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Tomb Raider feels just like Tomb Raider should

Friday, 1 March 2013 08:37 GMT By Brenna Hillier

With decent combat and super-slick visuals, Tomb Raider is almost unrecognisable as the much-loved, dated franchise Brenna grew up with – but something just feels right.

Tomb Raider: Then

The first Tomb Raider released in 1996 on PC, Saturn and PlayStation. It was one of the first non-shooters to use the then-new technology of polygons to craft sprawling explorable 3D environments. The bold choice of a female protagonist was inspired by an emphasis on puzzles over action – brains over brawn. Her original trademark ridiculous chest came about thanks to an error, but unfortunately stuck, diluting Core Design’s intent.

Core Design churned out a sequel every year for four years, thoroughly exhausting itself. The formula barely changed but the novelty wore off, and by 2000′s Tomb Raider: Chronicles, sales had died off significantly. Core attempted to revive the franchise with a jump to PlayStation 2, introducing a new character and many new gameplay systems in 2003′s Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Development was more than troubled and the result was appalling. EDGE has an excellent post-mortem. Eidos moved the series to Crystal Dynamics, then best know for its successful Legacy of Kain games, especially Soul Reaver. Cire was later sold to Rebellion, which absorbed the remainder of its team and assets.

Tomb Raider has had a couple of composers in its time but the early music by Nathan McCree has stuck with me the most strongly, because the sound team did a great job leveraging the limited storage space at its disposal in reusing a small number of tracks. Especially in the first two games, Core Design was clever in its atmospheric use of audio; when Lara entered a grand new chamber, encountered a stunning vista, or uncovered some ancient secret, a little bit of music reminded you just how awesome it was to be raiding tombs. I call these “monk moments” in tribute the chanting which was used in Tomb Raider II.

One of the ways Tomb Raider really lives up to its famous forebears is by packing in plenty of monk moments. Some of these are really obvious; when you reach an elevated point and a view opens before you and when you break through tunnels into a ruin, a bit of clever camera work, music and perhaps even a comment from Lara helps communicate what your eyes should already have informed you – you’ve just come across something amazing.

This feels very true to that old Tomb Raider vibe, but what the new game adds to that is an emphasis on small moments, too. The signal-to-noise ratio is astonishing, with something charming to look at or think about in every area. In the very first chamber Lara reaches after escaping captivity at the beginning of the game, the camera swings around to display some sort of baffling, ghastly altar. Many of us, unfortunately, can’t be trusted to look at the environment and pick up story cues, so usually in this sort of situation you’d either miss out on a great bit of design or have to watch a cutscene in which the protagonist babbled a list of moronic questions so that the idiot (me) holding the control pad would definitely have some idea of the narrative drive moving them forwards.

Crystal Dynamics has opted to be gentler; the camera swings so subtly and so clinically that your eyes naturally follow the shift; it almost feels as if you really walked into a room and stopped short, clapping your eyes on this thing. Lara turns her head, too, and exclaims. And that’s it. No more exposition or handholding. You are Lara, in this unfamiliar place, and you’re both looking at something disgusting, wondering what the fuck it is, and deciding not to hang around and find out. Lara’s desire to GTFO is mirrored by the player’s desire to get on with playing the game. There’s no dissonance.

There are dozens of examples like this, short moments of shock, awe or curiosity – some dramatic and others quiet – as Lara moves through the world, examining it. Her education outmatches the player so that she acts as a kind of guide – she’ll tell you when a statue is ancient, or unusual – but her intuitions never leap ahead of the player’s.

In fact, if you go looking for the several kinds of collectible available to achievement hunters and power gamers, you’ll probably beat her to the conclusion. Since Crystal Dynamics can’t assume you’ve been listening to Lara’s journal, reading diary fragments, and generally being observant, Lara’s intellectual journey has to progress a little more slowly than you may. “No shit, Lara,” I commented on several occasions as our hero put the pieces together.

Tomb Raider: Now

Crystal Dynamics produced three games in the “second generation” of Tomb Raider, introducing a greater emphasis on climbing, fluid platforming, and improved combat. Those who feel the new game bears too strong a resemblance to Uncharted should probably revisit Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, the first of which released before Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, and remember that Amy Hennig and other members of Crystal Dynamics’ Soul Reaver team made the jump to Naughty Dog.

