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Why Tomb Raider's killed gaming for me


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I play Resi4 on PC with an Xbox 360 controller. I think the game was not designed to be a mouse and keyboard game, and didn't care for the Wii version that much (using the pointer as a lightgun seemed to make the game really easy - part of the gameplay on Resi4 is built around the clunky control).

So Deadly Premonition - a game with loads of cutscenes and QTEs is the BEST GAME EVAR despite the fact that it plays and looks like dogshit when you get control of it (and I love DP), but Tomb Raider - a game with loads of cutscenes and QTEs has RUINED GAMING FOR YOU despite the fact that it plays and looks brilliantly when you get control of it?

I think a number of people are missing my point. Resident Evil 4, Contra, whatever - they are all games where you go from one place to another, shooting people, running about, picking things up and shooting more people. Tomb Raider, for me, became boring because it really showed. Every section felt identical. You've seen everything the game offers in the first 30 minutes, and all you do is repeat it in different locations. But that's true of most games, so why was it so blatantly obvious in Tomb Raider? This is a point I was trying to make in the original post. Tomb Raider contains some of the most incredible visuals I've seen in a video game, it's got action, it's got shooting, it's got a story - so why was it boring as hell? Why did it feel such a chore to get to the end?

Deadly Premonition I sarcastically call the greatest game ever - I know it's got a million problems, but there's a magic quality to it that makes it a joyous experience, despite the problems. Tomb Raider seems to be a polar opposite to Deadly Premonition, because TR has incredible presentation, but it's dull as dishwater. Everything that's bad in DP is utterly amazing in TR, but the reverse is also true, and that's why I didn't like TR much. It's not rubbish, it's just not much fun. I didn't care about any of the characters, and by the end, had no idea what was going on, because I was skipping cutscenes through boredom.

Challenge - sing a song from Deadly Premonition. The jaunty whistling one, or maybe the crazy sax tune. How about the freeform jazz that plays when you drive? Ok, now try to recall any piece of music from Tomb Raider.

And these are attributes and issues that I see in modern videogames all the time. I'm not specifically talking about TR individually, just using that (and Resi6) as my examples because they are the last games I bought full price.

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I've just started it. I've not played a AAA title for a while - I bought Resi 6 and I was mortified at how bad it was. It's gorgeous to look at but I agree, it's fairly shallow. My most played 360 game is pinball fx 2. That speaks volumes. It's still a gorgeous game and although it's not something that adds to the game, I'd rather it was gorgeous and shallow than ugly and shallow.

I've borrowed it from harmunt so I suppose, if I'd paid for it, I'd feel differently but it's not a bad game - there's plenty of those.

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This thread highlights for me just how wrong the term "Triple A" is. It's one of those phrases that bears no resemblance to the words themselves. It used to be used for games that had an established quality to them, but now it's just a word thrown at any game with a large development and marketing budget. Resi 6 being a prime example. The term was always applied to games that had proven themselves. Resi 4 is a Triple A game in quality terms. Resi 6 by most accounts isn't, but it was having the term applied to it long before release.

"Triple A" being thrown around by the industry and media so much means that it now carries an instant stigma to me, it's almost a sure sign that presentation and marketing is given primary importance over the actual development and gameplay. It's a sign of out of control budgets and overly optimistic sales forecasts. How many of these so called Triple A games actually turn out to be decent top quality games? It's quite noticeable that many of these games all fail to sell what the publisher expects, even selling several million copies is not enough. Resi 6 sold 5million copies, but Capcom have basically labelled it as underperforming. They should consider themselves lucky to have sold that many. Many better games with smaller budgets don't. I can only assume publishers divide the cash spent by the wholesale price to arrived at a break even point rather than actually gauge the likely demand.

Yes there are exceptions, there are some legitimate AAA quality games made with relatively small teams compared to the likes of Resi 6, but they are becoming increasingly rarer. Publishers put too much faith in all or nothing games with big budgets and then complain when they don't make enough money, yet they won't back games that are cheaper to develop with less risk. When the PS4 and new Xbox launch it's only going to get worse.

