Posts Tagged ‘Crystal Dynamics’

NVidia Apologises For Crummy Tomb Raider Performance

My hair!

NVidia have written a little apology note to all suffering with Tomb Raider graphics issues. Although I’ve yet to receive chocolates. I mentioned in yesterday’s Tomb Raider review that I had some issues with running the game on prettier graphics, and it seems I’m not alone. Apart from the silly hair mode reducing NVidia cards to jelly, I had peculiar problems with the OSD occasionally causing the game to judder, and couldn’t play above the normal settings. Extraordinarily, as spotted by Joystiq, this is because for some reason NVidia didn’t receive final code of the game until the weekend before release, so didn’t have a chance to create an update to accommodate it all.

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Wot I Think: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider is out, and I’ve played the single player to the very end. How does Lara fare in this reboot of one of gaming’s most famous series? Here’s wot I think:

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Tomb Conditioner: Lara Has Real-Time Hair, Apparently

apparently she also has a skull shaped like a baked bean now

I’m not sure how amazeballs this really is in practice, as PC Tomb Raider code is being witheld until the end of the week because reasons, but I dig the concept. Game hair’s not great, by and large – some engines certainly do OK by it, but the hair-helmet approach very much remains the norm. AMD’s come up with some tech to try and make locks more lustrous. Instead of taking two anti-aliasing systems into the shower, they’ve devised TressFX (oof), intended to make hair flow and change more convincingly. This will apparently first be seen in the impending Tomb Raider re-reboot, which has “the world’s first real-time hair rendering technology in a playable game”, it says here.
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Raid On: Tomb Raider’s ‘Exploration System’

Lara Croft is Batman! Maybe. At the very least, she seems to have been watching the caped crusader carefully, although her study of his Arkham adventures doesn’t extend to mimicking Wayne’s restraint. When she’s firing ziplines across chasms or attaching rope arrows to destructible scenery to create new routes, she’d look right at home in Rocksteady’s Gotham, but then she shoots a deer in the face at point blank range, or sneaks up on a villain and perforates him unto dying. Batman would just break every limb in sight and then move on. The latest Tomb Raider ‘Survival Guide’ builds up to the reveal of an ‘exploration system’ that you may recognise from elsewhere. It’s called ‘fast travel’.

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Life Lessons: Tomb Raider Teaches Us How To Survive

Challenges Lara will be forced to overcome: cultists, pirates, the elements, the sniffles.

I got lost in a forest once. Admittedly, there weren’t any horrific plane wrecks or crazy gibberish-screaming cultists, but I learned a lot. For instance, never go anywhere that’s not your own bedroom without some form of map, and also poison ivy is the absolute worst. But presumably, I gained some kind of applicable skill from that experience. According to Tomb Raider, however, the reason I haven’t figured it out yet is that I need to go sit at a camp fire and absorb its wisdom-imparting fumes. That’s the base camp system in a nutshell, and – in addition to making perfect sense – it provides Lara with quite a nice range of options in her bid to make it off the island in one piece. Raid the tombs beneath the break – coated in cobwebs and haunted by the ghostly echoes of pun threads long since passed – to see a video of it in action.

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Don’t Worry: Tomb Raider Also Has Explosions

Does the little glowy bit to the right of the explosion look like a magical, completely out-of-place cartoon star to anyone else?

Survival can take on many shapes and forms. Thus far, for instance, Tomb Raider‘s demonstrated it through climbing, hunting, resting, and fleeing from deranged cultists – so, you know, the usual stuff. But this is an ultra-budget prequel to a series that once featured DINO-BATTLES. In other words, it’s not a slow-paced sink-or-swim sim. Lara has to acquire skills and character traits that will eventually allow her to – again, let me emphasize this – bring down a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Those abilities, it turns out, aren’t often found in the realm of possibility. So then, here’s Lara running, gunning, hacking, slashing, and just generally trying to cope with a world in which the walls, ground, and most aircraft are made entirely of light-breeze-sensitive explosives.

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The Two Deaths That Defined Tomb Raider

'Can't we talk about this,' asks the deer's facial expression. Unfortunately, deer cannot talk.

Tomb Raider‘s demo made me realize something: it’d be a stretch to call what we do in games killing. I mean, yeah, we’re probably the only medium that can (and frequently does) tout multiple physics systems specifically capable of calculating the way bullet-perforated brain bits dance majestically through the air. But really, all we’re doing is knocking down hyper-detailed action figures. We pull the trigger or aim the bow or bury the shank in a fertile bed of neckflesh, and they go down. Then we move on to the next faceless thug, rinse our knives, and repeat.

The Tomb Raider scene I sat in on during E3 really struck me because it didn’t let Lara cut people (or animals) down and then continue gleefully on her way. Death is messy and scary and awful. While the Nathan Drakes and Persian Princes of the world slay 300 people and then sweep corpses under a rug with a dumb joke, Lara – intentionally or not – sticks around for her victims’ final moments. I guess what I’m saying is, I sympathized with an irredeemable, cold-blooded murderer and, er, some random deer. They died scared and spittle-soaked and alone, and I really didn’t feel good about that.

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Fresh Tomb Raider Trailer, Release For March 5th 2013


Tomb Raider‘s latest resurrection is scheduled for March 5, 2013. So there’s a while to wait, but it could be worth that extra six months wait, if the latest trailer is anything to go by. There’s some spectacular scenery and ugly violence. Oof, yes, it’s all looking a bit Uncharted to me. Go take a look.
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Tomb Raider Jumps, Misses, Slips Into 2013

It's not quite within her reach. LIKE THIS GAME! AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Obviously by now, everyone is applying what I assume is known as the Walker Principle, which states whatever first release date is given for a major game is to be ignored. So no one will be in the least surprised, let alone disappointed, to learn that Tomb Raider now won’t be with us until 2013.

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Interview: Tomb Raider’s Karl Stewart

She's staring wistfully at her forgotten future.

Very much interested to find out more about the forthcoming Tomb Raider reboot, we sent intrepid, debonair reporter Dan Griliopoulos to interview the game’s global brand manager, Karl Stewart. He tells us about the motivation for reinventing Lara, the reasons for quicktime events, and Lara’s bookish ways.

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No News: Tomb Raider: The New One

Sorry good readers, I have no news about that new Tomb Raider game. I was hoping to share some useful information about the game, but all I have is a 12 minute making of behind the scenes of the CGI trailer. Wait, what? Read the rest of this entry »

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E3 2011 First Look: Tomb Raider

There's so much sea around, you'd think she could have a bath.

The game I was most interested to see this year was Tomb Raider. Of everything on show, this was the one I was most intrigued by, based on Crystal Dynamics’ stellar record with the license so far, and the dark, gloomy tone that’s promised. Potential levels high. Which means I feel strange coming away from the demo a lot more concerned. Mostly by quick time events.

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Tomb Raider E3 Trailer Is Dramatic, Gorgeous

Ryanair's latest cutbacks left Lara somewhat frazzled

Alright. Okay. I’m not sure there’s any conceivable way that Crystal Dynamics’ forthcoming reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise could be half as arresting and gorgeous as this trailer. Tell you what, though. I’m looking forward to seeing them try.
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