The last game of the second generation, Tomb Raider: Underworld, did not meet sales expectations. Square Enix has acquired publisher Eidos in the interim, and made the risky but rewarding decision to greenlight a second complete reboot of the franchise. Crystal Dynamics spent five years on the no doubt massively-expensive project, with square Enix approving a couple of delays on the way. No expense spared to return Lara to the forefront of gaming she once occupied.

Nevertheless, it’s really worth chasing those extra materials down, not just for the backstory but for the pleasure of finding them. Spotting an apparently inaccessible area off the main path and then figuring out how to get there is rewarding in and of itself. The Relics you find are like a surprise toy in a delicious box of cereal. Crystal Dynamics has lovingly created a wide variety of ancient and modern items that Lara finds in small, sometimes fiendishly well-hidden boxes around the environment.

Once Lara opens the box, displaying a delightful little frisson of intellectual avarice in expression, animation and voice, she’ll give you a very quick explanation of what the object is. You can turn it over and look at its meticulous re-creation, and doing so will occasionally reward you with further comments.

Finding all these Relics will help you level up faster but otherwise contributes nothing to gameplay, and yet for me it was one of the most enjoyable aspects of Tomb Raider. By the time I’d found a few I started to get interested in these things and what they were, and in putting together the twisted history of the island. I felt the same kind of things Lara would feel, I think – an interest in the people that came before, and how they lived. It was like Crystal Dynamics had leveraged my very mundane min-maxing tendencies to inspire a connection between me and the character I was controlling.

Tomb Raider isn’t a sequel to those early games, or even the newer ones which followed the franchise’s first reboot. It’s an origin story for a new canon, one built to be forward-looking, so Lara can enjoy adventures for many years to come. It probably had to be done, and where Crystal Dynamics deserves mega credit is how it kept alive so much of the pleasure and original spirit of Tomb Raider while building such a thoroughly modern and satisfying action game. Yes, the combat’s no longer shoddy in the extreme, and yes, Lara’s not going to be getting into Mensa for her puzzle-solving this time. But that general feeling of seeing strange places and finding things nobody has understood in thousands of years – that’s alive and well.

So many small things go into creating this system – the cinematic action; the monk moments; the collectible system; the incredible environmental design; and the way these things are carefully pieced together. These are meticulously designed aspects, each one polished to such a gleam that it is indistinguishable from the gem of overall gameplay, and as such, are probably not going to get enough appreciation. Be like Lara; spend a few moments picking over the treasures, observing and appreciating the craftsmanship that produced them, wondering about the people who produced them, and why.

Tomb Raider releases on March 5 for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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17 Comments

  1. Grey Wolf

    Thank you for this. Next week I’ll be able to play Tomb Raider. Love the series and hopefully will like this one :)

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Jet Black

    I have to disagree Brenna :-( As much as I enjoyed this new Tomb Raider, I was ultimately left disappointed. I didn’t like the almost constant slasher movie level of violence & teen movie script given to Lara’s companions (the majority of which was cringeworthy, & full of racial stereotypes…). I felt Lara’s origin story was sabotaged because of this & what could have been a great journey of adventure & exploration, is nothing more than teen movie horror flick with gratuitous levels of violence. The bits I did enoy were the classic tombs with puzzles which we come to expect, these sections (albeit too brief throughout the whole game) are a welcome change in pace from the constant flow of frantic killing & QTE. Overall I just found the game to have a serious identity crisis & could see that the team working on this obviously struggled with this too, “Do we make it a shooter? Survival horror? A bit like uncharted? RPG?”, with the addition of unnecessary & tacked on multiplayer too, rounds of a package that just feels disjointed & would have benefitted from more focus from the team that made this. I was so looking forward to this as well :-(

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Stardog

    Another generic shooter.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @3 It really isn’t. I thought it might be too before playing, but I was genuinely surprised. Would be good if they’d release a demo to let people try it mind you :)

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Cloud King

    Tomb Raider was about challenging platforming and puzzle solving, dummy.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Gheritt White

    Heaven forbid a dev changes up a game and actually makes it *better*, amirite? That would be TERRIBLE.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Zana

    I prefered Tomb Raider when it was mostly about exploring and solving puzzles. It was more unique. We don’t need another action-ish game, when there are SO FEW adventure games…

    #7 2 years ago
  8. salarta

    Oh hey, what do you know, a game by which the company publishing it has been hyping it to hell and back on every possible website in existence has three opinion pieces here.

