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Old 13-10-11, 13:31   #1
Gabi
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Default Tomb Raider Community Event in London

[IMG]http://i52.************/v8hmyf.jpg[/IMG]
Community Event in London

a review by Jackles and Gabi




We arrived at Square Enix Headquarters in London with a fashionable delay of exactly 12 minutes (so the receptionist told us, cheeky devil!).
Once we had sussed out that the broken lift would not take us to our destination, we finally managed to make our way up to the second floor where we were warmly welcomed by Meagan Marie, who kindly put our minds at rest by telling us that the official part of the presentation had not yet started.

Time to take the first picture:


We then went through to the boardroom where we met the other guests, among them TRF's very own Jay(walker) and Laurie (Another Lara) and, of course, Lara herself.






There Meagan officially welcomed us all and talked about the newTomb Raider game, introducing the "new" Lara, who seems to be more of a young and vulnerable girl at first. However, Meagan emphasised that during the game it will be revealed that Lara is still a very strong and determined character despite being frightened by the current situation she finds herself in.
She then proceeded to confirm that the action takes place in the famous Dragon Triangle, and therefore mystery and myth will play a role in the game.
The puzzles will be more about manipulating the environment, looking for escape routes and on the whole, more "organic" than in previous games - there will not be as many switches and levers.
The model used in the demo is the final model, but Meagan explicitly mentioned that it is not finished yet. There will be more work done to it, and one example she mentioned is Lara's hair.

Then we watched the by now known demo that was shown on E3 and I have to say: what a difference seeing it on a huge screen! Brilliant graphics, lots of details - amazing. Even though I had watched it a few times before, I was pretty much blown away by it.

After this we were shown the "new" demo which was indeed, as some of you had already expected, the scene from the wolves' den.
Again, I can only say that it was very impressive. The atmosphere was quite dark and held us in suspense even though some of us already knew what was coming.
Lara herself comes across as a realistic character, a young and modern woman who, albeit finding herself in a scary situation, does not give up and shows determination and strength.
Personally I very much liked the subtle changes on her facial expressions - it looked and felt "real".

We then had the chance to play the first demo ourselves while at the same time Meagan and later on also Karl answered questions.

Since it was Jackie who took notes, I will hand over to her now to tell you about her personal impressions and the answers we were given to our questions:

*takes over from Gabi*


Well I was pretty nervous when I got the controller on my hands. Unlike Gabi I am a 360 player so felt that I had to keep the side up and not die, but of course I was heading for an ‘epic fail’.

First thing I noticed was the variety of camera angles. Lara’s lovingly motion captured face was shown in all its pained glory as she awakens to her perilous situation. The camera seems to be less firmly placed behind Lara to give us a more realistic cinematic experience. Realism is a word you will be hearing a lot of in this review. However the camera was easy to deal with and didn’t hinder Lara’s escape.

Once you have helped Lara to escape she is staggering off, again what was noticeable to me was that you are quite close to her. The atmosphere is claustrophobic and this is helped by the sense of intimacy and lack of light.
As this is a training level, actions you can take are highlighted. For example you can collect one of two torches or light several objects. (We were told that later in the game there will be less prompts as the game is supposed to be played intuitively)

Also as we watched several people play the demo I noticed someone used a different method to destroy something. (Earlier while watching the ‘wolf demo’ Meagan Marie told us that there was not a set path to reach an area and she had done it in different ways)

Well so far so good. When Lara fell down and skidded down a slope the camera reverted back to viewing Lara at a distance. Then jump...jump...die...yes I died or rather Lara did by hurtling into a pit. The shame of it all. The good thing was the autosaves seem to be placed exactly where you needed them. When Lara was killed deliberately so we could see the effects the action picked back up just before.

There were a few button mashing quick time events, not being a great fan of these I viewed them with some unease. But they were fine and didn’t detract from the action, if anything they added to mine (and Lara’s) sense of urgency. (We were told that they preferred to add some QTE than use cut scenes to keep gamers involved in the game)

Pickups that we saw included cans of food, arrows and shotgun shells. Oh and I jumped at least twice while watching which is always a good thing. It had a survival horror vibe at times while still retaining that sense of realism.

