SAVING, CHECKPOINTS & TECH SUPPORT: This game incorporates autosave checkpoints. If you only rely on one save slot, you may run into trouble if you get stuck, encounter a bug, or if your autosave becomes corrupted. To avoid problems, I highly recommend changing your save slot in the pause menu at least once per level. If you encounter a bug that can't be fixed by restarting the game, reloading a different save, restoring a backup save in the Xbox version, or rebuilding the game cache in the PC version, I encourage you to visit the Official Rise of the Tomb Raider Support Forum and or put in a support request with Square Enix. I also have PC save files for download.
AREA 10: RESEARCH BASE
Camps: Weather Station, Soviet Facility
Weapons/Gear: Full-Auto Shotgun Pieces (3/4 and 4/4)
Relics: 3 Documents: 4 Murals: 1 Coin Caches: none Survival Caches: 3 Strongboxes: 2
Monoliths: none Archivist Maps: 1 Explorer Satchels: 1
Challenge Tombs/Codices: none Crypts: none Challenges: 1 Missions: none
Area Maps: Research Base
*NOTE: It is possible to achieve 100% for this level on the first playthrough. All item and strongbox locations are fixed and numbered on the level map; however, the exact items may vary depending on the order in which you find them.
When you first enter this level, through the cave above the Communications Tower Base Camp in the SOVIET INSTALLATION, Lara is on her way to rescue Jonah; however, the in-game goal is simply to "explore."
UNDERGROUND PASS: Make your way across the chasm ahead. There are no collectibles here so it doesn't matter whether you take the high or low route to the other side. (screenshot) So, either grapple swing across the first gap, follow the wooden ledge to the end, and jump onto the ledge ahead; or anchor a rope line, slide down, follow the stone ledge to the end, jump over to the rock wall, and then climb to the top. You'll end up in the same place regardless. Scramble up the wooden wall and follow the low tunnel to another chasm. Again, it doesn't matter which route you take to the other side, but jumping across on the left is a little quicker. (screenshot) Follow the tunnel forward and squeeze through a gap in the rocks.
OBJECTIVE: Follow Sofia's Path to the Trinity Base
SNOWY CANYON LEADING INTO THE FOREST: Use the fallen tree to cross the gap. Then shoot a rope arrow into the dangling coil, swing across the next wide gap, latch onto the ice wall with your axe, and climb to the top. (screenshot) Lara spots the geodesic dome atop the old Soviet Base and muses that Jonah must be up there somewhere.
A cutscene then shows Ana and Konstantin projecting the Atlas map on the inside of the dome. Ana warns her brother that retrieving the Divine Source will not be easy, and that Trinity may not let them keep the Source once it's found. But Konstantin's resolve is bolstered by religious fervor. He seems ready to lead his men into danger—and to defy Trinity if it comes to that—in order to keep the Source's righteous power. Almost as an afterthought he tells Ana, "...and you shall live."
OBJECTIVE: Search for an Alternate Path up on the Cliff
Back in the forest, Lara hears a Trinity soldier reporting to Konstantin over the radio. She learns that Jonah is still alive. Climb the tree ahead, jump to the ice wall on the right, and climb to the top. (screenshot) Then climb along the handholds to the right until you can scramble up onto the ledge above.
Follow the path forward. Walk across the stream on the fallen log. Then move to the end of the dead-end path that runs off to the left, parallel to the stream. When you get to the end, dig up a survival cache (1/3). (screenshot) It's hard to see the flashing light against the snow, but once you get close, you'll see the Interact icon showing where the cache is buried.
NOTE: I have numbered the survival caches from southwest to northeast, assuming you pick them up as you go along. If you wait until discovering the Explorer Satchel that marks the caches on your in-game map, you'll probably end up retrieving them in reverse order.
As Lara starts up the path beyond the stream, a brief cutscene shows her noticing and remarking on tire tracks in the snow.
