By UnhappyCanadian 15 Comments
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.