Okay, my thoughts
This is a Lara for a new generation. She is a realistic rounded character. She is 21, just left university and is a modern woman. She had two sets of earrings I noticed. She felt like a bit of a rebel, less defined by her class...more by the depth of her character that we were going to see tested and honed. She felt ‘natural’ if that makes sense. We heard some realistic swearing but nothing too hardcore. Lara is under stress and it makes sense for her to be a trifle testy.

Her breasts were real looking though breast wobble was detected! (I am sure that is an important factor to some!) We were impressed by the fact her eye shadow was still on days later. However while this is the final model it is not the ‘finished’ model so little errors like that could well be sorted in the released game. We were also told that her hair is going to have more work done to it yet.

All the cutscenes have been motion captured so when Lara drags something it is based on reality.

The game really is ‘Reborn’ and yet Karl Stewart implied that an attempt is being made to do that in a respectful way. But everything has to have relevance for example you couldn’t have the manor on an island. It just wouldn’t make sense. Things have to fit in with the narrative. There will not be swimming as Lara will not get in a situation that requires her to swim and they did not want to add one in just for the sake of it.

Regarding the island it is not ‘open –world’ but areas can be explored again at later dates and we were told that eventually you should be able to climb anything that you see. Areas will reward exploration and there will be side areas and side tombs to explore. There will be some sort of hub so that Lara can move between areas quickly to save having to trek back and forth.
Continuing with the realism/relevance line it is unlikely that if outfits figure in any DLC that bikinis will be included.

The mythological element is from the Dragon’s Triangle which is the polar opposite of the Bermuda Triangle. There is also some relevance in the necklace that has been spotted around Lara’s neck but as yet that mystery like the Triangles remain unsolved.

We have to keep in mind that it is still early days yet and we are not seeing the finished product. What we have seen looks promising and is being led by a strong sense of concept that while moving away from the past retains the sense of Lara as a strong person.

‘The island is a persistent world that helps you get in the character more’ Karl Stewart



http://officialtombraiderblog.tumblr.com/ There is a pic of me actually playing on there!
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Last edited by jackles; 13-10-11 at 15:42. Reason: adding comments
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Old 13-10-11, 13:34   #2
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Excellent stuff. Thanks for posting Gabi
I look forwards to reading what Jackie has to add

*reads*
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Last edited by Spong; 13-10-11 at 13:38.
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Old 13-10-11, 14:13   #3
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I am still looking for the picture with all the male TR community leaders.
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Old 13-10-11, 14:13   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoranAgar View Post


I am still looking for the picture with all the male TR community leaders.
*cough* ahem.. erm.. it was just me and Karl and Kate's Dad there. rest were female
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Old 13-10-11, 14:25   #5
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Can't wait to here the question answered!
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Old 13-10-11, 14:34   #6
Evan C.
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Amazing
Can't wait for the answers too
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Old 13-10-11, 14:56   #7
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Thank you very much! Can't wait for the next part coming...
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Old 13-10-11, 14:58   #8
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I have added this to the inital post as well.

*takes over from Gabi*

I have tried to answer the questions in a general sense based on what was discussed.

Well I was pretty nervous when I got the controller on my hands. Unlike Gabi I am a 360 player so felt that I had to keep the side up and not die, but of course I was heading for an ‘epic fail’.

First thing I noticed was the variety of camera angles. Lara’s lovingly motion captured face was shown in all its pained glory as she awakens to her perilous situation. The camera seems to be less firmly placed behind Lara to give us a more realistic cinematic experience. Realism is a word you will be hearing a lot of in this review. However the camera was easy to deal with and didn’t hinder Lara’s escape.

Once you have helped Lara to escape she is staggering off, again what was noticeable to me was that you are quite close to her. The atmosphere is claustrophobic and this is helped by the sense of intimacy and lack of light.
As this is a training level, actions you can take are highlighted. For example you can collect one of two torches or light several objects. (We were told that later in the game there will be less prompts as the game is supposed to be played intuitively)

Also as we watched several people play the demo I noticed someone used a different method to destroy something. (Earlier while watching the ‘wolf demo’ Meagan Marie told us that there was not a set path to reach an area and she had done it in different ways)

Well so far so good. When Lara fell down and skidded down a slope the camera reverted back to viewing Lara at a distance. Then jump...jump...die...yes I died or rather Lara did by hurtling into a pit. The shame of it all. The good thing was the autosaves seem to be placed exactly where you needed them. When Lara was killed deliberately so we could see the effects the action picked back up just before.