OBJECTIVE: Follow the Tracks up the Mountain
If you like, you can kill the deer that appears in the cutscene for hides and antlers, and collect hardwood, herbs, and feathers in this area. (screenshot) Just don't run after the deer if it heads up the hill, since there are enemies ahead.
CLEARING WITH CUT TREES AND TRACKHOE: Follow the tracks up the hill and take cover in the bushes. There are only 2 men here. If you wait for them to separate, you can kill each one with a silent headshot. (screenshot) Search the bodies and pick up a few other supplies: arrows leaning against the logs where you entered the clearing, a few bundles of hardwood and some mushrooms on the left (north) side, etc.
Stand at a safe distance and shoot the red barrels near the truck to blow up the fuel tank (1/4), initiating the Scorched Earth Challenge. (screenshot) Destroy 3 more of these elsewhere in the level to beat the challenge.
Go behind the trackhoe on the right side to find a salvage crate sitting in a puddle. (screenshot) Then go around the front of the trackhoe, move under the boom where someone has dropped a flare, and then walk up the fallen tree trunk. (screenshot) Cross the chasm ahead by swinging/jumping from branch to branch until you reach a wooden platform above a clearing with several Trinity soldiers. (screenshot)
AREA WITH ROCK OUTCROPS AND PLATFORMS IN THE TREES: If you wait quietly on the platform, the men will soon run out of things to complain about and wander off in separate directions. You can then take out the 3 nearest enemies one at a time. Use silent headshots for the one in the middle with the ski mask and the one on the left. For the guy on the right, you can either use a headshot or jump over to the broken branch above him. Then, when you see the Melee icon above his head, press Y/F/Triangle to drop down on top of him. (screenshots)
Next, head to the north side of this area, hiding in bushes along the way until you can scramble up onto a flat rock about halfway along the north edge of the clearing. You should be able to see the last 3 enemies from here, and if you stay back from the edge, they won't notice you. (There are plenty of other places you can hide, so by all means experiment, but this worked pretty consistently for me.) Wait for the man on the left to move around the side of the rock where you're standing. If he takes too long, you can shoot an arrow into the trees to draw his attention. When he's far enough from the others not to be noticed, take him down with a headshot or melee attack. (screenshots)
You should be able to handle the 2 remaining enemies, but if you have the Finesse skill and want the XP bonus for chaining a sequence of stealth kills, stay hidden and use a poison arrow to kill them both at once. (screenshots)
Go behind the crashed snowplow and under the wooden bridge to find the Archivist Map (1/1) for this area. (screenshot) It doesn't show much yet, but as you advance and more of the in-game map is revealed, it may help. When you're ready to move on, shoot a few climbing arrows into the wooden wall to the right of the snowplow and climb up to the next area. (screenshot)
THE ROAD THROUGH THE FOREST: As you enter this new section of forest, you'll see one man standing directly ahead with his back toward you. Don't shoot him yet, since his buddy is just out of sight to his right. If they have a chance to call out, they'll alert 8 more soldiers in the forest ahead. Instead, sneak forward and take cover behind the small boulder. Then activate Survival Instinct and watch the men as they walk away. As soon as the guy on the left turns from red to yellow, indicating that the other man can't see him, take him out with a silent headshot. (screenshots)
Now work your way around to the right, following behind the second man. Either scramble up on top of the large, flat rock, or climb the tree and jump from there to the rock. From here you can see several more enemies. Two men—the one you just followed and another guy—are standing directly in front of your rock. Three more soldiers are stationed a just down the path. (The remaining men are farther ahead. You can't see them from here.) If you don't want a full-fledged firefight, start by shooting an arrow into the rock wall off to the right to draw one of the men away. As he goes to investigate the noise, shoot another arrow into the wall a little bit farther to the right, so he'll move out of the other guy's line of sight. He's wearing a helmet, so you can't kill him with a headshot, so use a poison arrow. Then take out his companion with a headshot or a stealth attack from above. (screenshots)
