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Rise Of The Tomb Raider: Blood Ties [2016 -- Crystal Dynamics] {DLC}

Started by Starfox, May 18, 2023, 08:10 PM

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Originally published on February 07, 2017

This is a review of a DownLoaded Content (DLC) for the game Rise Of The Tomb Raider.

Blood Ties is in fact the name of the single player story element of a larger DLC titled Rise Of The Tomb Raider 20 Years Celebration Pack the rest of DLC being composed of assets for the "Explorations" features of the game.

As we're talking about story telling, I'll be focusing on Blood Ties alone. The story takes place in the Croft Manor, the one that was featured in several games of the Tomb Raider franchise in the past but in a quite singularly bad overall condition. One has to remember that chronologically, the events of Rise Of The Tomb Raider take place before any of the Tomb Raider games (with the exception of the Tomb Raider 2013 reboot of course). Lara's mother disappeared when she was little and her father committed suicide when she was a teenager hence the manor was mainly left unattended, with the whole Croft's estate under the care of Lara's uncle, a lawyer and the brother of her mother. But now that Lara is of age to enjoy her full heritage, she discover that her uncle intends to take the manor away from her because he feels that sharing the same obsessions as her father Lara will at best waste it away while gathering money for yet another dumb quest. He even has a legal basis to do so... Lara's father named him executor of the estate, didn't leave a will (at least not as far as anyone knows) and the body of Lara's mother was never recovered so she couldn't legally be declared dead and if she's not dead, there's no heritage to speak of.

Of course Lara fully intends to keep what is rightfully hers so her only option is to find something in the manor that will vindicate her position preferably a will.

The whole of the story is spent with Lara searching for clues inside the Croft Manor. There's not a single enemies or fight (Crystal Dynamics left that for a special mission called "Lara's Nightmare" part of the so called "Explorations" feature) but it's a very good setup to learn more about Lara's childhood and her family tormented history. In fact Blood Ties was the only part of that DLC that was of any interest to me. To make for the lack of traditional Tomb Raider gameplay, it has a nice little multi-part brain puzzle not really complicated and that does not involve any jumping.

Blood Ties chronologically occurs after the events of Rise Of The Tomb Raider so it's possibly better if you play it after finishing the vanilla game.

All in all, Blood Ties is a good adventure. Does it justfies the $10 price tag put on it? No. Especially not if your only interest in the DLC is the story bit. The whole story takes about one hour, maybe one hour and a half if you really take your time to explore everything in details. That makes this DLC relatively much more expensive that the vanilla game itself (in a bang for the buck ratio).

The DLC will also provide a new weapon for the single player campaign, a fully automatic SMG (a MAC-10 reminiscent of an earlier Tomb Raider game) to go in the pistol slot. It also provides one of the dumbest thing I've witnessed lately, Lara Croft's classic outfits. Why "dumbest"? Because they could have gone and design real game outfits based on the ones from the previous Tomb Raider games which would have been nice, but no... Instead they provided low polygons count models representing previous Lara's incarnations so you can play in a fancy graphics 2016 game running around under the form of a 2000 low-quality character (and I mean that, it's really low quality stuff). If it's Crystal Dynamics conception of humor or nostalgia, it's lost on me. It's not immersive... totally disruptive in fact, so why would you even want to use them? For the sheer value of a 10 seconds laugh?

Nevertheless, the pricing is still really the only main big reproach I have to make and I encourage anyone not interested in the rubbish included in the DLC that is pretending to justify the price to wait for a sale and get it cheaper, preferably at around $2 to $3, what it's really worth. 

Guess what it means!