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Tomb Raider (2013)


Capwn
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APM pretends not to understand this simple distinction for the purposes of argument, as does Disciple. One of the levels in Legend starts off in a decrepit theme park and you've got stuff like the Russian research base up in the mountains. Both abandoned, both old, both unique interesting spaces, wonderfully atmospheric and a chock a block with platforming and interlocking areas. I mean, an ice-encrusted abandoned Soviet paranormal research base is not an everyday environment, is it? Exploring that sort of space is fascinating, whether it's 60 years old or 2000 years old.

What form the 'tomb' takes really doesn't matter much.

Legend is a fucking terrible TR game. Its linear, there's no exploration, no sense of isolation, the platforming is simplistic, the puzzles are non existent, the levels feel generic, there are long on rails action set piece sections, loads of QTEs, TONS of combat and the combat is SHIT. You can finish an entire level in a matter of minutes.

I'm now confused as to how you can slate much of this game, but hold Legend up as being really good? Doesn't make much sense to me.

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All of it. How do Enslaved and Uncharted show the anachronism of especially-placed handholds etc? That's what they consist of, too. Lara says she hates Tombs, which justifies their minimal involvement? Silly.

Do you not find it odd that in these games that look so good and realistic that they always have one perfectly placed route through a section that perfectly marries up with the protagonists abilities? Do you not find those sections a little odd when you think about it? I mean, as much as people hate on the platforming in the assassin's creed games, the fact that for the majority of the time the world is completely open to you to traverse as your see fit is where I want these kind of games to go.
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Really? Which part?

Pretty much all of it!

This TR is the one with perfectly placed ledges and handholds. They've even emulsioned them white for you! The original games level designs were complex, you really had to figure out where to jump or climb too. Just moving around some of the environments was a challenge and a puzzle in itself.

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Er there was always only one way to do anything and it was obvious. The puzzles and how the fuck do I get there were great, the platforming was just as obvious as in this one. Only with shit controls. And instadeath. And trial and error.

Legend is also awesome

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Do you not find it odd that in these games that look so good and realistic that they always have one perfectly placed route through a section that perfectly marries up with the protagonists abilities? Do you not find those sections a little odd when you think about it? I mean, as much as people hate on the platforming in the assassin's creed games, the fact that for the majority of the time the world is completely open to you to traverse add your see fit is where I want these kind of games to go.

To clarify, you want platforming games to move towards a future where your protagonist automatically climbs everything?

The AC series is the antithesis of platforming, their navigation offers no challenge beyond picking a direction. It's vertical walking dressed up, nothing more.

Criticising a platform game for the convenience of its level design strikes me as the equivalent of being one of those people who thinks they're clever for pointing out everything that's unrealistic during an action film. You might as well moan that it's implausible that Mario can always jump the right distance to progress.

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To clarify, you want platforming games to move towards a future where your protagonist automatically climbs everything?

The AC series is the antithesis of platforming, their navigation offers no challenge beyond picking a direction.

Criticising a platform game for the convenience of its level design strikes me as the equivalent of being one of those people who thinks they're clever for pointing out everything that's unrealistic during an action film. Isn't it convenient how all the platforms are within Mario's reach?

I'm not talking about control, I'm talking about open level design. For example, you start at the bottom of a cliff, the objective is at the top. Go and get there. There could be numerous ways up, not just pressing a and forward. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about and where I'd like this sort of game to go. And to be fair, the Mario games offer the closest thing to this, imo. The galaxy games usually offer quite a few ways to progress depending on whether you can pull off Mario's moves well.
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Er there was always only one way to do anything and it was obvious. The puzzles and how the fuck do I get there were great, the platforming was just as obvious as in this one. Only with shit controls. And instadeath. And trial and error.

Legend is also awesome

Legend is entertaining enough. Compared to the original games though, its a massively dumbed down and over simplified load of shite.

You've totally contradicted yourself in the above post. "The platforming was obvious", but it made you say "how do i get there". It was "obvious what you had to do", but you "loved the puzzles".

Also, this new TR is packed full of instadeath and trial and error gameplay.

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I'm not talking about control, I'm talking about open level design. For example, you start at the bottom of a cliff, the objective is at the top. Go and get there. There could be numerous ways up, not just pressing a and forward. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about and where I'd like this sort of game to go. And to be fair, the Mario games offer the closest thing to this, imo. The galaxy games usually offer quite a few ways to progress depending on whether you can pull off Mario's moves well.

Yeah that'd be great, and this does that to an extent, but the routes themselves offer minimal intricacy which is the source of contention.

Even if the main routes through were obvious, but the optional side-stuff more obtuse, that'd be good enough. Something like the Riddler puzzles in Arkham Asylum, letting people who want to progress get on with it but also offering something to sink your teeth into. I was playing TR: Legend last night and could see a Gold secret on the first level, but had no idea how to get up there. More stuff like that would work perfectly in this environment.

