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Tomb Raider: Will survival gameplay set it apart from Uncharted?

Young Lara brings big setpieces in this reboot...

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At the base of the rapids she clatters into an old plane wreck teetering over the edge, and before it falls she manages to grab a parachute and float to safety through a forest with a convenient path. It all feels a bit staged and illogical, and has none of the physicality and tension of, say, Drake climbing up the train at the start of Uncharted 2.

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It may be that this isn't representative of the ultimate game. The nature of shows like E3 demands something immediate and exciting to wow the crowds, and interviews with Crystal Dynamics suggest the game is going to be much more open than these snippets suggest, with large hubs areas and Metroid-style backtracking. Lara will discover new tools and equipment as she moves across the island, which will allow her to access new areas.

We've got faith in Crystal Dynamics. Their last game, Underworld, was a good mix of action, exploration and freeform puzzling - so it makes sense that they'd refine that formula, rather than devote themselves to flashy action. But they aren't doing themselves any favours by showing levels that go against everything they've promised: that it's about survival, and that Lara is a more grounded, believable character than we saw in the other games.

Frankly, it doesn't make any difference to us whether this is old Lara or a modern Lara: all we want is a good Tomb Raider game that lets us explore exotic environments, solve puzzles and, y'know, maybe raid some tombs. At E3 we saw a glimpse of a new scavenging system that enables Lara to upgrade items by collecting scrap from around the island, but the idea seemed a little half-baked. Hopefully Crystal Dynamics will build on the shooting and climbing, and flesh out the survival aspect. That's what could set this apart from the likes of Uncharted.

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