E3 Quick Play: Tomb Raider

Lara croft is back and about to get the same treatment as Batman – a reboot, but can you bare to wait it out, should you wait it out, or will it all be dashed at the last hurdle. While we can’t answer all those questions, we can tell you what we think after some behind closed doors action at this year’s E3 with the new game.

Read on to find out whether the posh girl from England is still worth waiting for.

Name

Tomb Raider

What platform is it on?

Xbox 360, PS3, PC

When's it due out?

Christmas 2012

What other game is it like?

Any previous Tomb Raider game, Uncharted series

Does it use any new tech like 3D, PlayStation Move, or Kinect for Xbox 360?

No

The pitch

“Forget everything you know about TOMB RAIDER, we are exploring things that have never been done before in this game,” said Darrell Gallagher, Head of Studio, Crystal Dynamics. “This is an origins story that creates Lara Croft and takes her on a character defining journey like no other.”

The storyline

‘After a brutal storm destroys the boat she was travelling on, 
a frightened young woman is left washed ashore on an unknown beach. 
On her own but not alone she has only one goal, to survive.’

Here begins the first adventure for a young and inexperienced Lara Croft in a story which charts the journey of an ordinary woman who finds out just how far she must go in order to stay alive.

Trailers, demoes, and video

Our first impressions

We came to enjoy Tomb Raider twice at E3 this year, once in the Microsoft press conference, and a second time with the developers Crystal Dynamics in a behind closed doors briefing.

Both times we weren’t able to get our own hands on the controller, however both times key members of the development team had the reigns (we probably would have died anyway) showing us just some of the treats in store when the game eventually comes out in late 2012 barring any delays. 

In the on stage walkthrough set near the start of the game, Lara Croft finds herself marooned on an island and hanging upside down presumably captured by some guy keen to eat her. Through a series of puzzles and quick button presses she escapes and we can all breath a sigh of relief.

A couple of ours later and we find ourselves in a our behind closed doors session which lasts around 20 minutes (sadly no photography). Here we find out plenty more details to share with you.

Yes she is marooned. No she isn’t alone, but she is slightly weaker and not as confident as in previous games. A reboot really means going back to the beginning and that means Lara just isn’t so sure of herself as she has perhaps been in the past. 

In the level we were shown the captain of the ship (turns out he is the dude that drops her in the pre E3 game trailer) was struggling to live and Ms Croft needed to climb to a high mountain to get some medical supplies.

Like Elder Scrolls V, anything you see in the game you can get to with an incredibly open game play and feel. That's about 2 miles we are told confidently. There are multiple ways to complete a level, and at times it feels very Zelda like, while at the same time offering hints of Half-Life 2 and it’s physics based puzzles.

At the heart of the experience is something the developers are calling Basecamp and this really is a home area that allows you to manage your inventory, skills and weapons and teleport to other areas of the island quickly. 

Back in the game and there is a strong Uncharted feel to it, or should that be Tomb Raider considering it came first, and expect to do lots of jumping.

The village level we were walked through including plenty of jumping, all the way up to a cave where there was some medicine and our demo man had to fight off wolves at the same time. Not invisible, when Lara is hurt her vision blurs. 

Crystal Dynamics tell us there are three core pillars to the gameplay; Smarts, Action, and Desperation and you can expect those belief systems to come into play.

Lara can die, she does get to fight people and animals, and you will need to work out puzzles that are greater than just pushing a switch and running to a door in a set time. You'll also need to be quick on the buttons as certain elements require quick reactions. 

The levels see you working with the captain of the ship to go off around the island to find radios, other crewmates, and completing other tasks. 

The only problem we can see with Tomb Raider is that we’ve still got a long time to wait, like a really long time.

Still if the rest of the game lives up to what we’ve seen so far, it’s going to be a cracker.

Please note

The E3 games convention is a fantastic chance to see the latest games due out over the coming year, as well as, letting us get a glimpse into what is going to be the big titles and the ones to avoid like the plague.

The big problem however is that for most of the titles that glimpse is, well, just that. At the show you'll get to play a level here or a multiplayer map there or even have a product manager walk you through a specific level.

So with that in mind we present you with our Quick Play.

What we've done is broken down the key facts you need to know and then given you our first impressions based on around 15 minutes of gaming. For us that 15 minutes isn't enough to do a First Look review or even a review. How can you rate a game that offers over 30 hours of gaming on just 15 minutes of play? However it should hopefully give you an idea, a feeling, a notion, of what to expect come launch day.



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