In the one-level PS2 demo we saw recently, Lara plunges into an overhauled version of the Lost Valley stage, now a gigantic cavern filled with giant gears and decaying rope bridges. Instead of just looking for the best way through each level, Lara will now be able to cut her own paths through it by collapsing bridges and shooting down hanging debris, which can create grapple points or handholds. It's all part of an effort, Crystal Dynamics says, to give players "a real presence" in the game world by making them feel as though they can reshape the environment.
Although Lara will be able to strategically tear the levels apart, you'll still be able to explore the old-fashioned way - by leaping around on narrow ledges and ferreting out hidden fissures to slip through. Tomb Raider is really about exploration and discovery, after all, and so Anniversary will be crammed full of out-of-the-way caves, secret items and less-than-obvious alternate routes to keep players scouring. It'll also feature puzzles similar to the first game's - ie, of the 'find the little gear to make the big gears open the door' variety - although players won't need to backtrack endlessly through each level to solve them.
Above: Puzzles are similar to that of the first game's, although players won't need to backtrack through the level to solve them
That doesn't mean it'll be easy, of course. Anniversary still features traps and potentially fatal jumps to trip players up. Lara's much more agile now, what with her more fluid jumping and ability to perch on tiny platforms, but these should still pose a big challenge. And Lara will have to rely on her guns to deal with one other significant hazard that helped the first game stand out:bad temperedwildlife.
As she made her way through the demo, Lara was repeatedly attacked by wolves, bats and one slavering bear, all of which were a far cry from the chunky, relatively cuddly creatures of the original game. These animals are faster and a lot more vicious although, luckily for Lara, they still hunt alone or in pairs (or in slightly larger groups, where bats are concerned).