When the calendar arrives on March 5, 2013, it will do so with a digital bang. That’s because the referenced date will provide many gamers with their first hands-on time with Tomb Raider, Square Enix’s re-imagined and revamped series reboot. Infusing modern gameplay elements with beloved heroine Lara Croft and her incredibly popular exploratory ways, the game serves as the publisher’s attempt at making the long-running franchise popular within today’s interactive landscape.
To celebrate this more modern take on the Tomb Raider experience, Microsoft and Square Enix partnered to create what is referred to as the Tomb Raider Limited Edition Wireless Xbox 360 Controller. A longwinded, but necessary title, it adorns what is a specially crafted and unique tie-in accessory, which will appeal to fans and collectors alike. Simply put, the wireless peripheral is unlike every other controller out there, although most of its unique qualities are on the surface.
In order to survive the perilous island that serves as the upcoming action-adventure title’s setting, players must find, upgrade and utilize weapons and tools. Unsurprisingly, one of the most prominent items made available to the protagonist is a rugged survival axe. Melding a metallic look with red colouring, the bladed asset is built to last. Scrapes, dings and other damage won’t faze it, and that’s a key thing, as Lara must even make use of it in order to complete physically demanding puzzles.
The reason why the aforementioned axe is of such great importance here is that the men and women who came up with the idea for this controller actually used it as inspiration during their design process. As such, the end result bears a great resemblance to the digitized tool, complete with dings, scratches and grime, not to mention a textured grip bandage on one side. A lot of work went into creating the likeness and it shows, as laser cutting techniques were used to etch into the controller, allowing some metallic silver to shine through. Design-wise, the thing looks, and (in some ways) feels beat up and dirty, but not because of abuse or neglect, or anything like that. Going forward, its affiliation to the Tomb Raider brand is subtly referenced through a white decal positioned on the botton of the battery pack’s support, which is black like the accessory’s entire backside.
Although it’s predominantly noteworthy for its impressive and incredibly unique look, not to mention its distinctive use of different textures, the Tomb Raider Limited Edition Wireless Xbox 360 Controller also happens to be a top end peripheral for Microsoft’s current generation console. Like its limited run peers, the controller features a transformable directional pad, which allows for improved control, especially when it comes to the fighting game genre. That isn’t all, though, as the controller also boasts stylized joysticks, which feature concave pad designs with raised, circular borders.
Thanks to Microsoft, I was recently given two opportunities to go hands-on with this visceral collector’s item. The first occurrence took place at the computer giant’s X-Series Spring 2013 Preview Event in downtown Toronto, during which I spent a notable amount of time with the game and its tie-in peripheral. Going in, I had high hopes for the accessory, and those were exceeded, thanks to its eye-pleasing look and sturdy feel.
On top of the above-referenced preview experience, which served as the basis of my recently published Tomb Raider hands-on preview article, was certainly an impressive and helpful one, it merely served as the beginning of my time with this beat up controller. In fact, we were recently provided with a unit for unboxing means. The resut is an unboxing video — available for your perusal at the bottom of this article — that gives you a great look at the controller, as well as all of the extras that come with it.
Here’s a quick list of the package’s included contents:
- Tomb Raider Limited Edition Wireless Xbox 360 Controller
- Instruction pamphlets
- Two AA batteries
- A redeemable Xbox LIVE code pertaining to an exclusive unlockable multiplayer character for use within Tomb Raider