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Tomb Raider (2013)


Capwn
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Just did a 5-10 minute section with 4 cutscenes (in extremely quick succession), 3 slow-walking radio bits, 3 spectacle driven events with camera grabbing and a whole load of the new 'press forward and x occasionally' platforming. During this bit I could barely move without having control taken away again. It's insane, the design here. Just let me play the game! Let me enjoy being in it, and not having you yank me out constantly.

The actual exploration (not platforming) is good, the open sections like the mountain village and shanty town have lots of nooks and crannies, although looking around them is entirely optional and mostly for collectibles and XP. They're all really beautiful to look at, with much of what you can see being a place you can actually go. These parts are a sort of revelation of level design and technical achievement because such levels are still rare in games, often for technical reasons I imagine. I also like how you can see different areas that will visit a little further along in the game from certain points. You may not notice it at first (i didn't until later) but you can see the monestary from the mountain village for instance.

But it's incredibly basic Uncharted-style platforming that lets things down. Most of the time I feel barely involved in moving around. There's no challenge involved in moving around, finding the path rarely involves thinking. If you combined the new exploration parts with the old games platforming mechanics, and the new (good) stuff like rope arrows, pick climbing and so on you'd have something fantastic. I think that these areas are still largely optional to explore really counts against them, though.

One of the only parts i've enjoyed in all the platforming has been area of the mountain village with lots of little disconnected little rocky outcrops. I actually had to look around carefully and work out the different routes with the arrow ropes and ledges. I was moving up ropes, sliding down them, making new paths, dropping down and climbing up craggy rocks using the rock pick. It was good, I actually felt engaged for the first time in ages. The sad thing is that this engagement was entirely optional - I was hunting out collectibles and challenges. Why isn't this sort of exploration mandatory? The stuff the game actually asks you to do always involves pressing forward from one spectacle or combat box to the next.

Why hasn't there been a single section in the game proper that has required me to a do the small bit of thinking I was there? Where are the big complex puzzle spaces, y'know, the damn tombs? Spaces with lots of little nooks that you actually need to work out to advance? A maze even. Those are exactly what the game is crying out for - tombs. And the game is called bloody Tomb Raider. The irony is unbearable. If only more of this exploration was mandatory. If only the platforming was less simplistic and automatic. If only the game would stop taking control.

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A recurring theme in this thread.

TR - for stupid people. Hilarious

What better way is there of describing stuff like this..........

I get to a large locked gate in Shanty town. I use the control at the side to unlock it. You can't miss it, there's a big X icon floating in front of it, just in case you'd forgotten what the action button was, at any point in the last 20secs since you last used it. Lara says something like " Hmmmm, the mechanism must be jammed". Right away, the game plasters across the screen......."You can burn white objects with your bow". Oh, look there's a white object right at the end of my nose on the gate. UNBE-FUCKING-LIEVABLE. The game actually displays the solution in big white letters, on the screen, telling me exactly what i need to do to get through the gate. So what's the point of this whole section? Ridiculous. The game really does appear to have been designed for absolute morons.

Some of the death animations look mega painful. The one where Lara's going downriver and gets a massive wooden spike slammed through her chin and into her head. Ooof!

That section is one of the worst things i've played in many, many years. You are just pressing left and right, with the occasional QTE prompt. However thanks to the "action cam" which spazzes about all over the shop, you can't actually tell what's happening, meaning that the section is 100% trial and error. Proper rubbish.

Also, just in case he's reading this. To the guy that did the Madman diaries. You are not Jack Nicholson. You have never been Jack Nicholson, nor will you ever be Jack Nicholson. So stop trying to sound like Jack Nicholson. Also, learn to read properly and stop over emphasising random words in sentences to the point that THEY no LONGER make ANY actual SENSE.

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I also wanted to write a bit about the combat. It's ok, good maybe at points but overall it doesn't feel super engaging or interesting to me. The enemies are repetitive both in design (there seem to be about 5 scavenger skins), attacks and behaviour. They don't do anything interesting and seem to have classically dumb videogame AI, quite content to continue rushing me whilst I gun them down. They don't co-operate or exhibit any interesting behaviours like say the hunters do in Dead Space 2. It would be great if they had some sort of pack AI, working together to stop Lara but instead they mostly just charge right up to you.

It's fine, I guess, but it isn't memorable in any way. People scoff at cover shooters, and seem quick to say this isn't one merely because Lara automatically does it, but is that a good thing? It's taking yet another element of control that requires input from the player away. So now you've got a cover shooter where you don't even have to press a button to get into cover. Of course I know it's not the first example but combined with everything else it seems like the player is being asked to do less and less.

Another problem with the combat is that when I got to a section with a lot more of it (shanty town) I kept getting to parts where I was boxed in and flooded with loads and loads of enemies, such as beneath that tower. It's a really crap design decision because the only thing that threatens to be interesting with the combat is doing it on the move, clambering around the place, being chased across roofs and down alleys. If you keep boxing me in and reducing my options to deciding behind which 3 pieces of cover (arranged in line across a platform as enemies pour over from the opposite side) to crouch behind then you are crippling the movement that could make the combat interesting. These chokepoints are dull and lead to repetitive barely mobile combat which seems to act as filler.

