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Tomb Raider (2013)


Capwn
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There are never enough references to when clippa had a breakdown and left the forum. I'd love to find his posts the day it happened.

Fortunately the posts when I did the same on Board of Biffo no longer exist.

I remember them as if they were yesterday, Timmo. I wonder if Biffo kept a backup of all our title images.

'Banned' announcements should contain links and a timeline to the offending posts to save having to hunt for them, it's the only reason we go in there.

Well playing yet another roguelike or 2D shooter preferably with lofi graphics and zombies is obviously the mark of a true gamer, son.

I like the games where you just press up and a cartoon plays :(

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The really weird thing is he's only played about an hour of the game. His Steam profile says he's played it for two hours, but half of that was spent on the forum calling people gay, cunts and fannies. And you just know at least half of that first hour was spent in the menus too. Weird.

No, the really weird thing is he bought the game in the first place!

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Finished it and enjoyed it, but it's not a patch on uncharted for me. Beautiful art direction, liked the combat however it needed more puzzles and overall felt quite short.

Compared to uncharted, it's not as good as 2 but come on, it pisses over 1 and 3.

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I've been collecting all the items today. There's some very tricky ones that you have to get to even though they appear on the map.

The objects like mines, cairns etc dont appear on the map and you have to spam batman vision.

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For me, it trumps Uncharted in a couple of ways. Most notably the combat, which is much better in this than in any of the Uncharted games. Also, the collectibles are more varied, and Lara comments on them. In Uncharted they're only there for the "gotta catch 'em all" OCD crew.

I really liked how with one of the collectibles

Lara comments on how it could be from the Yuan Dynasty or something, but if you rotate it it says made in china on the bottom, and she just says 'oh, right, probably not then' or something like that.

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if you want to, you can hit LB and it'll show you where everything is once you've bought the perk. It adds them to the map but it'll also shine through the walls.

That's one of the problems with it really. If the game just shows you where everything is, then it just turns it into a really pointless collectathon with no sense of real gameplay involved. Both AC and GTA did this kind of thing far, far better, as they used subtle audio cues when you were close to an item.

I picked Sleeping Dogs up with this, it handles the exploration, sense of place, collect-em-up bits far better than TR. Its fun just wandering around, searching for the Health Shrines.

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Like Uncharted this utterly overuses what is already a tired cliche - exploding collapsing hallways and the like. They are so unconvincing, shallow and forced. You've seen every scenario here many times before. Going into detail a bit more, they are generally composed of the hesitate-and-die dash, with there only being one extremely uninvolved way to get through them. They don't even attempt to give these scenes any real sense of weight - big structures fall apart like paper and cardboard, and naturally just after you have stepped off them of course. This weightlessness, this complete lack of anything resembling physics in our universe renders them totally superficial and unbelievable. It's a problem games often have with any sort of physics related to thinks deforming or collapsing. Bridges, huts and the like flying apart like autumn leaves just screams its unreality in your face.

Lara falls and falls and falls and falls and falls, to the point where it is pretty comical, but never really gets hurt, except at one point. The sound of explosions in a cavern is thrilling, but ultimately pointless. You know it's just a sound and light show. If anything starts to get dangerous than you'll only have to push forward, and watch. The new Tomb Raider is like a flashy action movie that doesn't really understand action, believing that showing the hero jumping away from another explosion will thrill them. Whereas of course real action is about the building and dissolution of tension, and real action can be a lot of things, certainly a lot more than an explosion. This game is obsessed with things exploding and stuff collapsing. Sigh, please, please make me feel something.

Uncharted 2, as good as it is, really had this problem. If you keep using the same trick over and over again it simply loses any magic it may have. If you conform exactly to expectations (oh so I guess this whole place will collapse now) then there are no surprises for the player. You can't have paper thin spectacle punctuating every chapter.

The game really started to take off 50% into the game (well around there, going by my save game at that point), but I think the spectacle has been derivative, unconvincing and extraordinarily forced throughout. I have been enjoying it since about there, though. That said, its charms still mostly feel superficial, and I am concerned that there is going to be little pay off for all my efforts. I've got to a part of the game where I was really hoping for a switch and so far i'm not getting it.

