PREVIEW – At the official presentation of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, one of the most desired games of this year was presented. An event in which journalists were able to try first hand the new work of EIDOS Montreal and Crystal Dynamics. Here are the first playable impressions given by one of our outsider colleagues who was there at the presentation.
“In a year that has already left us true masterpieces such as Monster Hunter World or the recent God of War, it is a pleasure to see how there are still true aspiring GOTY to reach the stores. Moreover, one of the firmest ones is precisely the one I’ve been able to test for a few hours at an event held in London, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. A game that has given me some pretty good feelings (as was predictable otherwise), but that in turn has left me wanting more.
The reason for this last has to do with the demonstration itself. Because it was the beginning of the adventure during the 45 minutes that I could play, I hardly noticed any evolution about what I experienced in the first two installments of the series. Yes, it was more than enough time to enjoy the immense technical quality that this great production will present (and which later I will give good account), but that also seems short. A pity, because I would have liked to have the opportunity to deepen more in all the novelties that the title of Crystal Dynamics and EIDOS Montreal will present.
Before entering the subject, the first thing that should be done is to explain the plot. For the closing of this trilogy (keep this very present because it seems that it will be very important in everything related to the plot load), Shadow of the Tomb Raider will present us a Lara Croft much more expert, determined and fearsome than the one we discovered in the past deliveries. A protagonist who must face the wrath of the god of Mayan destruction due to an unfortunate action that Lara herself will make at the beginning of the game: it will be done with a very special dagger that, apparently, will unleash the Mayan apocalypse.
End of the trilogy, the wrath of the Mayan god
This will be precisely the trigger of this adventure, which will take us to explore very exotic locations, from a Mexican village to a lush jungle, through the already classic caves and tombs. According to the developers, the latter will be more challenging than any we have gone before and will be plagued with deadly traps and well-designed puzzles that will test the skill of the players.
However, one of the great protagonists of the game in the opinion of Crystal Dynamics will be the jungle. This scenario promises to be bigger, complex and full of possibilities than any other similar cut map ever designed for the series … however, unfortunately I could not put a foot on it in the demo, so I could not contrast it. What I could verify is that it will be possible to carry out the traditional tasks that we have already experienced in the past installments of the franchise, from hunting animals and collecting resources to acting with stealth to annihilate rivals from the back or doing all kinds of jumps and other similar actions.
The great agility that Lara Croft will once again demonstrate will be key once again to solve a large number of platform areas, being able to use different gadgets to climb, rappel, run along the walls, climb, etc. Likewise, it will also be necessary to overcome many puzzles, since in the preliminary version I had to overcome two or three not too complicated but that brought more diversity to the adventure. Moreover, together with all this, we will also have to devote enough hours to explore the sets in search of relics and other valuables and, of course, face battles against the rivals of turn, being able to use different weapons such as pistols, machine guns or arrows … more well known on the other hand.
Nothing new under the sun, as you will see, although it is true that at least at the end of the demo of Shadow of the Tomb Raider it was possible to live a somewhat more original situation in which we had to help the protagonist to go out with the life of a tsunami. They also let us see certain underwater areas that apparently will have enough weight in the development of the adventure but, again, leaving this aside, the truth is that this contact with the game left me with a feeling of “more of the same” evident. However, it is also true that this does not necessarily have to be bad and that, of course, I take it for granted that Crystal Dynamics keeps more than one surprise in this field that will surely be revealed to us later on.
More of the same
As for the control system and the rhythm of the game, again Shadow of the Tomb Raider seems to follow closely what was scored in the two previous editions. The title will be fairly balanced regarding action levels, platforming, puzzles and exploration, something that will please all followers of the Tomb Raider saga.
As for its graphic presence, without being a revolution in any sense, it did let itself notice a certain evolution. The version of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to which I had access belonged to PS4 Pro, a demo that showed a very stable frame rate of 30 fps and a really great resolution. The modeling of the bodies of the characters as well as their facial animations and lip synchronization seemed excellent to me, as well as the wonderful design of all the sets that I could go through, with special mention to the Mexican village, which reminded me greatly of what I experienced in the famous Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Little news but a level of technical quality and playable more than remarkable. That is the overall feeling that gave me this first contact with this new production of Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics, a game that will appear on PS4, Xbox One and PC on September 14. But, what about the Nintendo Switch? Well at the moment and, as we were told by the developers themselves, there is nothing prepared related to this saga, and not only with this last installment, but in general.”