It’s been a couple of weeks since Square Enix confirmed that a sequel to this year’s Tomb Raider reboot was in the works. Many other bloggers have already put forward their wish lists for the upcoming game but I thought I’d add my two cents.
Here are 10 things I’d like to see in the Tomb Raider sequel:
1) More puzzles – Puzzles are part of what made the Tomb Raider franchise great and there’s nothing less rewarding than finally solving a complex puzzle or figuring out how to reach a hidden relic. While there were some puzzles in Tomb Raider 2013 (hereafter abbreviated as TR 2013), these were relatively simple and overshadowed by the seemingly endless gun battles and irritating QTEs.
2) Fewer gun battles – I know that Lara was stuck behind enemy lines in TR 2013 and survival was the key theme of the game, but did we really need so many gun battles? There were times when it felt like I was playing Gears of War or some other third-person shooter instead of playing a Tomb Raider game. The number of enemies Lara came across on that island verged on ridiculous. Perhaps future games should focus less on gun battles and maybe force Lara to either bypass her enemies by stealth or outsmart them. She could always set a few traps if she just wanted to get people out of her way without killing them. Give players the option to either engage the enemy or avoid confrontation. That would be more satisfying than simply gunning down enemy after enemy.
3) Bring back the globetrotting and exotic locations – Fair enough, Lara was stuck on an island in TR 2013 with little hope of escaping it alive so it made sense to base the entire game in one location. However, for future games, I’d like to see a return to the globe-trotting quests of the older games and explore places that haven’t already been visited in previous games. You could have Lara seek out the lost tomb of Genghis Khan in the vast wilderness of Mongolia, seek out clues about the Argonauts’ adventures on the shores of the Black Sea, explore the ruins of forgotten Babylonian settlements, or have her look for the lost Ark of the Covenant in Ethiopia. There’s still so much out there for her to explore.
4) Bring back the ability to swim – Swimming has always been part of Lara’s skill set in previous Tomb Raider games, with the exception of TR 2013, so it seems fitting that the new Lara should be able to explore underwater areas for clues or treasure or to find alternative routes. Just imagine how awesome it would be to explore underwater caves and passages with the aid of scuba gear.
5) Make the game less linear – One major complaint I had about TR 2013 was the fact that despite its promise of a more “open world” Tomb Raider game, it was actually quite linear. There were times when you weren’t given the option to explore an area because the building were standing in would suddenly start collapsing around you or you inadvertently managed to trigger another QTE. It would be great if they could design a game that would allow players to take on the dual roles of explorers and detectives, scavenging for clues and information that could point them towards a different, less obvious path, lead the way to a hidden tomb, or reveal a valuable plot point. Give us an actual reason to get to those hard-to-reach areas.
6) Greater freedom to save games – I’m perfectly happy if they choose to keep the base camp system for future games but I’d also love the option to save my game whenever I want rather than rely on checkpoints. I’m quite a lousy gamer so I prefer to save my game whenever and wherever I can.
7) Bring back the vehicles – What’s a Tomb Raider game without at least one vehicle to drive and/or destroy? Just for the fun of it, why not have Lara pilot a small seaplane or helicopter? We’ve only ever seen her do this in cutscenes and FMVs but never in-game.
8) Get rid of the multi-player mode – Tomb Raider doesn’t need a multi-player mode. Its presence in TR 2013 added nothing to the game and I feel that they should have invested this time and effort in creating more tombs for us to explore. There are plenty of multi-player shooters out there already so just focus on keeping the tombs in Tomb Raider.
9) Less focus on secondary characters – We can argue that secondary characters were a necessary evil in TR 2013 as they helped to flesh out Lara’s character and gave her a sense of purpose. But now that Lara’s new origin story has been established, let’s keep Sam and the others out of the new game and bring back our “lone wolf” Lara, the one who didn’t need anyone to tell her what to do or how to get things done. Lara’s relationship with Sam was certainly a hot topic within the Tomb Raider community and while I think that having a gay protagonist would be a positive move for the gaming world, romantic relationships are an unnecessary distraction in a Tomb Raider game. Leave these for the comics. I just want to raid some tombs and steal ancient artefacts, not deal with group politics and drama.
10) Bring back the bow! – It would be hard to envision a reason to bring it back but I’d really, really love it if they could add the bow to Lara’s regular arsenal of weapons. It was by far my favourite weapon in TR 2013 and I’d be sad to see it go.
What would you like to see in the new game? Feel free to share your thoughts below!