PC Gamer
Wait, does the wolf get fancy TressFX hair too?
Wait, does the wolf get fancy TressFX hair too?

Nvidia released a new beta version of their GeForce driver this week, once again squeezing more incremental improvements from a bunch of games, both new and old. But one prominent release was missing from the list of tweaks: Tomb Raider. Lara's latest outing may continue Square Enix's quality porting form, but, as Chris notes in his settings overview, GeForce cards attempting to use AMD's new fancy hair tech TressFX suffer a drastic performance hit.

In the comments for the beta update post, Nvidia's Andrew Burnes explains the problem and apologises to GeForce owners. "We are aware of performance and stability issues with GeForce GPUs running Tomb Raider with maximum settings," he writes. "Unfortunately, NVIDIA didn’t receive final game code until this past weekend which substantially decreased stability, image quality and performance over a build we were previously provided. We are working closely with Crystal Dynamics to address and resolve all game issues as quickly as possible."

Burnes also notes that Nvidia can't magic up a fix without some help from Crystal Dynamics. "The developer will need to make code changes on their end to fix the issues on GeForce GPUs as well. As a result, we recommend you do not test Tomb Raider until all of the above issues have been resolved."

"In the meantime, we would like to apologize to GeForce users that are not able to have a great experience playing Tomb Raider, as they have come to expect with all of their favorite PC games."

Thanks, Joystiq.
PC Gamer
Tomb Raider

Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot tuck-rolled today into a well-received reception (on the console side, at least—our review is still forthcoming), but the silver-screen restart of the action-adventure franchise has been planned since 2011. Tinseltown bills it as a retelling of Lara Croft's origins, a convenient mirroring of the just-released Raider's narrative. Speaking to Variety, Crystal Dynamics head Darrell Gallagher says the team is working closely with studio GK films to model film's heroine after her younger, more rugged virtual counterpart.

" working from this new take that we've given them,” Gallagher says. “It’s a good partnership. We’re seeing the challenges through the same lens. It was important for both of us to have a cohesive version of the franchise. We didn't want to see a film version that was a continuation of the old Tomb Raider films."

A couple years ago, film producer Graham King explained the movie focuses on "telling the story before she became Lara Croft," turning the agile action and tomb-raidering into "a character piece."

"It does have a lot of really great characters, but it's a lot of action and a lot of fun, and for me, it's something very different," he continued. "I've not really done a movie like that before, but I really gravitated to rebooting this franchise, and we're going to give it a shot."

It's unknown when the film is expected to debut nor who will become the new face of Lara Croft after Angelina Jolie's 2001 performance, but Iron Man writers Mark Fergus and Hawk Ostby have signed on to pen the story.
PC Gamer
Lara Looks At A Fire

Good news, everyone. Having played a couple of hours of Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider reboot following its release last night, it looks like the PC version lives up to the standards set by Nixxes' successful work porting Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Sleeping Dogs. It's a really good looking game, and it caters to PC gamers who want to tinker.

Rather than run through the options here, I've produced a short video showing them off - plus a bonus side-by-side comparison of Lara's normal hair and her hair with AMD's TressFX tech enabled. Sorry about the audio quality - blame the midnight launch and my headset microphone.

I'll be posting a full review later this week but so far my feelings are mixed. It's strictly linear and many sequences won't accept any input from the player other than the one that makes Lara go forwards. QTEs abound and there's a brief instant-fail stealth sequence in the first hour.

I don't have a problem with a scripted experience if it delivers something well-directed and meaningful and there's still time for Tomb Raider to live up to that, but so far the game has mostly succeeded in making me feel uncomfortable: not in the sense that I'm sharing Lara's pain, but that I'm the asshole pushing forwards on the analogue stick and watching her suffer. She does have very fancy hair, though.

Update: This footage was taken on a machine with an ATI Radeon HD 6970. Running the game on a comparable machine with a GeForce GTX 560 Ti, there's a substantial performance hit with TressFX enabled - so much so that it's unplayable. The 6970 is a more powerful card, but not by a huge margin - I wonder how much of this is down to TressFX being AMD's proprietary tech. If you're running a GeForce card, you may need to disable Fancy Hair.
PC Gamer
Sad Lara does not actually know if the PC version looks this good yet.
Sad Lara does not know if she'll be able to alter the FOV.

Lara Croft's traumatic gap-year adventure has been well received by our counterparts on console, and we were hoping to be able to start providing you with our impressions of the PC version today. Unfortunately, we've been told by Square Enix that code for the PC version won't be issued until Tuesday, when the game goes on sale - so expect our verdict to fall in the latter half of next week.

Crystal Dynamics are reportedly unwilling to let the game out into the wild until it's ready. Perhaps they're worried about Lara's PC-exclusive hair going haywire - we don't know. Delays like this don't always indicate a problem with the product, but they do prevent us from telling you one way or another before you lay down your hard-earned cash.

If your fingers are hovering over the pre-order button for Tomb Raider then we advise holding off until we've had a chance to check it out. One way or another, we'll have some first impressions of the PC version up by midday GMT on Tuesday.
PC Gamer
Yes, this is dog.

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.
PC Gamer
Tomb Raider splat

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.
PC Gamer
Tomb Raider featured

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

Dual core CPU:
- AMD Athlon64 X2 2.1 Ghz (4050+)
- Intel Core2 Duo 1.86 Ghz (E6300)

1GB Memory (2GB on Vista)

Recommended system requirements for PC

Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Windows 8
DirectX 11 graphics card with 1GB Video RAM:
- AMD Radeon HD 4870
- nVidia GTX 480

Quad core CPU:
- AMD Phenom II X2 565
- Intel Core i5-750

4GB Memory

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.
PC Gamer
Tomb Raider

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.