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#1 Edited by The_Nubster (4032 posts) -

The reboot of Tomb Raider in 2013 grabbed me in a way that a lot of games don't. I plowed through it in a few sittings, beat it a few more times, and eventually ended up 100%'ing it. It was a great time, and while the tone and story was pretty hokey and uneven between wacky side-kick characters and self-seriousness (remember when Lara got the ever-loving shit kicked out of her? That was weird!), the gameplay felt goddamn good. Just moving and jumping with Lara felt more fluid than its closest touchstone, Uncharted, and the mechanics of scaling walls with your climbing axes and eventual upgrades like rope arrows made moving around the world feel involving and skillful, rather than autonomous.

Rise of the Tomb Raider, while having the worst and most generic name in the history of video games, is scratching that same itch. I've put in about a dozen hours over three sittings, and it's on my mind basically all day when I'm at work or out doing other things. But now I have to ask this question, after having spent far too long getting here: why does Lara look like an actual infant? Is this the same face that was in the Definitive Edition?

There's a really bizarre "squishiness" that's going on with her facial features; she was made to look pretty in Tomb Raider 2013, but her face felt longer and more slim, a little more human. Also, she got really roughed up and her adventure showed on her, just like it would a real person. In Tomb Raider Rising, it's like clean faces mod times a billion.

Maybe it's just me being weird, but Tomb Raider: Battle Storm seems so much more fake and "Hollywood" than the previous game did, despite dialing the insane setpieces way, way back. Again, not to knock the gameplay, since I'm absolutely in love with how it plays, but it's just something I can't not notice.

Edit: Just to clarify, her face doesn't look bad. In fact, it looks amazing. It's just pretty noticeably different is all.

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#2 Posted by csl316 (14954 posts) -

Never noticed any problems. Busy looking at the kick ass environments.

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#3 Posted by JohnyMyko (1851 posts) -

By googling both games I definitely noticed some differences as well. Is Rise taking place before or after 2013's Tomb Raider? Because by looking at her face it looks like it's taking place before, she looks younger and her face feels more like a doll and less narrower. Maybe they changed the mocap actress? Personally I prefer the face they used on the Definitive Edition.

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#4 Edited by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

She looks fine to me, I don't see the comparison of looking like an infant at all. Though she does definitely look different to her 2013 face, both the original and the definitive edition one.

Also, I really don't understand the ''clean faces mod times a billion''. Once you reach the second major area she's constantly covered in dirt.

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#5 Posted by jjd (21 posts) -

It looks like they redid the face with more detailed capture tech this time around. The actress playing Lara, Camilla Luddington, posted a photo of herself on Twitter coated in the paint they used to map all the reference points on her face during her performance.

Also, there was this on the Square-Enix forums:

Brian Horton (Game Director): The model you’re seeing in Rise of the Tomb Raider is completely brand new, built from the ground up. We haven’t utilized anything from Definitive Edition or Tomb Raider 2013, but we’ve evolved from those as a foundation. We did early prototypes of the Definitive Edition model and reconstructed a new character model with Kam Yu as our Principal Character Artist. It definitely has upgraded tremendously - everything from its surface quality to materials to the way the facial animation works. We have a brand new facial animation system driving her facial breakages. We’re going to do a full “Making of Lara” feature in the future and we will go into a lot of details on every aspect of her character creation. [From official forum Q&A session #22 (April 2015)]

Source
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#6 Posted by TheHT (15813 posts) -

I dunno, I saw a render the other day and asked the same thing. Stuff like that always weirds me out (here's looking at you Desmond Miles). Always makes it seem less like an actual character with a defined appearance.

But I'm also someone who hates recasts, so yeah.

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#7 Posted by BicycleHam (1391 posts) -

Just judging from the screens it does look kinda like she has a more angular face in the cheekbone area. Almost like they forgot to feed the model or something.

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#8 Posted by bluefish (876 posts) -

It looked a little different but not so much that it threw me off.

I would say the facial evolution of Nathan Drake is WAY more severe.

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#9 Posted by JohnyMyko (1851 posts) -

@bluefish: As long as Nathan Drake is hearing an half-tucked henley in every game, his face can keep changing without being as obvious.

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#10 Posted by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

@bluefish said:

It looked a little different but not so much that it threw me off.

I would say the facial evolution of Nathan Drake is WAY more severe.

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Oh sure. In fact all the characters in Uncharted are constantly being redesigned. Chloe in particular looks completely different between Uncharted 2 & 3.