Now follow the path around to the right and hide in the bushes to get a good view of the next 3 enemies. The one on the right is a rover, but if you're patient, he'll eventually move back toward the others. Then you can hit all three with a single poison arrow. If you don't have poison arrows, you can use distraction—either with arrows or by throwing bottles or cans—to separate the men and kill them one at a time. (screenshots)
Loot the bodies and move away from this area toward the northeast. Scramble up the stone ledge and move into the bushes, since there are 3 more enemies ahead—a pair of soldiers near the truck and a lone guard at the top of the hill. The first 2 soldiers walk to the back of the truck then turn around and come back. If you wait until they're standing at the front of the truck, you can kill them both with one poison arrow. Or separate them and pick them off as you did earlier. (screenshots)
Finally, take care of the last man, at the top of the hill to the left of the huge gate. His helmet prevents you from getting a headshot. So if you want that stealth bonus, use a poison or explosive arrow. Noise is OK at this point, assuming you killed the rest of his squad first. There are more enemies ahead, but you won't encounter them until you clear the big wall ahead. So although Lara stays crouched, you should be safe to explore this area. (screenshots)
Loot the bodies and then shoot the red barrels on the back of the second truck to blow up the fuel tank (2/4) for the challenge. (screenshot)
Head down the road past the trucks until you come to the wooden bridge. Jump across the gap in the bridge where the snowplow crashed and continue down the road. Just before the closed gate at the end, there's a survival cache (2/3) buried on the right near a skinny, bare tree. If this is your first time through the level, you will not have found the Explorer Satchel that marks the caches on your map, but you can see the Interact icon when you get close to the spot. Dig up the cache and return across the broken bridge to the area with the trucks. (screenshots)
NOTE: If you fall down while attempting to jump across the gap in the bridge, you'll need to return to the northeast side of the clearing and use climbing arrows to get back up to where you left off, just like you did before. (screenshot)
There's no way through the huge, metal gate at the top of the hill, but there is a crack at the base of the wall on the left where you can sneak in. Before you do, grab some cloth from the container on the left and examine the mural (1/1) on the wall to the right. It is Just Rewards from the Soviet Crests series (Russian). (screenshot)
TENTS PITCHED ON FROZEN POND: On the other side of the crack in the wall is the Weather Station Base Camp and a box containing a relic (1/3), a Stamp for sealing letters from the Watcher in the Wood set. (screenshot)
When you've rested and made upgrades, move up the hill toward the base to find a campsite set up on a frozen pond. A low wall of branches prevents you from simply swimming across, but there's a hole in the ice near the second tent. Swim under the water toward that hole. As you do, 2 enemies appear on the ice above. Hold LT/Right Mouse/L2 to remain submerged as you watch the soldiers through the hole. One of them moves off, while the other crouches down to work on an ice-cutting machine. Surface next to him and when you see the Melee icon above his head, press Y/F/Triangle to pull him into the water and drown him. (screenshots)
Stay quiet as you climb out of the water, since the second enemy is still nearby. He's not wearing a helmet, so you can take him out with a silent headshot, or sneak up behind him and use a Melee attack. (screenshots)
NOTE: There is also a second hole in the ice on the far left side of the pond. If you like you can climb out of the water there and sneak around to kill the 2 men.
