What is it about the Tomb Raider franchise that makes it such an enduring source of fascination? Tomb Raider has endured because the original was a groundbreaking title in its day and remains so, both in terms of its female protagonist and complex mix of action and physical puzzle-solving. What has also helped is that in 2013, the series was essentially rebooted and the new Tomb Raider emerged, delivering a stunning, gritty reimagining of Lara’s story, tracing her origins from inexperienced archaeology graduate to hard-nosed adventurer.

Small wonder, then, that when Rise of the Tomb Raider was announced as an Xbox-only exclusive, PC gamers were left out of the action. But no more. We now have the prospect of Rise of the Tomb Raider coming to PC on January 28.

What was important about 2013’s reboot and equally about this sequel is the preservation of the all-important tomb raiding aspect of the gameplay. In Rise of the Tomb Raider, the environments Lara finds herself in are open-world in nature so, as well as pursuing the narrative of the single-player campaign mode, players are also free to roam around, discovering and completing side missions. The tombs available to explore here are bigger and more complex than those found in the previous game, delivering awe-inspiring ancient architecture, environmental puzzles and fiendish traps that will push Lara’s physical and mental attributes to the limit.

More than that, though, Rise of the Tomb Raider brings fresh experiences to the table. The world Lara inhabits is much more alive than in the previous game. There’s a new crafting system, enabling Lara to hunt wildlife and scavenge for resources which she can then use to upgrade her weapons and abilities. The night/day cycle and realistic weather conditions also have a measurable effect on the gameplay. For example, it might be necessary for Lara to hunt wolves (who only come out at night) for their skins in order to craft clothing that will protect her from the Siberian sub-zero temperatures.

The combat system has also been overhauled. As well as engaging in hand to hand combat, Lara can take a more stealthy approach, silently killing enemies with her hunting knife and avoiding combat altogether by diving into water, climbing trees and clambering across rooftops.

Rise of the Tomb Raider is adventuring on an epic scale and the cinematic visuals are all the more impressive if you’re lucky enough to be playing on a gaming rig featuring a GeForce GTX powered GPU such as the GTX 900 series. If you’re thinking of upgrading your hardware, now is the time to do it. If you buy a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970, 980, 980 Ti card or system, or a GTX 970M, 980M or 980 powered notebook, you can grab a copy of Rise of the Tomb Raider absolutely free.

If you're picking up Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC, we have you covered with fully-labeled maps, a complete walkthrough, and expert combat tactics. The Rise of the Tomb Raider official guide is available now!

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