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#11 Posted by csl316 (14954 posts) -

Character designs changing has always been a thing. From Mario to Crash Bandicoot to Master Chief. In these realstic games, as more polygons are added then things will change in each iteration.

I guess this is how I felt when she changed from the 360 to PS4. I had some legitimate disappointment for a few minutes.

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#12 Posted by GaspoweR (4899 posts) -

Also I kinda knew that they used Camilla Luddington's face from the early stuff they showed so it wasn't surprising to me unlike in the last game where I guess they had the VO actress decided after they finalized the character model.

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#13 Posted by TheHT (15813 posts) -
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#14 Posted by HatKing (7448 posts) -

Haha... I think she looks great. I actually had a moment when two characters were speaking where I just sort of sat back and thought, "man, we've gotten really good at faces." I think they're some of the best looking video game faces, both artistically and animated, that I've ever seen.

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#15 Edited by IVDAMKE (1823 posts) -

I think it's just a natural and necessary change to adapt to the technology. Her eyes are larger and she seems to have a stronger more defined jawline.

Dunno what you mean about clean faces mod all the time though she gets dirty a lot, now she just cleans up after certain story segments and I think after you swim in water (need to pay more attention to this next time I play.) The facial capture is amazing though, now if only they could make her hair clump and collect all the mud and dirt. They added dirt textures too it but it still looks like a shampoo commercial.

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#16 Edited by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

@baronsamedi: Yeah, swimming will temporarily get rid of all the muck, though it's never too long before she's all muddy again.

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#17 Posted by Grimhild (795 posts) -

The only thing that's really throwing me off about this Lara and her new face (which was also a weird dichotomy in the last game, especially by the end when you're pulling the Captain Willard Apocalypse Now shot in a pool of water, which is mostly blood) is how she still sounds super exacerbated with every line she delivers in her breathy, delicate and vulnerable voice. You'd think after the actual HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE that she's murdered in the last game in countless ways and with plenty more to come in this installment, she'd be a lot less shocked and doe-eyed by the chaos and bloodshed surrounding her, if not just a tad bit aloof.

That said I haven't played it all that much, still in the Russian base, so maybe it changes a bit.

Or maybe she's just a complete psychopath that's wearing someone else's face the whole time, wondering why everyone around her dies horribly, completely oblivious to the blackout murder sprees she constantly goes on. She wouldn't even help the guy that got his eyes poked out when I tried to tell her to. Was like nope, I ain't about that.

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#18 Posted by MachoFantastico (6678 posts) -

I always preferred the original reboot Lara as she looked more natural, but for some reason they went and pretty her up probably based on some PR crap for that re-release. That said, Rise of the Tomb Raider was fantastic.

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#19 Posted by Bones8677 (3535 posts) -
@bluefish said:

It looked a little different but not so much that it threw me off.

I would say the facial evolution of Nathan Drake is WAY more severe.

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Geez, what happened? Drake aged 20 years between Uncharted 3 and 4. :P

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#20 Edited by rethla (3725 posts) -

@grimhild: Well there is a few lines about her fondness of killing people if you listen to the "tapes". Is she actually a bloodletting psychopath under her polished shell?

Feels like Phantom pain all over again. ;)

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#21 Edited by Ezekiel (2257 posts) -

@johnymyko said:

her face feels more like a doll

I thought she looked like a doll in the last game. Her face was plastic and she had this weak, irritated expression all the time. She looks more attractive and natural now.

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#22 Posted by Sweep (10586 posts) -
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You're right, she looks different!

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#23 Posted by Stonyman65 (3804 posts) -

I noticed that too. Her face looks rounder, almost like she's gained some weight or something. It's not bad, but I noticed a difference immediately. I think I might prefer the TR2013 version.

@grimhild said:

The only thing that's really throwing me off about this Lara and her new face (which was also a weird dichotomy in the last game, especially by the end when you're pulling the Captain Willard Apocalypse Now shot in a pool of water, which is mostly blood) is how she still sounds super exacerbated with every line she delivers in her breathy, delicate and vulnerable voice. You'd think after the actual HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE that she's murdered in the last game in countless ways and with plenty more to come in this installment, she'd be a lot less shocked and doe-eyed by the chaos and bloodshed surrounding her, if not just a tad bit aloof.