There are more enemies in the area beyond the red truck, but before taking care of them, move around to the far side of the pond—beyond the rocket-looking thingy, which I assume is some sort of meteorological equipment—to find a strongbox (1/2) containing a FULL-AUTO SHOTGUN PIECE (3/4). (screenshots)
ROAD LEADING UP TO THE BASE: Peek around the red truck to spot 2 enemies ahead and 3 more men just up the road. There are also 2 more soldiers off to the east. We'll get to them shortly. Again, my suggested strategy emphasizes chaining stealth kills for maximum XP, but go ahead and use a more confrontational approach if that's how you like to play. There's plenty of cover and room to maneuver. (screenshots)
If you have the Double Shot and True Shot skills, you can probably take out the first two guys with one volley, but if you'd rather play it safer, start by separating them. Return to the spot where you killed the second enemy, grab a bottle, and toss it into the trees on the other side of the road in front of the truck. This should cause one of the men to investigate, so you can kill him with a silent headshot. Move out in front of the truck and shoot the second man the same way. (screenshots)
Now use a poison arrow to take out the 3 men clustered around the map of Yamatai (an Easter egg referencing TOMB RAIDER 2013). If you don't have a poison arrow, use distraction to separate them. Even if you have Double or Triple Shot, one of the guys is wearing a helmet, so he's immune to headshots. (screenshots)
Move across the road into the bushes, near where the first two men were standing. From here, you can spot the second-to-last enemy standing in the forest ahead. Kill him with a silent headshot as well. Head forward between the trees and rocks to where he was standing. Then turn left to spot the last enemy working on one of the trucks. If you manage to kill him before he notices you, this should unlock a nice XP bonus, especially if you have the Finesse skill. (screenshots)
Now you're free to explore. Start by looting the bodies, picking up arrows and ammo scattered here and there, and shooting the red barrels to explode another fuel tank (3/4) for the Scorched Earth Challenge. (screenshot) The last truck is found much later in the level, so don't stress yourself trying to find it here.
The third survival cache (3/3) is buried on the east side of the forest, near the edge of the cliff. If you stand facing the truck where you killed that last enemy, then turn around, the cache is almost directly in front of you. It's at the left end of the barbed-wire fence that runs along the cliffside. Even if you can't see the flashing light, once you're standing near the cache, the Interact icon should appear. (screenshots)
There is also another strongbox (2/2) at the bottom of the hill near the big, metal gate. (screenshot) Inside is another FULL-AUTO SHOTGUN PIECE (4/4). If you have all the parts and want to unlock the weapon, you can return to the Weather Station Base Camp by going back to the frozen pond and jumping over the log barrier. (screenshot)
NOTE: If, like me, you rely heavily on poison arrows for taking out small groups of enemies, you may want to check your inventory and make sure you have plenty of mushrooms, wood, and feathers before moving on. When I got to this point, I was running a little low, so I used the base camp to fast travel back to the Siberian Wilderness or Geothermal Valley in order to gather supplies. There's a tough combat sequence coming up, where poison arrows will be very handy.
OBJECTIVE: Enter the Weather Station
ENTERING THE OLD SOVIET WEATHER STATION: When you're ready, head up the metal stairs toward the large building with the dome. Take a little detour down the stairs to the large platform (helipad?) on the right to find a container of cloth behind some boxes. At the top of the stairs there's a document (1/4), The Ordeal from the Operational Report series, sitting on a crate just to the left of the door, which doesn't open. There's also a relic (2/3), a Reliquary Pendant from the Watcher in the Woods set, behind this building (Greek). (screenshots)
Return to the front of the building, go up one more short flight of stairs, and then climb the yellow ladder to the catwalk above. At the end of this walkway is another relic (3/3), an Engraved Casing, also from the Watcher in the Woods set. Examine it and then enter the building. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Search the Weather Station
