Last week in Las Vegas I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to play some multiplayer Tomb Raider.
Recently Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix announced that there would be a multiplayer mode within their forthcoming Tomb Raider game. The response from the fans was mixed - some said great, others just groaned.
When I was given the opportunity to have a go at multiplayer I jumped at the chance. I really liked what I have played of the single player campaign so far, and you can check out my three hour preview here.
One of the reasons the fans groaned about multiplayer was the concern over development resources being taken away from the campaign. This is not the case at all, in fact EIDOS Montreal were called in to work on the multiplayer mode, leaving the team working on the campaign to continue working on it, with both teams working in parallel. Some of the team from EIDOS working on multiplayer also worked on Deus Ex, so they certainly know their stuff.
Anyway, on to multiplayer.....
For this preview we were playing two different modes in the game, the first one is called Rescue mode. In this mode you play either the survivors or the scavengers (who are known as the Solarii). When you play as the survivors, your goal is to collect five medpacks and return them to a certain spot on the map, while trying not to get killed by the Solarii. This really is about teamwork and providing cover for your fellow survivors because when a player is carrying the medpack they cannot fire any weapon or fight. The survivors win once they have returned five medpacks.
The role of the Solarii is to kill the survivors - it's that simple. When a survivor has taken a certain amount of damage they can only be killed be a final melee attack, no matter how you caused them damage. This gives the survivors time to help their fallen teammate. The survivors can still fight when they are down, so it certainly makes for some interesting gameplay.
You play as both the survivors and the Solarii during the game so you get to experience everything.
The second mode we got to play was Team Deathmatch, and this is exactly what you think it is.
The goal here is to kill as many of the opposing team as possible - the first team to 25 kills wins the match. Unlike Rescue mode, if you are playing as the Solarii you don't have to perform a finishing attack on the survivors - a kill is a kill is a kill. And again you play both sides during the game.
There are different maps you can play in the different modes, for this preview we got to play a map called Chasm, which includes a very cool environmental element - a sandstorm. To activate the sandstorm a player has to ring a large bell that effectively summons the sandstorm. The sandstorm engulfs the map making it almost impossible to see anything, well that is unless you are on the team that summoned it, in which case you get to see where the opposing team is, and swoop in for a kill.
There are also traps that can be set within the maps, which really adds to the gameplay.
You can carry a maximum of five different loadouts and you can change them within the game too, so if you are not having muck luck with one, just swap it out and try again. There are also some cool super weapons that randomly spawn throughout the maps, such as a mini gun or an ultra powerful bow. As with the single player campaign you can collect salvage and XP and therefore have the opportunity to upgrade your weapons.
You can also choose which character you want to play as, but it is important to note that there isn't really any difference between choosing Jonah or Roth for example. The only difference is the appearance onscreen.
I was pleasantly surprised about multiplayer for Tomb Raider, and it is certainly something I am going to play more of, and I look forward to finding out about the other modes and maps over the coming weeks. It's not trying to be the next Call of Duty, instead it's a fun opportunity to play as characters other than Lara.
Tomb Raider will be released March 5th 2013 for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC.
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