VIDEO | PC Sunday, September 3, 2017 | 9:25 AM

The Tomb Raider 2 fan game is wow!

The Tomb Raider 2 fan game is wow!

We've been following the development of Tomb Raider The Dagger of Xian, a Tomb Raider 2 remake by a French fan, for a while, but sadly couldn't manage to download the recent demo as all our attempts to do so remained vain. Thanks to Sdarts, I finally put my hands on the game and, as a long time fan longing for a return to Lara's true roots, I must say I am impressed. First of all, the game looks gorgeous, but more importantly, it brings back Tomb Raider to what it was, a game in which you had to read the environment to figure out where to go, a game where you could die if you failed a jump. The original combat system is also back, which won't please everyone as the wildlife of the demo seems particularly upset with Lara. I really hope the project will be achieved someday and that it won't be shut down because of some copyrights issues. I even think Square-Enix would be well-advised to support the game's developer because this is looking more promising than many of the official remakes we've seen in the past few years.

Note: The demo runs on Unreal Engine 4.

Note 2:

Download link

Website

Minimum spec:


Windows Seven x64

Graphic card 2GB VRAM with Dx11 comptatible

4GB RAM (8GB strongly recommended)

6GB free disk space (1.8 gb for the downloaded file and 4 gb for the uncompressed folder)

Any software able to open a .rar file (like Winrar)

Gameplay #1
Gameplay #2
Gameplay #3
Gameplay #4
Gameplay #5

All comments

Commented on 2017-09-03 11:11:31
Thanks for the videos!

Hopefully we see a Sonic Mania or even a Shenmue 3 type of deal for an official Tomb Raider 2 remake. Until then this remake is great.

From PC Gamer: "Also, for a change, we may not need to fear the wrath of a cease and desist notice: Crystal Dynamics is reportedly cool with the remake."

PC Gamer - The fan remake of Tomb Raider 2 in Unreal 4 has a demo:
http://www.pcgamer.com/the-fan-remake-of-tomb-raid...

Most people's impressions are very good. It was really smart of the team releasing this demo in a time where the Sonic Mania and even Crash Bandicoot's trilogy talks are still relevant.

Hopefully, they get enough support from more contributors to the project as well. I'm also sure that this will help inspire many more people to start remaking old games that they love with new technology.

If I had the know-how, I would absolutely give much of my free time to remake the Mega Man Legends games. Below is a video from Mega Man Legends in ePSXe with Advanced Cartoon Shader With a lot of AA/Anisotropy.

ePSXe 2011 07 07 04 53 49 23:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EIHT7yp2Fw

While it looks very cartoonish and alters the original art style of the game, it still shows the potential of what could be achieved if someone went for the Anime/Cartoon Cell-Shaded art style look of games like CyberConnect's Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm games or the upcoming Arc System Works' Dragon Ball FighterZ for a remake.
Commented on 2017-09-03 14:04:02
wow, really impressive. It is amazing what some people can do, this is as good as the first reboot of the series by Crystal Dynamics.
Commented on 2017-09-04 04:03:18
I actually finished the demo today. UE4 really made this demo shine. the gameplay was pretty good. a little confusing on where to go next but i managed to figure things out.

Second thoughts -
I still prefer RoTR, but i also found this demo to be quite enjoyable as well. Couldn't be anymore happier to be able to enjoy both versions tbh. I love the puzzles of older TR games and i love the Cinematic narrative in the newer TR games.
Commented on 2017-09-04 11:20:28
It's a stunning achievement. Played it through on the day of release and I was a bit all over the place, playing it through a second time however is poetry in motion. It's a shame the final game probably won't see light of day for a few years yet but at least we know we'll get it after Square okayed the project (Nicobass isn't allowed to profit from it being the condition to complete the game).
Commented on 2017-09-04 13:14:42
newest tomb raiders are a joke....kids of today won't ever know what real adventure feels like in a videogame....I like uncharted series and of course I played the last tomb raiders...but the older ones had the real charme.
Commented on 2017-09-04 18:12:49
This is fantastic!
Commented on 2017-09-04 20:54:08 In reply to rogermorse
Posted by rogermorse
newest tomb raiders are a joke....kids of today won't ever know what real adventure feels like in a videogame
Gamers can always check out the Anniversary edition. or Legend and Underworld which have the puzzles, dinosaurs, acrobats, platforming and infinite ammo pistols too.

