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Tomb Raider (2013)

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On 21/06/2018 at 07:56, Vemsie said:


Soulsborne games and titles inspired by them (Nioh, The Surge etc.) are indeed prime examples of games that prioritize mechanical depth over storytelling and cinematics, but I don't think the latter is much of an issue in games anyway.

I agree thatTomb Raider has a bit of an identy problem. It wants to be part Uncharted, part original Tomb Raider and in both cases doesn't live up to those.

What I don't agree with is that games want to be more movie-like at the expense of player agency. I've said if before, but if anything, we're seeing more player agency these days, not less. Compare last gen's Hitman Absolution to Hitman 2016 or the recently announced Hitman 2 for example, Skyward Sword to Breath of the Wild or Metal Gear Solid 4 to Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, the latter being an example of a cinematic game with tons of voice acting, but also tons of player agency (if I were a betting man I'd say Death Stranding will take a similar approach).
Other examples of games with a lot of player agency are Arkane's output (Dishonored 2, Prey). Immersive sims may not be big sellers, but their design philosophy is creeping into other franchises and genres, like the aforementioned Breath of the Wild or Cyberpunk 2077. In fact, if we look at the highest rated games this gen, we're not seeing that many cinematic games. Breath of the Wild, Super Mario Odyssey, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, The Witcher 3, Divinity Original Sin II, Celeste, Bloodborne, Bayonetta 2, Overwatch and Monster Hunter World are not overly cinematic games that are all flash and no substance. The only two 90+ scoring games that could be considered highly cinematic are Uncharted 4 and God of War, though both received a fair bit of praise for their gameplay too (Mark Brown just dedicated an entire episode of Game Maker's Toolkit to God of War's Leviathan Axe for example). Cinematic games are generally getting better at both storytelling and, you know, the game part.

It's no coincidence then that both titles are Sony games then. Sony has a lot of success with cinematic games (The Last of Us apparently sold 17  million copies, that's more than Red Dead Redemption) and has become so good at them that other companies aren't even trying anymore. The success of titles like UC4 and TLoU also means that ND has the money to actually make them.

So if we look at E3 and the big announcements, you didn't find many cinematic games outside of Sony's conference. EA's big games are MP focused (FIFA, Battlefield, Anthem), Bethesda's games are by no means cinematic (Doom Eternal, Fallout 76, Prey Mooncrash, Rage 2) and neither are Ubisoft's (apart from the MP focused titles, games like Starlink, BG&E2 and AC Odyssey are open world games, not tight linear affairs). Square Enix paints a similar picture. They had that weird Human Head game and Tomb Raider, but apart from that it was all RPG stuff like Kingdom Hearts III, Dragon Quest XI, Octopath Traveler and (presumably) Platinum's Babylon's Fall, as well as Just Cause 4, which is the exact opposite from a scripted cinematic game. Nintendo's big game of course was Smash Bros and their other new announcements were Mario Party and the Armored Core like Daemon x Machina. Most new announcements could be found at Microsoft's briefing, but again, very little of those were linear, cinematic games that want to be movies at the expense of gameplay. If you try really hard, you could label Gears of War 5 as such (but Gears always had solid gameplay), but not Gears of War Tactics and certainly not games like Forza Horizon 4, Dying Light 2, Jump Force, Sea of Thieves, Crackdown 3, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, Devil May Cry 5 and Cyberpunk 2077.

So I'm not really seeing this focus on linear cinematic games that prioritize storytelling and cinematics over gameplay. It's certainly not drastically affecting videogames. Tomb Raider is actually one of the very few games that wants to have a slice of that Naughty Dog cake and eat it.

 

A fine post, which made me reflect. You present a strong case for me not to be so distraught.

 

What I would say, however, is that my concerns do go beyond the handful of titles you identify that mostly typify a cinematic game.  So whilst you're right to say that the industry isn't overwhelmed with lots of titles like UC/TR there are lots of titles which have simplistic gameplay but, I feel, hide it behind their presentation. Cinematic been one of the words I've used a lot, but its a stand-in for a bunch of ideas beyond the most obvious meaning of 'cinematic-type presentation'.

 

Those would be:

  • Superficial gameplay
  • Shallow mechanics
  • Spectacle heavy/driven
  • Presentation changes heavily from sequal to sequal but gameplay doesn't
  • Aggressive hand-holding - telling the player what to do and how to do it

So a great example would be Call of Duty. It has shallow mechanics, when new sequels come out the focus is on the new look/theme (not the gameplay) and it is drives the players interest through spectacle - there are constant explosions, loads of 'cool' stuff to look at, lavishly rendered environments, spectacular sequences.

 

Another example would be how Assassins Creed automated its climbing, which someone mentioned earlier.

 

You make a good point with your post but it does fail to encompass the whole of my critique. When I say I don't like how modern games feel sometimes, or worry about the direction they're going, it's about more than just Uncharted/TLOU/TR/GOW etc.

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20 hours ago, Smitty said:

Not being funny or anything but I thought i'd just point that Tomb Raider Anniversary is currently on sale from Steam for just 76p!

