The demo showed Lara earning XP by exploring, hunting, and killing. XP can be used to learn new survival skills or upgrade weapons and tools. These objects will have aesthetic changes when upgraded as well as upgraded properties for functionality.
Survival is key, so Lara's tools have multiple uses. The ax tool was used to kill meat, wedge open doors, and even as a crank lever.
Lara is fighting for her life, so realism is a major theme. Lara is less about attitude we've seen in previous "Tomb Raiders," and more about her survival. Her life was in jeopardy numerous times throughout the demo. When trying to meet up with the rest of her team, Lara has to eat to survive. After finding a bow, the next step is hunting for food.
Lara's character isn't the only part of the world that feels real. When hunting, the deer took numerous arrows to take down, and even tried to run away while wounded. She had to get up close to kill and skin it with her ax tool.
What would a 3rd person adventure game be without quicktime events these days? Fortunately, "Tomb Raider" appears to have a lot of them. They occur when Lara is in near-death moments like falling off a cliff, or being cornered by an enemy. They really do add a level of excitement and intensity to the game.
The look and tone of "Tomb Raider" is dark and gritty. Lara isn't just killing for fun, she kills because she has to to survive. this game gives us yet another reason to look forward to early 2013.