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Tomb Raider (2013)


Capwn
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Good post aimless, re this:

the number of enemy waves inspiring incredulity at times; I feel they try to compensate for you giving you too great an arsenal, when limiting your combat options to the bow, pistol and climbing axe would have likely made for a more interesting experience.

I reckon they could've remedied the situation by drastically reducing ammo and halving the enemy count. A handful of bullets at any one time (ala condemned) wouldve been sweet. Even fighting a single enemy could've been scary/tense. It was comically easy even at the beginning. And I'm playing on hard!! I have no idea what the difference between normal and hard is, but if doesn't feel particularly tricky.

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I reckon they could've remedied the situation by drastically reducing ammo and halving the enemy count. A handful of bullets at any one time (ala condemned) wouldve been sweet. Even fighting a single enemy could've been scary/tense. It was comically easy even at the beginning. And I'm playing on hard!! I have no idea what the difference between normal and hard is, but if doesn't feel particularly tricky.

I also jumped straight into Hard. You die pretty quickly to automatic weapons if you don't stick to cover — incidentally I was impressed with how well their automated system worked — but if you've any aptitude for headshots then taking guys down is a breeze.

It would be interesting if they patched in a Survivor difficulty level which stripped out the ammo boxes and made quivers more scarce. I imagine looting enemies alone would sustain anyone that isn't spraying the environment with bullets, and it might lead to more situations where the use of rope arrows, stealth and melee feel more warranted. I went out of my way not to use the assault rifle as it's so effective that it encourages laziness; "I could switch weapons and do this cool thing, or I could shoot this guy in the head with the weapon I already have trained on him".

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Oh god. OH GOD.

Edit: just to be clear, I had no idea you could do this either and it's totally blown my mind.

It's awesome. Making guys disppear is quite funny to say the least. Their mates turn round and go 'HUH?'

I wish the combat bits were more open in nature and less of a corridor. I love all the enemy trolling you can do in the Batman challenge rooms.

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I've had my ass handed to me in several of the big firefights so far on hard. I've been thoroughly impressed with the way the different enemy types work together to flush you out and make you constantly keep your wits about you to survive.

Anyway, I think I'm approaching the end now...

Just headed up river and am now about to reenter the monastery.

Been some brilliant sequences in the latter half of the game, but I'll save my overall comments for when I've finished it.

Also, rope arrows and dynamite guys... BOOM!

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The platforming in this game frequently looks spectacular but feels completely wooden to perform. At points it's as smooth and athletic as something like the Sands of Time but because everything is so dreadfully telegraphed, and coupled with the fact that there's little to no emphasis on timing, it means you end up feeling like you're a chimp being dragged along on a lead.

Quite.

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I've had my ass handed to me in several of the big firefights so far on hard. I've been thoroughly impressed with the way the different enemy types work together to flush you out and make you constantly keep your wits about you to survive.

Wits/shooting red barrels (or hell just pulling off the easy constant headshots). The combat is nothing special. I've done that sort of thing so many times i could virtually sleepwalk through it. Far too often the game blocks you in and chucks loads of enemies at you too. I haven't seen any interesting behaviour from the enemies.

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Wits/shooting red barrels (or hell just pulling off the easy constant headshots). The combat is nothing special. I've done that sort of thing so many times i could virtually sleepwalk through it. Far too often the game blocks you in and chucks loads of enemies at you too. I haven't seen any interesting behaviour from the enemies.

Fair enough.
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Wits/shooting red barrels (or hell just pulling off the easy constant headshots). The combat is nothing special. I've done that sort of thing so many times i could virtually sleepwalk through it. Far too often the game blocks you in and chucks loads of enemies at you too. I haven't seen any interesting behaviour from the enemies.

Not revolutionary but I liked:

how they sent Melee enemies forward specifically when you started to reload. And how they used fire to flush you out. But mostly how they would start talking to you directly, something I haven't seen in a game before. That both where you hide behind cover and there's some dialogue between Lara and the enemy was fantastic.

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Not revolutionary but I liked:

how they sent Melee enemies forward specifically when you started to reload. And how they used fire to flush you out. But mostly how they would start talking to you directly, something I haven't seen in a game before. That both where you hide behind cover and there's some dialogue between Lara and the enemy was fantastic.