    Anyway, I think I may finally have made peace for the most part with this game after realizing the core issue: after noticing a third problem with this game, I realized I have standards, most people do not. How people react to change is dependent on whether or not they still like the character and games made with her. If they do, they will push against it. If they don’t, they will accept just about anything.

    I realized this a couple nights ago when I actually thought about the disconnect between the game’s name and the focus. This game is titled Tomb Raider… and yet, the focus is NOT on raiding tombs. The titular tombs have by and large been reduced to background fluff, with all the focus put on Lara killing dudes (after the training and influence of men nudges her to stop being a fragile girl).

    This really isn’t a Tomb Raider game. Even if the game had hundreds of “tombs” (and I use that loosely because some of them are things like crashed planes), it doesn’t change that it’s not the focus. The focus is “survival.” Every single thing the company is doing is about “survival,” making the title of the game a complete lie and a betrayal of even the series’ core tenet.

    This makes the new “Tomb Raider” a series equivalent of Jason X, except the people behind Jason X at least changed the name to reflect parting from what is expected in Friday the 13th. This game is so far removed from its whole purpose for being that the title of the game is only there because people recognize it. It has tombs, but their worth to the game comes far, far behind this concept of “survival.” The core focus used to be raiding tombs; now, the core focus is survival. People complain about the thought of Resident Evil straying from its roots, but at least Resident Evil never lost sight of biohazards being the core focus.

    Someone’s bound to whine that I somehow can’t like good things, or that I’m afraid of change, or some other thing where they talk up their judgment as being right, and they can feel free to do that all they like. It’s not going to change anything here. This game is so far removed from Tomb Raider that it really shouldn’t be called Tomb Raider, and this Lara Croft is so far removed from the proper Lara Croft that she shouldn’t be called Lara Croft. This game will succeed in sales, but NOT because it’s a great reboot of the series. It’s not even a proper reboot. No, it will succeed because so many people grew to care so little about the brand that they don’t mind or care seeing its name and characters slapped on what would have been better as a brand new IP called something like “Survivor Girl.”

    When a series is down and out, even to the point where I haven’t been playing its games, I still have the standards to refuse things that blatantly do not fit the series. Other people do not; if they think something is still “cool” (e.g. DmC vs Devil May Cry) then they will resist, but if they don’t then they will accept anything that promises change. And that’s really all that needs to be said. :)

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Gheritt White

    Tl;dr.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. salarta

    @9: Too read, didn’t long. :D

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Rafa_L

    Well just bought the game, I can’t say much without playing it. I’m a long time fan of the series, I agree it needed a reboot, a new combat mechanic, but, I wish it could bring the action, the shooting and keep the more demanding puzzles and exploration. I hope the game doesn’t let me down, neither the character Lara.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Rafa_L

    @8 Always when I read your comments I think you have some good points. But when you say that people will critize you believeing their judgment is right, I can’t help to reply that you speak your mind with absolute conviction that what you are saying is right, and not right for you, right for everybody.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. salarta

    @12: I think you’re the first person that’s actually gotten me to stop and think a little about the comments I make and why I make them the way I do. Writing this reply is requiring me to pause and take a little time to try and figure that out first.

    I do hold strong convictions, and can be very vocal about them. The nature of that means I often don’t say much about the cases where I don’t hold strong convictions, or those other cases are overshadowed by the ones I care deeply about.

    Do I think the representation of women this game provides through the main character would be good for women if it was applied to a brand new character? That’s up for debate, but personally under those circumstances I would consider it to be good. If done right (and I don’t think it was with this game for reasons I won’t discuss, except maybe privately with you and other people that I think would genuinely, honestly listen to them), this game’s premise could have been empowering. Applied as haphazardly as it is to Lara Croft at adulthood? I’m resolute in the conviction that it is wrong for her, given her history and what she stands for. To me it’s no better than trying to permanently turn Superman into Batman because Batman is what kids like these days. Do I think a game focused on survival could be good? Yes. Hell yes. But not when it’s hijacking an existing IP that had something else as its focus.

    There are things that I think are purely a question of personal perspective. Is this game good judged on its own merits, is this depiction of women acceptable for any female protagonist, how much sex appeal is too much, is rebooting a series and changing things about it a good idea, is it appropriate to introduce a new protagonist to an existing IP.

