Initial thoughts after playing some of the new Tomb Raider
Something occurred to me, while I was jumping around and exploring a few tombs.. I’ve done this before! We’ve reached a point where story and visuals have progressed so far that game-play actually becomes an issue:
I followed the development for some time and I really liked the concept of a more human Laura (one who wasn’t as cartoony and psychotic as the first) and the lead writer,Rhianna Pratchett, has done a phenomenal job and so has Laura’s voice actor. Together they’ve created a very believable, albeit generic looking character that struggles both emotionally and physically, gets abused and goes through some really traumatic experiences.
But the game itself misses the opportunity to really deliver and that’s a shame. It had a lot of potential to be an intense and immersive survival experience.. instead of just yet another 3rd person action game with same dull objectives and progression as the million of others that are in the market already.. and at first your hopes are high, it genuinely feels great - you see a character that’s just barely hanging on.. she’s constantly struggling with herself and is on the verge of breaking down.. and when she has to make her first kill to survive.. you get a real sense of real human. But then it dawns on you and you realize that you’re just in one long corridor, going from one QTE and cutscene to another and Laura suddenly evolves into Rambo… even though she’s still struggling and shows real emotion and concern for what’s happening in the story..
The game is suffering quite a bit from this dissonance. Just like a lot of other AAA’s seem to be doing. The game itself actually ends up pulling you out of the story.. and that’s bad.
From a purely mechanical standpoint: Tomb Raider is great.. the combat is nice and feral..the animations are topnotch and so are the graphics and art design!.. The levels are just way too platformy, linear and boring to me. But if you’re a fan of the franchise and love the jumpy-climpy-shooty-bollocks that it’s know for, you should get it!..