I'm don't think that's what's going on, my recollection was of being almost constantly rushed by melee enemies. Sure, there's some dialogue where the enemies say 'she is reloading now, attack' but even if something is happening there (perhaps they come out of the cover they dive into under fire from distance) it is drowned out by the fact that you mostly get rushed on sight.

That bit you mention is just that, a bit. It's not a feature or mechanic.

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I'm don't think that's what's going on, my recollection was of being almost constantly rushed by melee enemies. Sure, there's some dialogue where the enemies say 'she is reloading now, attack' but even if something is happening there (perhaps they come out of the cover they dive into under fire from distance) it is drowned out by the fact that you mostly get rushed on sight.

That bit you mention is just that, a bit. It's not a feature or mechanic.

I know, but I liked it.

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Perhaps somebody like you who is impressed by the combat could outline what you think is so good about it? What's an example of an interesting combat scenario in the game?

I'm don't think that's what's going on, my recollection was of being almost constantly rushed by melee enemies. Sure, there's some dialogue where the enemies say 'she is reloading now, attack' but even if something is happening there (perhaps they come out of the cover they dive into under fire from distance) it is drowned out by the fact that you mostly get rushed on sight.

That bit you mention is just that, a bit. It's not a feature or mechanic.

This is why I'm not bothering to say what I think I experienced as an enjoyable combat sequence in the game. You won't agree because you will say you didn't experience it. We'll get into a circular argument and nothing will come of it. My "Fair enough," reply was simply meant to express that.
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Perhaps somebody like you who is impressed by the combat could outline what you think is so good about it? What's an example of an interesting combat scenario in the game?

1. The combat is fun. The weapons have great feedback and using the bow to headshot enemies feels incredibly satisfying, as does dodging close ranged attacks then countering.

2. Thanks to the auto cover system the battles are fast and fluid. At times, some of the firefights have reminded me of playing Ninja Gaiden they're that silky smooth and action packed.

3. The combat scenarios are great. You're rushed by powerful enemies that need to be countered. There are ranged enemies laying down fire that needs to be dodged. You can't just stay in cover, as there are enemies who will throw fire bombs and explosives. Time your attacks well and you can use their projectiles against them, taking them out as they throw them or even in mid air. There are some pretty difficult battles on this, and the difference between fighting in corridors and out in the open feels significantly different.

This is what i was talking about before though. The combat in the previous TR games was SHIT. You've said that yourself now multiple times. So why are you having a go at the combat in this when its a million times better?

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Well I liked it too, but its just not really relevant to combat mechanics or indeed any mechanics.

Well the other point a made you wrote off as being an accident of some sorts so you know, I can't be arsed anymore.

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So why are you having a go at the combat in this when its a million times better?

I think it's because it mostly feels like nothing new, and because I suspect the game would be better with more intense, cut-back combat. Also I don't think the focus of the game should be combat, but i've been over that before.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the combat is bad at all, it's fine and sometimes that rises to 'good', but it has never really grabbed my attention beyond the immediate moment. Far too often you are blocked and left with the choice of running between points of cover. All of the things you mention are fine, but I actually think the combat here is somehow less than the some of its parts. I keep moving, I mow guys down, I shoot red barrels, sometimes I do a scramble and a melee move. Again, it's not like it's bad and certainly it might impress anyone who hasn't played many shooters, but overall it feels paint by numbers. Here's a combat bit. Here's enemies who throw grenades. Here's a heavy. Here's enemies who run up to you (ok, that's most of the enemies here).

You say the combat scenarios are great but to me they are all incredibly samey, they all start to blur into one. It's not like something RE4 or Gears, where you can say 'woah, that fight in X was really intense and I liked how Y'. One moment of combat in this game feels much like any other combat moment in the game. Uncharted 1/2 nailed the mobile nippy gunplay much better - here the devs seems to think being stuck on one side of an unpassable gap whilst enemies swarm you is a thrilling combat scenario.

There are so many shooters around, and I've played so many, that it often fails to excite here. That's why I come back to the idea of TR really focussing on what genuinely separates it from other games - the tomb raiding aspect. I can't really say 'ah well the tomb raiding in this other game is much better' because it's not really a genre. You've got Uncharted and Assassins Creed doing some stuff vaguely in that area but there's no competition.

