E3 2011: Tomb Raider First Impressions Preview

We've seen Lara's new look, but now we learn a bit more about the gameplay in this E3 demo.

The Microsoft press conference starts things off with a bang this year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo with another action-packed demo of Modern Warfare 3, but following in its wake was a look at Crystal Dynamic's reboot of the franchise Tomb Raider. The CGI trailer that was released last week featured a younger, 21-year-old Lara Croft on a voyage out at sea. Things don't go according to plan and Lara winds up shipwrecked on a mysterious island. To watch the demo, it is the second presentation of the Microsoft press conference.

In the demo--which was the beginning of the game--we find that Lara has been captured and is dangling upside down in an underground cavern. It's obvious she isn't the first prisoner, as she swings back and forth in an attempt to free herself. A fire burns nearby so she's able to come in contact with it to burn the rope that has her bound. She tumbles to the floor of the cavern, which isn't a short drop, and when she sits up, we noticed that she has been impaled by wooden stake. Her vision blurs and specks of blood are on screen to simulate her disorientation and pain. An X button appeared onscreen, which was pushed repeatedly for her to pull it out. It was a little hard to watch as Lara yanked the stick out of her gut, but being the tough young woman that she is, she did it and continued on, clutching her side.

Through the underground cave that was littered with debris and morbid miscellaneous items, she came across a dead body that had been bound by the wrists, dangling several feet above ground. It's clear that Lara recognizes this person but presses on because this is about survival, and she has no time to stop and mourn the dead. Lara grabs a torch in the room and makes her way through the cave, squeezing through tight cracks and lighting sconces along the way. Even injured, she's able to jump onto a platform and pull herself up. However, her escape is interrupted when a native decorated in face paint--likely one of her captors--grabs her leg and tries to drag her back. The LS button appeared, indicating that we had to wiggle it back and forth to escape. Lara does eventually give him a good kick in the face and a large rock falls between them but she keeps going. The entire experience was intense and cinematic. With the tight camera angles, Lara's convincing voice acting, and her pained movements, the struggle that she was going through was all emphasized.

As she found her way into a flooded cave, she was faced with a puzzle of some kind, involving a metal cage and some flaming barrels. Here, we were introduced to her survival instincts that sucked the color of the environment, highlighting key objects that would help her move forward. She pushed several barrels into the water and followed the water current, but the cavern was quickly crumbling around her. As she was running, rocks were breaking away and falling around her; thus, she tripped and slid down a passageway. Here, we caught a glimpse of the Lara that we're used to, as she leapt over chasms and climbed her way toward (what we hope) to freedom. Another island native tried to grab her, but with the LS, she also managed to struggle free and a boulder falls, this time on the pursuer. Her escape came to a dramatic finish as she slipped and almost fell into the abyss, but using the two analog sticks that appeared onscreen, she quickly climbed her way out to emerge into the world above. The camera panned around, and we saw the aftereffects of the storm and her wrecked ship.

The demo ended here, and we were told that Tomb Raider is primarily about survival and will have open environments to explore. It's difficult to find out just exactly how the game plays. We know there are button prompts that appear, so there will be some quick-time events, but how much control you have of Lara is still unclear. It was an impressive first look, even though it was a more scripted experience than we're used to. But having a more character-driven approach isn't necessarily a bad thing, and it will be interesting to learn more about what makes Lara tick. There will be plenty of time to find out more about Lara's new adventure as the game is set to be released in the fall of 2012.

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117 comments
Rheinmetal
Rheinmetal

It's blashemy to bear the same title as the 1996 masterpiece.

Rheinmetal
Rheinmetal

A new TR game! Yeah! Wait...developed by Crystal Dynamics again? the studio that ruined my favourite game? Pass.

superdude100
superdude100

@lloydsta if i knew it was going to upset you so much i would not have said anything. everyones entitled to there own opinion thats why there is a comments box.

wurn
wurn

I like the rawness to the game. Starting from ground level so to speak. Still Lara just tighter.

Dominic_18
Dominic_18

i hope its released on Feb or the holiday season next year , i hate when the cool games are released on oct , nov and dec , "which i rarely play on my xbox because of my tests and exams x.x'

terminator661
terminator661

my problem with the other tomb raider's were the combat, it was just plain boring. The puzzles and everything were ace but it was just that one thing. But this one looks great, looks fresh and interesting.

