Rise of the Tomb Raider – Baba Yaga: Temple of the Witch (DLC) Review
Hot on the heels of the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider, and just in time for the PC launch, the first piece of narrative-driven DLC has been released. Going by the lengthy title Baba Yaga: Temple of the Witch, the latest piece of DLC focuses on a subject of mythological Slavic/Russian folklore – the witch Baba Yaga and her chicken-legged house (it’s a thing – look it up!). So what does Lara’s latest caper have in store, and is it worth checking out?
Once purchased and installed, the Baba Yaga DLC can be found in free roam in the Soviet Installation region of the map once you have completed the game. After clearing out a saw mill of enemies, you’ll encounter a friendly NPC named Nadia who’ll give you the new objective and trigger the quest that will see you through to the end of the DLC.
The Baba Yaga DLC maintains the same general gameplay from the core game with a healthy combination of exploration, platforming, combat and problem solving. The add-on provides players with some new characters and a new narrative to tag on to the end of Lara’s main Russian adventure which will take the average player around three hours to work their way through.
The DLC itself, for the most part takes place in a completely new region of the world map The Wicked Vale which has its own unique feel featuring several different environments ranging from lush plant-filled environs, making way to snowy forests and a large cave/temple region to explore. The Wicked Vale includes a couple of brain scratching environmental puzzles you’ll need to solve in order to progress, an area Challenge, a boss fight to contend with, 22 new Achievements and a further 28 collectibles that give you good reason to explore every inch of the new region.
Upon completion of the DLC, players are rewarded with a creepy looking new outfit and a new weapon – the Dreamstinger Bow which has the special ability to replace the standard Poison Arrows with Pollen Arrows which can be used to confuse enemies and make them attack one another. Whilst these additions are interesting, they are only given to you right at the very end of the DLC after all the fighting has stopped, giving players opportunity to try them out outside of Expedition Mode, which seems like a bit of a wasted opportunity.
Unfortunately, for the price tag, Baba Yaga: The Temple of the Witch is quite a short experience. Whilst it is fun to keep Lara’s story going, the narrative is entirely predictable and only mildly engaging. The new mechanics for the Dreamstinger Bow are a nice touch but should have been incorporated into the main DLC questline rather than being rewarded at the end and the boss fight that the DLC ultimately leads to is a little underwhelming and overly long.
All in all, the Baba Yaga DLC is a passable addition. It feels like a small slice of the main game distilled down into a three hour experience and although it’s story is a bit of a letdown, the action and puzzles almost make up for the narrative shortcomings. After the excellent main game, the DLC feels shallow and a little disappointing in that offers nothing really new. Having said that, if you enjoyed Rise of the Tomb Raider and are itching to play it again with a little something extra, this DLC might just be for you. If you didn’t like the main game, this DLC will not change your mind.
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