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Rise Of The Tomb Raider

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Release Date: Nov. 10, 2015 (US), Nov. 13, 2015 (EU)


XOne/X360/PC Preview - 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch DLC

by Adam Pavlacka on Jan. 22, 2016 @ 1:20 a.m. PST

In Lara Croft's next chapter of her journey, she must use her survival skills and wits, learn to trust new friends, and ultimately accept her destiny as the Tomb Raider.

The newest DLC for Rise of the Tomb Raider is set to release next week for Xbox 360 and Xbox One consoles and will be made available for the PC when Rise of the Tomb Raider debuts on Steam. Little has been said about Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch since the trailer dropped in December, but Square Enix let us go hands-on with a small segment of the PC version yesterday.

First off, it's safe to say that the PC version of the game looks good. The demo boxes were sporting the latest Nvidia hardware, which meant all of the visual effects were enabled. During the time I spent with the DLC, I didn't notice any frame rate hiccups or visual glitches. During one early moment, I found myself wanting to grab a screenshot of Lara looking at a waterfall as a rainbow formed overheard. It looked that good.

The visual effects are used effectively during the first segment of the DLC, which starts out as Lara investigates the Wicked Vale, a new area just south of the Soviet Installation on the world map. A hallucinogenic pollen kicks off a fairly disturbing visual trip for Lara, which concludes with the suicide of her father. The supernatural influence only gets stronger from there as you come face-to-face with Baba Yaga herself, who attacks from her walking hut, which is the not-so-friendly version of Howl's Moving Castle.

Fighting Baba Yaga in the initial encounter is challenging because she attacks with phantom wolves. They only take one hit each to kill, but they're fast and keep coming. In short, the DLC seems to get straight to the action.

After surviving the encounter, Lara is left to explore a small area with some hidden story items and puzzles that require the rope arrow to solve. The story behind the DLC appears to be conveyed through in-game items, so you'll want to search for as many as possible.

Completing the initial section of the Wicked Vale led Lara back to the Soviet Installation to collect the components necessary to counteract the hallucinogen. That's where the Square Enix PR folks said the demo time was meant to end, but the lead designer was on hand and let me explore a nearby ruin as he watched how I attacked a specific puzzle.

The ruin wasn't a challenge tomb, but it also didn't feel quite as direct as some of the puzzles in the main game. The goal (break a necessary item out of the ice) was obvious from the start, as was the item I needed to use to do the breaking, but how to achieve the goal required some thought. After a bit of exploring and trying various tactics, I managed to work through it, leaving with a nice sense of satisfaction. If this ruin is indicative of the quality of the puzzles to be found in the DLC, it bodes well for the overall experience.

Square Enix is estimating that most players will get about three to four hours of play time out of the story levels in the DLC. I was told that segments of the DLC areas will also appear in the Expeditions mode after you have completed them.

Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch DLC integrates into the game world rather than appearing as a separate item in the main menu. The DLC does require the rope arrow, so it won't be accessible until you have acquired that item. Once Lara gets the rope arrow, you will be able to enter the DLC, exploring it anytime during the game if you haven't yet completed it, or returning to explore it after you have finished the main storyline.

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