Tomb Raider Hands-On: Use Experience Points To Teach Lara Skills

By Spencer . July 13, 2012 . 11:20am

Square Enix has a playable build of Tomb Raider at Comic-Con, which puts players in control of a battered Lara Croft. Visibly wounded and unarmed, Lara begins the demo tiptoeing across a log. "I can do this," she nervously muttered as I gently tilted the analog stick forward.


Lara made it across safely, but was trapped on a spit of land overlooking a roaring waterfall. The only way to move is up by grabbing on to a rusted plane. I gave her a running start and while Lara made it across she lost her grip. This played out as a QTE and I had to quickly hit X to make her grab hold of the plane.


Lara clearly lacks finesse in this Tomb Raider game, an intentional decision by developer Crystal Dynamics. And just when you think Lara is getting the hang of platforming, Tomb Raider has scripted sequences where Lara tumbles to the ground or gets caught in a trap.


Good thing these events don’t shave off her health. Lara Croft will grow in Tomb Raider because you get XP (survival points) for doing just about everything. Walking to a checkpoint rewards players with an XP boost and so does surviving a drop.


These points can be spent on skills like these from the Ingenuity tree:

Arrow Retrieval – Retrieve arrows from enemies

Survivalist – Extra XP from food

Hunter – Spot animals more easily with survival instinct

Animal Instincts – Nearby animals auto trigger survival instinct

Bone Collector – Salvage items from corpses

Increased Ammo – Carry more ammunition

Explorer Intuition – See the approximate position of undiscovered tombs

Researcher Intuition – See the approximate position of items a character can use.

Safe Landing – Press B when landing to reduce damage.


Hunting was the focus of this Tomb Raider demo, but first Lara has to get a weapon. Moving from her self-made campsite, Lara exclaims how hungry she is and sees a shrivelled body hanging from a tree carrying a bow. I scurried up a grass covered building and leapt to a platform close to the dangling corpse. Lara tepidly lunged forward, but tumbled with the body when she tried to grab the bow. With some hesitation, Lara pried the bow off the deceased.


Your next task is to cook a meal and fortunately for Lara a young deer appears right before her eyes. You can pull the bow string back with the left trigger and fire an arrow with the right trigger. Lara starts off with a limited supply of arrows, but there were a few ammo caches in the demo usually with a single digit number of arrows.


The trick to hunting the deer was moving slowly. Running and walking through bushes makes noise which startles the deer. I found if I drawing the bowstring first then walking while aiming was the key to staying quiet.


It took two arrows to take the deer down and Lara, with sorrowful eyes, cut the deer open. Meat in hand, an objective told me to walk back to the camp site. I decided to explore the lush area first and found more stacks of arrows, but there was only one deer in the area. I suppose, if you don’t mind scavenging, there will be enough arrows for novice archers.


When I got back to camp, Lara ate a meal and the demo ended with clips from the hands-off demo Square Enix showcased at E3. Tomb Raider comes out for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on March 5th, 2013.

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  • l777l

    Wait, the player teaches Lara things? Oh my God, that’s so like totally sexist!

    (What’s worse, though, wanting to teach Lara things, or wanting to protect her? This teaching stuff certainly does sound like intellectual rape.)

    • xavier axol

      guess what i’ll teach her *hint* rope*hint* pole*hint* oil *hi–* wait!! lara wait!! look i’m sorry!! i didn’t mean to!! ok i promise i’ll nev——-.

    • gaiahatergaia


      • l777l

        Did you notice the “wanting to protect Lara” controversy?

        • gaiahatergaia

          So, what’s your point?

          • l777l

            Figure it out yourself. Or don’t.

          • gaiahatergaia

            I tried, but couldn’t.

  • xavier axol

    everytime i see lara now, i get reminded of aya brea in hd. they look so alike!, which it kills me that square won’t give parasite eve another try (on counsel this time). well i’ll be enjoying my copy of tomb raider, but will be dreaming of playing eve in hd. :'(

    p.s. lara does look more sexy when cover up, specially in those tight jeans.

  • Göran Isacson

    Huh. On the one hand this COULD become an interesting concept, and it would indicate that the many different skills one learns means the game is far more open-world than Uncharted… but I can’t help but feel concerned when I see all these different skills. It feels like instead of figuring out some useful skills they’ve just thrown in as many different ideas, and the end result is that only a handful of all these skills will actually be useful and the rest will just be glossed over.

  • ThunderGod_Cid

    Soooo, it’s more like an action-RPG, huh?
    This raises my interests by +30pts.

  • Mrgrgr and Unacceptable World

    Lol, this getting away further and further from Tomb Raider game here lol.^^ Well the skill-perks there sounds like some other survival game where we need to eat any food that we can find in the jungle.

    And the Lara here does not give me the vibe of “strong woman” here. It is like, she is forced to to do certain things that she hates here. As, the previous series, Lara just seems to be okay doing almost anything lol.^^

  • CirnoLakes

    The first videos I saw of this game disappointed me, because what I saw was a lot of quick time events. But newer news is helping the image of the game as generally good and fairly unique. I can’t think of too many games that are about survival, and that is intriguing.

    Also… is it just me… or does Lara Croft actually look good now? I don’t mean that in a “now she’s sexy” sense. I mean like, she actually seems legitimately badass and awesome now. In the old games there were always trying to give her sexy poses and things, accentuating large breasts, and tiny shorts. She actually looks and seems like a person and a rugged one at that. Instead of glamorous and trying to be sexy. They tried to make her sexy, and it didn’t work. Apparently some people thought she was, but I don’t see it at all. Her facial proportions were bizarre and weird and unattractive looking. Like a comedy cartoon when cartoons are trying to look anything but sexy. And then with all of those flaunting pictures, it’s just trying too hard, instead of actually looking sexy.

    Not that I think Lara should be attractive. But the whole attempt at making her seem sexy in the PSX era with her weird facial proportions was just bizarre. Women are already kinda oversexualized in the video game industry and seeing people try to make Lara Croft into a sex symbol was just annoying to look at. I only remember even playing playing a Tomb Raider game once. And that was on a PlayStation One demo disc when I didn’t have much choice or anything better to play because I didn’t own many games.

    I remember somewhat being bedazzled, not by Lara and her non-existent “sexiness” in it. But the fact I was actually getting to play as a woman for a change. And that lasted for about 5 minutes before I ragequit from the horrid controls. Just walking around was an incredible chore and I just could not play any further. It was easier to walk around in the original Silent Hill. And thus I never looked into a Tomb Raider game.

    Until now. You know, I worry about the quality of this game. But I do see a lot of good in her new game. Lara has seemed like someone who has turned from a flamboyant sex symbol, to an actual human. I feel this strange growing respect for her. As well as the gaming franchise. Again, I haven’t seen too many games, that aren’t horror, that are focused on survival. Like, actual wilderness survival, not surviving a bunch of zombies. I’m impressed, because the more I hear about the gameplay and the concept, the more this game seems innovative. How many games have you played with that theme? If done right, it could help create an entire genre.

    With that, I can’t help but root this game on in many ways. It’s certainly the first Tomb Raider game I’ve been able to root for.

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