On the superficiality point, even though I am enjoying the game a lot more now, and the combat is decent (hmm well..) I still feel like there's not much to any of it. It's all stuff I've seen elsewhere, hardly bad but nothing much new or interesting in it. It's enjoyable enough but I won't ever be relating an excited story about that bit of great combat in TR, never. Also, it's far too reliant on convieniently placed exploding barrels livening things up. I'm fairly sure i will remember nothing from this game in a few weeks, because of the most of the pleasure is so transitory and trivial (like visuals or a atmosphere). As much as I love combat generally, it still does feel a bit disappointing to me that it is the only language many games seem to be able to express themselves in. The stuff that i'm seeing here is just cliche after cliche, stuff i've played through so many times before. It's more like Lara Croft: Supersoldier than it is Tomb Raider. It's sad that, even if the combat is decent or good, everything always has to devolve into a shooting fest. There's nothing truly exciting or new here.

Looking at some of the other stuff, the hubs are great, for what they are. That is to say I enjoy them a lot more, and they are beautiful, but they still feel somewhat superficial. If they were giant puzzle areas relating to each other or full of complex platforming, they could be truly memorable. As such they are fun to explore, but ultimately they hardly approach their potential.

How about the environments? Well again they are universally pretty spaces, but between hubs you are generally being funnelled through mechnically uninteresting and geometrically simple spaces. Beautiful hallways perhaps, but hallways. And you know that another road block where enemies pour in, or another cutscene, or another QTE are never very far away. You also know that no individual space is ever going to hold your attention for long or demand much of you. Late into a game I got into a big tomb room, with a fallen soldier at its heart. It looked detailed and interesting. I thought to myself 'right, Tomb ahoy!'. But all I was required to do here, in this beautiful ornate room full of history, was to walk into the centre of it and trigger a long cutscene. Then there was an explosion and some enemies poured in because of course they did. This is all the game knows how to do. Well at least they all approached me from one direction so I could easily gun them down, they are usually helpful like that. Just after the explosion rang out I had wondered for a second whether I would have to complete some juicy platforming in this grand chamber, a classic Tomb Raider space, but no after the enemies were dead I just hopped up a couple of platforms and I was out.It was such a disappointing moment. A proper tomb, some real history to explore, and I get a cutscene, the game's cookie cutter combat and an explosion. Sigh.

Lara's VO is mostly good, but the script isn't anything special and generally the story is massively cliched and predictable, with loads of signposting (via the documents anyhow), all the dramatic elements being overwrought and even Lara seems to struggle to work out obvious plot points by herself. There are no real surprises here. Lara's friends are broadly sketched and often react in unbelievable ways - everyone is happy to see Lara run off for another incredibly dangerous outing, by herself of course. I

So yeah even thought it's toned down the earlier madness noticablely, and I'm mostly enjoying the experience, i don't think the game's really a keeper. But to anyone starting and finding it a slog, it really does pick up considerably around the 46-50% mark. Pretty amazing that you have to wait that long, but hey, once you get there the game opens up a bit more, gives you more time with the elements and grabs your attention a bit better.

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Actually Fully it's not that easy even with the perk, some of them are hard to get to. never collected anything in a game bar Arkham Asylum before. The level specific ones don't even appear on the map.

Smitts I think you're reaction to this game is unduly negative, which is fine people like different things, but as a piece of digital entertainment personally i think it's top tier.

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I really liked how with one of the collectibles

Lara comments on how it could be from the Yuan Dynasty or something, but if you rotate it it says made in china on the bottom, and she just says 'oh, right, probably not then' or something like that.

That bit did make me laugh, it was well judged bit of comedy. But even in that small element you can see how the devs feel they have to make everything blindly obvious. Sometimes when you pick up an item there's a bit of text in the menu screen saying 'examine this object to find hidden clues'. It only does this on items where there IS a hidden clue, so straight away you've flushed away any sense of mystery or chance of self discovery by telling people to examine items with hidden clues for hidden clues.

Much like the game telling you a hidden tomb is nearby, rather than telling you that there are basically hidden tombs in that area or something like, any fun you could have had in discovering things for yourself is ruined by the devs desire to control everything.

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I'm really enjoying the game, but you do fall through things and narrowly escape death too often. In the run-up to the shantytown it happens on three separate occasions in less than five minutes, with such diminished returns that it ends up bordering on the farcical.

Still though, the parachute bit was unexpected and fantastic.

