Gameplay is key
Tomb Raider showed off some interesting game mechanics at the last E3 and while it certainly intrigued it also looked a little wobbly. Something Far Cry 3 did was it sustained the same highly intense and similar combat situations while making them constantly fun, no matter how familiar they felt.
Going from stronghold to stronghold then completing a few missions was never a bore or a chore in FC3 simply because deeper than usual gameplay mechanics and a variation between stealth and action kept it interesting.
I'm not saying Tomb Raider should copy Far Cry 3's style; it just has to make sure the gameplay is varied, deep and interesting enough to keep people, not just playing, but also constantly having fun - something many games fail to do.
Tomb Raider is looking a much different game from previous installments in the series and while change is good - especially for a revival game - Crystal Dynamics must not forget that old fans will still make up a large part of the audience so familiarity is also required in some aspects.
Story can make or break
Tomb Raider promises an outstanding, emotional story - and it better deliver. If it doesn't the game will suffer. Far Cry 3 is proof of this. While FC3 offered a great story and adventure it wasn't told to its full potential. Some characters weren't used enough or expanded on enough and it felt a little hollow towards the end and overall it did suffer as a result.
To fully succeed Tomb Raider must ensure it tells its story to the max. Don't do what Far Cry 3 did and hold back on characters or any of that rubbish; give us something to play for, abuse that story, make players sad - whatever it is: DO IT. The games success may depend on it.
A world worth exploring
Like Far Cry 3, Tomb Raider will be a mostly sandbox game. Being free to explore is fine and everything, but only if the environment offered is actually interesting.
Far Cry 3 hit the nail on the head with its game world. It actually reminded me of Tomb Raider/Uncharted at times. There were caves to explore, animals to hunt, jungles to learn and constant obstacles between you and your goal.
Tomb Raider has to have an intriguing, unique and awesome game world that will have players exploring because they want to, not because they have to.
A key thing FC3 did was it had a world full of secrets. I remember playing through the game and on the way to an objective there was a massive stone pit. I went down and it was full of snakes and treasure. There was a hole full of scary looking water that I was terrified to go in because of crocodiles or something. I struggled to find my way out again until I finally found a hidden vine to climb up.
That one, small, five minute long section is a great definition of why Far Cry 3 had such an awesome world. It wasn't just roads and trees; it had secrets, places to explore and things to gather and learn. If anything, the only thing its world lacked was more of the same, great stuff its world offered.
If Tomb Raider does what a fair amount of mediocre game worlds do and simply offers players a map with some collectibles in it and some interesting landscapes, it won't be worth playing and it might as well be completely scripted instead.
This is particularly essential because Tomb Raider, as a series, has always been about the fantastic places Lara goes to explore and the awesome things she (and the player) discover there.
Don't let us down...
This is the most important thing, Crystal Dynamics, OK? Do what Far Cry 3 did. Hype us up, like you are. Get us totally psyched. And then, when we play it, don't, I repeat don't, let us down. If you can deliver as awesome a game as we expect and hope for, then Tomb Raider may be in the running for Game of The Year 2013.
So, please, don't let us down.