Square Enix brought Tomb Raider to E3 and showed the title behind closed doors with a hands-off demo. The game’s opening began with Lara hanging upside down in a cavern. Fire from red candles sitting on an altar was the only source of light.
"I can’t die like this," Lara trembled after seeing a body plummet to the ground. Embers ignited her rope and Lara fell (in slow motion) and landed in a pit full of bones. One impaled her and the first player action was removing it by tapping X. A blue button over on a pool of cloudy blood popped up letting players know the proper command. The camera blurred as Lara winced in pain. She stumbled to the exit and was welcomed by a corpse strung up to the wall.
A number of torches were available, shown by a blue X button on top of them, and Lara grabbed one. The torch was more than a light source, Crystal Dynamics also designed it as a tool. Immediately a barrier built from boxes and wood blocked Lara from moving forward. Holding RT (right trigger) makes Lara ignite the dry wood to open a new path. Lara slipped through a crack in the rocks, but water dripped on her torch and extinguished it. An open flame nearby let her light it again by holding RT.
Panicked, Lara presses on with her head barely above water. Jumping through a waterfall, Lara loses her flame again. The critical path to move the story forward wasn’t direct. Players had to use Lara’s survival instinct, which made nearby barrels glow. Since staff from Crystal Dynamics were playing Tomb Raider they knew exactly what to do, but the solution wasn’t obvious from the get go. Lara had to rekindle her torch and light boxes within a cage and then ropes to lift the cage up. The cage lifted up, but didn’t move high enough until Lara used her weight by leaping into a tethered cage. Flaming boxes now in a platform above were ready to be pushed into what were likely exploding barrels. A leap and a shove later there was a big boom.
Lara dashed through the collapsing cave to a distant light. She had to literally crawl up and the player mashed LT and RT to make her climb. Boulders occasionally fell in bullet time to give players a chance to dodge by moving the analog stick. Lara continued to scale up the cave by pressing LT and RT until a native grabbed her feet. What’s Lara’s weapon? How about the left analog stick. Rocking it made Lara shake the native off and a QTE kick to the face finished him off. Well, technically a landslide did him in.
Later, Lara entered into another QTE fight in a wolf’s lair searching for a pack dropped by Conrad Roth. "I just want the pack, that’s all," Lara stuttered. She had no problem getting the pack, but on her way out a wolf tackled her. In this struggle, Lara kicked the wolf when a prompt to push X popped up. The wolf bit back. Through more QTEs, Lara dodged attacks before killing the wolf by repeatedly stabbing it with a knife. How did the player do this? By tapping RT.
Instead of saying a witty one-liner Lara apologized for taking the wolf’s life. "I’m sorry, it was either me or you," Lara bemoaned.
A cutscene followed with Lara and Roth. I’d write about it here, but we covered it before. Remember the leaked Tomb Raider script Siliconera posted? Bingo.