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I play Resi4 on PC with an Xbox 360 controller. I think the game was not designed to be a mouse and keyboard game, and didn't care for the Wii version that much (using the pointer as a lightgun seemed to make the game really easy - part of the gameplay on Resi4 is built around the clunky control).I think a number of people are missing my point. Resident Evil 4, Contra, whatever - they are all games where you go from one place to another, shooting people, running about, picking things up and shooting more people. Tomb Raider, for me, became boring because it really showed. Every section felt identical. You've seen everything the game offers in the first 30 minutes, and all you do is repeat it in different locations. But that's true of most games, so why was it so blatantly obvious in Tomb Raider? This is a point I was trying to make in the original post. Tomb Raider contains some of the most incredible visuals I've seen in a video game, it's got action, it's got shooting, it's got a story - so why was it boring as hell? Why did it feel such a chore to get to the end?

Deadly Premonition I sarcastically call the greatest game ever - I know it's got a million problems, but there's a magic quality to it that makes it a joyous experience, despite the problems. Tomb Raider seems to be a polar opposite to Deadly Premonition, because TR has incredible presentation, but it's dull as dishwater. Everything that's bad in DP is utterly amazing in TR, but the reverse is also true, and that's why I didn't like TR much. It's not rubbish, it's just not much fun. I didn't care about any of the characters, and by the end, had no idea what was going on, because I was skipping cutscenes through boredom.

Challenge - sing a song from Deadly Premonition. The jaunty whistling one, or maybe the crazy sax tune. How about the freeform jazz that plays when you drive? Ok, now try to recall any piece of music from Tomb Raider.

And these are attributes and issues that I see in modern videogames all the time. I'm not specifically talking about TR individually, just using that (and Resi6) as my examples because they are the last games I bought full price.

Answer - The advancement of technology.

Back in the 80s, early 90s, game-worlds were limited by the power of the systems that we had back then. Everything tended to be focused around what you could achieve with those massive limitations, which was great for really fun, pure gameplay ideas. There was no real focus on realistic, true to life worlds, as they just weren't possible. You ended up having to fill in the blanks with your imagination. I can't have been the only one that used to think "if they can pull this kind of thing off now, just imagine what will be possible in 20yrs time"!

As technology has improved, more and more has become possible. Games have pushed towards photorealistic graphics and large complex, believable 3D worlds. The problem is that as worlds and graphics have become better and better, its only made the problem with a lack of interaction more and more glaringly obvious. So for example, in the new TR, you have a huge complex environment with mindblowing graphics. So it feels even more jarring that you're still funnelled down a corridor. You'e still just repeatedly shooting stuff in arenas. You're still just collecting random shit............and because it looks more complex, you're told exactly where to go and what to do and how to do it. Its a bit like GTA4 - an amazing, mindblowing world, but there's nothing of interest to really do in it. Its all rather empty. We've basically hit a wall, were for a lot of people they've seen it all before, and what they were expecting 20yrs ago hasn't really materialised at all. Now we've got these amazing, complex worlds, we need to start seeing amazing, complex stuff to actually do in them!

Which leads to another problem - games cost a shit load of money to put together. A profit needs to be made. So they have to sell a stupid amount of copies, ideally one to everybody on the planet. In order to do this they make the game so that even non-gamers can pick a pad up, with no previous experience and be able to play through it with no problems. A lot of games are now designed for "the worlds biggest idiot". If he can play it and finish it then everybody else should be ok. It used to be the other way around! Make the game for gamers who love games, fuck everybody else. Games are now mainstream entertainment though, just like Eastenders or MOTD.

It doesn't mean all games are like this. There are still amazing, pure gameplay ideas to be found by the shit-ton. Its just that the big games, the technology, its not really moving things forward that much outside of the superficial stuff. Its not really living up to what some people expected 20yrs ago. Maybe there will be some big changes next gen, i doubt it though.

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@ Aspel

Good post, I agree whole-heartedly, except for maybe one thing-- this vision of future gaming that people had 20 years ago that has supposedly not materialized, what is it? Is this really true?

I'll offer my own expectations. It's 2013, 20 years ago was 1993-- I was playing games like Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Star Fox on my SNES, Gunstar Heroes on my brothers Genesis, and Virtua Racing in the arcade. I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen, and by that point understood that much of its animation was made possible by Silicon Graphics computers. Gaming wise, honestly, if someone would have asked me what I thought video games would have looked like 20 years from that point, I would told you they would have graphics on par with Jurassic Park and other movies that utilized the new at the time CGI. I suppose that has come to pass.

Games were so limited A/V wise back then I doubt many people were envisioning gameplay innovations like the Wii and Kinect for instance over a drastically improved A/V experience. This is just my opinion though, what did you envision?

