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Tomb Raider (2013) 3-Years Later Review



The graphics are pretty good, but looking at them I can see this is a game a few years old, and that it was made for the consoles of that time; the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. Still, there is nothing to really complain about. The textures are pretty well detailed and I cannot remember ever seeing one that looked poor or out of place. Some might be a little soft, but nothing too bad.

The models could look a bit better. They are really what make it apparent to me that this game was also made for consoles. Several objects have flatter edges than I would like to see, and some stand out more than others.

The environment still does look quite good and has a lot of details that add to it. The foliage and stones on the ground are nice, but it is more the mist and small insects moving through the air that really help to build the world. These are not always present, but when they are missing something else does that, like tall mountains in the background. Overall the environments are very well designed and add a lot to the visual experience.

The lighting is also nicely done, though I will admit it can be annoying at times. The time of day will change as you play, and it seems to largely follow the story. If the current chapter you are in is set at night, then the whole island will be at night, no matter where you are. This is just annoying because it can be somewhat hard to see in some places at night. You can light a torch to help you, but its light does not reach very far. Of course, torchlight should not really be reaching far anyway.

I should probably spend some time talking about Lara's hair, since Tomb Raider is the first game to feature AMD's TressFX. This is software for improving the rendering of hair by leveraging the highly parallel nature of modern GPUs. It definitely does give Lara's hair a greater level of realism, compared to a static hairdo or something with clunky, pre-rendered animations. The only issue is that the individual strands can look a bit big compared to real hair. Basically it was getting close enough to reality, that its differences from reality were standing out to me. That could very much be a 'me' thing, and even then, it still looks better than the base option.






Fire in the game is slightly mixed. The fire animation itself, like that for torches, could have some better detail or at least more chaos to it, to look less like an animation, but its speed was very good. The rate the fire animation renders at is quite fast and that really helps it look good. Various other objects burning also look good for their animations, but the placement of the fire on these objects reminds me these are just animations. For how I played, explosions were not very common, but they do look good.

The water looked pretty good as well, and reacted well to characters moving through it. The only thing there is that the ripples did not seem to move through the fluids naturally, but that is a hard effect to accomplish. It still does a better job than several other games.

With the looks covered, time to talk about performance, so here are my specs:

  • Processor: AMD A10-5800K @ 4.40 GHz (44.0x100)
  • Cooling: Corsair H110
  • Motherboard: ASUS F2A85-M PRO
  • GPU: NVIDIA GTX 980 4 GB
  • PhysX: EVGA GTX 770 2 GB
  • Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4x8 GB (32 GB total) at 1866 MHz 10-10-10-27
  • PSU: OCZ Fata1ty 750 W
  • OS: Windows 7- Professional 64-bit

Every setting was turned up to the max, except for anti-aliasing, and of course motion blur and depth of field, which I prefer disabled. I had to turn down to FXAA as both SSAA options proved too intense for my system to maintain a high framerate. With these settings, the game ran at a very smooth and consistent 60 FPS. It also gave me no trouble, so as far as the performance goes, this is all I have to talk about.



This is a fairly short section, especially compared to how long(winded) my reviews tend to be. The reason for it here (and later on) is because there is just little to say besides it looks good and runs very well. There are no significant complaints, but also nothing that so stood out that I want to focus on it. This has come up in reviews before and is worth repeating here: not having much to say can be a good thing, because that means things are how you expect and/or want them to be. For graphics, that is the case with Tomb Raider.


  1. Tomb Raider Review - Introduction
  2. Tomb Raider Review - Graphics
  3. Tomb Raider Review - Story
  4. Tomb Raider Review - Gameplay & Additional Gameplay Media
  5. Tomb Raider Review - Conclusion
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