This is the longest title I have ever had to write a review for. It exhausted me just writing it down but hey, let’s not worry about that and get down to the review.
Rise of the Tomb Raider was one of the best games of last year. I loved it and played it constantly over the Xmas period. You can read our review on the site and we loved it too – so much so that we gave it top marks. It’s dynamic, beautiful and exciting, creating another fantastical story in the new Lara Croft timeline.
So how can story DLC add to the package? The main issue I have with DLC in general is that it takes a very rare piece of expansion to add any real value to the game you have loved and cherished. For example for every GTA: The Lost and the Damned released, there are a million pieces of crappy horse armor out there.
The Baba Yaga: Temple of the Witch DLC starts back in the Siberian Base where Lara rescues a woman from a bunch of Unity soldiers. After a short rescue, the lady tells Lara a tale of her missing grandad and his quest to find both the witch Baba Yaga, and the temple she resides in. Lara, being Lara, decides that searching for the missing grandad is the best port of call and the quest begins. The new content takes you to a fresh new area called the ‘Wicked Vale’ and you are immediately drawn into this real Russian myth of the witch and the house with giant chicken legs.
Gameplay wise everything is much the same deal as before, with nothing really different, but that isn’t a bad thing at all as the game mechanics are so good. The game deals with the tale’s supernatural elements in a really interesting and surprising way. We learn more of Lara’s character up to this point and her relationship with her dead father. There are a couple of set pieces at the beginning that are excellent, well crafted pieces of storytelling. Then it’s the usual mixture of entertaining puzzles to solve, shoot this, pull that type scenarios and a big boss battle. This final battle is well designed, and not at all annoying which is surprising, and really rewarding when you complete it. It brings a nice balance of exploration and combat that the developers do so well, even in this micro installment. There are a few new weapon combos and things, that to be honest get a bit lost on me as I tend to stick with what I know. It’s safer that way!
The graphics and tone are exactly what you would expect should you have played the full version. They really up the ante on the darkness and spookiness of this chapter, with the reveal of Baba Yaga being a highlight. The other little touches are truly spectacular and the new characters are designed perfectly with some twists on what we’ve seen before. The sound design is as excellent as when you first played it, and the voice work is once again first-rate. Things that you would fully expect from some Tomb Raider content.
The main problem with this little package however is the length of the dish it serves up. To complete this one chapter, it took me around one and a half hours. So for £8, or as part of the season pass for £19.99 included with other goodies, is it worth it? Well it’s a really hard one to answer. The whole experience is really enjoyable, entertaining and adds to the whole new Lara Croft timeline effectively. It’s of a high standard that we come to expect from the developers, but it did really leave me wanting more and makes me sad that it may be a while before we see another new TR game.
Considering this is the only story content in the season pass, I would recommend all Tomb raider fans to holster those guns and get back raiding – if only to feed that addiction.