Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition First Look

Eidos and Crystal Dynamics show off their promising revamp of Lara Croft's first adventure.

At this point it should be acknowledged that Menlo Park-based developer Crystal Dynamics brought the Tomb Raider franchise back from the brink. The once-popular series had lost its way after a splashy debut and follow-up that helped usher in the 32-bit console era. Fast-forward to earlier this year, when Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider: Legend hit and reminded everyone that the series was still very viable. To follow up on its success, Crystal Dynamics is going back to the franchise's roots with Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition, a promising retelling of Lara Croft's very first adventure. Though the game was announced earlier this year, the folks at Crystal D hadn't shown off much on it until this week, when we had the chance to have a look at the game in motion.

Before showing off the game, reps from the developer talked about the approach the team is taking with the game. Rather than simply redo the original game with Legend's visuals, the team is taking a more thorough approach to the new game. Citing the method Peter Jackson took for realizing his vision of King Kong--using the original narrative as a framework and retaining the key memorable moments while expanding on them--reps from Crystal Dynamic noted that Anniversary Edition will be much more than a simple update of the original game.

The game will follow the same basic story as the original, so you'll once again be guiding Lara as she's commissioned to retrieve an ancient relic known as a "scion" (no, not the car). As anyone who's played through the original game can tell you, while the gameplay was aces, the story wasn't big on making sense once you started progressing. As a result, Crystal is fleshing out the narrative to offer some clarity on what the heck is going on.

Lara's back, and she's had some work done.

As far as gameplay goes, the level demoed for us showed off the revamped first level of the game, which, as in the original, revolved around a gear puzzle that required you to collect cogs to make an ancient clockwork gear system work. In the new game you'll be doing this in a vast cave made of up of interconnected passages that crisscross each other. More significantly, the rather plain gears that fit into pegs on a wall in the original have been replaced with proper gears carved into a good chunk of the cave wall. The hunt for the cogs also featured the return of familiar animal foes such as wolves, bats, and some Jurassic surprises (more on that later). The cog search also highlighted some very cool retro touches that brought a smile to our faces: Lara's radial inventory wheel is back, as is the simple tune that plays when you discover hidden areas (of which it looks like there will be many). One thing to note about Anniversary Collection's mechanics is that they've been opened up some to include elements introduced in Legend such as the grapple, context-sensitive actions, and the cinematic button-pressing moments.

The demo followed Lara solving the gear puzzle by collecting the missing cogs and using them to activate the different gears. As each one was activated they made it possible to advance deeper into the cave. Once that was sorted, the sassy Brit found herself in the lost valley area that was home to ancient critters such as velociraptors. The sequence in the valley didn't last long--it cut out just at one of the original game's signature moments, the appearance of the T. rex--but it offered enough of a tease to get us very hopeful for where Crystal Dynamics is going with the game.

Crystal Dynamics seems poised to serve up a very cool retelling of the original Tomb Raider.

The visuals in the game share obvious ties to Legend in terms of quality, but there's been a fair amount of work done to Lara's model to ensure she has her classic look from the first game. You'll see the return of her original outfit, complete with dual pistol holsters and blue unitard. Besides her physical appearance, work is being done to marry the fluidity of movement from Legend with some of Lara's signature moves, such as her swan dive. The environments we saw appear to do a fine job of recalling the feel of the original game's significantly more modest locales while offering up a cool cinematic feel and sense of wide-open space. Though we didn't see any human foes, Lara's animal enemies looked considerably more fetching than their 32-bit counterparts. Despite the fact that the PlayStation 2 game demoed for us was still very early in development, the game ran smoothly and looked quite sharp.

The audio in the game takes some getting used to, as one of the key elements of the original game was its solo vibe. As Lara Croft you faced off against the world and often found yourself playing in an oppressive silence, save for a modest assortment of sound effects and occasional pieces of music that would come in during key moments. While Crystal D is attempting to offer those kinds of moments in the experience, it's balancing that with modern expectations, so you can plan on hearing a musical score pop up throughout the adventure. How frequently it will be used is still being sorted out, but it's safe to assume the game won't be as quiet as the original.

Some things just never get old.

