Rise of the Tomb Raider has quickly become one of the Xbox One's flagship titles for 2015. It's easy to see why: the game looks absolutely gorgeous, and as a follow-up to the 2013 reboot, it looks like Rise of the Tomb Raider is doing everything a sequel should.
Everything about the game is bigger and better — at least when fans actually manage to catch a glimpse of it in action.
For nearly a year, all fans knew about the game was its title, and the fact that it would be a timed Microsoft exclusive. It wasn't until E3 2015 that Square Enix finally pulled the curtains back — even then, the show floor demo focused more on the underlying systems and mechanics rather than the action-packed setpieces and gunplay. It wasn't a bad thing, it just wasn't the jaw-dropping spectacle that most people expect from a Tomb Raider presentation. When Microsoft did feel like showing off one of the game's bigger setpieces, it was only a few short minutes of footage.
Thankfully, the GamesCom 2015 demo is just what the doctor ordered: not only does the demo feature a more focused look at the game's story, but it's essentially one gigantic roller coaster ride, featuring just about every different type of gameplay a Tomb Raider fan could hope for:
Admittedly, the actual gameplay portion of the demo does start off relatively slowly: it's more about setting up the location and why Lara's there than anything else. Of course, it's not long before the place starts coming apart: once things really start to pick up, it's a nonstop ride through the finale.
The most intriguing part of the demo is the connection between Lara's work and her father's: while the 2013 game's story was a relatively self-contained tale of survival, it seems as if Rise of the Tomb Raider's story will focus more on the bigger picture. While it's impossible to tell why she's following her father's research, Lara's search for her family is a common thread throughout many of the classic Tomb Raider titles — let's just hope that Square Enix manages to change up the formula, rather than retread old ground.
Also, Rise of the Tomb Raider is absolutely gorgeous. There's a good chance you already picked up on that, but it warrants a mention. This is one of the best-looking games to ever hit the console — Microsoft would do well to pull more graphical heavy-hitters under its wing.
Hopefully, the final game can live up to its fantastic pre-release showings: Rise of the Tomb Raider is due out on Nov. 15.