JOLIVERW
JOLIVERW

Phil-teh-Pirate There are going to be three games in this reboot. But yes, at the end of the 'trilogy' connecting them to the original games would be nice. :)

vadagar1
vadagar1

Tomb raider I CHOOSE YOUUUU.......

Dominic_18
Dominic_18

why all the cool games have to be released at oct or next year...as 'studfly' said ' this game will be14 to 15 hours, we would be lucky to get 10 hours to finish the game' and he's right not just tomb rider all the games are like that

dragon_favor01
dragon_favor01

I want to buy this game... looks better than evar!!!

studfly
studfly

Looks really good, but maramsp their is no way this game will be14 to 15 hours... we would be lucky to get 10 hours to finish the game.

Wensea10
Wensea10

it looks like this game will have twice as much action

maramsp
maramsp

This sure looks good.. But.. As mentioned before, will this play good. And my doubts are.. Trend nowadays is to make a game that can be beaten in 7 to 8 hours. I seriously hope this game will take at least 14 to 15 hours for me to complete...

Steakface
Steakface

Tomb Raider is no longer a trend-setter, but a trend-follower.

Steakface
Steakface

@ Gunathar: Yeah, because we all know that no girl anywhere has big boobs... honestly, it's okay to have perfectly-toned, hairless and muscular male bodies, but feature a woman with more than a C-cup and people are crying about those poor objectified women. Hollywood is the same way; when was the last time you saw a curvy female lead with big boobs? It's discrimination and hypocrisy considering that all women in movies and games have the same cookie-cutter 12-year-old boy physique these days.

Gunathar
Gunathar

Will this be the best. Remake. Ever? Oh yeah, and finally Lara is realistic!

smtgfx
smtgfx

Interesting and based on what I've seen the game looks good...now will it play well? That is the biggest question. So is this a new laura or what?

eliebaz
eliebaz

my most anticipated game, and i must add a great E3 this year :) a hell of amazing games

evil_devil_mons
evil_devil_mons

@towfiqi dude...what are you sayin...she is damn hot

towfiqi
towfiqi

The new Lara Croft is more "square'ish" and cute, I liked the previous foxy one.. she was hotter than this one...

chyng85
chyng85

Climb, jump, shoot!!!~

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

I think... This games very last level should be the first level from Tomb Raider 1. That is all.

devrindare
devrindare

yes this trailer gives the new edge and several hope to the Tomb Raider franchise. I hope that they deliver the high level of adventure in this game what they promised in the trailer

chibi-acer
chibi-acer

This was the second most memorable trailer for me, after Overstrike (well, there was also the Far Cry 3 demo, but I'm trying to forget the meaning of insanity...) I'm excited for Uncharted 3 as well, but the new Tomb Raider came out on top, IMO. It's definitely grittier, and a bit more cinematic. Either way, I'm getting em both. ^_^

matrixian
matrixian

This is the first time that I'm interested in a Tomb Raider game. I really like Lara's new look, she's now more human and relatable. The gameplay demo from the Microsoft conference was great (it's on youtube also).

Bobzfamily
Bobzfamily

As others have stated, easily what I find myself most excited for next year. And the franchise desperately needs a good game to redeem itself for the mistakes of the past decade.

finalserenade75
finalserenade75

My most anticipated title of 2012 by miles, even when Hitman 5 is on the door. I love Hitman, but this game and what I've read about it thus far just too perfect to be true.

the09system
the09system

So far....THIS is my most anticipated game of 2012. I stated this the first time I saw Lara's new look, and I'll state it again: They FINALLY made Lara's face look more Human.

SeptuagintXXX
SeptuagintXXX

Instead of calling it Tomb Raider they should call it Grave Robber. Instead of calling it X box they should call it Chi Cube. Instead of Play Station they should call it Entertainment Depot. Sega does what Nintendon't!!!! I have opinions. Hear them!

Crypto145
Crypto145

At least this trailer was longer than Squenix's FF trailer.

Gen007
Gen007

@Sepewrath she dosen't just look younger but like a whole new person. If i showed you a picture of me now and ten years ago you would be able to tell it was me. Younger but me. They purposely changed her look probably because they probably feel it will sell better if she looks even more like jailbait. Changes like these make me worry about the game because it shows that they are sacrificing things in order to try and appeal to a wider audience which may end up hurting the overall exp. It still looks good though.

