Tomb Raider Outcry

Posted by UnhappyCanadian (22 posts) -

One of the recurring complaints I hear coming from critics of the new Tomb Raider reboot involves the instant transformation of Lara from a pacifistic individual unprepared for the terrible settings that have been thrust upon her to a ruthless killer with no sense of remorse. It is a valid argument, as the jump from helpless civilian to soldier is done somewhat suddenly, but I am bothered by how heavy-handed this claim is made toward this game and not to others.

I have seen the comparison made to the Uncharted series, with the claim being that Uncharted is allowed because it is not too self-serious. I understand where that stems from: Uncharted never seemed too concerned with its seemingly Herculean protagonist completing his tasks, and always had a lighthearted tone throughout each title. It also never tried to play him of as a helpless individual.

The problem I have is with the overlooking of the fish-out-of-water story was contained in another recent title that was universally beloved, with the change from feeble to killer being almost instant. Far Cry 3 was as guilty of the sudden change as Tomb Raider and players barely batted an eye. It may be due to the immersion factor; making the player the main character rather than Jason Brody might have caused users to believe “of course I know how to play and FPS, I can already do all of this,” but it was just as bad. It was even more offensively implemented in Far Cry due to the racial undertones that were contained in that story. A village of capable soldiers just NEEDED the white man to come save them, despite the man in question lacking any military or firearm experience. At least Lara Croft was fairing for herself, requiring her to rise to the occasion. Jason Brody should have stayed hiding in the village while the men who had spent their lives fighting dealt with Vaas, or at the very least learned how to fight under a mentor instead of being promoted immediately to savior of the island

This may seem like nit-picking, but that is how I feel about the issue as a whole. I was able to overlook the Far Cry issue because is was a great tale of a hero’s journey, and requiring me to do everything myself to save the island led to a great feeling of accomplishment, and it seems that most of the general public felt that way too. I just cannot understand why everyone is bothered by the use in Tomb Raider when it is even less of an offender, especially when Lara is simply thrown in the situation and has to essentially fend for herself. Maybe it is the female protagonist factor or maybe it is the lessened immersion. Either way, if an impartial stance was taken Tomb Raider would not be faulted as much as it has been.

#1 Posted by OfficeGamer (1087 posts) -

It's just a stupid story to set the tone for an action packed adventure, the focus of the game is solving puzzles and stealthing dudes, you're doing it wrong by creating an issue out of a trivial narrative that only served a simple purpose.

Get back to the game and enjoy those fantastic vertical sequences!

#2 Edited by MildMolasses (3221 posts) -

With FC3, I think they were trying to flip that convention on its head, however they screwed that up by putting in two endings. If they had used only the "bad" ending, then that game would be a purely satirical take on the "white man can save us" cliche (Last Samurai, Dances with Wolves, Avatar). Unfortunately the "good" ending dives into that trope wholeheartedly and sort of kills it. The bad ending makes Jason out to be gullible and easily manipulated, which I think is the much more interesting version of that story

#3 Posted by golguin (3928 posts) -

The transformation of Lara from scared girl to killing machine drew criticism because of how fast it happened. Sure, it happens in every other game out there, but the key difference is that everyone decided that it should stop with this game now. The reason? No reason why. Just a big coincidence. No one even noticed Lara was a girl and no one even drummed up any faux outcry on things they heard about the game or grizzly death scenes before actually playing the game.

Just a big coincidence it all happened with this game

#4 Posted by TooWalrus (13198 posts) -

Bow. Bow Bow Bow, Bow Bow.

#5 Posted by Jams (2961 posts) -

Bow. Bow Bow Bow, Bow Bow.

yippy yo yippy yay snoop dog's in the mutha fuck'en

HOUSEEEE

#6 Posted by StarvingGamer (8241 posts) -

Complaining about narrative dissonance became a popular way for people to talk smart about their games sometime between GTAIV and Uncharted 2. Now people are caught in a catch 22 of poopooing games to appear intellectual. Action game that tries to have a compelling story? Poopoo, this story isn't believable unless you gut 85% of the action. Action game that has a throwaway story? Poopoo, this game has boring one-dimentional characters without depth, pass.

It drives me INSANE.

#7 Edited by Jams (2961 posts) -

Do you guys think as time goes on and video game stories get more serious that we'll be running into this problem more? At some point I imagine AAA tittles (I'd edit that to titles but tittles sounds way better) will try to emulate good story telling. Where throwing 1000 guy son screen might not fit. What I'm hoping is that AAA will have to adapt that to a mechanic like Receiver to slow the amount of enemies down considerably due to having to micro manage the weapon and your tactics. That's kind of what I see Tomb Raider being. The start of this problem.

#8 Posted by psylah (2177 posts) -

Tomb Raider: Outcry

Coming Fall 2015

#9 Posted by Humanity (9257 posts) -

I loved that game from beginning to end. Never noticed anything that pulled me out of the story. If Lara was in the real world, and she was sneaking up on guys and breaking their necks then yah I could see that being a problem. As it stands, you get a gun and all of a sudden there are dozens of insane lunatics shooting arrows at you and trying to generally slice you open any way they can. So Lara shoots back, it's not especially dissonant or far fetched.

