Rise of the Tomb Raider Blood Ties on PSVR

Rise of the Tomb Raider Blood Ties came with the base game as part of the Tomb Raider 20 year celebration. I have previously written about my love for Rise of the Tomb Raider. However, I was not prepared for just how amazing the Blood Ties DLC would be in PlayStation VR.

The same blood ties story

Blood Ties on PlayStation VR is the same story as the normal version. The only difference is that you get to see through the eyes of Lara Croft in the fully immersive environment of Croft Manor. And wow – what a difference it makes. I loved the DLC as it was – I had bought it originally on Steam and played it straight through. But my first job with any new console is always to buy a Tomb Raider game. So with my PlayStation 4 Pro, I bought Rise of the Tomb Raider 20th year celebration.

The story line has you exploring the manor in order to find her father’s will. Her uncle, Atlas, claims ownership over the manor and so Ms Croft must uncover the will in order to save it. The insights into Lara’s past are interesting as you explore the various areas of the manor. I particularly found the mention of locking the butler, Winston, in the fridge particularly funny. This was a reference to the popular past time for many players of both Tomb Raider 2 and 3.

Also worth mentioning is the gramophone that you can turn on in the library. This will then trigger the playing of the popular Venice theme from Tomb Raider 2. Written by the hugely talented Nathan McCree.

You can taste the rain

Standing in the main foyer of Croft Manor is still one of my favourite things to do on PlayStation VR. Looking around at the beautiful architecture then up to the hole in the vaulted ceiling, I could almost taste the rain coming in. Just standing atop of the bookcases, looking down at the library, just fills me with awe at what the game developers have achieved with this DLC.

The story will take you to all the corners of the manor. Each and every nook and cranny pulled me in for closer inspection. The most atmospheric area for me was the cellar. Not only was the use of the PlayStation controller to control the flashlight highly effective, but I could feel Lara’s trepidation exploring these lower regions of the manor. If I didn’t already know what happens in this DLC, I’d have been scared walking around down there.

Levels of comfort

Like with many of the PlayStation VR releases, there are different levels of comfort available when playing through Blood Ties. The big one is the two options of movement. You can either use the teleport function, which is enabled by default, or use the free roaming option.


Using the teleport option allows you to use the controller to gesture on screen where you want Lara to jump to. She doesn’t physically jump there, but there is a smooth use of a fade between the start and end point. If you are worried about motion sickness then this is the best option for you.

Free roaming

Free roaming is just as it sounds – free walking about the manor in the first-person perspective. This is so awesome to experience, however, I did begin to get motion sickness when I would turn one way whilst glancing around another. It was a similar feeling to when I would read a book in a moving car when I was a child. It is definitely worth trying out this option for a short time though – or longer if you can handle it.

In Summary

Rise of the Tomb Raider Blood Ties is absolutely effing incredible in PlayStation VR. In fact, it was incredible anyway – the VR aspect just enhances it to the nth degree. There really is no feeling like being Lara Croft for a while, wandering around the derelict halls uncovering her family story.

I am really looking forward to the next Tomb Raider game that was just announced. I am praying that the developers come up with even more exciting and awe-inspiring ways of incorporating the PlayStation VR experience into Lara’s world in her next adventure.

Thoughts on Rise of the Tomb Raider

Lara Croft is one of, if not my number one, favourite computer game character of all time. So I went into this game already loving it with a pretty strong bias. That being said, I can honestly say that Rise of the Tomb Raider is one of the best all-round games I’ve ever played.

What is Rise of the Tomb Raider about?

Lara Croft, slightly more battle-hardened from her time on Yamatai, is in pursuit of a lost artefact – The Divine Source. The secret to immortality is said to be contained within the artefact. The locals believe the Divine Source to be a fragment of God’s soul. It is something that her father searched for before his death.

As in the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot, this game’s predecessor, the whole game is open for exploration. You are free to search the areas for any of the Hidden tombs that are scattered about. Interesting, and handy, character perks can be achieved when these are solved. However, that being said, some will require certain skills and/or equipment that aren’t acquired till later on in the game. You are free to explore these areas or just power through the main story and come back later.

Trinity are a group of mercenaries who are also looking for the Divine Source. A ruthless man named Konstantin leads them and, although his methods are shady, has good reasons for wanting to find it. These Trinity soldiers are the main antagonists that you’ll find yourself fighting through as you progress through the game.

Harsh and beautiful landscapes

The world of Rise of the Tomb Raider is just simply stunning. Around every corner of this game I found myself impressed with every level of the world’s details. The glistening water running down the inside walls of ancient crypts; sudden downpours of rain as I quietly made my way through the bushes in enemy camps. The tombs in this game seemed to have had a lot more thought put into them too. Not only were these environments gorgeous in the dim firelight, so too were they more elaborate than the previous Tomb Raider. I found myself taking more time to figure the puzzles out, and on larger scales too.

One of the first large areas you will come across, the Soviet Installation is as gorgeous as it is grim. It’s a large-scale Gulag from Stalin-era Russia which basically means it was a forced labour camp. The reality of what people in these camps, some only guilty of minor crimes, had to endure cannot be overstated. That being said, Rise of the Tomb Raider does an excellent job of emphasising the brutal horror of these places. I didn’t even know what a Gulag was until this game, where I then went and researched afterwards. That’s not to say that the game is depressing at all, it just presents its story on the backdrop of real history. A history that it is very faithful to.

