EGX 2015: Rise Of The Tomb Raider Hands-On Preview


GameSided Staff Writer Fraser G. recently attended EGX 2015 in the UK, gaining access to hands-on previews of some of the hottest upcoming AAA titles and indie games. Our EGX roundup series has now concluded, but you can find links to all of our features below.

#1 Mirror’s Edge Catalyst Hands-On Preview
#2 Soul Axiom Interview
#3 Star Wars Battlefront Hands-On Preview
#4 Aaero Interview
#5 Rise Of The Tomb Raider Hands-On Preview
#6 Indie Showcase – Fire Fu
#7 Just Cause 3 Hands-On Preview
#8 Assassin’s Creed Syndicate Hands-On Preview
#9 Indie Showcase – Just Shapes and Beats
#10 HTC Vive Hands-On Preview

One of my most anticipated games on display at EGX this year was Rise Of The Tomb Raider. Like many others, I really enjoyed 2013’s reboot of the series, and it emerged as a surprise highlight of the year. Rise Of The Tomb Raider aims to take the series a step further with enhanced gameplay features, a wider variety of locations to explore, and improved visuals.

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Rise Of The Tomb Raider was one of the only games at EGX 2015 that was hidden away from the general public’s prying eyes. Anyone could queue up for a chance to try it, but there was still a secretive feel to the whole experience. When I finally made my way to the front of the line, I was led to one of many stations which were equipped with a headset and an Xbox One controller.

The demo started with a brief recap of Lara’s story so far, as my preview didn’t start at the beginning of the game. Rise’s graphics were an immediate stand-out and I was impressed by how visually beautiful the game looked. I was introduced to big, detailed environments, in addition to more vibrant and realistic expressions for each character. Lara has been modeled to perfection, and the amount of detail surrounding her character reminded me of the high standards that were set by Ryse: Son Of Rome – arguably the best looking game on the Xbox One so far.

As the demo kicked into action, I felt a sense of calming familiarity. The excellent formula that was established in 2013’s Tomb Raider has been refined, adding new gameplay elements which give a greater amount of variety to Lara’s abilities, but never differentiate too far from the excellent core mechanics of the first game.

in the 20 minutes that I had with Rise Of The Tomb Raider, I was presented with a variety of puzzles, ranging in difficulty.

A few minutes into the demo, I started to get frustrated. This wasn’t because of the game, but due to my own inept talents at progressing through the level. To put it simply, I was stuck. “Why can’t I complete a simple preview demo?”, I asked myself.

Eventually, I began to conquer each challenge and progress through each stage of the level, before it finally dawned on me – this preview is tricky by design. Anyone who played 2013’s Tomb Raider probably wouldn’t associate it as a particularly puzzle-heavy game, but in the 20 minutes that I had with Rise Of The Tomb Raider, I was presented with plenty of them, ranging in difficulty.

For example, one puzzle involved a scenario in which I had to shoot down a hanging platform from the ceiling, which subsequently fell into the shallow water ahead of me. From there, I made my way over to a leaking hole in the wall and hacked it down with my weapon, which raised the water level. By climbing on to the floating platform, I was able to elevate to a higher level and reach one of the ledges, and from here I was able to vault onto the door-opening mechanism which finally allowed me to progress. Puzzles are the essence of what Tomb Raider always used to be, and I had to acclimatize myself with them in this short demo.

As I neared the end of the preview, I ran into a cutscene in which Lara came face to face with a group of enemies. Once again, cutscenes are visually stunning, taking full advantage of the game’s ability to deliver enhanced facial expressions. After being threatened by the enemy, Lara detonated an explosive device from within the building, bringing it crashing down.

Weapon combat is still modeled around the excellent mechanics that were established in the first game, and getting to grips with the system was easy and satisfying.

This transitioned into the final section of the demo, as Lara attempted to escape from the imploding structure while dealing with enemies at the same time. Weapon combat is still modeled around the excellent mechanics that were established in the first game, and getting to grips with the system was easy and satisfying. Escaping the building was exciting and tense, relying on quick reactions. These fast-paced moments were some of my favorite elements of the first game, and they’re just as exhilarating in Rise Of The Tomb Raider.

After the high-tempo action was finally over, I was left with a sense of elation at what I had just experienced. Despite my adoration for 2013’s Tomb Raider, I was blown away with how much fun I had experienced during the preview of Rise Of The Tomb Raider. As I removed my headset and a representative asked me what I thought, my instant response was that it was “incredible”. That instant reaction still manifests itself today, and I cannot wait to continue Lara’s journey later this year.

Rise Of The Tomb Raider will be available exclusively for Xbox One on November 10, 2015.

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