Based on what we saw, Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition is shaping up to be a very promising retelling of the original game. As it proved with Legend, Crystal Dynamics seems to get what the series is all about and is once again playing to its strengths. Given how strong Tomb Raider: Legend was, we have high hopes for Crystal Dynamics' second outing with Ms. Croft. Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition is currently slated to ship this spring for the PlayStation Portable, PS2, and PC. While we were shown only the PS2 game, reps mentioned that Anniversary Edition will likely follow the same approach of Legend on the PSP and offer the same content the console game did, as well as some multiplayer features that are still being ironed out. Look for more on the game in the coming weeks.

Written By

Want the latest news about Tomb Raider: Anniversary?

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Discussion

283 comments
Dadriverman
Dadriverman

Why has this game been delayed three times? Sure wish company's would only advertise product that is already done, this waiting crap is why consoles die a slow death.

Mudknot23
Mudknot23

so is it the same mansion when you go to her house as it was in the first game for those who played it?

and19rew82
and19rew82

i played the original tomb raider game and thought it was a really great game, just hope this one hasn't changed it too much it would be good to play an up to date version

jakeboudville
jakeboudville

it's a nice gesture of them to go back to the roots

killered3
killered3

Final Fantasy 7 I confirmed, will NOT be remade. What you saw a tech. demo of next Gen Final Fantasy. Can't for this Tomb Raider.

Crash-Kart
Crash-Kart

Tomb Raider Legend was the best game i played for the time this should be good if not better but i still thinkk legend will be the best but i will have to play this

Reyveign
Reyveign

AceCometh, Square Enix is remaking FFVII for PS3 I believe, make a search. I don't have next gen stuff yet, so having this come out on PS2 is a definate + for me. I can imagine with the multiplayer either... A: They'll milk something in single player to make space for Multi Or... B: They'll completely milk Multi so people would just react as I've seen just now. I personally don't care for the MP part of it. As long as the original story is unchanged and everything still feels familiar (yet still different) I'll be perfectly fine with it.

gunswordfist
gunswordfist

Multiplayer?! Now I'm extremely interested.

01cassidyr
01cassidyr

i think they are gona re-do all the games up 2 tomb raider 4 can't wait 2 c this game and other games 2 come...

Biskit58
Biskit58

i just played legends, and i can't wait for this game to come out!

latejake
latejake

Remember tomb raider dark angel.The controls were bad i hope they re-do that with the tomb raider legends controls. that would be great.Because i bought that one big mistake.was not impress

Bio--
Bio--

Good to see u back lara

abdoubla
abdoubla

all tomb raider for ps1 is superb ,i like play with another story of tomb raider just like ps1 series(adventure)not action(ps2)

01cassidyr
01cassidyr

i bet they are gona remake all the games to were she apparently died in the 4th one in Egypt because we still dont no how she survied...???...

Romperstomper74
Romperstomper74

Oh this game looks brilliant, being a tomb raider fan and owning all the tomb raider titles for the psone and ps2 i cant wait for this edition to come out and play it.

Dadriverman
Dadriverman

Why in the world is this not coming out for the PS3? instead of the PS2.

Elkoman
Elkoman

come on make a 360 version

caneco87
caneco87

Man i hope they make a PS3 version!!!!!!!

13lackfriday
13lackfriday

Looks pretty interesting! But all in all, it look kinda just like a mod for Legends... All the same basic graphics, gameplay, and environments (as far as I can tell) just adapted to retell the original story... But still, I never played the original, so this may be interesting! Edit: Why does she look like Fiona from Shrek in the trailer...?

AceCometh
AceCometh

And no 360 version either. I feel jilted.. sort of. I still have my PS2. Maybe Square Enix will take a hint from this and remake FFVII with graphics like FFXII. I'd buy it and so would a lot of other people.

nastya0391
nastya0391

Frist game wowow, new Graphics WOWOW. PSP version and PC i can not wait. I better star saving.

gatsuragi
gatsuragi

im not so sure about her face though i dont think i like it :roll:

gatsuragi
gatsuragi

the first game had levels this one wont i hope hehehe it will probably have brakes like legend did i hope they have her original house in this one legend had the one from the movie i hope they have the crof maner from the original with the buttler that farts

Raiko101
Raiko101

You're right Robimself. This level is the third or fourth level. The first level had no cogs or anything... Still sounds great. I just hope it's lifespan is greater than that of Legend as that was real fun to play, but seriously short...

davedouble16
davedouble16

I just wish they were making a PS3 version... :twisted: Dave :twisted:

Robimself
Robimself

hang on wasn't the first level of the original tomb raider based in a cave and that level with the dino's about level 3 or 4 i cant remember 100% cos i haven't played it in ages but just a thought...

