Back in the summer of 2015 Feral Interactive posted this cryptic teaser for an upcoming Mac/Linux game. Some time later, a user on Reddit spotted the company posting some GIFs on their Tumblr account, as a way to assist the fans in cracking down the case. Could we be expecting a Linux port for Tomb Raider?
Some time later, another Reddit user noticed the SteamDB entry for Tomb Raider (2013) was updated, a log containing various Linux depots. Seems to me by the hundreds of comments that this will please a lot of fans. And the database continued to update over time, in particular an executable labeled TombRaider.sh.
Was anybody expecting this?
A younger, more beautiful, and arguably less cocky Lara Croft returns in this legendary reboot. As the architec… – er, I mean, uh, archaeologist – that she is, her basic mission is to uncover ancient artifacts – documents, tombs, (heh, get it), relics, murals, maps. The like. Think of it as being a lot like National Treasure – except instead of a Nicolas Cage, you have a Lara Croft, who works alone mostly. Finding those artifacts requires great risk, death often being the case. As such, your adventures with her – aside from being distracted over how glorious her booty is – continually keeps your heart racing as you try to steer her clear of her throat getting slit by a pike as she rolls down a river, or climbing to the top of a crumbling radio tower to create better reception for her walkie-talkie throughout the area (heights are scary).
I’m not a big fan of third-person – as this game is presented – but somehow I still enjoyed the gameplay. If you’re like me, you don’t pay much attention to the things Croft says to herself as she uncovers a relic or some sort – you’re playing more so for the action, which the game does fantastic on delivering. Croft is initially equipped with a bow and arrow, and as the story progresses, she gets a pistol, an assault rifle, and a shotgun. These weapons can be upgraded, like stat boosts or attachments, that makes squashing the bad guys – the ones who are trying to get the treasure first, for evil intentions – even more entertaining. Gyro aiming with the Steam controller makes aiming much easier in contrast with your traditional analog stick.
As Croft explores the environment, discovering hidden elements or hunting such animals as deer, she earns experience. Gaining enough experience earns her a skill point, which can be used in exchange for a new ability, such as being able to counter-attack while dodging, or throwing dirt to make the enemy temporarily blind.
It only took me eleven hours to complete the campaign. Some have told me the game lasts much longer than that. I wish that was the case for me.
Oh, and a little piece of advice if you’re planning on getting the Game of the Year edition or buying any of the DLC: the DLC’s garbage, unless you’re going to play multiplayer. It’s all extra costumes, weapons, or maps, solely for the multiplayer aspect. Only a few of the DLCs are for the campaign – a five-minute puzzle that doesn’t earn you much of anything and a couple of weapon/skill upgrades.
Now let’s dissect the port itself…. here’s a graph to sum things up nicely:
- GTX 750 Ti
- 8 GB RAM
- Windows 10/Linux Mint 17.3
- GFX driver version 361.75 (Windows) / 364.19 (Linux)
- Resolution: 1920 x 1080
- VSync OFF
- Motion Blur ON
- Screen FX ON
- Low: 136/222/169.2
- Normal: 90/132/110.6
- High: 62/90/76.4
- Ultra: 46/68/57.3
- Ultimate: 29.1/48/38.5
- Low: 67/107/90
- Normal: 53/84/69
- High: 41/63/53
- Ultra: 30/46/39
- Ultimate: 15/29/22
- Frames are recorded by minimum, max, and average, respectively
- Visual difference between Normal and High graphics presets is minimal – if you are using a cheap rig or laptop you might want to go for the Normal preset to squeeze in a couple more frames
- There’s a graphics option called “Exclusive Fullscreen.” I ran all benchmarks only once except the first couple where I made a comparison with this feature on and with it off. When it’s on, there’s not much of a difference, but the frames were a few cut short
- ‘Ultimate’ preset enables TressFX for Croft’s hair, making her braids move independently of each other rather than one glob of a ponytail. Not really anything significant; just looks nice
So Windows performs about one-and-a-half-to-two times better, but it’s still playable on Linux.
Now let me share with you some screenshots taken on Linux:
This release indicates two significant factors:
- We have one more AAA title added to our arsenal, and a great one at that
- This is Square Enix’s first published native Linux title. Who knows, maybe we’ll get more later (cough…Rise of the Tomb Raider…cough) (EDIT 4/28/2016: Actually, Hitman GO was the first from Square Enix, thanks stqn)
I’d like to personally thank Feral Interactive for all the effort and time they put forth into these ports. Be sure to send them your love by making sure your Linux sales count, or by buying directly from their site.