Last week, Gamescom 2015 attendees got treated to an extended Rise of the Tomb Raider gameplay trailer complete with dev commentary. Microsoft has now released the fresh footage in all its archaeological glory.
Rise of the Tomb Raider is (somewhat controversially) Xbox One exclusive until 2016. A PC version will arrive in Q1 and a PS4 version in Q4. Lara's latest outing will take her head to head with the monolithic Fallout 4, both shipping on November 10th, 2015.
The trailer takes us into the cliffs bordering Syria while Lara hunts for an ancient artifact. Trinity, a corporation that serves as the game's big evil, is also on the trail of the antiquity that is said to hold the secret of immortality. The demo we saw was running on a Xbox One dev kit, sporting some of the most impressive visuals I've seen from this gen yet. The vista showing a Syrian city from the cliff was particularly impressive (3:10 in the video), giving us an idea of the detail and draw distance we can expect in the final code. Youtube's compression doesn't do it justice.
At the demo at Gamescom, we were joined by a representative of Crystal Dynamics who demonstrated the game in real time (indeed, sporadically dying in the process). She was keen to emphasise that Crystal Dynamics wanted to recapture the essence of the original Tomb Raider games. One pillar of this is exploration. The rep showed how straying from the main path would lead you to treasures, some of which serve as upgrades and others as simple collectibles.
Exploration takes a grander path in Rise of the Tomb Raider, owing in part to what they called the translation system. At 4:30 in the video, Lara spies a mural. She can attempt to translate the inscriptions on murals and other objects, which allow her to "level up" her language skills. You can use her skills to reveal tombs and other secret locations after translating the corresponding texts.
After a stint showing off the game's more dynamic climbing systems, we get to see some of Rise of the Tomb Raider's new tomb raiding styles. The simplistic water puzzle at 9:30 got described as being part of the game's tutorial. The full game will have far larger, more complex "nested puzzles", which are essentially puzzles within puzzles. Traps litter Rise of the Tomb Raider's dungeons as part of Crystal Dynamics' attempt to bring in some of that old school feel. They skipped through the final puzzle of this segment rather than reveal its solution.
The trailer ends with a gratifying homage to Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, as Lara escapes the tomb flooding with water.
Crystal Dynamics is confident about going head to head with Fallout 4, as game director Brian Horton recently told Gamingbolt:
..."We're big fans of Fallout; it's such a great game. But we believe we offer something completely different from a gaming experience point of view. We feel good about the date and the quality of the game will speak for itself."...
After seeing Rise of the Tomb Raider running live, I'm pretty confident too.
Rise of the Tomb Raider launches November 10th on Xbox One, Q1 2016 for PC and Q4 2016 for PS4.