GC18 – Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Hands On

I almost lost my chance to see or test the small fragment of gameplay demo of Shadow of the Tomb Raider at Gamescom this year. Every interview spot, presentation and hands-on sessions was fully booked, so my chances was pretty slim and the boy inside me wanted to cry.

But luckily, by mistake I was one hour early at my appointment for the Final Fantasy XIV interview, and hey, Square Enix had set up one Xbox One station with Shadow of the Tomb Raider demo running inside the “waiting lounge” at Square Enix’s business booth. And then the girl inside me screamed out loud!   

The demo I got to play might look like it was from an early segment of the game. A short cutscene showing off the setting and location, which was in some village in Mexico in pursuit of some bad guys from Trinity. As the cutscene finished, I was placed inside a Tomb (No shit..). I have to say, Crystal Dynamics have truly managed to deliver the right vibe to its theme, with familiar traps, ancient Mayan scrawled on the walls and the mastering of dramatic tension. If you played all or some of the old-school titles, you might even say they honor the tradition.

Inside this tomb, I had to solve puzzles, challenge my climbing skills, avoid spike traps and spinning blades, swim through a nerve wrecking underwater section and more. The controls felt responsive and precise, and besides a few new features like throwing items to lure enemies (such as in The Last of Us) away, the gameplay feels exactly the same as its predecessors in a good way.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is said to be a much darker setting than before since it reboot debut back in 2013, and it sure felt like it. This might not be one of the new exciting titles launching this year, but from my first impression and hands on, it sure will be an epic adventure ahead.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider launches 14, September 2018 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.   

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