Tomb Raider was on the top of my list to play at this years Eurogamer Expo, as soon as the doors opened it was the first place I headed for, tucked away in the 18+ area it was nice to get straight onto a machine and play.
The demo was on the X-Box 360, so after familiarising myself once again with the black handheld device with buttons in front of me (keyboard and mouse being my usual gaming weapon of choice) I jumped straight into the game. The demo allows the player to explore what feels like a ‘tutorial’ type level. The level is set on an island and surrounded by jungle, the stormy conditions have led Lara to be shipwrecked and injured, she is alone and must survive, as well as locate her fellow crew members who seem to have disappeared.
Once you have the hang of the controls (which are amazingly simple but effective) you make your way to your first base camp (save point), the usual running, jumping and climbing aside it’s a nice opportunity to familiarise yourself with the game play and your surroundings. From here you learn a couple of more useful survival techniques, including navigating terrain safely (climbing, crossing beams, using the map) and hunting (collecting and using a bow and arrow from a hanging corpse). You must then hunt animals for food, nearby are some unlucky deer, it took some practice at aiming but was satisfying when the target hit home (once in the neck and once in the backside).
Once food was acquired you made your way back to base camp, a walkie-talkie reveals the next clue the whereabouts of your fellow crew members. The demo ends here with a cut scene, which then leads nicely into the trailer. The demo was just a small but satisfying taster of things to come for Tomb Raider. The demo left me wanting to play more and I’m now looking forward to this being released next year, it looks to be shaping up nicely. The new look and game play already feel different, and better, than previous offerings from Crystal Dynamics (although I still have a major soft spot for Anniversary).
The graphics were brilliant, I really enjoyed the stormy weather for part of the demo as it really added to the realism and atmosphere of the game. The surrounding jungle area did indeed have that ‘Lost’ feel about it, more so with the crashed plane dangling precariously on a cliff side. Even though I feel this will be more survival adventure rather than archaeological expedition (I may yet be proven wrong, naturally) I’m still looking forward to this new look and feel Tomb Raider.
On a rather random end note, when I saw the corpse hanging from the tree in the clearing, it was actually less shock and awe and more “Huh, just like on Monkey Island” (Ed – You bring everything back to Monkey Island).
Tomb Raider is released on the 5th March 2013.
Game synopsis below from Crystal Dynamics:
“Tomb Raider explores the intense and gritty origin story of Lara Croft and her ascent from a frightened young woman to a hardened survivor. Armed only with raw instincts and the ability to push beyond the limits of human endurance, Lara must fight to unravel the dark history of a forgotten island to escape its relentless hold.”
In case you missed it, or maybe forgot where this franchise all began, check out one of my older blog posts, Tomb Raider: A Brief History. Thanks for looking.