TheVGamer
TheVGamer

@jeffbordonaro It's baffling how easy people forget games. Either that or they never played them so they dismiss it as outdated or "bad". The first TR was quite an accomplishment. Strong female character, realistic platforming and it was, really, one of the first 3D games. What did Uncharted accomplish? Didn't revolutionize, but instead, learned from the best. So now, TR can learn what UC got right AND revolutionize. At least I hope.

thefrayl
thefrayl

This game looks damned impressive. The press conference preview looked amazing. I look forward to it!

xgalacticax
xgalacticax

Only Sony fanboys can be so ignorant, thinking that Tomb Raider ripped-off Uncharted. I remember seeing demos of the first Uncharted game and thinking it was just Tomb Raider with a man. I'm glad to see Uncharted has evolved to become a great franchise even though the Tomb Raider games became stale after a while. But Tomb Raider should be given the respect that it's due. Without it, there'd be no such thing as Uncharted....and many other good games. I'm very impressed by the game play movie of this new one though. Very very impressed. The graphics are top notch...and it looks like it's changed quite a lot.

Sepewrath
Sepewrath

@Gen007 Because she's like 10yrs younger, they couldn't possibly make her look the same and have her be younger. Game looks great, they definitely took some cues from Uncharted in regards to the cinematic approach to the genre. I just hope they don't go nuts with the QTE's, I understand why they are doing it, to add to the visceral(which is turning out great) nature of the game, but if they do it too much, it'll lose its flare.

node1011
node1011

Timed events? Scripted button press game play? So far this title is not sounding good. I get the impression that the story came first and the game play was molded around the story... again. Miss the old days when game play mattered more than graphics and story. Love tomb raiding, but not a fan of how game developers have gotten lazy and use story with timed events as filler to lengthen the game and/or give the illusion of a full meal. Games are games, and by definition gameplay should always be paramount, above all else. Please stop with timed events and scripted button press events, they are boring, and expose the inability of designers to come up with new and interesting gameplay.

node1011
node1011

Timed events? Scripted button press game play? So far this title is not sounding good. I get the impression that the story came first and the game play was molded around the story... again. Miss the old days when game play mattered more than graphics and story. Love tomb raiding, but not a fan of how game developers have gotten lazy and use story with timed events as filler to lengthen the game and/or give the illusion of a full meal. Games are games, and by definition gameplay should always be paramount, above all else. Please stop with timed events and scripted button press events, they are boring, and expose the inability of designers to come up with new and interesting gameplay.

node1011
node1011

Timed events? Scripted button press game play? So far this title is not sounding good. I get the impression that the story came first and the game play was molded around the story... again. Miss the old days when game play mattered more than graphics and story. Love tomb raiding, but not a fan of how game developers have gotten lazy and use story with timed events as filler to lengthen the game and/or give the illusion of a full meal. Games are games, and by definition gameplay should always be paramount, above all else. Please stop with timed events and scripted button press events, they are boring, and expose the inability of designers to come up with new and interesting gameplay.

comb5
comb5

@Sophia I actually didn't read the article, but thanks for letting me know that. lol. Never been a Tomb Raider fan, I'm just blown away every time Square Enix shows off videos like this.

sammoth
sammoth

@HiImUPSMan Wow this is why I support Birth Control. Do us all a favor before you make a bigger fool of yourself and stop posting non-facts.

Np_Pro
Np_Pro

I would have liked to see something other than QTEs...not setting a promising standard for the game, but I won't pass judgement yet.

Big_Pecks
Big_Pecks

Never played a Tomb Raider game and I've never had any interest, until now. Game looks great so far.

Gen007
Gen007

IDK am i alone in not digging the new look they gave her. I mean she had an iconic look before i could tell it was lara croft anywhere and now well she looks completely different. Not that she looks bad its just why ditch the classic look.

lloydsta
lloydsta

please state why you thumb down my opinion's, i love to see your opinion. I have not taken sides. i know uncharted is a great game, I never said it wasn't.

lloydsta
lloydsta

@superdude100 and everybody else, how can you compare a game that hasn't been finished against a game that has been around for a while. unless your comparing uncharted to the old lara croft games, if thats the case, obviously uncharted is going to look better and play better. Just a word of advice, get your facts right before making such an groundless idiotic statement. Just wait for the game to come out play it or read the reviews before saying whether its good or not.