#10 Posted by Corvak (1077 posts) -

Well I think part of the problem is...its a video game.

Far Cry 3 follows a similar vein - character was just a normal guy, suddenly has to come to terms with fighting and killing a whole bunch of pirate dudes.

But the way games work - they have to get you into the action faster than say, a film. People complain if theres too much dramatic exposition loaded at the beginning, showing a more gradual change in a character.

#11 Edited by Damian (1538 posts) -

Justification in Farcry 3: He got Tattooed.

Justification in Tomb Raider: She's a Croft.

Both pretty weak, but I had an easier time believing Tomb Raider's excuse. But you're right OP, Farcry 3 was under-criticized when taking the complaints about Tomb Raider into account. Such is the fate of Lara Croft. She'll always be scrutinized by all sides for being a monolithic representation of female protagonists in games.

#12 Posted by UnhappyCanadian (22 posts) -

Thanks for all the opinions. I understand the viewpoint that a few of you have stated about it simply being a circumstantial situation in an attempt to get better and more intellectual writing in games, I just hope people do not avoid this experience based on that complaint. It is truly an enjoyable game

#13 Posted by believer258 (11909 posts) -

Complaining about narrative dissonance became a popular way for people to talk smart about their games sometime between GTAIV and Uncharted 2. Now people are caught in a catch 22 of poopooing games to appear intellectual. Action game that tries to have a compelling story? Poopoo, this story isn't believable unless you gut 85% of the action. Action game that has a throwaway story? Poopoo, this game has boring one-dimentional characters without depth, pass.

It drives me INSANE.

Makes you miss Doom, doesn't it?

"Here's a shotgun. Kill those ugly motherfuckers. Roll credits".

On topic, I don't think that Jason Brody was entirely excused, but Far Cry 3 still seemed to have at least a hint of that "this is dumb, just go with it" sort of tone. You torched weed to dubstep, for cryin' out loud. Tomb Raider, from all I've seen of it, seems to take itself entirely seriously, without any hint of silliness to it whatsoever. The clash (or "narrative dissonance") in Tomb Raider is a whole lot more obvious because of that.

That's not to say that either game has a good story - I haven't heard anything good about Tomb Raider's and Far Cry 3's pretty much sucks.

Online
#14 Edited by golguin (3928 posts) -

@starvinggamer said:

Complaining about narrative dissonance became a popular way for people to talk smart about their games sometime between GTAIV and Uncharted 2. Now people are caught in a catch 22 of poopooing games to appear intellectual. Action game that tries to have a compelling story? Poopoo, this story isn't believable unless you gut 85% of the action. Action game that has a throwaway story? Poopoo, this game has boring one-dimentional characters without depth, pass.

It drives me INSANE.

Makes you miss Doom, doesn't it?

"Here's a shotgun. Kill those ugly motherfuckers. Roll credits".

On topic, I don't think that Jason Brody was entirely excused, but Far Cry 3 still seemed to have at least a hint of that "this is dumb, just go with it" sort of tone. You torched weed to dubstep, for cryin' out loud. Tomb Raider, from all I've seen of it, seems to take itself entirely seriously, without any hint of silliness to it whatsoever. The clash (or "narrative dissonance") in Tomb Raider is a whole lot more obvious because of that.

That's not to say that either game has a good story - I haven't heard anything good about Tomb Raider's and Far Cry 3's pretty much sucks.

The whole idea of "narrative dissonance" came out from previews and trailers and hearsay that turned out to be very wrong when actual people go their hands on the game and played it all the way through. I made a whole thread about it asking people who actually played the game to give their thoughts on it because there was a lot of stuff flying around that is factually wrong and very noticeably wrong to anyone that played the game.

If you have not played Tomb Raider and are gathering information just on stuff people are saying I suggest you take a look at that thread. At least there I tried seeking opinions from people who claim to have played the game.

#15 Posted by Oni (2098 posts) -

The reason more people are bringing it up in Tomb Raider, it seems to me, is because the game makes a big deal out of it at the start. At first, Lara doesn't even like having to kill a deer, and she's almost in shock after her first human kill. But after that, her aversion to killing is almost entirely swept under the rug under the pretext of self-defence and a simple will to survive. It jarred me a little bit, but I think the game mostly dealt with it fine. I think it could've stood to contain about 50% less combat, as some sections turned into Uncharted-like sequences of waves of bad guys, but the criticism would've stood either way, it would just have been a little less egregious I think. Still, Lara's motivations are solid (survival of herself and her friends), she's well-written and believable as a character (if not quite as a one-woman army, but that's every shooter ever, whaddayagonnado), and even her friends are as well-defined as their screen time allows for, I think.

Far Cry 3, on the other hand, sees Jason actually enjoying the carnage and his hero status. It makes vague gestures towards tongue-in-cheekness, but it doesn't really try to address the ludonarrative dissonance, it just comes up with a rote tribal magic excuse. Far Cry 3's story is fucking awful on every level and every attempt made towards satire (according to the writer, I wouldn't have guessed, aside from the Alice quotes) is completely under-executed. The 'bad' ending is pretty funny though, I'll give it that.

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