I got lost in a forest once. Admittedly, there weren’t any horrific plane wrecks or crazy gibberish-screaming cultists, but I learned a lot. For instance, never go anywhere that’s not your own bedroom without some form of map, and also poison ivy is the absolute worst. But presumably, I gained some kind of applicable skill from that experience. According to Tomb Raider, however, the reason I haven’t figured it out yet is that I need to go sit at a camp fire and absorb its wisdom-imparting fumes. That’s the base camp system in a nutshell, and – in addition to making perfect sense – it provides Lara with quite a nice range of options in her bid to make it off the island in one piece. Raid the tombs beneath the break – coated in cobwebs and haunted by the ghostly echoes of pun threads long since passed – to see a video of it in action.
It seems like a fairly standard upgrade system overall, but with a few interesting wrinkles. Or, put another way, did you see what Lara did to that guy’s face? That’s not how arrows work, but points for ingenuity. I am, however, also a wee bit concerned. Apparently we’ll be scavenging around for pieces of salvage to upgrade items, and some objectives will require us to re-forge tools – for instance, the ever-versatile (read: Lara is very proficient at embedding objects in people’s heads) pick axe – until they’re up to snuff. Without proper fine-tuning, I could see those moments feeling like arbitrary progress gates. Let’s hope that doesn’t end up being the case.
Survival Instinct could be another potential sticking point – at least, if it serves as a “follow the convenient ethereal space lights to solve the puzzle” button. But I suppose we’ll just have to wait and see on that one.
Beyond those things, though, Tomb Raider’s packing quite a bit of promise. At this point, I really just want to play it for myself already, as potential quibbles mostly come down to minutiae. So I will do that – on March 5th in the far-off Future Year of 2013. Hm. That’s a bit of a wait. I guess I’ll just have to be content occupying myself with all the other games in existence until then. Bummer.