Tomb Raider Preview (PS3)

I don’t often smile with glee while previewing games at a press event, or when playing games in general, actually, but the moment where I sniped someone zip-lining down some rope with my bow made my day. I think Lost would have been more entertaining had there been more zip-lining and sniping with bows, regardless of all that time-travel stuff. And Lost is an apt comparison here... Lara Croft isn’t the only person on the island in which she finds herself stranded in the series' reboot. With her is the rest of the surviving crew from the Endurance, as well as the ‘Scavengers’, the rabid/crazy inhabitants of the island who don’t want anyone leaving.

It’s this idea that Lara isn’t alone that fuels the multiplayer component – where previous Lara Croft games have focused solely on Lara herself, with few supporting characters of notes, this new foray sees a more developed ensemble cast, both in the ally and the enemy camp. It all seems painfully similar, survivors, crazy inhabitants… an island with some slight supernatural tendencies (so we’re told), all we need now is some time travel, and Lost is reborn. In many ways, the multiplayer element is as ‘safe’ as it is unexpected, and there’s not a lot here that will surprise you. With only four multiplayer modes shipping for launch, two of which are pretty bog standard, there are few risks being taken here.

No! I won’t go back to the Island! J.J. Abrams promised me I was done!

Even the ‘back-end’ is pretty familiar, with ranking systems, in-game currency to buy weapons, perks and unlocks, and different load-outs that you can customize depending on the map or mode. Typically, players will take turns in playing as the ‘Survivors’ and playing as the ‘Scavengers’ and you can have separate load-outs for each. You also get to choose and unlock different skins as well, which really only encompass the people and badguys (generic and characters) that you encounter in single-player. Weapons range from the afore-mentioned bow (with super-badass variants waiting to be found), to more common things like AK’s, pistols and shotguns. You can also equip and use traps and mines, which are especially useful for the two objective-based game modes.

Speaking of game-modes, a quick overview: Team Deathmatch and Free-for-all do exactly what they say on the tin, so nothing amazing there. The other two are objective based, called ‘Rescue’ and ‘Cry for Help’. We were only allowed to play ‘Rescue’, which involves the survivors having to find med-kits that randomly spawn on the map, and take them back to their base camp. The scavengers simply have to kill a certain number of survivors and prevent them from retrieving the supplies. All we know about Cry for Help is that it involves radios that the survivors have to keep running using batteries, which again randomly spawn through-out the map. Sounds a bit too similar for our liking but ultimately we’ll find out when we get some more hands on time.

Now would be a really awkward time for my radio to go off...

Multiplayer in this game is more about using the environment than anything else – each map has its own unique layout (involving high-points, underground sections and so on), as well as map-based traps, game-changers like sandstorms that you can trigger... even more common place things like explosive barrels. Sadly, we were only allowed to try out the one map, and we’re not sure how many will ship in total, but we’re told the design ethos is fairly consistent through-out.

We’d be surprised if a hell of a lot changed between now and launch – maybe some balancing, some tweaking, new weapons maybe, but it looks fairly complete right now. It also looks fairly uninspiring... that’s not to say it will be bad, we just don’t see it having much lasting appeal. Deathmatch is deathmatch everywhere, and whilst Rescue and Cry for Help may hold players attention for a little while, eventually they’ll probably just filter back to the multiplayer games they prefer, especially when single-player is over and done with. To be fair though, we’ve seen worse multiplayer modes, so you don’t have to worry about wasted resources and who knows, maybe there'll be some alright DLC for it.

Most anticipated features: Bows are cool.

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By stuntkid (SI Elite) on Jan 27, 2013
Looking forward to solid single player experience and maybe find something new and refreshing in the series