I had the opportunity for a hands on preview of the new Tomb Raider on Xbox 360 (due for a March 5th release) the other night while here at CES in Las Vegas. The new Tomb Raider re-launches and tells the story of Lara Croft for the first time. With a new single player campaign and multiplayer game modes, it’s setting the stage to perform one hell of a show. How does it perform though?
Before I delve into the campaign side, let’s talk multiplayer. We have two modes that I was able to play: Team Deathmatch and Rescue. Team Deathmatch is simply that and features your typical kill the other team objective. Rescue splits us between Savages whose objective is to kill a number of survivors. The survivors objective is to stay alive and collect health packs to be brought back to the base. Both provide an intriguing gameplay style that is fun and familiar while adding some new twists. One of which allows us to set traps against your enemies. Fred Jones would be giddy!
Single player is what struck a cord with me the most. I had played the first Tomb Raider games and enjoyed them, but was never one to replay them. The later titles were just not appealing. The character of Lara Croft was always intriguing and when I heard of the new re-launch, I just had to try it out. First off you’ll find within minutes that this game features a very heavy story that sucks you in. You’ll want to play more and more, if just to see where Lara goes and what happens. I’ll leave the spoilers out, but the multiplayer section above may just provide you some hints. Back to story here, you will feel a connection with the characters, especially Lara Croft.
Mechanics and gameplay was better than expected, again from experience of previous games. It was smooth and reactive. Puzzles abound and you’ll need to put that thinking cap on. You’ll be all but helpless at the beginning and have to find and use objects in your surroundings to proceed. After 20 minutes of the campaign, I was hooked. So keep an eye out for another game worth picking up.
Oh there’s more? You may have seen that we also get a Xbox 360 controller for Tomb Raider. This red, battered and beat up looking design is enhanced by actual engravings where the scratches are. It felt good in hand and looks great.