I didn’t just find comics, anime and candy at the London MCM Expo last weekend, I also got the chance to whet my appetite for some new releases in the gaming world. I was lucky enough to try out demos for three games that I was curious about, though it was easy to see that the big deal was the Halo 4 demo. The queue for that demo was straight-up ridiculous and there is no love lost between myself and that franchise so I’m afraid I didn’t try it out. That said, clad in my top hat I did take the time to try out a few that piqued my interest.
Tomb Raider: A Survivor Is Born
This prequel to the Tomb Raider franchise sees the ultimate woman in gaming made several years younger and considerably less certain about herself. Shipwrecked and stranded, a 19-year-old Lara must survive and adapt to a new life on an island that also comes with deadly opposition and threats of many kinds. It seems that we start the game with a Lara who doesn’t have the life experiences that made her who she is in the main series. Uncertain and afraid, it’s clear that this girl must find the grit within to survive whatever is to be thrown at her and hopefully become the real Tomb Raider.
Due to the length of time before this game is released, it seems naive to assume that this is exactly what the finished product will look like. However I enjoyed the survival elements of this game, where Lara seems to now depend on a bow and arrows rather than her trademark duel pistols. The bow controlled well and it was excellent hunting deer with a genuine time delay in them being hit by my arrows (though I have to say that these were the stupidest deer I’ve ever encountered). The game I played allowed you to set up and return to a base camp in order to use your experience to purchase new abilities. These abilities also looked equally practical, allowing me to pick up my spent arrows or gain better experience. An annoyance was certainly the fact that the game insisted on splashing ludicrous amounts of water onto the screen, sometimes completely disfiguring what I could see. I’ll never understand why designers will put such impractical barriers in the way of my experience to give the game a “grittier” feel but I hope they tone it down a bit before the release or that it won’t be overused in the game itself. That said, I enjoyed this demo a great deal more than I expected to and I’m excited for this new instalment of Tomb Raider. And to all those that feel making Lara weak is a lame thing to do to her, I will withhold judgement until I play this game and hope that even if Lara does start off initially unprepared she will end the game several steps closer to the Ms Croft I know and love.
Agent 47 returns for his 5th instalment in the Hitman series. Ordered to assassinate his former handler and discovering a young girl who he is now lumbered with – I’m sorry – protecting, this plot looks like it’s going to follow the typical route of attempting to change and reveal everything. Looks like there’s a lot of lies, intrigue and a ton of story that Agent 47 will have to deal with one snapped neck at a time.
I feel it’s difficult for me to rate this demo comparatively with the other hitman games as I actually have never played any of them. One thing I do know, this game gives you options. I realised early on that I had the option of being sneaky sneaky or just running in their guns blazing. Obviously the game wants you to do one rather than the other and I will freely admit that when I did pull of the sneaking it felt freaking amazing! In the end though, this demo dissolved into a blood bath with me behind the wheel but the game wasn’t overly punishing because of that I was surprised to learn that only 50% of those that tried the demo at MCM Expo managed to complete it. The sneaking aspects are brilliant, with the ability to distract, blend in, strangle and simply sneak past enemies. I sense that if I got this game I would aim to kill as few people as possible and the game certainly seems to have a points based system that rewards exactly that (I was in the negatives by the end…). Not sure how those who love the series will take this but I really enjoyed the demo, unusual for someone who’s not very good at being quiet or patient.
More thoughts on Tomb Raider are below in this Vlog made from clips that I captured at MCM Expo and I can’t wait to go back next year!