Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One) Preview

By Drew Hurley 19.10.2015

Review for Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One

After some tense moments filled with booby traps and dangers of drowning, Lara steps out into an underground cavern, surrounded by waterfalls and temple ruins and mutters "Stunning." The audience is forced to agree. Rise of the Tomb Raider looks absolutely beautiful, with magnificent set design and special care taken in every little aspect of the world. Lara herself moves with a fluid grace, filled with subtle nuances like draining the water from her ponytail as she exits a pool of water. This is the comeback many have been waiting for, and Cubed3 went hands-on at this year's New York Comic Con.

A new Rise of the Tomb Raider demo was available for players to get hands-on with Lara again, this time covering the first Tomb in the game in Syria. The demo took about 20 minutes to complete and was evidently early in the game, filled with tutorial-esque sections to help the booth-goers get used to the fundamentals of the gameplay. The game looks absolutely beautiful, really pushing its new generation of hardware to make for beautiful locations that are running very smoothly.

The area shown at the event showcased the best aspects of the Tomb Raider reboot, the Uncharted-esque exploration and punishing moments, mixed with old school Tomb Raider, with Lara exploring a tomb filled with booby traps, puzzles, and quickly collapsing paths. Those unfamiliar with the series, or without lightning reflexes, were treated to some very grizzly death scenes during the demo, much like the memorable neck impalement from the 2013 release. Crystal Dynamics took real joy in the flinching and reactions of players at some of these moments.

Screenshot for Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One

Lara herself felt different in this iteration, much more like the Lara of old compared to the one met in the reboot. Understandably, since Lara has now gone through her crucible and been reborn more focused and strong, there's no more quivering in fear. Instead, Lara comes out swinging her now familiar climbing pick. While Lara is much stronger from the horrors she faced in Yamatai, it will be interesting to see how they have affected her. Fans would be wise to pick up both the comic series from Dark Horse, helmed by Gail Simone, and the novel, Tomb Raider: The Ten Thousand Immortals by the Dan Abnett. Both these works are set between the two games and are considered canon to the new Tomb Raider mythos.

The demo was quite short but more than enough to whet the appetite for this new outing. A Season Pass and DLC were also detailed. A microtransaction-based system of digital trading cards, known as expedition cards, bring both cosmetic and statistical perks, and there are over 300 cards to collect at launch, with more to come. There are common versions of the cards, which can be used only once, then need to be purchased again, and then there are foil cards, which are reusable. The cards are best utilised in the "Create a Mission" mode, where completed levels can be edited using cards to make whole new missions that can then be shared online for other players to try and conquer.

Some examples of the cards given were the age-old cosmetic "Big Head Mode," along with cards that can help make for harder challenges, a card that can enhance the enemies in a zone by replacing them with heavy armoured versions, or even a card that removes health regeneration from Lara for the duration of the challenge to add a new level of difficulty.

Screenshot for Rise of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One

Final Thoughts

The Season Pass has been detailed as containing three major releases over four months. Firstly, the extreme conditions of Endurance Mode, then a brand new tomb to explore in Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch, and, finally, Lara taking on combat waves of infected predators in Cold Darkness Awakened. That is on top of the fantastic base game that comes along with plenty of outfits, weapons, and Expedition Cards from Day One. Rise of the Tomb Raider has now gone gold and will be available first on Xbox One on 10th November, then on PC next year, before finally being released on PS4 next holiday season, and it is not to be missed.


Crystal Dynamics


Square Enix





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  n/a

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Just played through Tomb Raider the other week and it's my personal GOTY (as in I played it this year). It was absolutely fantastic!

I'm so hyped for this.

I really love playing this game


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