Tomb Raider hands ons appear to be filtering through the usual upper echelons of the gaming industry, with PC Gamer the latest elite establishment allowed to put pen to paper after a brief playtest. However, it doesn’t sound like it was a particularly enjoyable session, with the main impression being that the player just needs to press ‘forward’ a lot to make things happen.
This isn’t exactly unique in the genre these days, as gamers seem happy enough to be funneled through each level with invisible corridors and barely a semblance of choice thrown in to make it little more than an interactive movie. And the developers of Tomb Raider, with its ambitious visuals and striking ‘reboot’ ethos, probably didn’t have a huge amount of time to actually make a ‘game’ of it.
“In a chair,” says the report, “I’m pushing the thumbstick on my gamepad forward. I’ve been pushing it forward for almost all of Lara’s ascent. When she slips, I take my thumb off the controller for a second. I do this because the game makes it clear that I have no way to stop the event or assist in her righting process, and because my thumb is getting mildly numb from the effort.”[drop2]”Three quarters of the way up, I release it again, interested to see what’ll happen to a visibly knackered Lara left to dangle. Nothing. She stays there, wedged in the rock, her superhuman core strength keeping her legs stable for – presumably – eternity.”
“I go back to pushing the thumbstick forward.”
“I’ve been pushing it forward for most of the three hours of Tomb Raider I’ve played so far,” it continues, “from Lara’s shipwreck at the opening, through her escape from local madmen down a perilously narrow and conveniently sized cave, during lengthy climbs up the side of a variety of precarious structures and rock formations.”
It doesn’t sound good, does it?
“Crystal Dynamics want players to guide Lara through adversity, to help her find her strength and will to survive. Her predicament looks harrowing, but such is the lack of meaningful interaction, she might do just fine without your help.”
Sure, I’m cherry picking the quotes from the piece, but it’s at least indicative of the tone of the article and it’s somewhat on par with other impressions I’ve read recently. Tomb Raider might end up being brilliant, but it’s evident that Square Enix are looking keenly at Uncharted, and that it’s (perhaps just in the beginning) hardly open world.