Ever since Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics announced that they were remaking Tomb Raider gamers interest has been peaked. Lara Croft is one of the biggest stars in the gaming world with her history as one of the most popular and one of the first female heroes to make an impact. Now that her character is going to be going through a total redesign though is this what gamers want?
Controversy has hit, especially with rumours about story changes regarding her life but now that official statements have been made these seem to have passed, especially with the news that Rhiannon Pratchett is officially the lead writer of the story. In the gaming world this is big news as Rhiannon is an excellent writer with examples like Overlord II under her belt. The story may be strong, but the main question will always be, will this be the Tomb Raider we expect and will the remake be worth it? Or will Lara’s fans be alienated.
The big difference in the plot that will be noticeable is that we are going into the backstory of Lara and starting when she is twenty one years old. This is going to be a time when she is trying to “find herself” and who she is in the world. As we know the original story was that her parents had been killed leaving her very rich and with a thirst for archaeology, of course like her parents. In the new version Lara finds herself shipwrecked on an island, not the badass as we once knew her but an untrained young woman who has to learn to survive, all this while being injured from the sinking of the ship.
In this version of Tomb raider they have gone for a story that is about survival and from footage shown this has been compared to survival horror in a way. The constant feel of peril and set pieces where Lara has to fight for her life gives a huge change from how the original was set, yes she had to survive but the dangers were not to this extent.
Of course at this point in time the main character that has been revealed to us is Lara Croft herself. This will be the character who if anything decides the success of the game. Lara has quite a history with gamers, especially Sony fans as their console grew with her as her games progressed. Tomb Raider was one of the big titles of the Playstation so there is a lot riding on her as a character. Another character that has been introduced is that of Conrad Roth, the captain of the ship that has become wrecked. He works as the mentor for Lara and offers advice at different points in the game.
From the gameplay it’s obvious that Tomb Raider is looking to Uncharted for its inspiration for gameplay. This may not be a bad thing of course because it’s a formula that does work. Old school gamers though may not be happy with this as Tomb Raider originally was more free roaming where Uncharted is quite strict at times with the playing areas.
The main Uncharted influences in the gameplay seem to be more in set pieces than anything and this is of course a good thing, most of Uncharted’s best scenes are in this type of scenario where the correct button presses save Drake from impending doom. To create the feel of danger for Lara this type of interface is used and used successfully. It may not be to all Tomb Raider fans tastes but for what the new Tomb Raider is aiming for, it fits the bill.
Each level in the game is free roaming with a HQ point and the world based around it. You can hunt, explore and upgrade your weaponry from this point and this is your point of safety. Lara is able to upgrade her abilities in an RPG type way, improving herself so that she can fight greater enemies. This is of course something that most gamers are used to.
Gamers can be hard to please and they have already shown this where it comes to the remake of Tomb Raider. If the fans can be won over though this version of the Lara Croft story does have real potential and for neutral fans this is definitely a game that could live up to expectations. The route that Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics have taken with this is going to put Tomb Raider up against Uncharted, so they will have to be ready for a fight as Naughty Dog are one company who won’t give up their crown with Uncharted without a fight.