the new series is still based on mythical lore and they can always add in new puzzles, platforming and acrobats to compliment tradition. the only thing that's been majority improved in my opinion is the combat system. which is not sluggish anymore.

for nostalgic sake the sluggish controls are perfectly fine in older games, just not in this generation where everyone pays $65 for some improvements, responsive gameplay and better graphics. or else it's a bargain bin title.
Commented on 2017-09-05 07:37:59
This is awesome. Thoroughly impressed. Looks and runs amazing, and the best TR I've played in years. I always preferred the older ones. I'm stuck though, where the 2 big doors open and the shadow on the floor. How close to this is the original game regarding layout and level design?
Commented on 2017-09-05 08:21:29 In reply to spacemanjupiter
Posted by spacemanjupiter
I'm stuck though, where the 2 big doors open and the shadow on the floor. How close to this is the original game regarding layout and level design?
the shadow on the floor actually means nothing....kinda awkward i know. you're actually supposed to smash the floor in with a huge block. example
https://youtu.be/b18SwWEcJ1A?t=2m19s

As for level design it's more of it's own style. the environments don't give off any clues to guide you. and you have to take leaps of faiths. which some like it, while others don't.

-----------------------

Demo reception

my take - I found the demo map to be pretty entertaining not knowing what was going to happen next. A little hard though to explore but gameplay should always feel like a new experience.

Die-hard Fan reception - currently fans are digging the demo but disliking the level design in particular. many fans are saying that "Old TR is still better in the sense of level progression and navigation."

the problem with fan reception though is strictly based on graphics. old level design was based on simple polygon shapes, so it was much easier to connect the dots on where to progress.

now that graphics have greatly improved; everything now realistically blends-in. which makes it much harder for navigation. many old school fans will tend to overlook how graphics can change traditional level scouting habits.

- my two cents.
Commented on 2017-09-05 19:11:58 In reply to spacemanjupiter
Posted by spacemanjupiter
I'm stuck though, where the 2 big doors open and the shadow on the floor. How close to this is the original game regarding layout and level design?
If I'm not mistaken, going by a memory from over 15 years ago - gosh... I'm old (lol), that double-door is supposed to let a Bear free, which you were supposed to fight before being able to go down. I guess that they weren't able to finsish in time or didn't want to delay the release of the demo anymore.

As to how close the fan remake demo is to the original game, it's mostly changed from what you can see in the video below, it starts at 3:14 and is 18:45 minutes long, but you can do a trick with fast-jumping I do with long videos, where you jump 5 seconds at a time and it just takes 1-2 minute(s) to see the most important parts of the whole video.

Tomb Raider 2 Complete Walkthrough #1 [No Meds] | The Great Wall:
https://youtu.be/IPq9SgttwVw?list=PLj8hbc_0qhlMvdQ...

The beginning cave is almost the same, with a few bifurcations that weren't in the original game and the 1st secret - the Silver Dragon - isn't there as far as I can tell, since I searched everywhere. Another key difference is that when you reach the middle of the cave's lake a tiger appears in the original, but not in the remake.

A tiger does appear in the cave in the remake after you reach a certain point, but it's just for show, I know because after many deaths trying to come back down in order to kill it after it shows up, when I finally made it to the bottom, I looked everywhere and it had disappeared, so it was just for show. In the original that tiger - the 2nd one - appears around the same place and if you go down, you can kill it.