 

If you never played it, maybe give it a go. It's fantastic remake of the first game. It fixes the control issues, adds updated graphics and new mechanics and remixes other stuff.

 

It's the best way to play the original (in spirit anyway) as it looks like the original looked in your head. (The real original looks like it's made of papercraft now.)

 

However be warned. There is one bit where it's not as good.

 

Making the t-rex reveal a quick time event. Boo!

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2 hours ago, Dudley said:

That's always the way with remakes isn't it?  Halo was exactly the same.

Eh?

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I fail to be convinced that Assassins Creed automating the climbing a bit (heh - compare the level of automation to BoTW) was a bad thing. It was astonishingly tedious, and never particularly interesting.

 

I’m not even convinced it was that much more automated: have you played Origins yourself Smitty?

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12 minutes ago, footle said:

I fail to be convinced that Assassins Creed automating the climbing a bit (heh - compare the level of automation to BoTW) was a bad thing. It was astonishingly tedious, and never particularly interesting.

 

I’m not even convinced it was that much more automated: have you played Origins yourself Smitty?

 

I'm echoing somebody who offered that up earlier. Ask them.

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This video does a very good job of summarising (12:19 onwards) the problems I have with the game design, by going through the opening of the game, which is particularly egregious. He even puts it side by side with the beginning of Tomb Raider Anniversary.

 

 

 

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On 21/06/2018 at 15:17, Smitty said:

I was trying to find a video of all the annoying talking-to-herself (talking to the player) that does throughout TR13 and Rise but I couldn't. I hate that stuff too. You can't possibly have enough anyone actually struggle with a puzzle. Pause for 30 seconds and the game starts telling you to how to do the puzzle.

 

 

Zelda already solved this with Wind Waker back in 2002: eyes looking over at important things.

 

Subtle, without annoying the player or telling you the answer outright.

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7 hours ago, footle said:

I fail to be convinced that Assassins Creed automating the climbing a bit (heh - compare the level of automation to BoTW) was a bad thing. It was astonishingly tedious, and never particularly interesting.

 

I’m not even convinced it was that much more automated: have you played Origins yourself Smitty?

 

With Origins you can climb most surfaces like you're Spiderman.

 

The Ezio Trilogy? It's like a modern day Crazy Climber / Firetrap where you need to make sure there are hand and footholds.

 

Most people find that sort of tedious which is probably why they've been removed. I love it. It's part of the reason I love Tomb Raider, and the Team Ico games.

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11 hours ago, APM said:

Eh?

 

Halo Anniversary looked like I remembered Halo looking.

 

Then I pressed the button to toggle back to the old version and my eyeballs started bleeding.

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1 minute ago, Dudley said:

 

Halo Anniversary looked like I remembered Halo looking.

 

Then I pressed the button to toggle back to the old version and my eyeballs started bleeding.

Ah, I get ya. I thought you were saying they'd introduced QTEs into it like with the T Rex bit in Anniversary. That aside, I still love the chunky look of the original Halo.

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On 23/06/2018 at 22:54, footle said:

I fail to be convinced that Assassins Creed automating the climbing a bit (heh - compare the level of automation to BoTW) was a bad thing. It was astonishingly tedious, and never particularly interesting.

 

I’m not even convinced it was that much more automated: have you played Origins yourself Smitty?

 

Obviously no-one wants to spend five minutes figuring out how to get on to a roof, but the older ACs made climbing viewpoints specifically as somewhat of a challenge. By which I mean, you might realise that you would have to backtrack and try a different route. (The radio towers in Far Cry had a bit of this too). Now when you see a viewpoint, the question of how to climb it isn't there any more - you hold down R2 and press up until you are at the top.  And then Syndicate took it to the next level by just allowing you to grapple right up there!

 

So while I totally agree that the climbing controls are better, at the same time they also removed the possibility of doing anything interesting with climbing. The best you seem to get now are those "escaping a collapsing building" style sequences, where you have to complete the route in a strict time limit, but those are mostly trial and error.

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1 hour ago, SozzlyJoe said:

 

So while I totally agree that the climbing controls are better, at the same time they also removed the possibility of doing anything interesting with climbing. The best you seem to get now are those "escaping a collapsing building" style sequences, where you have to complete the route in a strict time limit, but those are mostly trial and error.

 

Those are amazing....provided you nail it the first time. I'm sure all of us know the pain of playing an overly directed sequence over and over just to fail at the almost final hurdle...

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Bit of a thread bump here, but I never played this when it was released so after watching a few videos for Shadow, thought I better go back to this one. Its rather good isn't it? Although those QTE'S do get a bit annoying after a while. But really enjoying it so far think I'm pretty close to finishing it now. Maybe another session tonight will tie this one up. Pretty excited for Shadow of the Tomb Raider now!

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Double bump. 

 

I've got a favour to ask please folks...

 

Would anybody on Xbox Game Pass fancy getting together for a few rounds of multiplayer? I just need to capture some footage and to get a feel for the online game mode.

 

Much appreciated in advance if anyone can help!

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