Tomb Raider E3 Preview -- Lara's Bumpy Road To Heroine StatusBy Eric Eckstein - Posted Jun 05, 2012
The Tomb Raider reboot is one game I've been keeping a close eye on, and thanks to E3, we were able to see a new side of Lara Croft. Last year's E3 revealed a new, fresh more vulnerable Lara, and already we've seen the other end of the spectrum via the current E3 2012 trailer with her blasting foes with shotguns and putting arrows into the necks of bad guys…but there's still somewhere in the middle that's by far more interesting.
The demo I was part of took place early in the game; Lara's on her own, cold, starving and unsure how to proceed. She's not agile; losing her footing as she attempts to cross a log over a ravine, she's not the adventurer we're familiar with. Instead, she and the player are forced to figure out their next move. With some careful searching, you'll spot a bow and arrow hanging from a corpse above you. With the bow in hand, you can hunt the local wildlife, gutting a deer for survival or fighting off wolves that want a piece of you.
Killing animals, among other actions in the game, earns Lara experience points, allowing her to upgrade her skills and tools at any camp she discovers within the game as she ranks up. Through skills, you can unlock the ability to retrieve shot arrows or locate important plants, or use salvage to upgrade the strength of your tools and weapons. All of these will make Lara a bit more well-rounded, allowing her to take on bigger threats or discover new areas. Seemingly, you'll be able to backtrack to previous base camps in order to find collectibles or unlock passages you couldn't at the time.
The core Tomb Raider mechanic (climb, leap, shimmy) is all in place, along with quicktime events to prevent falls or ward off would-be killers. These QTEs occur during the many cutscenes that help tell the tale of the mysterious island Lara has found herself on, and this will be the closest thing to playing LOST the video game versus actually playing the LOST video games. You'll put torches to flammable objects to clear the way or, has shown in an earlier demo, solve environmental puzzles.
Crystal Dynamics' goal is not only to have different types of gameplay available for action, stealth and survival fans, but to help players walk away with an understanding of who Lara is, and why she is the person we've seen her become. Considering the mature storyline and graphic violence in the game, expect there to be a lot of bumps in the road to heroine but with gameplay this good, Tomb Raider will be worth the journey.