LaraCroft.Name Goes To E3 - Part 1

It's been an amazing start of summer for the Tomb Raider community when and its fellow webmasters from all over the world were hand picked as part of the Square Enix' E3 2012 Ambassador Program. Not only did we get a chance to see the demo of the new Tomb Raider, but we also conducted very special interviews with the creators of the game. I'm still full of impressions and I miss my new friends, but let me guide you through most memorable moments of this amazing trip!

Tomb Raider Demo, a breath of fresh air

When Tomb Raider live demo presentation began all I wanted to do is spend some time looking at the gorgeous scenery that opened in front of Lara's eyes. I've never seen the environments and the graphics more gorgeous in any other TR game, let alone any other game out there. The ocean waves beat across the shore, exotic birds and animals dominate the wilderness and the dangerous island is there to be conquered. The game literally takes you there, and behind every instict, every ledge and every danger lays adventure.

Lara Croft has come to life in more ways than one. Her steps are not yet steady but full of determination. You can see and lead her through the difficulties that test her strength and her courage. In return she inspires with her spirit of an explorer and her strive to endure. Lara often comments on things that she sees and experiences throughout the game, thus revealing her character. Even her breathing reflects her current state. I often wondered what I would say or do being placed in the same situation, and to me relating to the character makes the whole experience a learning adventure. In the new Tomb Raider Lara will have to make some important choices in order to survive.

The main location in the game is a "living, breathing world". I've only glanced at a bit of the level but it feels that the island presents lots of space for exploration, locating secrets and various collectables. The shroud of mystery surrounds the Dragon's Triangle and we are yet to discover its legends. Lara Croft is not the only person to step on its shores. She hunts and she is being hunted on.

Survival is the biggest theme of the game and Lara would have to adapt environments in her favor. Lara Croft is very resourceful but you can use special Survival Mode in case you don't know where to go. The base camps are scattered around the map where Lara may take few minutes to rest while the player spends experience points to upgrade her character.

The bow now becomes the new signature weapon in the game, which even most hard core Tomb Raiders will grow to love. Not only is it more realistic, but it's also more practical to all the tasks Lara is trying to accomplish. Another amazing innovation is using fire to make your way through the tombs. You can use Lara's salvage skills to gather items in the environment and upgrade some weapons such as her prying axe. That thing comes in handy.

At one point during the demo it started raining, and once again I was amazed of the complexity of physics in the game. Lara's clothes gets wet and dirty and it evolves with her through the storyline. It's about realism, what is logical, what's practical and what makes sense under the circumstances. Jumping in Tomb Raider is enhanced with an air steer correction system, making it more natural. Lara's movements and expressions seem very fluid and realistic.

Elements of adventure, collecting artifacts and upgrades really enhance the new Tomb Raider as a unique game that can be played multiple times. Neither the screenshots nor the trailer compared to the experience of seeing the game in action. Lara's redesigned adventure is something to look forward to.

Tomb Raider takes a step forward to fit new generation of gaming while maintaining the soul of the original. To me Lara Croft has always been a strong yet fragile woman who may become lost to find herself and ways out of difficult situations. Her example inspires to keep going. In my opinion it's the best Tomb Raider yet and it will take the series to a new level. It's truly a cinematic experience which brings you on adventure you are bound to remember. So far, so good.

Square Enix Booth

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Images courtesy of the Square Enix.