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I'm not talking about control, I'm talking about open level design. For example, you start at the bottom of a cliff, the objective is at the top. Go and get there. There could be numerous ways up, not just pressing a and forward. That's the sort of thing I'm talking about and where I'd like this sort of game to go. And to be fair, the Mario games offer the closest thing to this, imo. The galaxy games usually offer quite a few ways to progress depending on whether you can pull off Mario's moves well.

The original games had fairly open level design. You were free to a certain extent to wander off and explore and discover things for yourself. You'd throw a switch and see a clip of a gate opening on the other side of the level or even somewhere you'd not yet discovered. You might solve a puzzle in one area that would then effect things in another. You were free to do things in the order of your choosing.

What you're asking for is already in this game. You enter an area........you can run up and over the swinging platforms. You can run up and over the buildings. You can run up the steps. You can jump up the wall. It all ends up feeling pointless, as there are that many options there is no challenge in getting anywhere.

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Yeah that'd be great, and this does that to an extent, but the routes themselves offer minimal intricacy which is the source of contention.

Even if the main routes through were obvious, but the optional side-stuff more obtuse, that'd be good enough. Something like the Riddler puzzles in Arkham Asylum, letting people who want to progress get on with it but also offering something to sink your teeth into. I was playing TR: Legend last night and could see a Gold secret on the first level, but had no idea how to get up there. More stuff like that would work perfectly in this environment.

Exactly. I'm not saying this game does it perfectly. It doesn't. But hopefully, next gen machines and design will start to offer this.
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Legend is entertaining enough. Compared to the original games though, its a massively dumbed down and over simplified load of shite.

You've totally contradicted yourself in the above post. "The platforming was obvious", but it made you say "how do i get there". It was "obvious what you had to do", but you "loved the puzzles".

Also, this new TR is packed full of instadeath and trial and error gameplay.

But again, your focusing on what was good with the original games and comparing with the weaker sides of this. You could easily say that the environment is a lot more lifelike than the blocky tombs of the original games. The story is better, to combat. He'll I care about Lara this time. She's not just someone that just says "NO"

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I've had no trial and error or instadeath gameplay. In fact it does its best to avoid it. Possibly too much.

Everyone of the setpieces is Trial and Error gameplay. Make a mistake and you're dead. Same goes for the QTEs, miss one you're dead. You then have to play these sections again and again until you pass them. I died multiple times on the bit where you go down the river. I couldn't tell what was happening due to the screen shaking about more than Ian Curtis at a Rave.

But again, your focusing on what was good with the original games and comparing with the weaker sides of this. You could easily say that the environment is a lot more lifelike than the blocky tombs of the original games. The story is better, to combat. He'll I care about Lara this time. She's not just someone that just says "NO"

No, i'm not. I'm comparing Legend with the old games and saying its not a patch on them because its linear, simplified, dumbed down etc etc. I'm then wondering why Smitty is complaining about this game so much, at the same time as declaring he loves Legend. It has pretty much ALL the same problems as he's complaining about in this new TR.

I'm now REALLY enjoying this. Its gone fully Resi 4, and the combat is that fluid its actually giving me the same feeling i get when playing Ninja Gaiden.

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Just finished up. I did enjoy it, but I hope it's not altogether a sign of the times. The triple re-inforcement of "hidden"tombs and the detail on certain objects was simply patronising. Combat is fun as a change of tempo, but is as shallow as fuck, since it largely involves blowing a lot of things up. The more open stealthy sections were good though and one or two bits towards the end raised a wee bit of a chill before the next cut scene kicked in. I also dislike the way Lara is already in combat mode before we, the player, have seen the first enemy. Frankly, the lack of interactivity in certain "climbing" sections was laughable. Faffing about with a broken lift was the most time consuming of all the puzzles I think. I suppose signposting makes for a slick experience but you also miss out on all the sense of joy of exploration.

At least we know what to expect with the sequel.

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You could easily say that the environment is a lot more lifelike than the blocky tombs of the original games.

2013 blockbuster sequel has better geometry and level design than 1996 first entry shocker. As good as it is, or however it looks in future, it's still window dressing. Excellent graphics and beautiful environments do not a good game make.

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No, i'm not. I'm comparing Legend with the old games and saying its not a patch on them because its linear, simplified, dumbed down etc etc. I'm then wondering why Smitty is complaining about this game so much, at the same time as declaring he loves Legend. It has pretty much ALL the same problems as he's complaining about in this new TR.

I disagree there, Legend is wildly different to this. It has its problems, yes, and has been simplified but I still enjoyed it immensely. The combat sections were terrible but could be whirled through; platforming and tombs were still the star of the show. To be honest I've not really held Legend up as the exemplar here, that would be Tomb Raider Anniversary or Underworld minus the bugs.