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You may as well copy and paste the same post repeatedly. I think Halo is shit, therefore I stopped playing it. I didnt write massively over analytical posts as to exactly what I didn't like, or how Master Chief should explain his actions whenever he shoots an alien. I just stopped playing it. I could repeatedly post the exact same post stating that it's ok but really I'm just doing the same thing I've done done for three games now and that it's not EXACTLY how I want it to be but I'd rather not.

I don't really think that's fair.

Besides, Smitty, like everyone else, can post whatever the hell he likes. Even if you think he's repeating himself.

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But Smitty there's so few 'tombs' in the game if they didn't signpost they were there, a huge percentage of people would miss them ;)

And this is the problem with the game. It is just confused and unsure of its identity. Earlier Aspel was saying how sometimes he would get to one of these one-room tombs and feel a little tingle of the Tomb Raider magic. I've felt the same. If only there were interlinked chambers full of these things, or grand puzzles across a massive space. If only I had to do some involved platforming more akin to the old style to get around them, but with the new physics stuff. If only I had to THINK. The few parts of the game where I had to think I enjoyed them, for instance the lift. Nothing complex, but at least I wasn't doing combat that I could do in my sleep using muscle memory, or pushing forward in a shiny environment. At least I had to relate where I was now to another part of that same space. I had to do something interesting to advance. The game desperately needs more of that.

As I said before, the great irony here is that this Tomb Raider game needs more tombs. Some grand imperial decrepit imperial chamber full of complex platforming and a series of puzzles/physics stuff like the columns/bell and so on? Great, that would be great. Less combat with intelligent enemies? That would be great. I really don't think they can carry on this way. With Uncharted 2 I was starting to get sick of the games overeliance on a limited bag of tricks well before it ended, but they enjoyable enough for that one time. But when I started Uncharted 3, I instantly saw it was the same thing (except less fun), that it was using all the same tricks. They'd already blown their load with the 'thing exploding and hall collapsing and the double cross and the frenzied escape' and every other cliche you can imagine halfway through the last game, so there was no way I was going to stick around with 3 to see them beat that particular dead donkey some more.

Unless CD can have the courage to realise where the series strengths actually lie, where this new games strengths actually lie, and trust the player and not be afraid of leaving some people behind, then I really fear for the sequel. Where do you go from here if you stick with the same approach? Longer exploding corridors? Flashier graphics? Just have the whole game set in a giant collapsing wooden temple or something with a constant string of QTEs?

Will we ever see any danger for Lara in anything when we know she can easily put down hordes of men with ease?

I think Pickford said it best when he described the cinematic trend in modern games as toxic.

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By the way the big combat disappointment I mentioned earlier [late game spoilers]

was the introduction of the Storm Guard. Man, what was all that about? First off, after feeling I was going to fight them from very early in the game I had started to get a wee bit excited that they would mix up the me-too combat a bit. So when they appeared and seemed to behave in the exact same way as the scavengers, just armoured dudes running right at you, I was so disappointed. I thought to myself they are just being introduced, wait a bit. Got to that big space in from of one of the Yamatai buildings where they blow war horns at you and start attacking you in large numbers.

I just...I just didn't find what followed all that interesting. Sure, you have to keep moving and they keep you on your toes, but they do nothing interesting. They just run at you and attack. As a whole this sequence is just a repeat of earlier ones in the games where you are blocked from moving forward and rushed by loads of enemies, although here you do have plenty of space to move around in. Initially it seems like arrows will be raining down in huge amounts throughout, perhaps forcing you to seek cover during waves of them (hey there's a good idea!). Instead the arrows quickly stop. You kill like 30 dudes or something (hence me calling Lara a supersoldier), enemies that have been teased throughout the game. They don't seem particularly effective, with only their large numbers in this section posing a threat. I wasn't scared of them. They didn't mix up the combat at all. They didn't have supernatural powers or crazy attack patterns, scampering along the walls or doing acrobatics. Or anything, even something prosiac as some energetic dodging! They may as well be reskinned scavangers, and I'd killed about 300000 of them by this point. I dispatched them, dying a few times granted, but the big switch in combat I was hoping for never came.

After that you finally approach one of these hulking ogre-like giant samurais that you've been teased with at some points in the game. They seem really foreboding and powerful. Right, here comes some interesting new combat! Er...no....a cutscene starts and he is blown away by some wind. Jesus fuck, are you kidding me? If you guys want to copy RE4, how about you copy the bits where it had great combat throughout, varied set pieces and AMAZING BOSSES?

Somebody tells me it gets better after all of that, please.

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