Returning to Yamatai (almost) a year later.

#1 Posted by Demoskinos (14769 posts) -

Almost a year ago the world was introduced to a brand new Lara Croft. I was one of the people who ran out that day and threw down my $60 to see Lara's new adventure for myself. Here I am nearly a year later having invested another $60 into the game along with numerous hours.

It was all worth it. As soon as the credits rolled I was so ready to adventure more with Lara. I think the reason I enjoy the game so much is because for at least me the game does such a good job at selling Lara as a character. Her character arc is pretty good going from a naive scared relevantly inexperienced archaeologist to a confident survivor who rescues her best friend Sam from the clutches of an absolute lunatic. Now I'm sure you'll argue about "Narrative Ludo blah blah blah" and yes Lara's body count by the end of the game does in fact go against the story that the narrative is building. It is sort of a shame but its never been anything that bothered me too much.

Now if you didn't already pick up on it I played through the Definitive Edition. I got to say its REALLY weird to me to see old pictures of Lara. Her new face is so improved over the previous one. She looks so off in the old version.

Speaking of Lara I might as well address something that people have talked about a lot. The incredibly violent deaths that Lara faces. I know I've been told by some friends that the graphic nature of Lara's deaths is the thing that put them off from playing. Which, I think is a shame. On the other hand if these violent deaths disturb you then well bravo you're not a psychopath. They are supposed to.

I think that the violence is uncomfortable for sure but I also think it IS necessary. I don't think the narrative of Lara's arc works as well without them. Hear me out. This story's pretty obvious thematic element is one of survival. By the end of the journey your almost as tired and mentally beat up as Lara is. They put her through absolute hell and I think that is why Lara as a character works. If we don't see what horrible end can befall us what is the impetus for survival then? It helps drive that point along.

The other discussion surrounding this game has been the XB1 vs PS4 debate. And let me tell you I think 60 frames does matter a whole lot. I found myself being able to aim much more smoothly than in the PS3 version I had played previously. Sure, some of that could be due to the DS4 being incredibly superior to the DS3 however higher frame rate does allow for smoother aiming which is key as you are gunning down dudes on a regular basis.

The game also just is a real looker. I won't get into the debate vs the PC because obviously the PC will win the resolution and frame rate war with no trouble at all. However, there are physics and small details that do appear in the Definitive version that don't in the PC that are pretty impressive and when you add it all up are up to par with the PC version on most things.

I've also dabbled in the multiplayer and that well I guess is there? Its not horrible but I'm not sure that I think its all that great either. The characters move really weirdly compared to how lara's movement feels in the main game. This isn't horribly surprising considering that two entirely different studios did each part of the game. I think it has potential though. If a sequel does hit I think they could polish the multiplayer to the level where it might be that something that mattered.

I'm sort of sad now really because I've beaten the game 100% collected every trinket and done every single single player trophy. I'm also going to go ahead and say if you've enjoyed this game at any point you should really look up and watch the entire "Final Hours of Tomb Raider" that Geoff Keighly put together. Its a really good look at the making of the game. Also, I think Camilla Luddington is an absolutely amazing voice actress. I do hope she makes her return as Lara in the future. Really optimistic for the future of this franchise.

#2 Posted by csl316 (8443 posts) -

It was my game of the year. I played on 360 so the PS4 version would be a huge step up. But I'll wait for a price drop and put a little more distance between it.

Can't wait to see what comes next.

#3 Posted by Hailinel (24408 posts) -

Bizarrely enough, it's not the violence or any sort of commentary on Lara that I find annoying about the game's presntation and premise. It's their depiction of Yamatai, of all things. I have yet to actually play the game, but from what little I've seen of it, it seems like they took some basic archeological history and just sort of Indiana Jonesed everything else to barely resemble what established knowledge of the Yayoi period exists. Again, I haven't played the game, so I could be off on that, but as someone that's done a fair amount of research on the period in the recent past, it just sort of feels bizarre.

#4 Posted by Demoskinos (14769 posts) -

@hailinel: You're not wrong. You only really see the Asian influence in a select few locations. There are actually quite a lot of WW2 bunkers and architecture that you end up in and you do get a lot of your standard forest section, ice section ect.... which is a shame. The Asian architecture that they do put in the game is pretty awesome.

There is this one optional tomb that a lot of people might never even see there is this massive castle like structure underground where there are these merciless high winds that continuously blow I thought was a pretty neat area.

#5 Posted by mosdl (3228 posts) -

@hailinel: You're not wrong. You only really see the Asian influence in a select few locations. There are actually quite a lot of WW2 bunkers and architecture that you end up in and you do get a lot of your standard forest section, ice section ect.... which is a shame. The Asian architecture that they do put in the game is pretty awesome.