    But there are also things that seem objectively wrong to me. Changing a game’s focus to the point where its very title is a lie is wrong. Suddenly changing a character from a chaste nun into a hooker with a heart of gold is wrong. Treating serious, sensitive issues like a marketing ploy is wrong. Advertising a game as one thing, only for the end product to turn out to be anything but what it was advertised as, is wrong. Some of that applies to this game, some of it doesn’t. I have no tolerance for seeing good things perverted in a bid to cash in on them, and this reboot of Tomb Raider is in my opinion yet another symptom of the disease of corporate greed out to make a buck where it can by any means necessary. And at this point, I don’t blame the company; it’s not their fault that this is what consumers have said it takes for them to make money. If Lara was treated closer to her roots, the core focus of the game was on its namesake, and certain other issues were handled better, then I might have supported it. Now, it would take another reboot for me to get on board.

    I’m sincerely sorry if any of this reply upsets or annoys you. You seem like a nice, well-thought person to me, and it’s not my intent to upset you. I’m only trying to express my sentiments honestly. If you end up liking the game, that’s your thing, I won’t think you’re somehow a bad person for it. There’s more to a person than whether or not they like one game. I have my own feelings on all this, but you certainly have a right to enjoy what makes you happy.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Rafa_L

    @13 I’m not annoyed or upset, at some point you did come off as labeling people as having no standards if they buy, support or enjoy the game, I don’t like that, but I’m not offended. In any case, thanks for the concern, I really believe you are only trying to express yourself, not offend people, and this is one of the subjects you feel strongly about.

    I don’t think this is only corporate greed, I agree that nowadays people with passion for creating games are on the mercy of businessman thinking of the monetary return, but there is always some degree of passion and care involved, and I don’t think the developers meant ill for the franchise, the character or women in general.

    I don’t personally like characters that are too black and white, I like batman a little more than superman because he is more human, not just because of questionable morals or that he is darker (a direction that the new superman movie will probably follow and I consider a fail). I think that the trend of humanizing heroes in general is a good thing, and I wanted that for Lara.

    I played every Tomb Raider game on the PC, I hold it close to the heart. But Underworld was weak, a game like uncharted was better in every way. The franchise needed change. I also don’t agree with the direction of vulnerable Lara, I have yet to play the game, but I feel she is too whiny. I like arrogant fearless Lara. But you were right, people don’t care about the franchise anymore, it was going to be lost. There were other ways of making it relevant, but I don’t think “survival girl” will cut it for a sequel, and I hope for some of the old Lara in the future.

    I don’t think that she being trained or motivated by a man compromises her strength, there are infinite examples of pupil and master, male pupils, that overcome themselves by tutelage. And I don’t think it’s diminishing to her as a female.

    I like Ripley as an example of female heroine, she was sensitive, she cried, had maternal instincts, was vulnerable and she was so scared hehe, but it didn’t make her less badass, I don’t get that feeling from Laras trailers, I sense a different kind of vulnerable…

    Well, I think there are many things to debate, but this post is absurdly long hehe. About female depiction in games, I think it’s a sensible topic that needs to be worked on, about companies focusing on “what the majority wants”, I think it’s a problem. But changing the core of a franchise, that doesn’t bother me so much. The new TR game englobes all these topics and more. But end line, I just gotta play this game and then I’ll have a definitive opinion on what they’ve done to Lara and Tomb Raider hehe.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. salarta

    @14: If there wasn’t any passion or care at all then most people wouldn’t be in the business whatsoever, but the key is how that passion affects the IP and its characters. Would it be okay if that passion led to Lara Croft being a literal porn star because the people involved were passionate about her sex appeal?

    A lot of cases, this game included, I feel people creating these games is more like bad fanfiction than like conscious and careful continuations of the source material. They make radical changes that don’t fit the character or series at all, which is something you see all the time in fanfiction. In fanfiction, you see compassionate and nurturing types suddenly act like complete bitches, hardened warriors behaving like dumb and scared amateurs, chaste women hitting on anything with manparts out of nowhere, etc. All kinds of crazy and ridiculous scenarios take place, because they’re entirely based on a fan imagining of how the fan wants to completely redefine a character into something unlike themselves as part of some agenda. They want to use the character as a proxy for themselves, they want to introduce a Mary Sue to upstage everyone else, they want to push a pairing they like and tear down an official one that gets in the way.

