Everything We Know About Tomb Raider

Gameplay: Survival and Combat

If you’ve been thinking that Tomb Raider looks a bit like the Uncharted series, you’re not wrong. Early video of the game suggests players will be using a lot of similar skills from the Uncharted franchise, as well as earlier Tomb Raider games: namely, solving environmental puzzles and spending a lot of time exploring the environment and scaling surfaces.

Lara’s primary tool for the majority of the stuff she’ll encounter is the climbing ax. Part weapon, part puzzle-solver and part climbing apparatus, the ax will be pretty much a mainstay to the Tomb Raider experience. Lara will use it to help her clear gaps and grab onto ledges, as well as bury it in the necks of enemies. It seems to be your primary stealth kill weapon, as well as the item you use most often.

There has been much made of Lara’s bow, which also will work as both an exploration tool and a primary weapon. The bow will be one of Lara’s first tools and allows for stealthy kills at range, luring enemies away from their posts, triggering explosions and fires by hitting certain objects. Later, Lara will be able to upgrade the bow with ropes to create her own zip lines and rope bridges to reach new areas.

Lara will be able to unlock new skills to apply to combat over time, like the ability to chuck a handful of sand in an enemy’s face while running. Those skills are going to be necessary to fighting tougher enemies as she goes deeper into the island during the course of the game. Survival is also going to be important: Expect to fight off the island’s indigenous animals and to gather food and supplies to keep Lara alive long-term, as well.

Puzzles

When you’re not fighting enemies, you’ll be finding your way around and exploring the island. That means environmental puzzles, some of which will require tools, others which will require some smart thinking. Lara will unlock different weapons, items and abilities that will allow her to get through certain obstacles, like a trench shotgun from World War II that can be used to clear barricades.

When you’re solving puzzles, the environment may often play a role. One of the things that has been shown often in videos of Tomb Raider is the aspect of using fire to create a path forward. Lara will be able to gather “salvage” from the wreckage of the ship, which is often cut off from her by being wrapped in cargo nets or behind barricades. Setting those nets on fire can open up the salvage, and Lara will also have to use fire to clear certain obstacles. Realistic physics for how objects burn mean fire is going to play a large part in your puzzle-solving.

Stealth

Staying out of enemies’ lines of sight is going to be a big part of how Lara gets around the island and fights off enemies. Players will use slow movement and cover in order to stay clear of enemies, then assassinate them with sneaky tactics. Distracting enemies, luring them into environmental hazards like fires sparked from lanterns, and potentially slipping past them altogether, are going to be a major part of Lara’s defense.

It also seems like Lara will have, potentially, multiple stealthy options for killing enemies as the game progresses. A silenced pistol is definitely in her repertoire, and upgrades for Lara’s bow and her fighting capabilities will mean that using arrows up close as a melee weapon will guarantee some quick, silent kills. You’ll also be able to use the environment to your advantage — like in kicking guys off cliffs.

Upgrades and Items

Expect Tomb Raider to carry not only a mix of Uncharted and old-school Tomb Raider sensibilities, but also some Metroidvania flare as well. As Lara opens up new skills and acquires new weapons, she’ll be able to revisit old locations and explore them more thoroughly — which means finding hidden areas (specifically, tombs) and unlocking new stuff from them as well. Expect a lot of backtracking in order to open up new places you haven’t been to before by using new tools, like the rope arrows, for example.

In order to facilitate these new tools and upgrades, Tomb Raider uses what’s called the “base camp” system. These are basically camp sites where Lara is momentarily safe (think campfires in Dark Souls). When she stops at one of these fires, Lara can apply experience points and weapons parts to upgrade her skills and tools. Sitting down at a base camp gives players a chance to rest and regroup, as well as access a number of upgrade menus, so finding these locations in new areas of the map will be key.

Base camps also facilitate Tomb Raider’s fast travel system. Since you’ll be returning to old locations on the map pretty frequently, you can traverse between base camps instantly once you’ve unlocked them, much like the fast travel system as seen in Far Cry 3. Your map also will contain a waypoint that will always direct you to where you need to go next to continue the story campaign.

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