Also bare in mind that it had been a very long time since I'd played a TR when Legend turned up. Memories to compare it with were rather hazy - I was just glad to have TR back. I respect your opinion as a more hardcore TR fan, it sounds like you spent a lot more time with the games than I did.

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I've had no trial and error or instadeath gameplay. In fact it does its best to avoid it. Possibly too much.

There's trial and error throughout the QTEs and spectacle sequences. So too much instadeath there. On the platforming side there's little death now and minimal risk of even fucking up due to the extremely generous jump correction (I witnessed Lara hovering sideways through the air many a time), massive jump distance and simplistic platforming so i'd agree with you there. There is a massive aversion to risk in games nowadays.

Here's a funny thing. I remember coming to this small jump over a river to a platform. I did it, just a standard jump. I had a thought and wondered back to look around. When I came back to the gap I just pushed forward, joking to myself that the game would make the jump for me. It didn't, I fell. But, er, but Lara still managed to grab the ledge on the other side. If you looked at the distance and the angles it was obvious that if you simply walked off a platform like this there's no way you'd end up being able to grab the ledge on the other side, you'd fall into the river below (the jump is only a few feet off the riverbed, but because of the vagaries of this games animation and jump correction/edge detection I could just walk forward and do just that.

I literally didn't need to make that jump. I found it utterly hilarious.

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One last thing on this game, Lara doesn't go looking for tombs, she goes looking for

The lost kingdom of Yamatai, which presumably would involve some tombs and grand structures and the like.

I also dislike the way Lara is already in combat mode before we, the player, have seen the first enemy.

It's ok, Lara has seen the script for the game, so she knows what's coming. That's why she also declares 'I can't get through there yet', as she knows when she'll be getting the next piece of equipment too.

so the game doesn't missell itself.

It IS called Tomb Raider.

You finished the game Smitty?

Nope. I feel like i'm not far off it though.

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What's going on at the moment then Smits?

I just got past the Storm Guard clusterfuck in front of the palace (or whatever) and the cutscene where the fat ogre samurai monster is blown away by the wind. It feels like it's getting close to the end game. Is it much further?

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Finished it, really enjoyed my time with it overall, but I feel that there were a couple of things that held it back.

I realise I'm repeating an oft mentioned complaint, but there were too many times that it would present you with a stunning vista stretching off into the distance and my brain would immediately go 'I can't wait to see how I can traverse my way around that' only for it to wrest away control. An example:

The gondola ride part, when the car stopped it looked like it would make for some fantastic vertigo enduring platforming. Instead it just devolves into you shooting a few waves of enemies and then just holding down a direction as stuff blows up.

I was also a bit disappointed with the story (yeah, yeah expecting a decent story in a game is like expecting fine dining in a McDonalds). But for all the emphasis they put on that aspect during the preview phase and the sheer amount of cutscenes in the game, I still expected better than the wafer thin plot with barely 1 dimensional characters (with the possible exception of Lara) that we got.

Still it was an enjoyable 'blockbuster' experience and I found it more pleasurable to play than Uncharted 3. It sure was pretty to look at on a 360 without L'Oreal Tech or whatever it's called, so the PC version would probably make my eyes pop out like a cartoon wolf.

I think next-gen they mught be able to hit a sweet spot between Uncharted and the older games and we'll have a stone cold classic on our hands.

I'd also like to say I've appreciated Smitty's posts. I haven't agreed with everything he's written, but I always enjoy reading reasoned critiques of games, be they positive or negative. The sheer hostility he's been met with in this thread is astonishing.

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I finished it yesterday, thoroughly enjoyed it but agree with much of what Smitty (and others) have posted; too often I felt like I was watching the game rather than playing it.

Some of the set pieces were great - I never played Uncharted, so the whole "RUN! SHIT IS BLOWING UP ALL OVER THE PLACE!" sections were exhilerating to me - and I thought the combat was good.

Overall, a 8/10 from me; good fun while it lasts but I'm left with no urge to replay and I would prefer less hand-holding / more exploration in the sequel.

I did admit to shouting, "Fucking YAAAS!" when Lara

picked up Mathias' gun and you got to Old-Style Double Pistol him to death. Next game, I want a T-Rex.

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Some of the set pieces were great - I never played Uncharted, so the whole "RUN! SHIT IS BLOWING UP ALL OVER THE PLACE!" sections were exhilerating to me - and I thought the combat was good.

Overall, a 8/10 from me; good fun while it lasts but I'm left with no urge to replay and I would prefer less hand-holding / more exploration in the sequel.

This is pretty much my thoughts, I've never played Uncharted and so this felt fairly fresh to me!

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