Needless to say, Lara Croft has been freshly redesigned. Her days as a buxom and sly lass of the 90s have come and gone, and out of her ashes rises someone grittier and noticeably toned-down. The younger Lara stands out in the hands-off E3 demo (an extended version of what was shown at Microsoft's press conference) as a resourceful but scared kid straight out of college – a far cry from the Croft we've come to know.
The change extends to the new voice actress, whose take on the character has given her a girlish, moany twang. Croft's ship has crashed off the coast of Japan, and its survivors have been taken captive. When we meet her, Lara finds herself strung up and chained to the ceiling - responding with worried huffs and whimpers.
The introductory scene builds to teach you the basics behind Tomb Raider's physics. A back and forth swing from her ceiling chains is the best little Lara can muster, but it's enough to create a simple Rube Goldberg reaction: Lara swings into a nearby corpse that's been wrapped in cloth, the cloth-body swings into an open flame, and off we go with the flame roaming from the cadaver onto Lara's own bindings, causing them to break and her to plummet to the ground.
Welcome to Fire 101. This appears to be your tool of choice in the first portion of the introduction. Lara's weapon set is non-existent at the beginning of the game, but we are shown how a basic flame can be used to her advantage and later how far simple survival instincts extend to solving puzzles. Survival Instinct is an ability that highlights pertinent objects in a scene without giving away how they specifically relate to the problem at hand.
The demo itself is littered with QTEs, an element that many are already on edge about. As Lara first attempts to escape one of the underground rooms her captor attacks, giving you an on-screen prompt to hammer LS in order to escape – fail to do so and he gruesomely stabs her in the throat with a small pick axe. A similar scene appears a few minutes later when she's attacked once again, prompting the LS order to appear, which if successfully pressed causes a boulder to crush the attacker.