Rise of the Tomb Raider Face-Off: PC vs. Xbox One

With a couple of big name publishers neglecting and dismissing the PC community, there are a few such as Square Enix who actually take care of their properties. Once again, the Japanese based publisher has given the Dutch studio, Nixxes, the task of porting last year’s Rise of the Tomb Raider to PC and the result is nothing short of spectacular. While the PlayStation 4 comparison will come later this year (sometime in November), we decided to take a look at how the PC version held up to the Xbox One.

For one, there are a great deal of graphical options to choose from in the PC version. There’s texture, shadow, sun soft shadow, depth of field, level of detail and dynamic foliage quality sliders, ranging from low to very high (dynamic foliage only going to high), along with ambient occlusion techniques and upwards of 16x anisotropic filtering. In addition, you can turn on and off lens flares, screen effects, vignette blurring, motion blur, bloom, tessellation and screen space reflections. There’s even a successor of TressFX called PureHair which ensures that each hair strand moves properly to each animation. Suffice to say, this isn’t just your standard port as Nixxes has gone all out to bring the most customizable version of Rise of the Tomb Raider yet.

In comparison to the Xbox One version, as you can tell from the images below, there’s far better texture quality, with the smallest seams being visible, and the inclusion of sun soft shadows makes the environments pop even more. Scrapes look deeper, skin looks smoother, clothing, especially Lara’s leather jacket early on, looks far more realistic and brick walls actually have depth rather than looking like a 2D texture. There’s just a level of clarity that trumps the Xbox One version in every way.

Rise of the Tomb Raider does require a decent rig to run, though. While it’s more than playable on the lowest settings, FXAA will be your best bet for the anti-aliasing solution as SMAA drags the frame rate down harder than any other option. We did run into a couple of areas that spiked up and down, but otherwise it has been smoothly optimized.

Nixxes has done a marvelous job porting Crystal Dynamics’ baby to PC. It still looks visually spectacular on Xbox One, but the improvements that have gone into the PC version make it shine even more. The lighting is the biggest factor in a number of spots, feeling significantly more natural, but it comes at the cost of some frame rate drops. Overall, though, this is a balanced and greatly improved port.

On the left is the PC version while on the right is the Xbox One. The game is running maxed at SMAAx4 out with only motion blur being turned off.