Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

Sometimes you just want to play a really pretty PC game, and in walks the PC port of Rise of the Tomb Raider. I already played through the enjoyably acronymed "ROTTR" on Xbox One last spring, and at the time was struck by how gorgeous the game could be. It stands to reason that it'd look even better at a higher resolution and frame-rate, with some extra PC bells and whistles dropped in. Then again, a few messy recent PC ports have demonstrated some of the many ways PC versions can go awry. How does Rise of the Tomb Raider's stack up?

I've played five or six hours, and my verdict: solid port. The porting job was handled by the Dutch studio Nixxes, who usually handle PC porting for most Square Enix-published games (2013's Tomb Raider, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Sleeping Dogs all come to mind). They do fine work, and from what I've played ROTTR is no exception.

I recently upgraded my PC, which is worth keeping in mind as I recount my experience: I'm running an i7-4770k with an overclocked 6GB GTX 980Ti, along with that 144Hz G-Sync monitor that I love so much. With that setup, I'm able to run the game at 2560x1440 (1440p) resolution at high or very high settings and, for the most part, it stays north of 60fps, occasionally dipping down to the still-playable mid-40s or 50s. I haven't had much time with the new optimised Nvidia driver that hit today, but I haven't seen a big difference between the game before and after I installed the driver.

ROTTR pushes my PC, but I'm actually happy to have a game that pushes my system for the right reasons. Unlike the frustrating PC ports of Just Cause 3, Fallout 4 and Batman: Arkham Knight, I have a good sense of the tradeoffs I'm making and so far haven't felt like the game is running poorly for no discernible reason.

And it really is incredible looking, particularly in 1440p. Look at this screenshot:

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

Enhance:

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

Enhance:

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

In-engine cutscenes are gorgeous, and I'm regularly impressed by how much this latest version of Lara Croft looks like an actual human being.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

I mean, like... enhance:

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

Jeez.

ROTTR's PC version offers a variety of graphics settings; you can see mine here:

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)
Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

I've dropped the Level of Detail setting down from Very High to High and dropped Shadows to Medium, which keeps the game running well aside from some frame-rate drops as I enter some of the bigger open areas and some hitches in the midst of transition animations from one area to another.

Then there's the hair. Rise of the Tomb Raider is actually the first PC game in which I've left the hair tech — called "PureHair" this time around — turned on, rather than turning it off to improve my frame-rate. PureHair does impact performance somewhat, but Lara's hair looks good enough that I'm fine taking the hit.

I can't speak to how the game runs on other systems, particularly given that Rise of the Tomb Raider is yet another Nvidia-optimised PC game that doubtless benefits from my Nvidia hardware. As usual I defer to the folks over at Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, who have already put the PC version through its paces. They have written up their thoughts and made a video breakdown of the port; they're satisfied, and it sounds like it runs well on a variety of systems.

Aside from its graphics, Rise of the Tomb Raider is another third-person action/adventure game that plays better with a controller than with a mouse and keyboard. Running, sneaking and shooting all work fine with a mouse and keyboard, and as usual I'm much more accurate when using a mouse. But platforming and puzzle-solving feel odd with a keyboard input. The game has some mechanical interactions — winding winches, breaking down brick walls and so on — and they feel much more natural on a controller. Similarly, jumping puzzles feel awkward when navigated with a keyboard. Some of that is due to my own comfort level playing this type of game on consoles, so your mileage may vary.

As for the game itself: It's good! Read Evan's review for his full take, but I'm actually liking it more this time around than I did last time. I'm taking it slow, finding more collectables and enjoying the sights and sounds.

There is one lingering problem, unfortunately, and it's a big one:

Rise Of The Tomb Raider Can Really Push Your PC (But It's Worth It)

Nixxes! You're still making "New Game" the default menu option at the start instead of "Continue!" Guys, we've been over this. Work that shit out.


Comments

    I've just bought my 2nd Titan X (before you start, I have paid off my mortgage and am happily settling into middle-age) for this game as having found out the Nvidia have an SLI profile for Tomb Raider made me just a little excited! (after Batman and Fallout 4 etc with no multi-card support, I was beginning to wonder).

    So playing ultra wide 3440 x 1440 (yep, it's supported!) with everything maxed — except motion blur off — I'm getting 60fps in the large environments and @50-55 in the detailed (tomb) sections. The level of detail is brilliant and as per KIrk's play through I'm savoring everything!

    I have told work I'm not coming in today...

    Last edited 29/01/16 9:33 am

      I hate you.

      :)

      I'll be playing 1920x1200, I7 980X, 24GB ram, GTX680. Hoping I can get it looking smooth and reasonably pretty.

      You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!!!!

      But seriously, soooooo jelly of your setup man lol

      My blasted mortgage and a wife who doesn't support my PC gaming habit means I'm "stuck" with a "lousy" i7-3820, 32GB RAM and a 4GB GTX680 on a 1920x1080p screen :-P

      Is it out now? I loved the reboot a couple of years ago on PC so really looking forward to this.

    Is this another game where NVIDIA has had the devs push the tessellation to unrealistic levels just to kill amd card performance? sounds like it.

    You can override the settings most times with the tessellation function in AMD driver software center. 8x is usually more than enough, but you can try 16x also. Nvidia often sets it to 64x to murder AMD cards (it hurts there's also).

    How different was it to a single Titan X?
    I have a single one for work (colour grading) and a second would really make grading a lot faster, but wasn't sure if games would also benefit much from a second Titan.
    I have a 1440P and a 2160P monitor to choose from, do you reckon it would run well enough in 2160P?

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