E3 2012: Tomb Raider preview
I had the privilege and opportunity to watch the half hour gameplay demo for Tomb Raider at E3 2012. I’ll be honest, I have never been a fan of the series, and I’ve only ever beaten the original title. With that said, the new Tomb Raider both blew me away and opened my eyes. I’m a sucker for origin stories. Seeing Lara Croft go from a 21-year-old aspiring archeologist into becoming the ‘Tomb Raider’ will be a rewarding experience to both witness and play.
Lara isn’t your average 21-year-old though, even before this game begins; she is both intelligent and athletic. If I was stranded on an island and I stumbled upon a bow and arrows, I certainly won’t know how to use them efficiently. If I had to make platforming-like jumps, I doubt I’d have the air or the upper body strength to do what she can do. I’d be wolf food in no time. That’s the thing though, the things she is capable of doing are humanly possible. I feel that is one of the themes they are hitting on this game — stretching the boundaries of what a human is capable of.
This theme doesn’t only apply to strength of body but also strength of mind. In a scenario where you are shipwrecked, wake up hanging upside down, your friend is dead close by, you’re bloody, hungry, and terrified… would you have the mental stability to realize you need to escape, treat your wounds, eat, and find shelter? What do you use to heal yourself? How do you get food? How do you build a shelter? Can you defend yourself? All of these are issues Lara has to deal with. When an unknown enemy starts killing off your friends, do you have the resolve to actually kill another human being? These series of perils are what harden Lara into becoming exactly what she needs to be to survive this island and her opposition.
Beyond the ideology of Tomb Raider is the actual gameplay. The gameplay reflects these ideologies to the T. You play as Lara from a third-person view point. You’ll find / build shelters, hunt, cook, defend yourself, climb, jump, kill, sneak, salvage, and — of course — solve puzzles. All of these elements make a more RPG-style Tomb Raider game than in the past. You will gain experience and be able to put skill points into different perks. In the demo I watched, the player put a point into arrow retrieval since they are scarce. The salvage aspect lets you find resources on the island that you can use to improve your gear and weapons.
Personally, Square Enix did its job at E3 to get me pumped for a game I never looked twice at — well played. Currently, the game is planned to be released March 5 2013, so there is more than enough time for the excitement to grow and become tortuous until release. This prequel to the Lara Croft saga will show how she goes from being terrified to cross a fallen tree bridge to zip lining while firing a gun to kill mercenaries. Check out the newest trailer below if you haven’t seen it yet.