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I can understand this annoyance at excessive handholding but its hardly the first game to have it (or the worst offender)... I also worry that in a few months time we will be having exactly the same "discussions" once The Last Of Us is released.. as I fear that anything focusingly heavily on a cinematic experience will experience some of the same issues.

I'd obviously prefer the problems weren't there but for me they just aren't the game breakers that they appear to be for others!

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Just need a reappearance from Cippa now and then the thread is once again complete.

How about discussing the issues that are being brought up?

Do you enjoy games treating you as though you're simple? Do you love trial and error gameplay? Would you like to see more interactive cutscenes in games? Do you like having control taken away from you? Do you like thinking for yourself, or would you sooner have a game tell you exactly what to do and where to go?

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I get to a large locked gate in Shanty town. I use the control at the side to unlock it. You can't miss it, there's a big X icon floating in front of it, just in case you'd forgotten what the action button was, at any point in the last 20secs since you last used it. Lara says something like " Hmmmm, the mechanism must be jammed". Right away, the game plasters across the screen......."You can burn white objects with your bow". Oh, look there's a white object right at the end of my nose on the gate. UNBE-FUCKING-LIEVABLE. The game actually displays the solution in big white letters, on the screen, telling me exactly what i need to do to get through the gate. So what's the point of this whole section? Ridiculous. The game really does appear to have been designed for absolute morons.

Yeah, totally. The hand holding is totally crazy in this game. I keep searching my mind for a game, any game, which has so often and so aggressively shoves things in your face and i'm coming up blank.

Thinking about it, i'm really struggling to count more than 3 puzzle elements in the game so far up to this point, I mean stuff that you actually have to do:

- Flotsam trap in the cave at the start

- Smashing the columns with the bell

- Something else I can't remember

There may have been more (i'm just at the sniping section after the shanty town) but I can't remember. The above are the only bits I can remember where I needed to think, and there both pretty brief and physics based.

I can understand this annoyance at excessive handholding but its hardly the first game to have it (or the worst offender)

So what? If you saw a mediocre movie would you defend it by saying it's not the worse you've seen? This is a terrible example of handholding this game, i'm struggling to think of anything worse in recent times.

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I also worry that in a few months time we will be having exactly the same "discussions" once The Last Of Us is released.. as I fear that anything focusingly heavily on a cinematic experience will experience some of the same issues.

Nah, I bet that game will be amaze balls. Neither of the Uncharted games come anywhere near the frenzy of aggressive hand holding and control-stealing that occurs in this game, so I don't see why it would infect The Last of Us to the point it even vaguely resembled this. Both Uncharted games handle all their spectacle much better too. This is imitating without understanding, this game. I have issues with Uncharted, but I don't ever remember feeling like it was constantly taking me out of the game, holding my hand and so on.

A bit shallow perhaps, a bit too focused on spectacle, but I remember feeling I was in control. Better combat too, Uncharted 2 really takes advantage of its environments.

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Another problem with the combat is that when I got to a section with a lot more of it (shanty town) I kept getting to parts where I was boxed in and flooded with loads and loads of enemies, such as beneath that tower. It's a really crap design decision because the only thing that threatens to be interesting with the combat is doing it on the move, clambering around the place, being chased across roofs and down alleys. If you keep boxing me in and reducing my options to deciding behind which 3 pieces of cover (arranged in line across a platform as enemies pour over from the opposite side) to crouch behind then you are crippling the movement that could make the combat interesting. These chokepoints are dull and lead to repetitive barely mobile combat which seems to act as filler.

Yeah, I agree with this. I'd say the combat mechanics are the strongest part of the game but the scenarios don't really take advantage of that, especially when compared to games like RE4 or Uncharted.

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How about discussing the issues that are being brought up?

Because those very same issues have seemingly been discussed over and over and over for the past 3 or 4 days.. What will it actually achieve?

I just genuinely wonder why you continue to play the game! It "appears" to be just so you can pop back in here and have another moan about it.

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I can understand this annoyance at excessive handholding

I don't get the handholding criticism. I've died more times in this on normal after a few hours than in the entirety of Uncharted 2 on normal. I'm really looking forward to playing it through again on bastard hard to really get into the nitty-gritty of the combat, likewise online with mates.

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Yeah, totally. The hand holding is totally crazy in this game. I keep searching my mind for a game, any game, which has so often and so aggressively shoves things in your face and i'm coming up blank.

The section doesn't even have any logical point to it. If its a puzzle, then let me figure it out. If the gate's locked and i need to find a key, then great, let me explore. If its a simple obstacle, then let me climb it to progress. There are so many things that they could have done which would have created real gameplay.

