chances are there's no cause for concern here. All that remains to be seen is whether the game is any good. Rich's hands-on preview will give you an idea of what to expect.
Tomb Raider's less than a month away (out on March 5, to be precise). In case you're not sold on the idea of a youthful Lara making a rough-and-tumble entrance into the hard world of adventuring, Square Enix have put out 11 minutes of narrated in-game footage showing her killing her way out of a crumbling monastery complex.
I'm a bit worried. Most of the footage they've put out has funneled Lara down a continuous narrow corridor broken up by scripted tumbles, wobbly AI moments, a persistent smattering of quick-time events and stretches of non-interactivity. There may yet be surprises beyond the small sections that have been shown so far, or so I hope. The island is structured around hubs, and is populated by bonus tombs that Lara can, y'know, raid, for shiny bits. That'll be the subject of the next video, apparently. Take a look at the latest one below.