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Old 12-06-08, 01:45  
Carbonek_0051
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Default Game Informer Article: Into The Deep

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Tomb Raider: Underworld
>Style 1-Player Action/Adventure >Publisher Eidos >Developer Crystal Dynamics >Release November

Into The Deep


It's becoming clearer as the months pass just how big a step foward is planned for Lara Croft. Underworld has been blowing us away for months with teasing images, but this time we got an up close look at the game in action. This glimpse only reinforces the pont - Lara is headed into some exciting new waters.

The level we saw begins as Lara stands in her wetsuit aboard a well-appointed yacht. Diving off, she enters into the profound blue of the Mediterranean Sea and swims downward in her scuba gear. As some dangerous sharks approach, Lara has her trusty spear gun for protection. This time around, and throughout the game, she can use non-lethal tranquilizers - not everybody was entusiastic about the need to kill off endangerd animals in earlier games.

Far below, Lara finally reaches her destintion - a fully submerged temple on the floor of the sea. As more threats arise to confront her, she must explore the temple until she figures out the entry puzzle. The game focuses on making individual puzzles feel genuine and organic to the game world - random key card tricks are nowhere to be seen. As she swims, a pinging sonar system locates hidden caves and other secrets, further expanding her repertoire of tools. However, for players more interested in action than brainteasers, an extensive in-game hint system now offers the solutions to every puzzle as you explore. Purists will no doubt refuse to even enter the hint menu, but others can avoid frustration if they choose.

Finally inside the ancient structure, the tomb raider comes face to face with the Kraken, a tentacled horror that blocks her way. Instead of radioing back to headquarters for quips and conversation, Lara now carries a camera with which she films her discovery. She'll often speak into the camera as she films, cluing players into the path that lies ahead. In a similar way, Lara can now take pictures of her exploits - there's even a ten-second timer on her camera so she can set up that insane action shot as she leaps across a gap. These images will be uploadable to the Internet, so players can share their adventures and advise other gamers about secret locations and hidden pick-ups.

Once Lara wraps up her photography session, she faces the task of passing the Kraken. In the process, she must platform and leap her way past those endlessly writhing tentacles. In some cases, the dangers she faces will warrant one of the new adrenaline moments. Rather than the scripted button press minigames of previous games, this redesigned feature slows time to a crawl during specific moments, giving Lara time to run up the falling pillar, leap over the swinging tentacle, or dive beneath the cutting blade.

The over all impression we took away from this demo was extremly favorable. Gameplay innovation and technical expertise are advancing apace, and the result is a game that looks and plays quite well. If the series can keep that innovation and mantain what made the last two entries such fun, Underworld may suprise more than a few gamers who long ago turned their backs on Lara's adventures
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*Lara will collect dirt as she climbs and crawls her way through the world. Her clothing and skin will show off the grime until a quick dip in a submerged pool clears the mess.

*You can tranqualize enemy creatures rather than killing them outright
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Animation: Lara's new animation systems uses true motion capture for the first time, allowing for new mechanics like wall climbing and mantling over objects to appear fluid and realistic.

A Simple Screen: This straightfoward shot illustrates several exciting new features of the game world. In the upper reaches of the image, you can spy the use of bloom and HDR lighting, providing atmospheric contrast against the rain weather effect. Light maps on the structures deliver realistic shading to the enviroments. Multiple layered textures on the forefront of the rock walls add final touch of detail.

Spherical Harmonics: The exciting technology focuses on bathing objects and characters in the indirect lighting of an area in addition the direct light sources. The effect is that everything seems to fit into the enviroment as if it was really there, and the overall lighting scheme becomes much more compelling.
There you go guys

Last edited by Carbonek_0051; 12-06-08 at 02:05.
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