In the main room on the lower level there's a another container of cloth and a document (2/4) sitting on a table near the window. It is The Strength of Faith from Ana's Research Notes. If you're following the story, do not skip this one. Enter the small room in the north corner to find another document (3/4), Danger from Jonah's Radio Calls to Lara. Climb the ladder in the opposite corner to reach the room under the dome and trigger a short cutscene: Lara retrieves the Atlas then sees Konstantin interrogating Jonah on a video monitor. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Enter the Prison Block
FROM THE WEATHER STATION TO THE PRISON BLOCK: After the cutscene, Lara is standing inside the dome, looking out over the gulag. Jump down onto the metal ledge, then the ledge below that one. Follow it to the end. If you like, you can shoot the soldier standing in front of the building below. (This makes things easier when you reach that area, but you won't be able to steal his stuff if he falls over the edge.) Then slide down the zip line. When Lara reaches the end of the line, she automatically lets go and grabs onto the gondola car. You may need to press Interact to keep her from losing her grip. Climb then jump to the left to grab the horizontal girder. Continue climbing to the left until you can drop onto the deck near where the soldier was standing. (screenshots)
Go down the stairs and jump across the gap onto the wooden platform built onto the side of the mountain. Pick up some arrows if you need them. Now grapple-swing across the next wide gap. Lara grabs a horizontal branch, swings forward into the next building, and then crashes through the floor into the room below. (screenshots)
Jump from the wooden ramp to grab the white, painted beam with the orange flag. The beam gives way, and Lara swings down, jumps forward, and grabs a pipe, which then swings around depositing her on a metal girder. Walk toward the yellow ladder but don't expect to get too far. The girder collapses and Lara drops into a water tank. Climb out of the water on the wooden pallet and scramble up onto the ledge above. (screenshots)
Drop down onto the walkway below and follow it forward. Vault over the girder blocking the path. Move down the sloping roof and across a ledge made of metal grating. Then jump forward to grab the horizontal bar and swing over to the next roof. (Alternatively, after climbing out of the water tower, drop down into the area below, pick up some arrows leaning against one of the buildings and continue forward. Climb the yellow ladder to get onto the roof where you would end up if you took the high route.) Shoot the guard on the water tower ahead. Then ride the zip line down to where he was standing. Loot the body and go around the back of the tower to find the Explorer Satchel (1/1) for this area. (screenshots)
NOTE: If you followed this walkthrough, you'll already have found the 3 survival caches. If not, the satchel will reveal them on your map. When you reach the next base camp, you can then fast travel to the Weather Station camp and backtrack for the caches.
Before sliding down the next zip line, look over the edge to spot the truck with the last fuel tank (4/4) for the Scorched Earth Challenge. Shoot the red barrels next to the truck to blow up the tank and complete the challenge for XP and 2,000 Expedition Credits. Then slide down the zip line into the building. (screenshots)
OBJECTIVE: Enter the Prison Block
INSIDE THE PRISON: Before going off in search of Jonah, turn around and head down the stairs to the lower level. Make a U-turn to the left to find the last document (4/4), Protector from the Radio Calls series. (screenshots)
Return up the stairs and continue forward to trigger a cutscene in which Lara attempts to rescue Jonah from Konstantin, only to have the fanatic stab her friend and leave him for dead. Lara then leaves Jonah in the care of some escaped Remnant prisoners and goes off to continue her fight against Trinity.
OBJECTIVE: Repel the Trinity Attackers
After the cutscene, drop down off the ledge to find the Soviet Facility Base Camp. If you rest here, you'll unlock one of the Camp Journals III documents, All in Good Time. (screenshot)
NOTE: The situation seems urgent, but if you want to, you can use the camp to fast travel back to the first camp in this level to get any items you may have missed. You can also revisit other base camps to collect supplies if necessary.
