A Tomb Raider 2 fan remake five years in the making has just dropped a single-level demo you can play right now.
Tomb Raider: The Dagger of Xian has been in the works since 2016, with project director Nicobass (opens in new tab) using Unreal Engine 4 and the help of a few other die-hard Tomb Raider fans. The remake even has Crystal Dynamics' blessing - according to PCGamer (opens in new tab), the company is fine with the project "as long as it remains strictly not-for-profit."
The remake is meant to have the look and feel of current-gen gaming graphics, but the juxtaposition between this remake and the original game are enough to stun you. While Lara Croft's breasts weren't breaking the laws of physics and the human form as egregiously in this game as they were in the first Tomb raider, she looks slightly more human in this remake - although the impossible body standards remain. The environment art in this remake is especially stunning, with gorgeous water and lighting mechanics that are (naturally) a far cry from the 1997 game - there's even a photo mode you can take advantage of to show off the updated visuals. Here's a lit of improvements made in Tomb Raider: The Dagger of Xian:
- New water simulation rendering
- New volumetric lighting
- Climbable ledges should be more visible with some white decals
- New alternative outfit added in the rewards menu
- More characters models added in the rewards menu
- New fish models reacting to the player’s movements
- Small improvements about Lara’s animations
- Adjustments to Lara's body shape
- More foliage interaction
- Remaking of the audio reverb system
- Improvements of underwater particles
- Performance improvements
- Many small bug fixes
You can download the 1.2 version of the demo here (opens in new tab), which contains the game's first level (The Great Wall) and about an hour's worth of playable content. In it, you're able to navigate the Great Wall of China to find clues regarding the whereabouts of the dagger of Xian. Nicobass has plans to complete the entire game, so keep this on your radar.