After more than four years in development, Crystal Dynamics’ Lara Croft-starring reboot, simply titled Tomb Raider, releases today for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this series refresh since seeing it (via live stream, of course) at Microsoft’s E3 presser in 2011. The demo showed off an early section of the game, as Lara finds herself captured in a dank cave and struggles to free herself from captivity. It looked amazing; dark, atmospheric, lonely. I was hooked.

And so, without really knowing how it would turn out, I went ahead and ordered the top tier collectors edition. Thankfully, the game is great so far, though I’ve only played an hour or so. Admittedly, the opening sequence, that aforementioned cave escape scene, is a little bit too QTE-heavy, but it soon opens up and gives you a very useful bow, gleefully reminding me of my archery adventures in Skyrim. It’s an utterly gorgeous game as well – though I’ve only seen a small portion of the game so far, it’s certainly on par with the best that the Uncharted series has to offer.

There are other echoes of Nathan Drake’s adventures in the early sections too, as Lara clambers through environments in a similar manner, but the tone is markedly darker, and the environments immediately more open and traversable than Nate’s games. I’m looking forward to it opening up some more, and I’ve heard plenty of talk about Tomb Raider being possessed of a Metroidvania structure, with new gear opening up new paths in old environments. I can’t wait to get stuck in properly and flesh out the beautiful, deadly island of Yamatai.

And so we come to the main point of this piece. I said I bought the Collectors Edition, and it’d be cruel to not show it off a bit. So here is a new video (it’s been a while, eh?), showing off the big tin, the dirty (oo-er missus!) figure of Lara herself, the art book, map and… survival pouch? Just what is that thing for anyway? Enjoy the video, and leave me a comment if you’re getting stuck into Tomb Raider today. Or if you know what the hell the pouch is for.

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