E3: Exploring the new Tomb Raider - Destructoid


Tomb Raider  

E3: Exploring the new Tomb Raider

4:00 PM on 06.10.2012
E3: Exploring the new Tomb Raider photo

And then I saw her face. Her dirty, determined, take-no-sh*t face. Now I'm a believer.

Tomb Raider is back, though sadly delayed until March 5, 2013. I had a chance to sit down with Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics this E3 to see how far they've come with it since I last checked in with them in 2011, and I'm happy to say I'm still pleased with where this game is going.

Environment and atmosphere are a make-or-break factor in my enjoyment of a game. In that vein, Tomb Raider long ago won me over. The rich, detailed textures are truly gorgeous and I love the setting, which lends itself well to switching between jungle and cave exploration (the latter of which I admittedly got to see more of at E3 last year). If you're apprehensive about the emphasis on the jungle setting in the footage released thus far, take heart; the plot direction leads me to believe there'll likely be more cave exploration than initially meets the eye. 

And while Tomb Raider may rightfully deserve some comparison to Uncharted (such a strange role reversal from the Dude Raider days), I think Tomb Raider feels a bit more gritty and intense, which I like. The tension is crafted effectively with the use of wayward angles and camera jostles to draw you into a sense of disorientation, something that Uncharted seem to reserve for its bigger scenes like the opening of the sequel.

While a steady camera in a third-person view lends itself to an outsider-looking-in perspective, instead we get an impression of the impact on Lara as she struggles with the rugged landscape. The result to me is very humanizing. Her reaction to every trip, stagger, or fall communicates the very real difficulty of the terrain she faces, and in turn, her effort only becomes more impressive.

The trailer released this past week was actually a bit misleading, in my opinion, as it ended with Lara in a position of sexual vulnerability that left a lot of people feeling uncomfortable. Having now seen the entire sequence, I only feel that moment was redemptive and did much to explain how Lara transitioned from a vulnerable girl to a capable, take-charge woman.

That she had that moment as a result of a near sexual assault borders on almost irrelevant given the enormous trauma she goes through (the shipwreck, extreme weather conditions, injury, her sister's kidnapping, etc.) before she gets to that point.

As Lara rose from the ground having conquered her attacker, picking up a gun and setting her cold, determined glare on the camera, there was an audible gasp throughout the room. If looks could kill, E3 would have had a shocking amount of fatalities in the Square Enix booth this year. If you really think this "new" Lara is weak then I daresay you have as big a surprise coming to you as the dude she just kneed in the balls.

In fact some of the negative reaction to the E3 trailer showed me how much they've already managed to humanize her character. A lot of people seemed to care about her well being; they didn't like to see her in a position of weakness or victimization.

If Lara was truly the figure she's been made out to be, I think a lot of people would have enjoyed seeing her in such a vulnerable position. Their repulsion tells me something very positive. That some of the complaints were from long-time fans who cared about Lara long before the opening sequence of this reboot also helped in part to change my perspective on her.

To me, Lara is no longer a sex symbol in a videogame, but rather, a capable fictional character who just happens to be attractive. I like this new perspective. And while some of the cinematic shots did just seem like an excuse to stare at her breasts (which many would translate as an insincerity in the new angle they're pursuing), in the scope of the entire game, I feel I can forgive it. In fact, when I pointed it out to their creative director, he actually sounded open to working on it.

One thing I think they could do better is facial expressions, as Lara's face barely moves even when she's crying. I would also like the name of the black eyeliner that she and her sister seem to be using, because if it can truly last through all that jungle heat and moisture, then I should have picked up some before my trip to E3. Jokes aside, both observations seem like nitpicking.

I'm also curious to see how the combat and exploration aspects are balanced, as it doesn't feel like I've gotten an accurate picture between the two demo sessions I've seen thus far. It feels a bit condensed. I'm hoping it relies slightly less on firepower and a little more on alternative weapons like that sweet bow we saw in the trailer. Nonetheless, I can't wait for this March.

Comments not appearing? Anti-virus apps like Avast or some browser extensions can cause this.
Easy fix: Add   [*].disqus.com   to your software's white list. Tada! Happy comments time again.