DaMiGi22863
DaMiGi22863

The 1st Resident Evil has never been redone with the exception of the "Dualshock Vers".It should've been re-released and using the RE 4 engine, that would be awesome..:D

Gouki_13
Gouki_13

re-releasing a classic gem with modern visuals, could this become a trend?? hopefully! why wasn't resident evil 1 re-released on PS2 as well? :'(

krachan
krachan

Man her character model isn't really pretty, her thin arms and tiny knees just look rediculous..

Gogandontas07
Gogandontas07

they're are many good reasons to play the ps2 my friend, FFXII ring any bells, or perhaps the more strikingly obvious tomb raider legend?

strawberryheart
strawberryheart

Yes...yes...YES!!!!!! I can`t wait, maybe a reason to finally play the PS2 again....I just hope they do the rest.

PeteMad
PeteMad

OMG. I am subdued by nostalgia. It's 1996 again with avengence. The first TR made me love my PS1 and I hope this new one will have the same impact. This is a PS2 exclusive so you can bet Eidos and Crystal Dynamics are gonna put their best into it. If they include all the original tunes, I'll be very glad. Time to dust off my PS2 and put it back on duty. :)

barrett_rob
barrett_rob

This won't recieve a lot of love unless it goes muliformat, alot of people changed consoles at christmas.

bodylotion
bodylotion

I loved Tomb Raider 10 years ago and i believe it's my favorite action/adventure game all time. Maybe because i was a lot younger back then, maybe because it was my first Playstation Game but no other adventure ever gave me the feeling Tomb Raider did. The reason why this was far better then all the other Tomb Raider's is because the well made puzzles (well made, not difficult!), the incredible and sometimes creepy sound and exploring ancient tombs and temples. One more thing worth to mention are your enemies, you will not fight tons of humans like in other Tomb Raider games, but you will fight 'simple' animals and creatures like Wolves, Bears and Bat's but also some bigger creatures. Ofcourse there are Human enemies but they are special and are not mindless NPC's. What i try to say is that you confront these enemies in Dialogues etc. Although i'm not sure this one will be that great i'm still going to give it a shot and you people should too...

jfbrittes
jfbrittes

I loved Tomb Raider Legend. It really brought the game back to me. As I was re-playing it last week I was wondering just how great it would be if they made a remake of the first games od the series. It`s like they read my mind! I`m soooooo gonna get it. I only hope they make a remake of TR2 and TR3 aswel. ^_^

datniccah187
datniccah187

I loved Tomb Raider back in the day. The first Tomb Raiders is arguably my favorite strategy game ever made. The 2nd and 3rd kinda fell off, but i loved them non the less. So the Anniversary Edition has got to be good.

_Sam_
_Sam_

I've liked the whole series, so I'm getting this one as well

cannibal127-9
cannibal127-9

The cog puzzle was based in the original's 3rd level. "The Lost Valley".

Philadendron
Philadendron

I'm jealous, too bad it's not coming to the 360. This brings back memories of swearing at the awful controls of the original Tomb Raider as a 12 year old.

VINCEMEDINA
VINCEMEDINA

by what I've seen so far it looks to be avery good game, I hope the game play is just as long if not longer than the original

drewt003
drewt003

hopefully it will be a purchase also made available through the playstation store!

lifeispain
lifeispain

I´m ready to see. I already played Tomb Raider 1, but i´m see and this Lara Croft game have some new moves.... In Tomb Raider 1 no more moves like: climbing, runing,kiling, etc. I´m ready to see, PC VERSION in my Nvidia Geforce 7600 GS

iamreallyelvis
iamreallyelvis

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]