The game does a great job at mixing open-world game play with the more claustrophobic environments. These tighter moments really do create tension in all the right places which is always paid off in the end. While there are a couple of annoying gun fights in this game, the fighting is done with such fluidity that it does become fun after a while.

Girl’s got skills

As with the previous game, you will earn XP and skill points that you can then use to learn new skills. Not only that but you can also find murals and monoliths across the world, which will increase your languages proficiency. Some monoliths will require a higher language level, which will then uncover hidden treasures and tomb entrances on the map.

The weapons too are all available to upgrade as in Tomb Raider (2013). This is done by salvaging parts from wooden crates as well as off the pelts of the mountain wildlife. You can then choose which weapons to upgrade first.

Scaling walls is pretty much the only key ability that remains from the first game. The scaling of rock faces is so much smoother and faster here too, partly due to the fact that she now has two pick axes. Later on in the game you’ll also acquire more interesting accessories that will allow you more spiderman-like qualities.

Lara Croft forever

Rise of the Tomb Raider does a great job at taking what its predecessor set up and elevating it to incredible new highs. Crystal Dynamics have done an amazing job at keeping Miss Croft alive, while making her more human in the process. I’m really looking forward to the next instalment in this series, which may be called Shadow of the Tomb Raider. But only time will tell if this is to be. If it is to be, and they keep on the same trajectory, then the next game is going to be insane.

Review of Tomb Raider 2013

For my 14th Christmas I was bought an original Playstation along with a copy of the newly-released Tomb Raider 2. On boxing day I sat there, transfixed to the screen, trying to work out how to traverse the Great Wall of China with two tigers hot after my blood.

After a good few hours of working my way through that first level I finally made it out and was soon following the next clue to Venice. Ever since Lara first dropped down into the streets of Venice, gaming was never quite the same for me again.

This was the first time I remember being swept up in the magic of a gaming world. The winding waterways of Venice; the sunken wreck of the Maria Doria; the trippy, other worldly nexus of the Floating Islands; and finally the last ditch effort by Bartolli’s men on Lara’s home. Lara Croft was, and remains to this day, my favourite gaming hero.

After Tomb Raider 4: The Last Revelation I kind of lost interest in the series. I was moving on to other things in life and gaming sort of fell behind. I never actively searched out any of the newer releases since Tomb Raider 4. That was until the rebooted Tomb Raider (hereafter referred to simply as “Tomb Raider”) was released in 2013.

Tomb Raider 2013

Tomb Raider completely blew me away from the get go. Lara was finally a real flesh and blood woman. She came alive right in front of me and wasn’t actually a battle-hardened raider of tombs yet. She was a scared young woman, who I would come to follow through to discovering her destiny on the island of Yamatai.

During Lara’s journey across Yamatai, she encounters a range of adversaries: armed soldiers; huge, demonic Storm Guards; sneaky forest wolves. All are out for blood, and all you will need to fight through at some stage. People have mentioned to me how they were disappointed by the focus being more on the fighting than on the actual raiding of tombs. While it’s true if you just follow where the story nudges you, you may find puzzles at a minimum. However there are many tombs located across the island and are there for you to try and solve, should you want to. So it’s not that there are less puzzles as such, only that you can choose if and when you want to attempt each tomb. I find this is actually more realistic than previous games as these hidden tombs would be just that – hidden. In fact I am currently on my second play through and have discovered a whole portion of the Mountain village that I had missed on my first play through.

Lara’s seemless progression across the island make this one of the most immersive games I’ve played, and one that I keep wanting to return to. I never feel that I’m just in a game, only that I am fighting my way through a living, breathing, deadly landscape where everything from the wildlife to the patrol guards are out to get me.

For me, Tomb Raider is a welcome addition to the family; the big shot of adrenaline the series needed. It also serves as probably the best origin story for Lara too, along with 2015’s Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which follows on.

Tomb Raider can be picked up dirt-cheap on Steam now for both Windows and Linux and you really should experience it.

Trying out Rise of the Tomb Raider on GNU\Linux

TLDR (Too long didn’t read) : It don’t work. 🙁

Linux gaming, for me at least, has always presented problems. The initial issue is the fact that the selection of games is very slim compared with what is available on Windows computers. I was however greatly pleased this month when Rocket League was finally made available, and the smoothness is just as smooth as on Windows. In fact the only reason I was still using Windows up until last week, was in order for me to play Rocket League. Pathetic, I know.

To get around the lack of the other games, I have attempted in the past to set up wine in order to install the Windows version of Steam. However with this I found that the quality of the graphics and FPS suffered greatly. So I just gave up a went back to using a Windows PC, which always made me feel dirty.

Before Playing

Tonight I thought I would follow a guide to installing PlayOnLinux word for word, and try out my favourite game at the moment, Rise of the Tomb Raider. PlayOnLinux is basically a front end interface over the top of Wine. Wine, I should probably mention, is a GNU/Linux program that allows Windows programs to be ran on a GNU/Linux system.

As I type this, I have just finished installing the Windows Steam using PlayOnLinux. I am now awaiting Rise of the Tomb Raider to finish downloading so I can try it out. I’m not expecting great results at all, but just to be able to play it would be good.

I have actually completed the story line of the game but love the world so much I want to finish all of the side quests and get 100% completion.

Try to play it

It finished installing, I clicked play, and it game me an error. It says “Failed to start game (Invalid Platform)”, which is apparently down to a Direct X 11 issue.

Oh well, I guess it was never meant to be.