After that initial cave, most sections are different both in design and puzzles. Most of the things in the original game are missing from the remake and most of the things in the remake never were in the original game. Though this is fine to a certain extent, it's a "remake" and not just simply a "remaster", it's more like a Tomb Raider 2.5 (an expansion) than a Tomb Raider 2 Remake. Kinda like Tomb Raider 2 Gold on PC.

But if you want the exact same game, you need to play the original with mods for wide-screen, FoV, better textures, higher resolution, new controls, controller support, new UI, etc. GOG.com has all 5 original games - plus that which shall not be named, the original trilogy is only $6.36, which is well worth it. It works with almost all Windows - inclunding Windows 10 - and with most of the mods for TR2.
Commented on 2017-09-05 19:59:13 In reply to GunsnSwords
Posted by GunsnSwords
Demo reception

my take - I found the demo map to be pretty entertaining not knowing what was going to happen next. A little hard though to explore but gameplay should always feel like a new experience.

Die-hard Fan reception - currently fans are digging the demo but disliking the level design in particular. many fans are saying that "Old TR is still better in the sense of level progression and navigation."

the problem with fan reception though is strictly based on graphics. old level design was based on simple polygon shapes, so it was much easier to connect the dots on where to progress.

now that graphics have greatly improved; everything now realistically blends-in. which makes it much harder for navigation. many old school fans will tend to overlook how graphics can change traditional level scouting habits.

- my two cents.
I agree with most of that, the simple polygon geometry made for a very easy to understand - in most cases - where you could grab to and walk on, the increased graphical fidelity makes it very hard to know where you can and can't do those things.

For example, that part with the pit in the Great Wall where you need to jump to the window on the left, it took me over 20 minutes to realize it because the upper part of the pit with the partial floor was reachable trough jumping and I thought that was what you need to do, but every time you try to do that you die, even though in the original game such a jump distance would not kill you.

The better graphics are great and make the level feel very realistic, not straight square surfaces or edges, but it also makes it hard to figure out what is and isn't interactable.

This is one of the reasons why many people judge the new Tomb Raider games very unfairly harsh, while they do have a less complex level design and puzzles, it's for accessibility (both for newcomers and difficulty) and if they made it like the fan remake, most people would stop playing the game at the 5th-10th level - TR2 has 18 levels in total.

It took me over 2 hours to finish the demo, and the demo wasn't even the whole 1st level, probably due to time constraints and how much longer it would have taken to finish it - Nicobass has a post on the fan remake's blog where he apologizes for not delivering the demo on time, it was supposed to have been released in Fall/Autumn 2016.

Still, the fan remake is great, because as hard, time consuming and/or frustrating as it is, you can still figure out for yourself and that gives you a good sense of achievement - like Dark Souls, but at the same time it's bad for those exact reasons mentioned earlier.

I remember CD Projekt Red giving the same reasoning behind Geralt's "Witcher Sense" mechanic, because in an open-world game, giving the player a very large map or even a field and asking him to look for tiny clues that mescle very well with the environment is both tedious, time consuming and frustrating.

There are many games that still do this, though, and most are extremely - and well deserved imho - criticized about it. I absolutely hate when a game tells me to go to a large area and look for clues with little to no help - TW3 did this with a couple quests too, one of them was finding something in the bottom of the ocean and I spent 30 minutes trying to find where, really fucking annoying.

As visual fidelity increases, it will start blending elements of levels together. We forget that in real life, depth of filed and perception allows us to ascertain many things just by looking or getting closer to them, but in games we look at these things on a flat/curved 2D screen and can't always come closer to look - like the case of how far away from you an edge is - with all the disadvantages it entails. Crash Bandicoot's trilogy remake is one of the games that suffer from this, where it's hard to judge the jump distance just by looking at it - which is of course exacerbated by the design choices of the developers.

We need "Witcher Sense", "Detective Mode", "Eagle Vision" and any other name you wanna call it, otherwise we will go back to old game design where you spent time, patience and increasing frustration with games.

And while they can still be great, try selling 3.5 million copies in 1 month of that very hard, time consuming and user-"un"friendly niche game. You can't.

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