FIGHTING YOUR WAY OUT OF THE GULAG: When you're ready to engage the enemy, enter the building and loot the supply box and salvage crate just inside. Move farther in and top up your oil flask using the yellow oil can. Then squeeze through the partially open door. Run forward and take cover behind the green, metal thingy as Trinity soldiers break down the door ahead. Use your shotgun to kill the first 2 soldiers, who rush you one at a time. Replenish your shotgun ammo here and loot the bodies. (screenshots)
Shoot out the spotlight in the next room to make things a little easier. As you pass through the doorway, someone throws a grenade down the stairs at Lara. Take cover behind the box in the middle of the room and grab some more shotgun ammo. Then crack open the salvage crate in the corner and continue up the stairs. (screenshots)
Turn left and sprint down the hallway as a Trinity helicopter opens fire, chasing you along. The gunfire causes an explosion, temporarily stunning Lara and blocking the passage behind you so you can't retreat. When you gather your wits, continue running. In the next room, veer to the left and take cover behind another green, metal barrier, where there's a box of rifle ammo. Two men approach from the hallway ahead. You may be able to kill them both by shooting the red fuel barrel in the doorway. If necessary, finish off any survivors. Advance a little farther and shoot another soldier who comes charging toward you from the next room. Search the bodies and pick up hardwood and herbs, plus more rifle ammo and a box of random supplies in the next hallway. (screenshots)
Continue around the next corner to trigger a short cutscene: A couple of Trinity soldiers in ski masks toss smoke bombs and grenades at Lara. She manages to escape when a grenade destroys the floor where she's standing, and she falls into a pool below. (screenshots)
LARGE ROOM WITH WATER BENEATH THE FLOOR: Dive down and swim through the hole in the wall into a pool beneath the floor of a large room. There are 8 Trinity soldiers above. You must kill them all in order to escape. Start by swimming forward to the large opening just ahead. Hold LT/Right Mouse/L2 to stay underwater until there's only one soldier standing above the opening. When you see the Melee icon above his head, press Y/F/Triangle to drag him into the water and drown him. (screenshots)
There are several holes in the ceiling, and the room above is full of smoke. Use this to your advantage. Pick a hole somewhere on the other side of the room, swim toward it, and surface cautiously. If you see a red triangle icon above, this means an enemy is aware of Lara's presence and will shoot her if he gets line of sight. So don't climb out there. Instead, quickly change direction and choose another opening. Remember, you have the rebreather, so there's no hurry. Take your time and stay cool. (screenshots)
If you like a more aggressive fight, there is some cover in the room above and plenty of items you can use to craft improvised explosives. Also, you can see enemies using Survival Instinct, but if you keep moving, they'll have trouble spotting you. If things get rough, you can always return to the water and pop up on the other side of the room.
If you want to search the enemies' bodies for salvage and such, either do it quickly as you go or leave one man alive at the end. As soon as you've killed the last Trinity soldier, a cutscene kicks in and the level is over.
REVISITING THIS AREA LATER IN THE GAME
It's possible to get 100% completion on your first pass through this level, but if you missed anything, check the Research Base Collectibles Guide for tips.
BUG NOTE: Beware of a possible bug in which an invisible floor prevents Lara from going back down the stairs in the prison area near the Soviet Facility Base Camp. If you return to retrieve document #4 or blow up the last truck for the challenge, it's possible to get stuck here. I recommend switching save slots before attempting to do this, just in case. As far as I know, this bug only occurs on Xbox One and Xbox 360. If you're playing on Xbox One, you can load a backup save or last campsite save by opening the Load Game menu, holding both trigger buttons, then selecting a backup save or last campsite save. That should get you clear. If you're playing on 360, there's no such option, but this video by Earl Real shows a possible solution, in which you grapple-jump Lara into an out-of-bounds area, from which you can then reach the base camp. Like I always say, fight bugs with bugs!
†UPDATE HISTORY: 2/13/16 - First draft of walkthrough posted online.
6/18/16 - Added separate Collectibles Guide and PC save files, marked challenge item locations on the map, and made a few minor tweaks to the walkthrough.
10/11/16 - Added PS4 controls.
2/22/19 - Added bug note
WAS THIS WALKTHROUGH HELPFUL? If not, I apologize and invite you to contact me with any questions. If you need help right away, I recommend the Lara Croft Online forums (laracroftonline.net), the Square Enix Tomb Raider Forum or any of the other message boards listed at tombraiders.net/stella/community.html. If this site was useful, please consider supporting it financially or in other ways. For details, visit tombraiders.net/stella/support.html. As always, I welcome your corrections/suggestions. Thank you!
Stella's Tomb Raider Site: tombraiders.net.