senorsucks2suck's Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One) review

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Bow before the dual wield

No Inspiration Necessary

The failings of this game are purely in their failure to recognize the nostalgia factor for games. I'm slowly starting to realize that in the hiring process of talent for a lot of games has little to do with experience playing anything in the series. We love to celebrate the pedigree of certain studios when we don't know what the actually staffing looks like throughout the years. The Zenimax purchase might be in name alone, with only the janitor from the formative years being a enduring face. It is of paramount importance that a new hire for a game like Tekken 3 can know their job and not necessarily know the flow of Tekken 2 or Tekken 1. Maybe 3rd party expertise keeps games from being stagnant throughout the years. If true, I still need my touchstones.

Modern Podcasters Do More Googling than Recollecting

As the shadow of a game's history casts longer and longer the expectation that a new hire would have experienced all of the games in your series is a fools errand. Somebody in the room should know your series inside and out. Some things are oversights are unforgivable. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider there is not an ability to swan dive into bodyies of water and there is no option to dual wield. Those were key features of early PSX gaming. (Now that I think about it, where is my back handspring?) A gamer's life is comprised of a multitude of touchstones. If I were to say 'Did you look up after beating Super Mario World?' whether or not you did doesn't matter, do you get the reference. (Hopefully this isn't google-able but i might be now) Crude and as juvenile as that was awareness is the most important thing. Most media is a reference upon a reference. Memes are just references upon references. If you listen to a director's commentary of your favorite movie, one that you know inside and out, there are going to be references designed almost specifically for you, that you just missed. Not acknowledging dual wield and the swan dive from a game that kicked off the series is design by authoritarian rule, rather than design by committee. Both are disdainful to me but beating a game and then going through new game plus hoping to bear witness to as many references as possible and slowly realizing something isn't there just irks me.

Actual Traversal that isn't the Uncharted On-Rails Farce

The game is fine. Traversal is way better than the Uncharted series. You actually can't just use your phone in one hand and navigate treacherous geography with the other. The jungle is a little linear in that you can't explore before you hit the invisible wall. The invisible wall is way too soon and the foiliage, especially after not having played the game in over a year, just reminds me that this is just evolution of the invisible wall and not the elimination of it. Can Series-X fix this? I started but did not finish my new game plus because there is a lot of confusion in the challenge tombs and what/when they unlock stuff in the game. I am sick of navigating the internet to find answers to what should be clear and apparent. I will come back to this game eventually because I do intend to 100% this game, at some point. It is fun but i reached a point where HDR betrayed my ability to see what was going on in the environment. Of course I was playing with a glare from a window so if i could have held off until nightfall i might have persevered.

Give Me All Your Tongues

It is nice to have multiple language tracks for this game. All of voice overs are in multiple languages even for the narrated collectibles and items. I decided to download and replay Sleeping Dogs, another Square Enix title, once I fully gave up on SOTR. It doesn't have new game plus and I was hoping that the game would have as rich language immersion, teaching me a little Chinese since it is based in Hong Kong. Nope uninstalled it as well. I guess I'll have to rely on Watchdogs: Legion and AC: Valhalla for my language fix. Ubisoft is always good for that.

Bob Tell Them What They've Won

Unlocking new game plus items is convoluted and not letting me get everything within the first 2 or 3 hours of the game so i can experience the game in full roid rage is frustrating. Do i need to play through the game a 3rd time for big head mode or whatever "treats" they have in store for fans that does not include swan dives and dual wield pistols? Some of the outfits are just obnoxious and during a first time play through it was neat because my attention span understood why she was wearing different culture wares but necessitating that i wear them for extra xp is just bloody frustrating. I wanted to be in my Lara Croft short shorts and teal shirts and rampage through the game with just my dual wields.

I swear this isn't in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
I swear this isn't in Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

I really enjoy speedrunning through some of the tombs a la carte. You can access this mode from the main menu and it is something I did back with Rise of the Tomb Raider. It reminds me of going to arcades as a kid and attacking the boastful high scores screens that commanded your attention (You know, like achievements and trophies that podcasters swear don't matter). It sucks my friends list couldn't care less about things like this. (So maybe these podcasters are right). Of course i come from an era where we exploited a game to its fullest. The series-X will eventually have new titles that have never been seen or done before but my backlog is broken. I'm playing through Mass Effect 1 because I'm trying to get enough Microsoft Rewards to buy 2 movies for their black friday sale. Rewarding gamescore has finally become a thing, with a paywall, but no less a thing. (Torn between Sicario, Saving Private Ryan, Le Mans, and ET). I'm on a huge nostalgia trip lately and watching films back from the age of actual stunts and well crafted scenes is the style of cinema i want to consume. For my games when they don't acknowledge their past it can be a little grating.

The dual wield must bow to the bow.
The dual wield must bow to the bow.

Crafting Items? Craft a Better Game

8.9/10 Final boss battle is a slog. I found myself clicking in R3 constantly to see where stuff was. If there's not a smarter way to identify plants or bugs then maybe take the need for that crap out. I love the bow in the game and rarely used guns. But if I could, I'd prefer that they dual wield.

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