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Raid On: Tomb Raider's 'Exploration System'

Lara Croft is Batman! Maybe. At the very least, she seems to have been watching the caped crusader carefully, although her study of his Arkham adventures doesn’t extend to mimicking Wayne’s restraint. When she’s firing ziplines across chasms or attaching rope arrows to destructible scenery to create new routes, she’d look right at home in Rocksteady’s Gotham, but then she shoots a deer in the face at point blank range, or sneaks up on a villain and perforates him unto dying. Batman would just break every limb in sight and then move on. The latest Tomb Raider ‘Survival Guide’ builds up to the reveal of an ‘exploration system’ that you may recognise from elsewhere. It’s called ‘fast travel’.

There’s nothing wrong with explaining the terminology and it’s all too easy to assume everybody is swimming daily in the gaming lexicon, but that’s not going to stop me being amused by a trailer about ‘fast travel’ and ‘gear gating’. They could have at last come up with a silly name – ‘Rapid Raider Relocation’ perhaps, or simply ‘Larapalooza’.

Whatever the case, I admit to being confounded by this new Tomb Raider. I expect there are elements of it that will make me shrug and others that will make me frown, but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a great deal to enjoy as well. Seeing the map, with all of its collectibles and base camps, the game starts to take shape in my mind, but I’m still not convinced that I realise how all the parts fit together, or even if some of those parts are at all what they seem to be. It all looked very Uncharted for a while and then it sounded a bit more crafty-Crofty, but now it looks sort of like Far Cry Asylum (I did want to write ‘Farkham Asylum’ but it was stupid and sounded rude when I said it out loud in a cockney accent’).

We’ll find out in March.

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Adam Smith

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