Hey fellow Raiders!

Last Friday, one of our team members got invited to play a HUGE Demo of the upcoming Shadow of the Tomb Raider. 

Inside a very fancy hotel room, Sr. Community Manager Meagan Marie awaited us for a hands-on preview of the game. Later, I got to ask her some questions about Shadow, but we have a seperate post coming out soon! On account of time restrictions, I only got to play around four hours of the game, thus I couldn't complete the demo to it's fullest. 

Minor Story Spoilers Ahead.

This demo consisted in the opening hours until Lara's descovery of the secret city of Paititi, hidden deep in the jungles of Peru. 

For starters, Lara's model looks improved, compared to Rise, featuring more details on the skin, her muscles react according to what she is doing and her face was also tweaked for smaller details.

Right from the beggining, Shadow of the Tomb Raider keeps you engaged with the narrative, starting off with a Bang!, and going backwards in time to reveal her findings on the new Mayan artifact that Lara is searching for. 

Her actions seem to have bigger consequences, for instances, you see a child falling off a cliff to death due to Lara setting off the Apocalyspe. The story looks to be more dramatic in a different personal level and not so "parents reliable". 

The actors, mainly Camilla Luddington and Earl Baylon seem much more confortable playing their respective characters, that they start to explore with them leading to some of the best scenes of the Trilogy. They relationship feels much more realistic than ever and I feel they earn some praise!

But we are here for the Gameplay! Taking from what Lara learned with her previous adventures, she is now much more prepared to face Trinity and the dangers of the Jungle. The change of scenery is very welcome and I have to praise Eidos Montréal for that.

The environments seem so varied, from the croudy streets of a Mexican City, to an wild and jungle environment where nature is dominant; it all adds up to making a more beliavable world. The areas in which you explore are even bigger and I almost got lost while exploring the section after the plane crash. There was just so much to look for.

Even though I only played one Tomb and it was story related, I "accidentaly" stumbled upon a Crypt. These Crypts retain the same set of obstacles as the previous entry, but the reward that you get now are pieces of clothing. These are like accessories, divided in top and bottom parts, that you can wear on top of your outfit that grant you an effect on Lara, such as moviment speed, etc... (also, the classic skins that we saw in Rise ARE BACK!).

Right at the start in the Mexico level, we see that Lara has her arsenal with her. It's here that we are introduced to the new traversal mechanics such as rappeling and wall running and they all improve the feel of a significant change in Lara's abilities.

Another big stand out in this new game is the 360º swimming. It's a lot like the old trilogy were you could swim in any direction and also grab artifacts. In this case, some levels with underwater sequences will have secrets burried on the ground, highlighted with a flashing light, simular to the Survival Caches featured in Rise of the Tomb Raider.

A big stand out feature in this Lara's Chapter was the new difficulty options. You can now tailor your experience for your liking, having three different difficulty categories: Exploration, Combat and Puzzles.

In my playthrough I chose to set Exploration and Combat to Hard and Puzzles on Medium and the effect is quite noticable. No more white paint on ledges, which is a feature that I totally loved, and for the ones that got annoyed with Lara revealing the solution in the last games, that can be disabled now.

I played the demo on an Xbox One X and after exploring the Option Menus, two graphical modes were avaiable: Higher Framerate and Higher Quality. When enabling the Higher Framerate option, the game would targeted 60fps (probably 1080p) and it felt so smooth, but the overall graphics quality and texture resolution would drop noticeably. Toggling the Higher Quality option would see a cut in frame rate (capped at 30fps) but at a significant higher quality assets, graphics and it seem to output at 4K. Even though this was my prefered way to play, I encountered a big Input Lag (simular to Rise on Xbox One) but also some clear drops in frame rate. I hope that in release, all of this is fixed.

Overall, I adored my time with Shadow of the Tomb Raider and in many ways it felt like an improvement from Rise! Even though I had a great time with it, I also encountered some bugs that I hope are fixed until release.

I really can't wait until September to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider to it's fullest and to see Lara become the Tomb Raider she is destined to become!

All GIFs done by me.

Lara's Fridge

We are three young Portuguese boys that grew up seeing Lara Croft as a true icon for our generation, and we created this fansite so we could share the love we have for the Tomb Raider, hoping to make a contribuition on this huge community!

No comments:

Post a Comment