During E3 2018, We were fortunate enough to get an invite to the Nvidia booth to play some Shadow of the Tomb Raider in their meeting room. So sit back, relax, and let me tell you about this upcoming game.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Preview
Our demo ran through one of the earlier areas of the game, which included the first tomb and a section right outside of the tomb. If you have played any of the other Tomb Raider games, you will be comfortable with this one. If you are new to the series, it plays well and is easy to get into. I am generally a console gamer, and we played on high-end PCs with no control issues or anything like that. We also had no crashes, no hiccups, and no frame drops.
When you enter the tomb, you are searching for a lost ancient treasure – surprise surprise. Along the way, you can loot smaller objects for crafting materials and find murals help you figure out this lost language. When you find enough of the murals, you learn the language. It isn’t all reading old scripts and finding loot though; this is a tomb, and it is protected. There are no enemies in the tomb, but that doesn’t mean the area is safe. We died very early to a hidden rope trap we didn’t even see coming. Traps and deadly platforming can result in a couple of deaths in the area.
Before you leave the area, you cross a couple of minor puzzles and collect your treasure. Right about the time you get your loot, real enemies appear outside of the temple. Now it is time for some real action. First and foremost the game is gruesome; the traps alone have some brutal death animations. When you face enemies, you can make savage stealth kills that involve your picks, because Lara wants to make sure they are dead. Tall grass returns for stealth mechanics, but now you can use bushes and shrubs on walls to hide in as well. You can use that to sneak by enemies or catch them as they walk by. It is a minor addition, but a welcome one.
The biggest problem we had with the demo was the enemy AI. When you get caught, they work together to flush you out of cover and flank you. It really comes down the how the NPCs react. NPCs will sound an alarm if they find a dead body, but they act like they weren’t interacting with each other. This is a minor gripe to some, but it really takes you out of the game world when something like that happens. The gun combat itself felt fine though; I had no trouble landing shots. For those who prefer the more quiet approach, the bow is deadly, and you can really feel the shots as they hit your enemies. When the enemies are finally dealt with, things go terribly wrong for Lara in a way I’m not going to spoil.
As I said before, I am generally a console gamer, but the rig they had us on really made me want to get a high-end PC. The lighting, textures, and weather effects looked great. It wasn’t just the rain either; the mud was excellent as well. There was a point where we slid through it, and it stuck to us as you would expect, and the detail was phenomenal. I am really hoping we get a predator scene where we cover ourselves in mud to avoid heat detection or something.
Check back for our full review when Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches on September 14.