Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Rise of the Tomb Raider DLC

So, it's been 20 years to the day that Tomb Raider has graced our consoles with its presence. It goes without saying that it has become iconic and a well-known part of the gaming circle of life, who hasn't seen or heard of it, let's be honest here.

[This new content is available on Xbox One via season pass and the Anniversary edition on PS4]

With the new content for 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' recently released for such an occasion, it seems fitting to review it under the same circumstance.

There'll be writing about the multiplayer first, and then throwing 'SPOILER WARNING' for Blood Ties, because I can't honestly write about it and not talk about what happened. It's just not in me. Also, if you haven't got the DLC yet, shame on you.


Cori: Abe and I both played the multiplayer together and personally, I found it a lot of fun. Though, a little sad I couldn't play as Nadia when we did play.

Abe: The multiplayer was a lot of fun and made me wish the story supported co-op survival. managing Lara & Nadia's needs is a lot more streamlined than say Ark or even Minecraft. As with the single-player endurance mode you most both keep track of your warmth and stamina. Stamina is restored by eating plants and animals whilst warmth unsurprisingly requires you to find heat, includes lanterns which lead to plenty of tense moments where we found ourselves choosing between maintaining warmth and fighting. 

Lara's Nightmare - Zombie Mode of Croft Manor

Cori: It's different, shall I say. To me, it was just the same as Cold Darkness Awakened, only the 'zombies' were slower and you were confined to the Manor. Oh, and you're shooting creepy skulls that float around taunting you. That was cool, watching them explode and stuff.
But really, it was fun for what it was. Maybe a little more fun with a friend to run around screaming with, because when you were cornered by a zombie wielding what looked like a Stop sign and another one running at you while bleeping pending explosion, you need someone to share the fear or even the line of fire.
There isn't really that much to say about it other than that because it is what it is. A fun little distraction from the other parts of the game.

Abe: Agreed co-op would of saved this for me but alone I found this to be the weakest element of the Anniversary content and kinda of felt unearned because Lara's home hasn't really featured until now, Tomb Raider (2013) took place entirely on the island and we only saw her father's office in the story of Rise of The Tomb Raider

Blood Ties - Croft Manor DLC

Abe: I'll be giving you the spoiler-free rundown, whilst Cori will be delving deep into the content for you. Blood Ties is a combat-free, narrative epilogue to Lara's adventure in RotTR. There are some light puzzle elements but nothing overly major. The main focus here, however, is exploring the Croft family home and filling in some of the blanks in Lara's history (mainly the story of her parents) whilst laying subtle hints as to Lara's next big adventure. Personally, I found "Blood Ties" an effective emotional piece that allowed me to connect more to Lara.


Cori: So, for those of you still with me, where do we start?

I for one had been dying for Croft Manor to make a reappearance, and here it is. In all its abandoned and creepy glory. You start in Dad's old study, holding a letter from some ass-hat of an Uncle who doesn't want to give up the manor because he's self-righteous and because he hasn't seen the body of his dead sister, demands that Lara leaves the manor as she had no right to it.
I hear that collective scoff of 'who does he think he is? That's Lara's home!' and I was right there with you. But I was also hugely curious about how Amelia Croft died this time. It almost always involves a plane crash, but it varies between whether Lara was with her or not. This time, she was not. But what makes it equally tragic is that Richard found the remains of the plane and his recently deceased wife. Along with a note confessing a lot of things, and how frightened she is to die alone.
I do appreciate that they actually made an effort to give her parents personalities this time, not that Tomb Raider Legend didn't give Amelia some personality, but it didn't go beyond "No! Get back!" and "You'll never be cold my Lara if you don't want to be". The latter of which still sounds weird to me.

So, after all of the information gathering and exploring the home, you find little nods here and there to the original games. The Tomb Raider fan-girl in me almost cried with laughter when I found the note about Winston, Lara had locked him in a freezer as a child and she still remembers doing that to him. How many of us did just that? And those who didn't, what's wrong with you?
There's the dagger of Xian, which... yeah. Awesome. Favourite Tomb Raider, and there's so much reference to it in this.
In the library, there's an old gramophone that plays the classic Tomb Raider manor music and Lara makes a point of saying she thinks the music is familiar and that she likes it. That's the sound of my childhood, it's not just 'lovely'!! But I digress.
After scouring the house for clues to the combination for the vault in the study, and clues to what happened to Lara's mother, you'll wind up discovering Richard's underground bunker type of research area. There, you'll find out that there were people who knew how to reverse death/cause immortality, and Richard had met them. With the body of his wife. It all seems very Tomb Raider Underworld, Richard not accepting his wife's death, Lara face to face with the zombified figure of her mother and then promptly shooting her in the face. From another tape, you find out that the revival had not worked, and Amelia is well and truly dead. But there's just something about that which doesn't feel right to me, so I continued to explore and eventually opened up the Croft Family Crypt, which had been hidden away under the stairs and then the entrance boarded up. Weird right? Perhaps the revival did work and there's a zombie-Amelia down there waiting to greet her daughter... I mean, there is a zombie mode for Croft Manor. And why would Richard hide Amelia's body from her family? They need to grieve too, right? Oh, God... this is one creepy corridor. What's the music about?!

No. No zombie mom. I can't tell you how disappointed I was, honestly. With all of the supernatural aspects of the two games, I wanted - no, needed - there to be something more than a glorified coffin and a note from Lara's mother saying how much she loved her daughter and was proud of her. But, body found, Lara has a claim to Croft Manor, and a reminder that she has always loved the place and she's going to refurbish it. Yay.
Still, why no zombie mother? [Abe: maybe she's in the Zombie mode?]

On a side note, from all of the things you find in the manor, they are all Egypt/Greece based, and I really, really hope that Lara is going back to one or even both of those places. They were important locations in her previous incarnation, so why wouldn't they be now? Osiris springs to mind if I'm honest. The story varies, but there are mentions of a spell that Isis learns to revive her dead husband. Maybe there's truth to that, just like with the Prophet and Himiko.
[Abe: I think her comments on the Jade Dragon are more "we're going here next"
Cori: If that's true, or they make new one in TR2 storyline, I'll be dying after it's release. It's the only game I live for now.
Abe: Then I visit your grave to tell you a 4th is coming]

I, for one, wait with baited breath to see what this next chapter of immortality will be.


Don't worry that's the spoilers over.


The DLC also adds in a handful of new cards for the Expeditions and some new costumes, most are lifted from PS2 era games (points and all) and a 'reimagined costume' that neither of us recognized.

Whilst nothing here really "adds" anything of weight to the came they do help to keep the expeditions fresh.

NOTE: we haven't been able to try out the PSVR versions of Blood Ties DLC simply because we lack the equipment.

Abe:  Overall, the anniversary content is an easy recommendation, if you are on Xbox One then it improves the value (not the cost) of the season pass and makes the whole package a must have. If you're a PS4 player pick up the 20-year celebration edition, its that simple. Go buy it now! You get the excellent core game, the good story DLC, entertaining side modes, a heap of costumes, and the anniversary content .

Cori: I'm purely just there for the costumes and story. Mostly the costumes. But yeah, get it! It's so worth it if you love the character and the games.

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