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May 2024

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)


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Xbox One Review - 'Rise of the Tomb Raider' Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch DLC

by Adam Pavlacka on Jan. 27, 2016 @ 1:00 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.

Buy Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider provided an excellent adventure for Xbox One owners last fall, offering up a solid mix of puzzle-solving and environment traversal. December saw the release of the Endurance DLC, which added a single-player challenge mode but no new story content. That was reserved for the Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch DLC, which debuts on consoles and PC this week. The Baba Yaga DLC is available as part of the Rise of the Tomb Raider season pass as well as available as stand-alone DLC.

Using old Slavic folklore about Baba Yaga as the basis for the DLC's story, the development team has crafted an entertaining side mission that remains true to the myth and fits in well with the existing framework of the game.

After installing the Baba Yaga DLC, accessing it is a simple matter of finding the quest-giver in the Soviet Installation area. This can be done during a standard playthrough or after you have completed the main story. The only prerequisite is that you must have the rope arrow unlocked. Without it, you won't be able to proceed through the new puzzles. As such, the Baba Yaga DLC mission won't immediately appear on a brand-new game.

Most of the Baba Yaga DLC story mission occurs within the new Wicked Vale area, with a smaller portion occurring back in the Soviet Installation. For those familiar with the Rise of the Tomb Raider world map, the Wicked Vale shows up just south of the Soviet Installation.

The opening encounter with Baba Yaga involves hallucinogenic pollen, causing Lara to not be able to trust her surroundings. The visual effect is impressive enough on the Xbox One, though it can't quite compare to the PC version with all the visual options set to max. After a disturbing encounter with her deceased father, there is a quick battle, followed by some puzzle-solving. The early puzzle is really more of a teaching tool, as the same mechanics will be necessary to win the fight against Baba Yaga at the end of the DLC mission.

Where the Baba Yaga DLC stumbles a bit is in the second major portion, which has you sent back to the Soviet Installation to collect some seeds and hunt some deer. The seed collecting was standard fare, but during my review playthrough, I must have spent 30-45 minutes just looking for a deer and hoping for one to spawn. There are two locations where deer appear in the installation, and I was able to bag the first one relatively quickly, but the second didn't want to show up for the longest time.

After that, it's back to the Wicked Vale for a larger rope puzzle, some more story items and the eventual final encounter with Baba Yaga. Once you deduct the time wasted searching for that elusive deer, I spent just under two hours playing through the story content.

The major rope puzzle in the Baba Yaga DLC takes some thought to solve, but once you discover the necessary placement of all the items, it becomes more fancy footwork than anything else. It's certainly not as difficult as any of the main game's challenge tombs, but it does ensure that no one ends up quitting in frustration. The lack of a proper challenge tomb in the Baba Yaga DLC was a mild disappointment, but what's here is still plenty of fun.

Going up against Baba Yaga in the final battle was the highlight of the DLC, as it is a multi-stage fight that requires good aim and a small bit of strategy. You can't just run and gun against Baba Yaga, so when she finally goes down, the result is rather satisfying.

Snagging all of the collectibles in the level will probably take most players another half-hour to an hour. Nearly all of them are easy to snag once you know their location, though one in particular is a little more challenging than the rest to obtain.

Beating Baba Yaga unlocks the Dreamstinger bow, which adds a hallucinogenic effect to your poison arrows, and the Wraithskin outfit, which increases the duration of your poison arrow clouds. Both can be very useful when attacking groups of enemy soldiers.

In addition to the story missions, the Baba Yaga DLC also adds two missions to the Score Attack mode and three missions to both Chapter Replay and Chapter Replay Elite. These challenges add additional play time to the DLC package, which is how Square Enix crafted the official estimate of three hours of content.

If you didn't like Rise of the Tomb Raider, the Baba Yaga DLC isn't going to change your mind, but fans of the base game will find plenty to love here. The content is finely polished, the additional rewards are worthwhile, and the story fits in well with the world, even if the finer bits are a tad predictable. The Baba Yaga DLC is also priced right, retailing for $9.99 when purchased by itself, ensuring that you'll get your money's worth with this one.

Score: 8.5/10

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