The demo session provided a revisit to the many playable areas and cutscenes that were previously shown since the game’s formal reveal. It’s not only interesting to see these scenes connected in a cohesive playthru, but to also have the realization that Square Enix has mostly limited 18 months of gameplay reveals to these first three hours.
With this fluidity, there’s momentum. This cohesion, from the ensemble-driven narrative to the first puzzle, works well in propelling both the player and Lara forward, which is good considering how much she needs to take care of. She needs to find her friends, defend herself against mercenaries, and explore this island which was her original goal to begin with.
And with momentum, there’s pacing. The beauty about most video games is that it’s often hard to see the narrative road markers that are easy to spot in films or TV shows. When you’re watching a two hour investigative crime drama, it’s easy to figure out how close the detectives are from solving the case when there’s only so much running time left. I have an optimistic suspicion that Tomb Raider will have its share of unpredictable pacing and story developments. I certainly wouldn’t want to see forums early and see what the total playtime is for most players.