Did you know? You can now get daily or weekly email notifications when humans reply to your comments.

timeline following:
Tomb Raider

1:45 PM on 03.06.2014
Post PS4, Xbox One release, Tomb Raider sales crossing 6M

The Tomb Raider reboot had series high day one and month one sales, according to studio head Darrell Gallagher. Despite this, Tomb Raider's estimated 3.4 million first month sales were deemed a "slow start" by Square Enix, wh...more

3:15 PM on 01.17.2014
The Tomb Raider reboot is finally profitable

Last year's Tomb Raider reboot has finally reached the land of profitability, despite initially failing to meet the sales targets set by publisher Square Enix. In an interview with Eurogamer, executive producer Scott Amos rev...more

8:00 AM on 01.14.2014
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition comparison video

Our friends over at IGN just posted a video comparing Tomb Raider to Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, along with an interview with with developer Scot Amos. It's a nice interview, but it's a lot of preaching to the...more

11:00 PM on 12.25.2013
Tomb Raider fan film captures the brutality perfectly

Lots of fan films are great, but this Tomb Raider is above and beyond the average homage you'd normally see. The team at CanCinema did an amazing job, and it captures the brutality that the new Tomb Raider brought to the series.more

10:00 AM on 12.18.2013
Tomb Raider on iOS is great, but you'll want a controller

In case you haven't heard, the original Tomb Raider is available on iOS for a buck. I was trying it out yesterday, and I have to say, so long as you're using a controller option, the game works like a charm. The only han...more

9:00 AM on 12.17.2013
Play the original Tomb Raider on iOS for $0.99

Square Enix just released the original Tomb Raider for iOS, and it's just $0.99. The old Tomb Raider games were really good, so it's tempting to grab this for this cheap. It comes with the extra chapters from the 1998 re-rele...more

10:30 AM on 11.21.2013
Next Tomb Raider is Lara's next chapter of development

Brian Horton, the Senior Art Director at Crystal Dynamics, is really excited that the next Tomb Raider has been announced so he can talk about it. Horton explained the direction of the sequel's story, saying that "The Tomb Ra...more

10:15 AM on 10.09.2013
Tomb Raider comes to Mac later this year

While we're a bit light on details, we do know that Feral Interactive are bringing Crystal Dynamics' Tomb Raider to Mac later this year. They say to expect a mini-site soon for the game, which likely means that they're almost done with it.  I assume this trailer is Mac footage.more

12:15 PM on 08.01.2013
Square Enix confirms next-gen Tomb Raider is in the works

A next-gen sequel to Tomb Raider is "well into development," Square Enix CEO for the Americas and Europe Phil Rogers confirmed today. The announcement follows word that writer Gail Simone is working with Dark Horse Comic...more

11:00 PM on 07.08.2013
Lara Croft has the worst luck ever

The new Tomb Raider was pretty great. It also had so many ways Lara Croft could die, in a ton of gruesome scenes. Now imagine all the other ways Lara could be killed with this imaginative downloadable content detailed by Animation Domination High-Def.more

HAHA Weird!

9:00 PM on 04.15.2014
Spontaneous pole dancing in The Wolf Among Us

Former Destructoid Editor-in-Chief Nick Chester left us years ago, but even today his presence is felt on the site. This morning, he linked to what was originally thought to be a hysterical bug in The Wolf Among Us that you'v...more

10:00 PM on 04.14.2014
My little Oculus-chan can't be this cute

At Unite Japan 2014, Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey joked that maybe Oculus needed an Oculus-chan following a presentation that featured Unity's mascot, Unity-chan. Then, the internet took over. Developer Kenji Iguchi compiled some...more

7:00 PM on 04.14.2014
Cult of the Wind might just be the funniest arena shooter

A third-person shooter in which combatants are humans pretending to be airplanes -- this is Cult of the Wind. Despite the usual fears that something like this will lose its audience not long after launching, I'm so charmed b...more

View all HAHA Weird!

Back to Top

All content is yours to recycle through our Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing requiring attribution. Our communities are obsessed with videoGames, movies, anime, and toys.

Living the dream since March 16, 2006

Advertising on destructoid is available: Please contact them to learn more