That said, when I came back and said I was enjoying the game a lot more from about 45-50% in, that was when I was being allowed to spend longer in control and doing more combat. The combat is definitely the strongest element in the game and it's fun enough, true. It manages to feel played out alongside that too, though. Anyway to hang so much of the game on it (and in such a radical departure for the series) I would really need to something interesting happening in it. As with most of the game, I sincerely doubt that anyone will remember much of the game in a few months time, however they felt just after finishing it.

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Well the other point a made you wrote off as being an accident of some sorts so you know, I can't be arsed anymore.

No, what I said was that if it was occurring it wasn't apparent to me. You'll notice I acknowledged that perhaps it was happening, even theorising on the mechanic because you had provided little detail on that point.

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Three great combat arenas in this game: (spoilered the descriptions as they go up to near the end of the game.)

Top of the Japanese building when shit starts to kick off and it begins to burn down.

On the way to the ship when you come through a crack in the wall and the guys on the side are welding stuff to the wall and the ones in the middle are bitching about stuff.

When you find out what's in the military base and take the sword out and you get the guys coming down from the side and the roof.

All three of these offer multiple ways of being attacked and flanked and constantly keep you on your toes. On top of this, the bit in the woods where you can stealth kill everyone wandering around if you so desire, or just go all out crazy and try and take them head on if you want. These are memorable moments in this game.

As for your Gears reference, aside from the bit at the start of Chapter 4 in the first game in that big open courtyard, I'm not sure I could remember any stand out shoot outs over the course of all three games. And RE4 is a completely different beast as it offers no cover and the whole point of that game is that the Ganadoes do nothing but advance and swamp you at every opportunity with little to no AI apart from the odd dodge.

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Three great combat arenas in this game: (spoilered the descriptions as they go up to near the end of the game.)

Top of the Japanese building when shit starts to kick off and it begins to burn down.

On the way to the ship when you come through a crack in the wall and the guys on the side are welding stuff to the wall and the ones in the middle are bitching about stuff.

When you find out what's in the military base and take the sword out and you get the guys coming down from the side and the roof.

Yeah, I disagree with those first two*. Two big rooms where stuff where enemies just run at you, and with all the weapons you have your massively overpowered and it's never that hard to put down 10 guys, you rarely break a sweat. By the way in the second example i'm pretty sure you physically can't be properly flanked, as you're at the back of the room.

*Well in the sense that are interesting or effective in of themselves, certainly i'd agree they are upticks compared to the rest of game, but that seems to me to be mostly down to narrative reasons. They're not interesting spaces or combat scenarios. It's more like they're the same combat in interesting circumstances.

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Oh, you've just reminded me of the whole

burning building bit

. People got excited about THAT?

Yeah, I really liked that bit a lot.

Also I played through the Welding room bit a number of times because the guys kept getting me, it was one of the best combat arenas in the game as it kept playing out differently. You can stealth your way around most of the room by taking the guys in the corners out, or run in and turtle up..

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I was flanked on numerous occasions in both those areas. But this is what I meant earlier, I've given you examples, you summarily dismiss them out of hand, there's no discussion here.

What I said was that you wouldn't be flanked at the back of the room, which is where you start off, and where you literally have no reason to move from given the various bits of cover there. Of course you'd be flanked if you moved about, that's obvious. Enemies moving to attack you in a third person combat game isn't exactly something to write home about though, is it?

I'm not summarily dismissing anything, i'm actually trying to eke out your thoughts here (above 'I liked it') because it's people like you who will be driving the success of this sort of game in the future, and that trend is something that's important to me.

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I know I found that whole sequence immensely exciting and enjoyable.

Yeah, I really liked that bit a lot.

Yeah, I gathered that much, but why? What was exciting to you about that scene? Would you buy another game on the basis of that sort of thing?

I actually had gotten to the point where I was expecting something special at that point, a lot of people had mentioned it, but it was yet another completely linear, spectacle driven, scripted run down some corridors, except oh the corridors are on fire. As I said I need to understand the appeal of this stuff to gamers.

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