Rise of the Tomb Raider Features

It's true, we've covered Rise of the Tomb Raider so many times over the past couple of years that we've even given it a YouTube playlist - but this is by no means a bad thing. It simply demonstrates the love and care developer Nixxes has poured into maintaining the game over the years. From supporting the ageing Xbox 360 to the PlayStation 4 Pro and PSVR all the way up to the Xbox One X, Nixxes has become the caretaker for Crystal Dynamics' most recent outing. At this point, the only thing missing is a Switch port. But right now, all eyes on are the upcoming Xbox One X port, demonstrating what looks like the best console version of the game yet.

Digital FoundryRise of the Tomb Raider shines in HDR on Xbox One X

And Digital Foundry has the gameplay capture to prove it.

A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft began its latest global media tour, primarily to promote Xbox One X. While the range of games available to check out was essentially a subset of the impressive Gamescom line-up, we did have the opportunity to get direct feed capture of a range of titles that we'll be covering over the next week, starting with Rise of the Tomb Raider. We've already posted our initial thoughts on the Gamescom demo (and we have more coverage planned) but for now, we thought we'd kick off with a look at the game's breathtaking HDR support.

Have you heard of the North Pond Hermit? It's a wonderful story: strange and wistful. For 27 years a man named Chrisopher Knight lived in the wilderness of Maine, sleeping in a camp beautifully hidden amongst boulders and sneaking out, every few weeks, to steal supplies from the surrounding homes. People suspected he was there. It must have been a little bit like being haunted by a lonely ghost. Houses were broken into, candy, books, the odd Game Boy was lifted. Some people would leave supplies out for him, in a bag hooked over the handle of the back door.

Digital FoundryHow Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One X improves over PS4 Pro

UPDATE: Screenshot and video comparison assets added to the analysis.

UPDATE 30/8/17 10:10am: We've updated one of the comparison images below with fresh PS4 Pro and PC shots that replicate an additional texture layer found in Square-Enix's Xbox One X press shot, representing an injured Lara. We couldn't replicate this look within the cutscene, but thankfully Digital Foundry readers came forward to help get better matching shots. The key takeaway remains the same though - Xbox One X is clearly running with higher quality art than PS4 Pro, but there are some curious differences with the maxed-out PC version.

FeatureWriting Lara Croft

How Rhianna Pratchett helped reboot Tomb Raider.

Back in 2010, after a stint working on the early version of Eidos Montreal's Thief reboot, Rhianna Pratchett set to work writing a very different Lara Croft. The brief from developer Crystal Dynamics was clear: this new Tomb Raider would be a reboot for the long-running series, a game that would drag Lara Croft kicking and screaming into the modern era. For Pratchett, that meant helping craft a personality for a younger Lara, an origin story in which the world's most famous video game action hero could find herself.

The first house I ever owned was vast and elegant, a comfortable arrangement of grand halls and wide staircases with a treasure room glinting madly from the basement and a butler I enjoyed locking in the fridge. I would go back to that house to take a break from globe-trotting and jumping about in jungles - although, when I got there, jumping about was still pretty much all I did anyway. What a place: I loved it. You never forget your first home, and so I never forgot Croft Manor.

Hello! It's time for another episode of the Eurogamer Podcast! I'm delighted and a bit nervous. Anyway, today Chris Bratt and I talk about Civilization 6 and Really Bad Chess. We pick a fight with an unlikely - and utterly undeserving - institution and we even have a bit of time to talk about Tomb Raider.

FeatureWatch: We attempt to survive the wilderness in Rise of the Tomb Raider

Ian and Aoife livestream the new PS4 version from 4pm.

Rise of the Tomb Raider finally launches on PS4 next week, and it packs in quite a lot of new content on top of the original release. The so-called 20 Year Celebration contains a new story chapter Blood Ties, new outfits, weapons, and Expedition Cards, all of the previously released DLC, and an ultra-challenging Extreme Survivor difficulty setting.

Digital FoundryRise of the Tomb Raider: the first PS4 Pro vs PC graphics comparison

Head-to-head video highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the 4K console experience.

Outside of Sony's first party wares present at last week's PlayStation Meeting, there was one third party title that stood apart as an impressive showcase for the fledgling PS4 Pro's 4K prowess - Crystal Dynamics' Rise of the Tomb Raider. Similar to its predecessor, there's an immense amount of scalability built into the engine and the core assets, meaning that the game really shines on a high-end PC with the settings and texture quality ramped up to the very high level. Indeed, there are actually insane-level presets available that actually push beyond this level. So, the real question is, just how much of the full-fat experience has Crystal's development partner Nixxes managed to cram into the PlayStation 4 Pro version?

Digital FoundryDigital Foundry: Hands on with PS4 Rise of the Tomb Raider

UPDATE: PlayStation 4 video shows Croft Manor, endurance co-op and a 'nightmare' zombie mode.

