June 17, 2018

E3 2018 - Hands on with Shadow of the Tomb Raider

When Square Enix rebooted the Tomb Raider series, it was an interesting take on a character many of us knew well, but the biggest complaint that I had, was she was to whiny. The second game added more across the board, but she was still too whiny for me, but it seems that the third time is the charm as Lara is as close to what long-time fans will know.

The section of the game that I was able to play, takes part at the beginning of the game, Lara and Jonah, are sitting in a little café in South America, chasing down leads for Trinity, the big bad from the first two games. After overhearing a conversation, Lara sets out to follow, the game skipped ahead at this point, but eventually Lara came to the location of the games first tomb and began to raid it. Something one of the developers pointed out, was that in this game, most of the tombs Lara enters are underground, so a lot of the dangers will come from that, the ones in the first two games were either in caves or off temples, meaning it was more about puzzles than anything else.

Exploring the tomb was a familiar as the first two games, so you won’t feel like you are thrown into the deep end, but as you explore the game begins to layer on more and more puzzles and combinations, helping you understand some of the mechanics. One particular system requires you to pull a cart up a hill, in order for it to gain enough speed to crash through a barrier, but before you get to that, you will have to get through two puzzles, that combined make up this one. It is a smart way for the game to teach you how to proceed, without it throwing up another tutorial.

After the puzzle, I was able to get into the room that I needed to be in, sadly though, this is where the story for Lara takes a turn, as she removes an item, hoping to keep it from Trinity, but instead begins to cause a lot of problems for the people who live nearby. If you have seen the trailer, you will have no doubt seen the flood sequence that happens, playing through this was tricky, only because the game was pushing me past certain points, is if it had something to hide, in the end though, Lara finally caught up with Jonah and the two butted heads for the first time.

What made this cool, was that the game was played on PC, inside the NVIDIA booth at the show, but it wasn’t just that it was on PC, but it was rocking support for Ansel and Highlights. Ansel, for those that don’t know, is a way for players to take in-game photos, in any supported title, even if the game does not include its own photo mode. Highlights on the other hand, creates what the name says, highlights and it does so automatically, so whenever you complete an incredible sequence or pull of that risky but rewarding shot, the game will record the moment for you.

The game was also supporting the full breadth of options that GeForce provides, meaning the game was looking incredible, even for something that is still in development. So while Shadow of the Tomb Raider is coming to PC as well as consoles, there is no doubt the game will be best on PC, given how much it can leverage of the NVIDIA tech and software, all the images here, were captured using the NVIDIA tools and from the PC build, so you know it looks good.

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