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Shadow of the Tomb Raider


Mr Do 71
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Started this, and it looks pretty enough and should be a decent way to pass the time. 

 

Lara's a complete idiot however. I mean, she's also inhumanly intelligent in cutscenes, deducing insane centuries old riddles from hieroglyphs and her stores of trivia encompassing everything that's ever happened in the history of the world, but one of the first things she's done is jump into a pool of water with no visible exit or breathing apparatus and just assumed it'll come out somewhere safe. Naturally, she almost died horribly fifteen minutes into the game.

 

No, I'm not spoilering that. Something like that happens every ten minutes in the series, but this one came across as particularly absurd for some reason.

 

Oh, and I totally forgot that in the previous game she could simply stare at foreign languages repeatedly until they somehow made sense.  :lol:

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  • 2 months later...

I've just done the 

 

Spoiler

Young Lara interlude in this. The "puzzle" at the end was barely a puzzle. I knew where the pieces needed to go and had to spend agonizing minutes shifting them around. Also, are we expected to care about Lara's family when they are such massive colonialists hoarding other culture's relics?

 

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48 minutes ago, Benny said:

It's a very pretty game at times, but it's just so dumb.

 

You just push forwards and the platforming and puzzles complete themselves.


Pre-release there was a lot of hype about their addition of a more old-school ‘remove white paint on climbable objects’ platforming mode, but as suspected in the hyper-detailed environment of a modern game it turned even basic navigation into tedious trial-and-error, with lots of jumping into walls trying to figure out how to progress. 
 

There’s a puzzle early on involving a giant rotating wooden contraption made entirely of logs, and without knowing specifically which logs you could actually grab onto it was practically impossible. I turned it off during that and left it off for the rest.

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13 minutes ago, Girth Certificate said:


when I realised this about bits in games where you boost a guy up onto a ledge or hold up a big lump of wood while they squeeze underneath I was all like OMFG

 

Elden Ring gets around this by just having the game do a big stutter now and then. I think I prefer that tbh.

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9 minutes ago, CarloOos said:


Pre-release there was a lot of hype about their addition of a more old-school ‘remove white paint on climbable objects’ platforming mode, but as suspected in the hyper-detailed environment of a modern game it just turned everything into tedious trial-and-error.
 

There’s a puzzle early on involving a giant rotating wooden contraption made entirely of wooden logs, and without knowing specifically which logs you could actually grab it was practically impossible. 

 

Yeah fuck that. Some of the prompts were finicky enough as it is on the grappling.

 

Though I swear I just closed my eyes at one point for a full ten seconds while pushing up on the analogue stick and wiggling it left and right a bit and had got closer to the checkpoint without having to do anything else.

 

Also: this whole ritual sacrifice thing they've got going from some of the native people in it is absurdly offensive.

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Uurgh. I was sort of pushing through as some of those areas really do look really nice but 

 

Spoiler

The whole lose your weapons and then forced to knife everyone stealthily in that enemies with thermal goggles bit. I genuinely hated it.

 

Lara loses all her shit, and you had to play it exactly the right way. But after killing the first guy it made no logical sense anyway, as why can't she just take the first gun they drop? It was maddening.

 

And the smearing herself with mud thing isn't even a mechanic - it's a thing where at like two designated places she can do it and doesn't get spotted by thermal goggles anymore. It adds nothing and has had no thought put into it.

 

Also, great animations and all that, but why does she sprint like she's shat herself? It looks so weird.

 

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On 18/08/2021 at 13:30, Xipe Totec said:

...will I be endlessly infuriated by the conflation of Maya & Inca culture - two unrelated civilisations separated by several thousand miles and about five centuries?

 

I was a bit irked. Got even more vexing when they started dragging Mexica/Aztec deities into the mess, but whatever. Quite enjoyed it on the whole but broadly I'm finding that the whole privileged, upper-class posho going on holiday to murder foreigns & steal their stuff premise tends to stick in the throat a little bit more than it did in 1996.

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At least in 1996 there were barely any other humans in it. Just mostly some Big Game hunting energy going for it.

 

And also the whole science fiction search for a lost city angle felt a bit more divorced from the gap yar jollies of these later games.

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It's a very silly trilogy.

 

The first game has the whole "Lara is incredibly traumatised by having to kill someone then immediately pivots to mowing people down by the dozen and getting extra points for headshots" angle. I'm amazed Rhianna Pratchett ever gets work these days because the story she was so widely praised for writing here is (a) terrible and (b) completely unsuited to the style of game they were making, like she'd written it in a bubble.

 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider goes full Posh Person On Gap Year when Lara finds a hidden, ancient village which acts as the hub for the second half of the game, is briefly awestruck, then immediately ransacks the entire place for valuables and collectibles. It also has a really complex series of upgrades and power-ups despite only having about four combat encounters in the whole game.