    I think that when humanizing a character means taking away much of their identity just to stuff in a different one, it’s bad. I don’t agree with this trend of devaluing the iconic elements of a character just because some people seem to think every single character needs to be like them. What ever happened to having a character that is a symbol for something greater, that can be an inspiration? Why does being an inspiration suddenly require those characters to be emotionally broken on some level at some point? When we were kids, did we say “You know, I can’t look up to firefighters unless I know they quake in fear that they might die trying to rescue people?” Would it make us respect firefighters, their work and the selfless spirit of their actions any less if they weren’t afraid of dying?

    I’m not saying you think that way. I’m saying I see a lot of people that seem to think in the same vein regarding fictional characters, that they can’t respect or appreciate a character as an icon unless they suffer.

    Under other circumstances, I wouldn’t hold Lara being trained by a male master against the game. But, this game presents Lara in a weak and vulnerable light as her default state of being. That makes her being trained by a man into more than just passing on skills; it turns it into also training her to set aside her “womanly emotions” to model how a man would think, feel and act. That’s how it looks to me, anyway.

    The franchise needed change, but story-wise, I do not think this was the change it needed. The gameplay, probably. The look in general, probably. And an origin story to remind people who Lara Croft is, probably. But completely changing who she is as a character and straying from the whole purpose of the series were not needed. The game will succeed, but only because it presents change when most people care so little about the franchise before now that any change is taken as good change.

    And that’s what I meant when I said the bit about other people not having standards. You’re actually thinking about the series and the character, while other people aren’t even doing that. Many of the people commenting about this game refer to the real Lara as being nothing but a pair of tits, acting like the whole history of the series and the character are shameful just because horny boys kept talking about her boobs all the time. You have at least some standards; many of these people talking up the game do not. They will buy this game just because they hold so little respect for the past and so much hatred and disdain for Lara Croft (or rather, what they think Lara Croft was) that they will support anything that even remotely looks to them like progress. “Lara being vulnerable and weak? Hey, she was only a pair of boobs shooting guns before, so it’s an improvement!”

    The kind of vulnerable expressed in what we have seen in the trailers and such is not the vulnerable they are trying to make people think it is, that is all I think I should say there.

    It’s sensible for most people to actually play the game before judging it. Me, I tend to absorb every ounce of what comes out in interviews, trailers, pictures, etc, combined with understanding the background and history, to get an idea of what to expect. It’s also why I usually won’t say much about gameplay. I think story, visuals, music, etc can be judged without directly playing a game, but gameplay with rare exceptions has to be experienced directly to be judged. You can’t say a control scheme is “too difficult” until you’ve tried it.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Rafa_L

    @15 Haha the porn star example was a little extreme… I get it, but I meant that the end result wasn’t just based on what sells, maybe that was the ground for the new proposal, but I believe the developers build something they are proud on top of it, but sure, based on their tastes and views, even if twisted or mediocre.

    Not that I support it, but I understand how that loss of essence occur, the franchise changes between companies, companies changes employees, some times these companies are managing different projects, maybe it’s hard to hire qualified people who are experts in that particular game or character, maybe you can hire a writer for a specific project, but I don’t think it works like that for the creative directors etc. I don’t know how these companies work, but I imagine they do their best with what they know, and maybe these people didn’t know Lara and TR like we do (not implying that we know more, it’s more the way we feel about it and what we expect from it). After playing the game, I’ll decide if I forgive them or not, if what I knew as Lara was actually lost.

    I don’t think it’s about being emotionally broken to be inspirational, but we all struggle with different things, and when we see that character struggling and coming trough, it’s more realistic, or maybe more relatable. If superman is “perfect”, a symbol of virtue, of course he’ll do the “right thing”, I think it’s more interesting when it’s a choice, you get me? Cheap illustration: superman found U$100k on the streets, it’s not his, Martha is having trouble with the farm, it’ll be a rough year, but it’s not his and he’ll find the owner, simple as that. I found that money, my family is in need, I really don’t know what I would do, who’s that money from? is it corrupt money? From the mafia? Should I give back? Donate it? Keep it? If superman just gave it back, that was it, because it’s the “right thing”, but I’m struggling with my conscious here. If there were conflict in superman, there would be questioning, arguments, and then enlightening when he made a decision, and after seeing that, I could think “man, it’s not mine, I can work harder, I’ll find a way, if superman could do it, so can I, he went trough the same and he’s not just an ideal, he’s human (even if not), and in the end honesty was the best”. Don’t know if I went too far and lost track of the point haha, but I think characters sometimes have to evolve to how critic we are, how sensible we are, and maybe how weak we are. Since it’s fiction, sometimes we can’t accompany the change until it makes sense.

