Lara Croft is back in Rise of the Tomb Raider and her hair looks better than ever. Microsoft gave us a lengthy 20 minute hands-off preview today, showing off the evolution of Lara and the new skills she’s picked up since the previous game. With Rise of the Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics mentioned that Lara’s story in this one was largely inspired by the two climbers who first conquered Mount Everest.
The chapter featured in the demo had Lara Croft exploring Siberia, in search of a lost city. Her enemies this time around are from an organization that calls itself Trinity. Like Lara, Trinity is also in search of this lost nation and she’s determined to locate it before them. In the demo, she’s been separated from her old friend Jonah, and needs to find shelter to set up a fire as soon as possible. The first evident change in the game is Lara’s ability to collect wood from broken branches in the area.
Resource collection will play a vital role in the game as the materials that you collect can be used to upgrade Lara’s weapons and craft medicine to restore her health. For instance, Lara can craft poison arrows that emit a cloud of poisonous gas when shot. In the demo, this came in especially handy against small groups of enemies. Lara’s also picked up a few guerrilla tactics in that she can now craft bombs to be thrown at enemies or to distract them. The bow was touted as one of the more important weapons in the game as Lara could shoot off arrows to either kill or distract her foes.
Not only that, Lara now has the ability to climb up trees and swim deep underwater to lay in hiding before executing a sneak attack on her enemies. There seems to be a much larger focus on stealth in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and the game seems all the better for it. As mentioned above, Lara can also craft medicine to restore her health. From the looks of the demo, it seems that your health will no longer regenerate over time. Instead, Lara will have to rely on collecting herbs and making sure that she has a good supply of medicine on hand in order to stay alive.
During the demo, there was also a chase sequence in which Lara had to escape from a large bear. It’s here that the game’s snow physics really start to come into play. Running in deep snow greatly hampers Lara’s progress and speed, and this could potentially cause her to get killed by the bear. QTEs also make a return in Rise of the Tomb Raider, and their execution appears to be largely similar to how they were in the first game.
The last major thing that was shown off in the demo was a large exploration hub in the in-game world that provides a plethora of optional things for players to do. According to Crystal Dynamics, there will be crypts for you to explore, and many collectibles to hunt down.
Overall, it would appear that Rise of the Tomb Raider has undergone a slight shift in focus in terms of its gameplay. Lara is clearly meant to be played as a more stealthy character rather than a gung-ho chick who just fires guns all the time. Combat has improved remarkably from the first game as the addition of distractions and stealth tactics has made it so much more dynamic. Given the complexity of the combat system and Lara’s gorgeously swaying hair, this title is definitely one to keep an eye out for.
Rise of the Tomb Raider will be made available for the Xbox One on November 10th this year.