(Ed’s Note: Preview played on Xbox One, but unless Crystal Dynamics decided to turn the PS4 version into a racing game or whatnot, we assume that both gameplay mechanics and design will be the same).
When the credits rolled on Crystal Dynamics? Tomb Raider reboot, and Ms. Croft had finally brought an end to Himiko?s longstanding and supernatural reign, the studio had effectively resurrected an icon. For generations, Lara Croft rubbed shoulders with the industry?s most venerable mascots, and despite Eidos? attempt at rebooting the IP in 2006, it was ultimately Crystal that ushered the famed archaeologist back into the limelight with aplomb, kick-starting a new timeline in the process.
Now, the studio is tasked with tie-toping around the notorious sophomore slump. Yes, Lara returns later this year for Rise of the Tomb Raider, a leaner, meaner sequel that?s making strides to ensure Crystal?s new-fangled IP cements its status as a true franchise. And while a partnership agreement means that the follow-up will release as a timed exclusive ? debuting on Xbox platforms in November before making the jump to PC and PlayStation systems next year ? on paper, only Uncharted 4 stands taller than Rise of the Tomb Raider on the 2016 calendar.
The Ghosts of Yamatai
Much digital ink has been spilled about how the two franchises have influenced one another in the past, though above all, Crystal?s sequel will map out Lara?s character arc from naive, wide-eyed explorer to a bona fide raider of tombs. Upon picking up the controller, we are introduced to a protagonist that has been shaped by her traumatic experience on Yamatai ? sporting scars both physical and mental.
Opening with a truncated, road-so-far-styled montage, the demo begins with Lara plumped down into a underground Syrian tomb and in search of a famous lost artifact of some description. Familiar, sure, but if there?s one thing that stuck with us after the vertical slice came to an end, it?s that Rise of the Tomb Ra...