    On the firefighter example, if it’s easy for them, if there is no fear, the action continues being of extreme importance, but I don’t think it’s inspirational, maybe admirable but not inspirational. I don’t know if I’m a bad person, but the thought that comes to mind is “then leave the job for those who think it’s easy”, if I understand how difficult it is, how they have to think of their family going into that fire, and they risk everything because a life is in danger, no matter who it is, a racist, a bigot, it’s a life, it got me thinking of it, inspired by it, “hey, they feel the same as me, and they do it” and if ever I were in a situation of saving myself or helping someone in an accident, maybe that inspiration would kick in unconsciously and I could do it, it was not easy, as for most people risking their life isn’t, but I did it. Hope I’m making sense with my children book lines hehe.

    Again, I don’t think it’s about suffering, I think it’s about being “normal”, being afraid of dying, losing dear ones, questioning decisions, if only for the public to follow the line of thought, to show the way for being a better person or handling a situation…

    I always keep an open mind, maybe in some time I’ll not think this way, but it’s how I feel now.

    About what you said regarding a man training her to be “less of a woman” I have lots to talk about haha, so maybe another time =)

    When you talk about why people will buy the game I have a feeling that you are generalizing too much, not wrong, but increasing proportions.

    I read many news of the game, as I said, the franchise is close to the heart, but since it was always a buy for me, I actually didn’t see much of the more recent videos haha, just read a lot about it.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. salarta

    @16: That’s the thing where my comments about them treating these things like a chance to turn their fanfiction ideas into canon comes from. I’m sure that on some level they make something they’re proud of, but most people that write fanfiction are proud of what they write even if it’s completely wrong and inappropriate for the source material.

    I’m glad to see your thoughts about how companies change and teams change and such, too. I’ve seen far too many people online that refuse to think about such things, that simply go with “The company owns the copyright, therefore anything the company says and does is godly and perfect and without fault, end of story.” I feel that in a case like with this game, the extent of the radical departure this team has done suggests a lack of respect for the source material. Other people are sure to disagree with me, and for some I understand why, but to me, a company or group that respects the source material would try to stay true to it as much as possible and only make changes where necessary. They wouldn’t completely change a character’s personality out of the blue or stray so far from the soul of a series that its own namesake is a lie. We wouldn’t do such a thing to a person from history, so why would we do it to fiction?

    For the Superman example you gave. While seeing him struggle with what to do with the money may bring tension, and some people may be able to relate to it (I wouldn’t), I don’t think every single character has to be a character a person can already see themselves behaving like in every situation. I think some characters like Superman are much better serving as examples rather than as self-projections. Superman as a superhero stands for everything good, the inner greatness of man to rise above darker emotions and be the best person he or she can be. Superman having to think about taking off with that money for selfish reasons even briefly destroys his value as such an example. The very concept of a hero does not always need to be “Yeah, I’d struggle with that situation too.” It can also be “This is the figure of strength, good, intellect I want to aspire to become.”

    That’s what Lara Croft was until the reboot. Many people don’t want to admit that because they only saw her as a pair of breasts. The version of “making her more human” happening here isn’t the kind where an average person builds themselves up to greatness; rather, this type is dragging a former symbol of greatness through the mud, even literally. For all the high talk going on about how this is supposedly showing how Lara became the adventurer we know, in reality it’s more a show of how a once great icon can be made to look like she’s so much less than anyone ever thought she was.

    It’s closer to de-aging Superman and forcing him through a sadistic Saw-like scenario where everyone he knows and loves dies to kill off any notions of virtue he once espoused. And that’s really where we are. People do not value what Lara Croft was anymore, so the team “changed her to fit the culture,” meaning they changed her into some broken pitiable thing.

    Sorry again if that rant of my opinion on how all this is going is a problem, it’s not meant personally, I can speak very strongly when my emotions stir. I’d say to just assume an apology from me any time things go that route, but with some of the interactions I’ve had with people online, I feel like I need to keep saying it.

    When it comes to reasons people will buy the game, I think it’s pretty known that on an individual basis everyone has their own reasons and some may not fit others. One person buying the game may do so because they think this version of Lara is progressive toward women for showing Lara less sexed up and more the type that can experience trauma. Another person may buy the game because they love seeing women act weak and scared, and think seeing poor fragile Lara’s mind break so bad that any humanity and virtue she ever had both in this game and as an icon is crushed to pieces is an awesome thing to see. Still another person may not give a single damn about the story and only buy it for the gameplay. While there are many possible reasons, when I generalize it’s the factors that contribute to the majority purchasing decision, such as “The IP and character have been completely overhauled, so any change has to be good change.”