Instead its....."sorry, this gate is locked, you can't get through". 1 sec pause. "Here's how you get through - shoot the white stuff with your fire bow". There's no point in the gate being there. Terrible design, which is what i'm seeing a lot of in this game.

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I keep searching my mind for a game, any game, which has so often and so aggressively shoves things in your face and i'm coming up blank.

See I found the repeated "run into the screen because 3D is cool" effects in Uncharted 3 to be much more intrusive and in your face compared to anything I've experienced in this so far.

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Because those very same issues have seemingly been discussed over and over and over for the past 3 or 4 days.. What will it actually achieve?

I just genuinely wonder why you continue to play the game! It "appears" to be just so you can pop back in hear and have another moan about it.

Well avoided Captain! I'm not seeing anybody really respond to the points being brought up. Much like yourself, people seem to just deflect things away from the points raised and start having a pop at folk who aren't enjoying the game and think its a bit shit.

Yeah, i could stop playing it, but i've already explained why i'm not going to do that. The combat is fairly entertaining and providing enough fun for me to see the game out.

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Wow, when I hate a game it doesn't get five minutes of my time as I'm bored to tears. Even when I'm hyped about something that disappoints like Resi 6 I can't play it through. Seems the haters here are gluttons for punishment.

You guys should join the Catholic priesthood, they love self-flagellation and telling people how wrong they are.

Nominee thingamy.

fatherjack.jpeg

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I don't get the handholding criticism. I've died more times in this on normal after a few hours than in the entirety of Uncharted 2 on normal. I'm really looking forward to playing it through again on bastard hard to really get into the nitty-gritty of the combat, likewise online with mates.

No-one was talking about handholding in combat. Also, i'm playing on hard and believe me there is no nitty-gritty to the combat.

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I like all the extra little moves you get in the combat and it's leagues ahead of Uncharted for close-quarters stuff. Not up there with Batman, but it has it's own thing going on. Weirdly reminds me of Vanquish, not in what you're actually doing but with the ease it is to pull it off.

Why are you people playing a game you they don't like?

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Yeah, i could stop playing it, but i've already explained why i'm not going to do that. The combat is fairly entertaining and providing enough fun for me to see the game out.

Fair enough but if I was in your shoes I'd probably find something that would have less of an impact on my stress levels.. People (myself included) tried to suggest alternate games to you earlier in the thread, that based on your Pre-release conceptions of the game would be more suited to the kind of experience you are after...

..yet here you still are moaning about the same things you knew you wouldn't like before you bought the game.

To me lifes too short and games too plentiful to waste time playing something for the sake of it.

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Much like yourself, people seem to just deflect things away from the points raised and start having a pop at folk who aren't enjoying the game and think its a bit shit.

So we have this followed by this:

fatherjack.jpeg

Thanks for adding to the discussion with this plea for us all to fuck off, Wombling. Don't count me alongside Clippa, you don't see me calling people idiots for enjoying this game. I am criticising the game, not people enjoying it. I don't hate it either, if it had *nothing* to offer I wouldn't be playing it, i've explained that before. It's not a great game though so far.

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Why are you playing a game you don't like?

I'm mildly enjoying it, I'm a TR fan, I want to keep abreast of where games are going. Not that I need to justify why i'm playing a game to you. It's games criticism, Wombling, I'm not robbing graves.

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Fair enough but if I was in your shoes I'd probably find something that would have less of an impact on my stress levels.. People (myself included) tried to suggest alternate games to you earlier in the thread, that based on your Pre-release conceptions of the game would be more suited to the kind of experience you are after...

..yet here you still are moaning about the same things you knew you wouldn't like before you bought the game.

To me lifes too short and games too plentiful to waste time playing something for the sake of it.

See, you are doing it again. YOU are telling ME what i should be doing. I'm not having a go at anyone for liking this game. If you're enjoying it then great. The developers are treating people as though they are morons though. I can't really understand why people accept that.

Also, if you'd taken note of what i was actually saying earlier in the thread, the thing that was putting me off the game was all the combat. I've already explained multiple times why i've bought the game. Having now played 40% the combat is my fav bit. This shows how i'm open to changing my views and not on here just to moan and wind folk up, which is what people keep accusing me of.

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Fair enough mate you crack on and "enjoy" the rest of the game!

Anyway, Shanty Town was a blast. Now after that lot, I seem to have found myself in Apocalypse Now. Looking forward to what comes next.

Looking forward to tackling Shanty Town tonight.. looks to have a bit of a Resi 5 vibe about it!

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Do you enjoy games treating you as though you're simple? Do you love trial and error gameplay? Would you like to see more interactive cutscenes in games? Do you like having control taken away from you? Do you like thinking for yourself, or would you sooner have a game tell you exactly what to do and where to go?

Sometimes, yes. Games like the FUCKING AWESOME Asura's Wrath are exactly what I need, they're spectacle-heavy fun. It's not like I have to ban myself from other game types if I play a 'dumb as fuck runaround' now and again, games such as Bangai-o and REZ will still be there when I want something more Fully Aspel-approved.

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