Shadows of the Tomb Raider Hands On Preview
On the last day of E3 2018, I was able to get some time with the next installment of Crystal Dynamic’s Tomb Raider series, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
The demo has Lara exploring a Mayan temple that has been submerged underwater for thousands of years. The controls haven’t changed from the last two Tomb Raider games, so anyone who has played those will feel right at home.
First off, the game looks gorgeous. All the characters retain the same fidelity from the previous titles, but with bigger crowds and more detailed environments to roam around in, it makes the world feel that much more visually cohesive and great to look at.
As Lara makes her way through the temple, the game offers hints and context clues within the environment to help guide players through the labyrinthine puzzles. Walls and objects that are interactable have a white surface and are easy to distinguish from the rest of the area.
The death animations are just as brutal as the last two games, almost making me want to apologize to Lara for screwing up. The pressure is on as you make your way through levels, if for no other reason than not wanting to see Lara suffer an agonizing death.
Lara is far more confident in her abilities this time around, so unlike the last two games we don’t have to meander through Lara “finding herself”, and she gets down and dirty right from the get go. After solving some rope and lever puzzles in the temple, Lara is ambushed by the Trinity organization, the same antagonists from the last two games, and we are thrust into the middle of combat. Lara is able to hide in the jungle brush to sneak up on her enemies. Her enemies will react as well, seeing their comrades falling one by one, will begin to act recklessly and play right into her hands.
Once stealth was no longer an option, I took a weapon, and matters, into my own hands. Hiding behind cover, shooting explosive barrels, and darting around the field to take out Trinity’s goons, some of which were clad in armor and harder to kill, I made my way through the wave of enemies and saw a quick cutscene showing some of the trials and tribulations that await Lara. Through a series of events, Lara may have unwittingly kickstarted the apocalypse, and chaos consumes the world around her. Did she do the right thing? Can she right the wrongs she has caused? Lara is no Superman either, she can fail, and seeing those failures really connect you to her plight. As the town Lara is hiding in becomes engulfed in a massive tsunami, she tries to save a child hanging for his life from a building, as his mother begs for him to come closer. Lara moves as quick as she can to save the child, but she is too late and the child falls into the rapids below. The look on her face perfectly conveys the situation. This may be all her fault, and people are suffering because of it.
Lara’s journey will not be an easy one, but it looks to be another great entry in the franchise from the team that helped bring Lara into the modern era.