There were a few button mashing quick time events, not being a great fan of these I viewed them with some unease. But they were fine and didn’t detract from the action, if anything they added to mine (and Lara’s) sense of urgency. (We were told that they preferred to add some QTE than use cut scenes to keep gamers involved in the game)

Pickups that we saw included cans of food, arrows and shotgun shells. Oh and I jumped at least twice while watching which is always a good thing. It had a survival horror vibe at times while still retaining that sense of realism.

Okay, my thoughts
This is a Lara for a new generation. She is a realistic rounded character. She is 21, just left university and is a modern woman. She had two sets of earrings I noticed. She felt like a bit of a rebel, less defined by her class...more by the depth of her character that we were going to see tested and honed. She felt ‘natural’ if that makes sense. We heard some realistic swearing but nothing too hardcore. Lara is under stress and it makes sense for her to be a trifle testy.

Her breasts were real looking though breast wobble was detected! (I am sure that is an important factor to some!) We were impressed by the fact her eye shadow was still on days later. However while this is the final model it is not the ‘finished’ model so little errors like that could well be sorted in the released game. We were also told that her hair is going to have more work done to it yet.

The game really is ‘Reborn’ and yet Karl Stewart implied that an attempt is being made to do that in a respectful way. But everything has to have relevance for example you couldn’t have the manor on an island. It just wouldn’t make sense. Things have to fit in with the narrative. There will not be swimming as Lara will not get in a situation that requires her to swim and they did not want to add one in just for the sake of it.

Regarding the island it is not ‘open –world’ but areas can be explored again at later dates and we were told that eventually you should be able to climb anything that you see. Areas will reward exploration and there will be side areas and side tombs to explore. There will be some sort of hub so that Lara can move between areas quickly to save having to trek back and forth.
Continuing with the realism/relevance line it is unlikely that if outfits figure in any DLC that bikinis will be included.

The mythological element is from the Dragon’s Triangle which is the polar opposite of the Bermuda Triangle. There is also some relevance in the necklace that has been spotted around Lara’s neck but as yet that mystery like the Triangles remain unsolved.

We have to keep in mind that it is still early days yet and we are not seeing the finished product. What we have seen looks promising and is being led by a strong sense of concept that while moving away from the past retains the sense of Lara as a strong person.

‘The island is a persistent world that helps you get in the character more’ Karl Stewart
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Last edited by jackles; 13-10-11 at 15:00.
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Old 13-10-11, 15:01   #9
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Thanks for the addition, Jackie
Reading this stuff is so much better than reading Crystal's PR rubbish.

*reads*

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackles View Post
The camera seems to be less firmly placed behind Lara to give us a more realistic cinematic experience.
Good to hear. Although it's apparent just through watching the demo, I've no doubt that actually playing the game gives a far better sense of how fluid it is. Just so long as it isn't the 'camera attached to a stick' we had to put up with in LAU

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackles View Post
As this is a training level, actions you can take are highlighted. For example you can collect one of two torches or light several objects. (We were told that later in the game there will be less prompts as the game is supposed to be played intuitively)
I still hope that an option to disable such hints will apply to the training area as well. I simply don't want to be told anything at all, I much prefer to work it all out myself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackles View Post
The good thing was the autosaves seem to be placed exactly where you needed them.
I hope that's only because it was a demo, I don't want checkpoints all over the place. I don't like checkpoints at all to be honest, I want the brutal save style of the PSOne's TR1. But I know I'm in the minority these days, bloody casual gamers

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackles View Post
But everything has to have relevance for example you couldn’t have the manor on an island. It just wouldn’t make sense. Things have to fit in with the narrative.
I still say they're missing a trick by not having a prologue set on the Endurance before the wreck. It'd be a great place to train, just like the Manor, and there'd be ample opportunity for background story and other establishers. And it could be isolated from the rest of the game so you can revisit it from the title screen whenever you want, and play it minus the story and the continuation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jackles View Post
...it is unlikely that if outfits figure in any DLC that bikinis will be included.

I hope they stick to that. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
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Old 13-10-11, 15:12   #10
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Exciting reading!
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