On the Friday morning of the Eurogamer Expo I stole away from the of the expo floor to take a look at the new Tomb Raider game. Hidden away from the expo noise, excitement and queues we not only took our first steps into Lara’s past, but also had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Horton of Crystal Dynamics, the Art Director behind this highly anticipated origins story. Want to know more about how you go about redesigning Lara Croft and the world around her? Then watch below:
As part of the interview session I was also treated to an extended version of the Eurogamer demo, and I have to say that I was impressed with what I saw. The game felt much more open than I expected it to be, and though the free roaming element was limited to certain areas within the demo I did enjoy the added element of exploration this brought to the game. The campfire system mentioned in the interview worked well, and the game made good use of landmarks, such as the river to help you to navigate through the ever expanding world. The world itself was as beautiful and detailed as I had expected, and the gameplay flowed seamlessly from in-game action to cinematic scenes with the help of highly detailed quick time events which bring the player right into the action. If you are expecting to watch beautiful scripted scenes mixed in with the gameplay you would be right, if you are expecting just to sit back and relax through these scenes you would be wrong. After seeing the grizzly outcome of your first missed quick time event you may well, like me, find yourself playing this game right on the edge of your seat.
When the first video footage of this game was released, I like many action adventure game fans was worried about apparent similarities between this new Tomb Raider and the Uncharted games. Playing this demo however has thankfully put many of my fears to rest. There was one part close the start of the demo where Lara needed to climb up a piece of wreckage as it falls apart around her (Uncharted train scene anyone?) but thankfully here the similarities seem to end. The game feels a lot less linear than anything Uncharted has given us so far, and the ideas of leveling Lara up and using salvage to upgrade her kit give the game a feel that is quite different from the ‘pick up gun and shoot’ gameplay of Nathan Drake. I am eager to see how successfully these new elements are incorporated into the overall gameplay.
The brutality of this game was also stronger than expected. We have all seen the footage of Lara getting battered and bruised, however it appears that most of the video footage we have seen before now only shows the outcome of when you are getting things right. Fail a challenge or quick time event however, and more often than not Lara will be treated to a fate that is eyewateringly cruel. Whilst getting my head around the controls I had my arm torn off and my face bitten by wolves, I was shot in the leg and then the neck by a bow and at one point I even shot my own face off. One word, ouch.
Overall I was impressed with the new Tomb Raider. The extended demo was not available to play on the show floor at Eurogamer, however if you want to see more of the game you can view a screening of this demo along with a further Q&A from the guys at Eurogamer here.
Until next time,
Tomb Raider set for release on 5th of March 2013
XBox 360, PS3 and PC
Square Enix, Crystal Dynamics