At Gamescom this week, we finally had the opportunity to spend some time with the much anticipated Rise of the Tomb Raider port for PlayStation 4. When we covered the previous iterations of the game, we were duly impressed - and it's exciting to finally see how it's shaping up on Sony's console. Those expecting a technical overhaul over the Xbox One game may be disappointed, but there are still plenty of new elements to enjoy.

Face-Off: Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC

Digital FoundryFace-Off: Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC

UPDATED: PC performance analysis video added.

Released to critical acclaim this past November, Rise of the Tomb Raider is now locked and loaded for release on the PC courtesy of always reliable Dutch development house Nixxes Software. The Xbox One version is already a great-looking game but with the vastly increased power of a high-end PC, Crystal Dynamics' latest has never looked or played better.

Powered by an upgraded iteration of the in-house Foundation Engine, Rise of the Tomb Raider brings a host of next generation visual features to the table. This includes a physically-based materials system, image-based lighting, deformable snow, enhanced hair simulation, tessellated terrain, high quality cinematic effects and more. In bringing the game to the PC, Nixxes has enabled a host of PC exclusive options which expand upon and refine this already beautiful game.

While the game looks quite similar to the Xbox One version at first glance, it's clear that these additional PC specific settings bring a lot of additional depth to the experience. Tessellation is used throughout the game in areas where it is absent on Xbox One, shadows are greatly enhanced, the amount of dynamic foliage is increased, high quality HBAO+ is available, and general performance and image quality can be pushed much further. All of these improvements do require more powerful hardware than Tomb Raider 2013 but with some tweaking, you can achieve excellent performance on a wide range of hardware.

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This week, I took a break from Fallout 4 and finished Rise of the Tomb Raider, the sequel to 2013's Lara Croft reboot. It's a game I previewed back in June, and the main issue I had with it then - namely, that Lara was a bit of a buzzkill - still bugs me now. Don't get me wrong, I actually really love the game; the weapon crafting, resource collecting and skill unlocking really builds towards a sense that Lara is a proper badass, and the puzzle-solving, while still relatively light compared to the original Tomb Raider titles, is a fun diversion.

Digital FoundryTech Analysis: Rise of the Tomb Raider

Digital Foundry on what works and what doesn't in November's big Xbox exclusive.

This morning we're publishing our Face-Off for Rise of the Tomb Raider, where we compare the Xbox One version to the quite remarkable Xbox 360 game. Bearing in mind how important the new technological features are to the Xbox One release, we thought we would re-publish our full tech analysis alongside today's comparison.

FeaturePhil Spencer on Xbox's big year

The importance of exclusives, PC, VR and more.

What a difference one man and 18 months can make. Before Phil Spencer took over at Xbox, the brand was in troubled waters. Questionable policy decisions had shook Xbox and mired the early days of its new console in acrimony, and even though Microsoft wisely chose to listen to concerned consumers it's been working hard to regain the momentum lost ever since. As it heads into a vital fourth quarter of 2015, the momentum has definitely returned: the broadening of the Xbox brand to PC was helped by the relatively smooth roll-out of Windows 10, the Xbox division just turned a neat profit and, while it still falls short in sales to Sony's PlayStation 4, its line-up for the remainder of the year looks significantly stronger than its opposition's.

"We really wanted to send her on her first great tomb-raiding adventure. It's inspired by real-world adventurers, people like Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, who climbed Everest," says Crystal Dynamics creative director Noah Hughes. That's all well and good Noah, but I'm struggling to recall when exactly Hillary or Norgay killed a grizzly bear with a poisoned arrow crafted from mushrooms harvested from an old tree stump. But hey, I'm not saying it didn't happen; my history is rusty at best.

Tomb Raider, Vita's no-show and the mystery of 10m PS4 sales

FeatureTomb Raider, Vita's no-show and the mystery of 10m PS4 sales

Our Gamescom interview with Sony's Shuhei Yoshida.

It's been a fantastic year for Sony and the PlayStation 4, with a whopping 10m consoles sold. But there have been bumps along the road.

The Last Guardian remains missing in action years after it was announced. It's been in development for so long it's becoming a bit of a running joke.

There's also the issue of the delay to Evolution's racing game DriveClub. It was once due out alongside the PS4 in November 2013. Now, it'll launch almost a year later, going up against the likes of Forza Horizon 2, Project Cars and The Crew.

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FeatureSnake moves with the times, Lara doesn't

The Tomb Raider deal dominated headlines, but Metal Gear's move onto Steam is the true harbinger.

Lara Croft and Solid (or Naked, or whatever) Snake: you can't rival these two rock stars of gaming for their iconic power. And though Snake's roots go back a little further, they both have a deep, emblematic connection with the fifth generation of game consoles, the so-called PlayStation generation - those heady days of the late 90s when gaming burst out of teen bedrooms, into 3D and into a cinematic world of high adventure and sexy intrigue.