While the official launch of Rise of the Tomb Raider may be just a few weeks away, the chance to lay our grubby mitts on Lara Croft’s latest adventure was too good to pass up having adored Crystal Dynamics 2013 reboot.
A combat heavy demo at Gamescom left many fearing the franchise had lost touch with it’s roots, despite assurances from the developers Rise of the Tomb Raider would build on the success of it’s predecessor.
At EGX, Crystal Dynamics seized the opportunity to make good on that promise, sending us scrambling in to The Prophet’s Tomb to engage in some good old fashioned exploration.
Previous trailers and demos had given us a hint of what The Prophet’s Tomb might look like – utilising some of the cut scene footage and shots of the environment to wet our appetites – but to finally be able to explore the crumbling interior gave us the first real opportunity to get a feel for where Rise of the Tomb Raider might be heading.
The playable demo betrayed little however. This is perhaps not surprising though; Tomb Raider reinvigorated the series, so radical changes were always unlikely, but equally those changes that have been made should not be spoilt by giving up their secrets to a handful of gamers at an exhibition – that rather ruins the fun.
What The Prophet’s Tomb did show us however is that the essence of what made the 2013 outing great is still there. Puzzles can challenge, poking around in dark corners leads to further discovery and you can still get lost in your surroundings occasionally – admiring the way beams of light break through cracks in the walls and pierce the gloom. Perhaps it is just as well more elements of the environment are not interactive, or you’d get nothing done and the game’s flow would be broken.
Concerns may still linger over how combat heavy the game may be, but the ability to get hands on with some of the franchise’s most endearing elements should help put any fears to rest. With some screen time for the games antagonists, The Prophet’s Tomb presented a strong demonstration of what Rise of the Tomb Raider is offering whilst at the same time never giving too much away. A tantalizing effort that now makes a few weeks seem like an eternity.
Rise of the Tomb Raider seems very much in keeping with its forerunner, only sleeker and grander in scale. The opportunity to blunder about in the snow may never have been so exciting, which seems like a natural progression of things. In Tomb Raider we saw Lara grow from a naive young lady to something resembling the established Miss Croft of old. If the EGX demo is anything to go by, Rise of the Tomb Raider is going to be a worthy continuation of that story.