Rise of the Tomb Raider – Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch Review – Well, it’s a thing….

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Posted January 26, 2016 by Sean Mesler in Video Games

Rise of the Tomb Raider – Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch

Developed By: Crystal Dynamics

Published By: SquareEnix

Release Date: January 26, 2016

Platforms: Xbox One (reviewed), Xbox 360

Rise of the Tomb Raider received a lot of praise upon its release on November 10th, 2015 – including some from yours truly. An extremely solid follow up to the phenomenal 2013 reboot, it brought little new to the table, instead fine tuning what it had already done incredibly well.  Now gets its first story DLC in the form of Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch – just over two months removed from the release of the main game. Surprisingly short, padded with a return one of the areas of the main game, and with a weak story, there really isn’t much here to get excited about.

To access the DLC you simply have to return to the Soviet Installation area from the main game and follow the marker to take out some of the remnants of the Order of Trinity at the saw mill. Opening a locker will truly kick the plot into gear as Lara is tasked to pursue a young girl’s Grandpa who went looking to find the titular witch who supposedly killed his wife. So off Lara goes and, well, she does things. Similar things to what she did in the main game. She climbs, shimmies, ropes her way around a mountain side until she enters the Veil and ingests some weird pollen that makes her trip face. She has such a bad trip that she has to go back to the Soviet Installation and gather some ingredients for an antidote to the brown acid pollen so she can return and continue her search.

I won’t go any further because, honestly, there’s not much more to the story other than the confrontation with the witch and some character revelations. It’s slight, and honestly really poor. It has absolutely no emotional impact and will probably not get much more of a reaction than a “huh” at best and a shrug at worst. It’s just there.

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In terms of gameplay, there’s really not much “new” here but what is here is solid. There is a nice Challenge Tomb-like puzzle that honestly took me a little bit to suss out because I missed the hints the game provided. If you are able to catch it, you should be able to get it done relatively quickly and for sure quicker than I did. I do appreciate the boss confrontation here because it’s far better than what Rise of the Tomb Raider had to offer as it’s far more original and inspired. It even has its own puzzle solution to damage the enemy.

It’s a highlight of the DLC for sure, but unfortunately once the boss is felled you’re done with the DLC other than going around the area and gathering the collectables left in the area. After that there is literally no reason to stick around. That makes the DLC at around an hour and a half to two hours long.

While it was fun to jump back into Rise of the Tomb Raider, I can’t help but feel that Crystal Dynamics could have done so much more with Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch than what they did. As it is now, it feels like a side mission from the main game with a boss fight at the end of it. It doesn’t add anything to the base experience other than more of it. To some that is plenty, to others, it might not be worth it. I fall somewhere in between.


About the Author

Sean Mesler

Sean is a semi-retired hardcore kid, semi-grown up and transplanted from his original home of New York to Los Angeles. A lover and critic of movies, music and video games, Sean is always quick with an opinion, a heaping dose of snark, and a healthy dose of pragmatism. PSN & Live Gamertag: N2NOther