    One person I chat with recently told me that the game already went through a £15 price drop, and he suggested it could mean the game has thus far been rejected in the UK. Personally, I certainly hope that’s the case. I understand some people behind this project cared deeply about what they made and put a lot of effort into it, but that doesn’t automatically make what they made into a good thing. I would be much happier seeing the game bomb, because I think it would be better for everyone. The people on the team that were really pushing this direction for Tomb Raider would hopefully apply that to making a new IP like this game should have been, and hopefully the next team to make a Tomb Raider game would put more emphasis on staying true to the soul of the IP and its characters. I don’t presently have anything against anyone behind this game, only the decisions they made.

    As a side note, I can’t even watch Walking Dead without having to see commercials for this thing.

    #17 2 years ago

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    Unity 5 looks amazing, and you can download and faff about with it for free right now. “We’re not nickel-and-diming people. When we say it’s free, it’s free. We’re not charging a royalty, which I think is akin to looking for whales.” Unity Technologies announced the release of the fifth version of its popular, simple, […]

  • Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 may be the end of the series

    Five Nights at Freddy’s 3 released yesterday, and many fans theorise that it marks the end of the series. Five Nights at Freddy’s developer Scott Cawthon has released a new teaser image on his website, but rather than pointing to a new game, many fans believe the teaser signals the end of the series. The […]

  • Source 2 announced, will also be free

    Valve has formally unveiled Source Engine 2, the third major engine to go free to developers at GDC 2015. Source 2 is the successor to the engine Valve has been using since Counter-Strike: Source and Half-Life 2. Valve didn’t have much to say about the technicalities of this long-awaited release. It is apparently focused on […]

  • SteamVR: Valve’s Lighthouse tech allows you to walk around while playing

    SteamVR’s key differentiator is a piece of tech allowing headsets to connect with other devices for extra accurate, room-scale tracking. Valve has announced a new bit of technology called Lighthouse, which it is making freely available to any hardware manufacturer. Like the extra tracking LEDs on Sony’s updated Project Morpheus, Lighthouse improves the headset’s accuracy, […]

  • Steam Machines, Controller, streaming box to launch in November

    Steam Machines will finally become a reality before the end of the year. Valve’s living room PC systems will release in November, the company announced today. Well, I say Valve’s – the idea behind Steam Machines is that a number of manufacturers will offer variously priced systems. Alienware and Falcon Northwest are among the dozen […]

  • Telltale veterans form new team, announce teen thriller Oxenfree

    Oxenfree is a supernatural teen thriller from some of the team behind Telltale Games’ award-winning adventures. New indie Night School Studios unveiled Oxenfree at GDC 2015. It tells the story of a group of friends who accidentally open a “ghostly rift” at an overnight party on the coast. Night School, which is made up of […]

  • PS4 global sales now stand at over 20.2 million

    The PS4 has sold 20.2 million units worldwide. Sony announced the new PS4 sales milestone at GDC 2015 today. It’s a hell of an achievement and salt in the wounds for Microsoft, which hasn’t updated us on Xbox One sales since it shipped “almost” 10 million back in November last year, and has fallen back […]

  • PS4 VR headset Morpheus out in 2016, capable of 120 FPS – video

    Sony’s VR headset Project Morpheus has some impressive grunt. Virtual reality and Morpheus were the heart of Sony’s GDC 2015 presentation today, ahead of its newly announced first-half 2016 comemrcial launch. SCE Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida detailed the headset’s impressive capabilities, notably the fact that it can handle 120 FPS VR games. The PS4 […]

  • Papo & Yo developer making a VR game about dinosaurs

    Some days you write a headline and it makes you so happy that that you have to do a little chair dance, you know what I mean? Papo & Yo developer Minority Media, whom I would personally go to the wall for after they cut out my heart and stomped on it via the medium […]

  • Wasteland 2, Shovel Knight and more in big ole bunch of indies coming to Xbox One

    Xbox One owners are about to receive a pile of great new indie games. At GDC 2015, Microsoft revealed a list of new indie games headed to Xbox One. Some of these titles have already released on other platforms, so it looks like Microsoft has really relaxed the parity clause of ID@Xbox – or perhaps […]