 

Shadow is the best of the trilogy but that's mostly because of its tombs, which are genuinely excellent (especially the ones that were originally DLC). They are the only part of any of the games that actually feel like Tomb Raider should.

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It is kind of missed opportunities (and diminishing returns) the series.

 

They disappointed everyone with the first one when they just skipped over the character development for being in that situation, I recall Arrow came out around the same time and did the exact same "playboy heir gets stranded on a weird island and transforms as a person through harsh experiences" far better, and that was a cheapo CW show, so y'know, low bar. Then with every new one people kept seeing if they'd actually develop the character, and I think they'd have said the series was all worthwhile if they had, but they never did, the character model got changed more than the character.

 

Plus they just re-used the same setpieces over and over again, you have the same sequence of hiding as an undead army goes past in the first two, you have the same sequence of falling into water and being swept around and trying to reach the surface but being caught on some obstacle in the latter two, there's more new ideas in the Uncharted expansion than in whole Tomb Raider games.

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1 hour ago, Garwoofoo said:

 

The first game has the whole "Lara is incredibly traumatised by having to kill someone then immediately pivots to mowing people down by the dozen and getting extra points for headshots" angle. I'm amazed Rhianna Pratchett ever gets work these days because the story she was so widely praised for writing here is (a) terrible and (b) completely unsuited to the style of game they were making, like she'd written it in a bubble.

 

I would be wary of pinning too much of the blame on Rhianna Pratchett. I think the writer on a huge-budget, narrative-focused game like this will (ironically) not have much input into the overall narrative, and especially not into any decisions relating to gameplay. The overall story and the structure will be decided by the developers, and I suspect the writer's job will be to think of dialogue and scenes that make sense of those decisions. So the developers will have wanted the game to put a big focus on the first time Lara kills someone and to make a big deal out of that, story-wise, and they'll also have wanted Lara to be a seasoned, skilful killer by the end of it, to allow for loads of intense, brutal combat. And they'll also have wanted her to be fairly likeable and for the narrative to not be too dark or depressing.

 

I suspect Pratchett's job was to write dialogue that would meet all of those objectives, and while I agree that she didn't achieve that, I'm not sure many people could have balanced all of those competing forces. If nothing else, there might have been a lengthy section of the game planned that showed Lara's transition from scared survivor to confident killer, which was cut because it was boring or too expensive to produce.

 

The tone of the game was all over the place, in that you go from kneecapping people with shotguns and stabbing people in the eye with arrows to hanging out with your gang of pals, who are like refugees from a Joss Whedon TV programme, but I think that's an issue with the creative process in general, rather than something you can pin on Pratchett.

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The repetition in Shadow is actually kind of relentless: You'd expect the main story progression through line to have the most varied spread of gameplay elements, but it's a generally endless sequence of the same tropes.

 

Pushing between some rocks to load a cliff face. Scale cliff face of outcroppings and overhangs. Oh no! One of the handholds broke! Oh it's fine. Oh no it broke again! Splash down in to water. Only direction is to dive. Swim past deadly fish. Use air pocket to take a breather. Do this at least twice. Squeeze through nasty caving style gap to surface as it loads the next bit. Big door to a tomb next to a winch. Shoot arrow to operate winch with rope pulley.  Oh no this time it's stuck. Dive into pool to clear debris with axe. Open door again. Disarm leg trap. Oh no bad men got here first. Leave tomb and head back to jungle. Smear self in mud. Kill everyone in the next area in the same way you did last time. Find another gap between rocks to push yourself through...

 

I mean it's standard gaming stuff sure, but at times the repetition of say, even just diving into water somewhere and pushing through multiple scenes of that surfacing through a tight spot is ridiculous.

 

After Elden Ring it's almost a culture shock.

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It makes me smile when, no matter if it's Lara Croft or Nathan Drake with the amazingly rare ability to track down the location of lost treasures, whenever they finally arrive there's a small army of mercenaries already there. Sometimes with armoured vehicles.

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It worked so much better in the original TR. Lara hired by people to use her skills to actually find a thing, then betrayed afterwards. The original Tomb Raider was inspired by Indiana Jones but did its own thing. Then every subsequent game like it after just took their inspiration from Tomb Raider.

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Lara is just discovering that her da

 

Spoiler

Was a colonialist nightmare who was poking his nose into a foreign culture's affairs and wanted to bring the outside world to trample all over an isolated native people and got killed for it, and is really struggling on doing any self reflection on that 

 

"I killed your da because he was a real prick!"

 

"But I was only 8 years old, waaaaaa"

 

"Just how many people have you killed anyway?

 

"Shut up you dirty foreign, raaargh"

 

Paraphrasing a bit there.

 

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Done. Meh.

 

Skills are practically pointless. At least on this normal difficulty. But even the ones I thought might have a use like, say, the ones that lets you shoot two or three arrows at once for three stealth headshots, were completely useless, because by the time you've unlocked that all enemies have helmets.

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