Yeah that's true but you could say the same about 80% of video game characters. That's just bad writing. In comparison, one of the things that I like about the Uncharted series, specifically Uncharted 2, is that Nathan Drake will comment on that every now and then and break the fourth-wall. Things like "Man, I can't believe I'm doing this AGAIN!" and stuff like that. Its easy to miss if you aren't listening for it but it seems like the character is aware of the crazy shit that is going on around them. I guess you could give Tomb Raider a break since a big theme in the last game and in this game to some extent is that Lara is still in shock over what happened and is trying to deal with it. One could make the argument that she is still trying to process the irrational things that are happening, which would justify the deer-in-the-headlights persona to an extent.

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#24 Posted by bluefish (876 posts) -

@yummylee: I was straight up WEIRDED out by Elena in 3 because she looked so different. It was kinda a real problem for me enjoying the game...

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#25 Posted by Jonny_Anonymous (3651 posts) -

I don't see the problem here

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#26 Edited by Yummylee (24646 posts) -

@stonyman65 said:

I noticed that too. Her face looks rounder, almost like she's gained some weight or something. It's not bad, but I noticed a difference immediately. I think I might prefer the TR2013 version.

@grimhild said:

The only thing that's really throwing me off about this Lara and her new face (which was also a weird dichotomy in the last game, especially by the end when you're pulling the Captain Willard Apocalypse Now shot in a pool of water, which is mostly blood) is how she still sounds super exacerbated with every line she delivers in her breathy, delicate and vulnerable voice. You'd think after the actual HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE that she's murdered in the last game in countless ways and with plenty more to come in this installment, she'd be a lot less shocked and doe-eyed by the chaos and bloodshed surrounding her, if not just a tad bit aloof.

Yeah that's true but you could say the same about 80% of video game characters. That's just bad writing. In comparison, one of the things that I like about the Uncharted series, specifically Uncharted 2, is that Nathan Drake will comment on that every now and then and break the fourth-wall. Things like "Man, I can't believe I'm doing this AGAIN!" and stuff like that. Its easy to miss if you aren't listening for it but it seems like the character is aware of the crazy shit that is going on around them. I guess you could give Tomb Raider a break since a big theme in the last game and in this game to some extent is that Lara is still in shock over what happened and is trying to deal with it. One could make the argument that she is still trying to process the irrational things that are happening, which would justify the deer-in-the-headlights persona to an extent.

I think you're giving the game a little too much credit. While it seemed as if they were possibly trying to acknowledge the trauma of it all (remember back when they first announced the game with her talking to a therapist?..), it doesn't really factor at all in the game's story. She'll occasionally note how good she is at killing (''a little too good''), but the game never really makes much of an attempt to tackle such themes. Lara is still just as much of a boring character as she was in TR 2013, as unlike Nathan Drake for example she barely has any personality whatsoever. Though that she tried to call Ana a cunt only before being cut short by Konstantin was pretty great.

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#27 Posted by RichyHahn4 (306 posts) -

I noticed she looked different but I imagine its just the artist spending more time designing expressions and such that would cause slight changes, I remember Halo characters looking so much different once they were no longer funky polygons with legs

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#28 Posted by Humanity (18639 posts) -

I kind of preferred her face from the original release but I do don't have any significant issues with the updated version. Definitely didn't feel like a doll or a baby to me. That said there was also mumbling how Lara was 'too pretty' in the original reboot so people just seem to get weird about Tomb Raider no matter what.

Also I don't get all the hate for the title. Rise of the Tomb Raider is hardly the worst title of all time. It's...completely fine? I honestly don't get why so many people go out of their way to riff on it and I'm starting to suspect it's another one of those situations where they made fun of it on the Bombcast once so it's written in stone now for all time.

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#29 Posted by Grimhild (795 posts) -

@stonyman65: Yeah, it's just a bit of dissonance in the feel of the narrative, which I mostly just find kind of hilarious more than anything. The game itself is perfectly fine from what I've played. Just from a technical standpoint, the faces look pretty fantastic, even if psychokiller Lara is wearing someone elses face. Or maybe it's some James Bondian thing where theres multiple Laras.

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#30 Edited by rethla (3725 posts) -

@humanity said:

Also I don't get all the hate for the title. Rise of the Tomb Raider is hardly the worst title of all time. It's...completely fine? I honestly don't get why so many people go out of their way to riff on it and I'm starting to suspect it's another one of those situations where they made fun of it on the Bombcast once so it's written in stone now for all time.

If you cant say its a good name for a Metal band/album then just say its bad instead. Its a grunge thing.

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#31 Posted by Humanity (18639 posts) -

@rethla: Rise of the Tomb Raider sounds like a pretty typical metal band name!