There is this one optional tomb that a lot of people might never even see there is this massive castle like structure underground where there are these merciless high winds that continuously blow I thought was a pretty neat area.

In general the Tombs were one of the coolest parts of the games, hopefully they'll expand on it in the sequel (which has to be happening if they went through the effort to port it to next gen).

#6 Posted by Hailinel (24408 posts) -

@demoskinos: That video is actually sort of what I'm talking about. There's definite Asian influence there, but the complexity of the architecture in that section of the game is actually significantly advanced compared to the architecture that existed in the Yayoi period. Keep in mind, obviously about 1800 or so years passed between Himiko's time and Tomb Raider's modern era, so buildings could fall apart and new ones could be built, but to suggest that such a structure that Lara comes across as being from Yamatai is hard to swallow.

#7 Posted by Demoskinos (14769 posts) -

@mosdl said:

@demoskinos said:

@hailinel: You're not wrong. You only really see the Asian influence in a select few locations. There are actually quite a lot of WW2 bunkers and architecture that you end up in and you do get a lot of your standard forest section, ice section ect.... which is a shame. The Asian architecture that they do put in the game is pretty awesome.

There is this one optional tomb that a lot of people might never even see there is this massive castle like structure underground where there are these merciless high winds that continuously blow I thought was a pretty neat area.

In general the Tombs were one of the coolest parts of the games, hopefully they'll expand on it in the sequel (which has to be happening if they went through the effort to port it to next gen).

Indeed. I do agree with the bomb crew that there were not enough puzzles. I generally think the shooting was actually pretty spot on and well implemented but there were a couple of pretty decent puzzles in the tombs that were all sorts of fun. They do need to expand more on the exploration part. Keep the shooting but give us a 50/50 split and I'd be happy.

#8 Edited by Demoskinos (14769 posts) -

@hailinel: While true this is also a game in which they spend a good amount of time building up the legend around Himiko and her power and then whole cloth delving into the supernatural at the end. I think the point was to do exactly that and embellish everything surrounding Yamatai and Himiko sort of like a "Based on a true story" HollyWood movie embellishing on the truth to make it a more entertaining film.

#9 Posted by Hailinel (24408 posts) -

@hailinel: While true this is also a game in which they spend a good amount of time building up the legend around Himiko and her power and then whole cloth delving into the supernatural at the end. I think the point was to do exactly that and embellish everything surrounding Yamatai and Himiko sort of like a "Based on a true story" HollyWood movie embellishing on the truth to make it a more entertaining film.

I understand that. But other games have at least portrayed Himiko in an embellished manner that take more direct period influence into account. Even the child Himiko from Warriors Orochi has elements of her character design influenced by aspects of period dress.

Obviously, there are stylized elements and modern touches here and there, but the basic design of her tunic, the red makeup lining her eyes and the way her hair is bundled at the back of her head are consistent with records of period female dress. Anyway, I'm not saying you're wrong or that the makers of Tomb Raider were wrong for doing it like they did, but I just feel that there are ways they could have embellished for style and fantasy while also maintaining a higher degree of historical accuracy.

#10 Posted by crithon (3128 posts) -

hmmmm

You know, the violence wouldn't as bad, if lets say the next game she comes out with a cyborg arm and a mowhawk looking something more like Mad Max or lets say a Borderland's woman character design. Yeah, I'm in the camp where this game is an example of Ludo-bilbo-baw-naw. I don't think I've come across a single person who defends Lara's friend's cast, as actually meaningful excuse to go out and rescue them and only leading to them getting bumped off. Still I found them more on par with the villagers in Road Warrior when it comes to paper thin characterization.

what is interesting, is that Corey Balrog was brought in late into production of the game as "camera director" and a lot of that god of war presentation is there in it's melee kills and combat. There is a inconsistent balance this game has, weather to enjoy it's own violence or be repulsed by it. It's a weird balance that I don't think the game handles well, because even in quick time events I grew tired and annoyed with constantly being killed. But in actual gameplay of stealth and taking down the cult leader bases it played a lot of fun. Especially that monkey spin she's has to avoid attacks.

I am afraid next game might play it safe, but since this game got so much positive reviews they should really just make Lara into some punk rock bad ass biker chick. As much as she "Grows" in the game..... she grows by the radio tower, and that's pretty early on there's a good 20 more hours to go.

it's an odd game that feels like they had 3 different designs of Lara they went with.

#11 Edited by LiquidPrince (15911 posts) -

The new Lara's face actually looks like the promotional material and CG stuff. The old face was pretty different.

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