Sunday, 30 September 2012

Hands On Review: Tomb Raider

The Eurogamer Expo provided a hunting demo of Crystal Dynamics upcoming reboot, Tomb Raider. (The demo was on the Xbox 360).

Being a long-time fan of Lara Croft and her adventures, I was definitely looking forward to giving this a go. But was it good? Thankfully, it looks promising enough.

The demo sees us guiding Lara around a stormy jungle-like setting. Finding a fellow crew members backpack, packed with a few essentials, Lara then sets off to find them. You will get to navigate her across high beams, climb a crashed aeroplane and take part in plenty of the acrobatic style manoeuvres that Lara is well known for.

Once you make it to a sheltered area (which will become your first camp), it becomes clear that this shipwrecking business has made Ms. Croft not only tired, wet and beaten, but also rather hungry. The next objective is to retrieve a bow and arrow to use in the next portion of the demo-hunting. You will have to briefly shimmy up and around platforms to make it to the bow, dangling from a decomposing corpse in a tree. Once this is over, this is where the demo's gameplay changes somewhat.

Lara is tasked with hunting deer in her landscape. By pulling back on the left trigger and aiming with the right, Lara will fire a bow into the target. The first arrow I shot went straight through the animals neck, whilst the second went in the front of it's head. However, rather strangely, the animal continued to run around, even though both of those arrows should have been fatal! It took a third and final fatal piercing to the backside to send the animal crashing to the ground though. 

Once the meat has been taken, Lara can continue on her journey. The walkie talkie in her possession has started to pick up a signal, and her fellow survivors are near. Now is the time to make that long, perilous journey to rejoin them. This is where the demo ends, and in truth, I wanted more. It was fun, and engaging. You cannot help but root for Lara when you see her being beaten every step of the way. You want to help her through to the end, and this is the aspect I enjoyed the most. Seeing Lara as something more than a hardy tomb raiding gymnast makes her feel more human.

The graphics are fantastic, and the gameplay feels incredibly fluid, especially as the cut scenes seamlessly blend into the action sequences once they have finished. It may have only been a brief glimpse of what is to come, but Tomb Raider seems to be on the road to a great game. Bring on March 2013!

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