Rise of the Tomb Raider – Blood Ties VR Spoiler-Free Review

By on January 4, 2017 | No comments yet

As you may already be aware, 2016 was the year of Tomb Raider. Marking 20 years since the franchises birth, Crystal Dynamics celebrated 20 years of Tomb Raider by hosting several events — such as the Tomb Raider Suite that happened in December, and Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration edition that released on PlayStation 4. This edition of the game is jam packed with new content, as well as the award winning base game. The new content features a co-op version of Endurance mode, where people can play together to survive the wilderness. It also features new storyline DLC called Blood Ties – allowing us to explore Croft Manor first the first time in true HD and also in VR (Exclusively to PS4) – and that’s not all! In the special add on ‘Lara’s Nightmare’ we are be able to defend Croft Manor from Zombies in this new action packed adventure.

I was lucky enough to have a family member who owns PSVR and let me try out VR mode. PSVR is quite costly as many pieces of equipment are needed; the headset alone costs £349.99 in the UK ($399.99) and you also need a PlayStation camera for the headset to work which will set you back another £45.00 – so needless to say, I was extremely grateful to be given the opportunity to try this out without having to shell out a lot of cash.

The headset, when finally fitted is quite comfortable, there is a strap at the back for adjusting how tight it is. I was also pleasantly surprised that it’s possible to wear glasses with the PSVR and it will still work fine. The only issue I encountered with the headset is that the lenses can get a little fogged up depending on your surroundings and heated environment. Obviously when wearing the headset, you’re unable to see anything as the headset covers your eyes, for this reason it’s essential to make sure the area in which you are gaming is large enough and clear of obstacles.

I’ve read that it’s possible to use PlaySation Move controllers with the PSVR, however I didn’t have one so I used the DualShock 4 controller instead, and that worked just fine. It turns out there are two different ways of controlling Lara in VR mode; firstly, you can control her as normal, left analogue stick to move, right analogue stick for camera. Secondly you can use a strange “teleportation” mode where you use certain buttons on the controller to warp you to different areas. I found the latter quite confusing to figure out, so I went with the traditional style controls to move around Croft Manor.

It’s well known that using traditional controls whilst wearing the PSVR headset can make a lot of gamers dizzy and nauseous, but for me it wasn’t too bad, I noticed that they had slowed down the speed of which you can move greatly, possibly to counteract any dizziness or motion sickness.

This is where the reality (pun intended) of virtual reality kicks in.

I was standing in Lara’s study in Croft Manor, my view was first person, I could see the safe in front of me. If I turned to my right I could see down the hall, If I turned to the left I could see out of the window, this was insane. I made my way down to the main hallway and really took my time taking in the sights, looking up at the top right of the ‘screen’ I could see the beautiful architecture of the building, the stone balconies, rain pouring in from a hole in the roof, all like it was right there in real life. Wherever I turned my head, the camera would follow – hard to explain, but it was amazing to experience.

The only downsides I experienced with the PSVR were of course the lenses fogging up, which made it difficult to see, and also sometimes the camera wouldn’t track my movements properly and when I would load up the menu it would be at a very high portion of the screen, or an extremely low portion of the screen, although I think some of this may have had something to with the fact that I was using tradition controls to move Lara around, and using the right analogue stick messed the camera up.

Although I found the whole experience interesting, I still wouldn’t be tempted to shell out the £349.99 to be able to have this experience in my living room, however this is just my personal opinion. If you have the opportunity to try out Blood Ties VR mode, definitely try it out, but if not, the normal version is just as satisfying.

Be sure to check out the gallery below!