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Everything that's bad in DP is utterly amazing in TR, but the reverse is also true

I do sort of understand what you're getting at but I think it's unfair to compare DP with AAA titles. It's special; it's the best shit game ever. It's like comparing The Room to a summer blockbuster.

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The thing is though that the 'AAA' titles are a natural evil that we have to put up with, and not expect a lot from. They are the games that are meant to sell to the mass market, they are not meant to be the games that people who view gaming as a major hobby (which I assume is most people on here) expect to get a great experience from. Games like Tomb Raider, CoD etc are like the Transformers of the cinema. Yes, they cost lots to make, have a ton of marketing and they make buckets of money, but it doesn't stop them being a bit shit, unless you are in the right mood for them. I now approach these big games with the atitude that they are the glossy industry noise makers, that they may be more spectacle over substance, but they can be fun if I don't expect too much.

I can then play my other games, share my good experiences with other people, and enjoy my hobby without fretting about the big mainstream noise. Snobbish? Maybe. But it's also about personal taste.

There is still plenty to love about gaming. Go read the Dark Souls thread if you want to see a game that seems to be universally loved on here, especially as many people don't seem to get into it when they first start it. I still love gaming, and find there is tons out there that I still want to play. I've not picked up TR yet, but will do when it's mega cheap (and I have some money), but I'm expecting a blockbuster ride, not a deep, re-playable experience :)

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This thread highlights for me just how wrong the term "Triple A" is. It's one of those phrases that bears no resemblance to the words themselves. It used to be used for games that had an established quality to them, but now it's just a word thrown at any game with a large development and marketing budget. Resi 6 being a prime example. The term was always applied to games that had proven themselves. Resi 4 is a Triple A game in quality terms. Resi 6 by most accounts isn't, but it was having the term applied to it long before release.

It's the other way round. Triple A has always been a financial/corporate term - it indicates a game with high sales expectations and vast resources dedicated to it by a major publisher. It's just that it used to be mistakenly thought of as a term which denotes quality, when it is now properly being used as an equivalent of (as Vorgot says) the super-blockbuster tentpoles in film. That's what it always was. However it's certainly true that those games are far more likely to be 'experiences' and much less about gameplay than they were 7-10 years ago.

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Challenge - sing a song from Deadly Premonition. The jaunty whistling one, or maybe the crazy sax tune. How about the freeform jazz that plays when you drive? Ok, now try to recall any piece of music from Tomb Raider.

Challenge - come up with a better challenge. Just because Ooh Stick You regularly loops around my head doesn't make it a good song. It is though. Deadly Premonition repeated its handful of songs a hundred times. It's all going to get stuck in your head, obviously. I haven't played Tomb Raider but I imagine most of its soundtrack is incidental with no hooks.
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Just finished TR. It was alright. The criticisms in the op are largely valid, and towards the end i just wanted it to end. For me it wasn't as enjoyable as K&L2, but I think much of this is down to expectations. Going into K&L2, having never played the first one, and seeing the reviews as largely mediocre, I wasn't expecting much. It significantly surpassed my expectations, and I enjoyed pretty much every minute.

Going into TR off the back of much better reviews everywhere, I was expecting something special. It jut felt like an uncharted game, with equally silly amounts of killing, lots of gear-gating, too many cutscenes, lots and lots of pointless QTEs, a shit cast of supporting characters, and a rather thin story. Yet, it was alright. I enjoyed the exploring mechanics and the physics puzzles, and headshotting never gets old, but it's all very by-the-numbers.

It hasn't put me off games of its type, nor is it an exemplar of the genre. But thank God that there are many other genres to choose from.

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"Gear gating" - not heard that one before.

On that topic, was anyone else convinced they'd get a tool for hacking away sharp brambles? They seem to crop up a lot, ostensibly blocking off routes. But then nothing ever comes of them.

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"Gear gating" - not heard that one before.

On that topic, was anyone else convinced they'd get a tool for hacking away sharp brambles? They seem to crop up a lot, ostensibly blocking off routes. But then nothing ever comes of them.

I spent a while in the first area trying to burn those brambles to ash and then forgot about them.

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I spent a while in the first area trying to burn those brambles to ash and then forgot about them.

There is one clump late on, on the beach hub area, blocking you from getting underneath a ruined building. Looked so much like a secret area.

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@ Aspel

Good post, I agree whole-heartedly, except for maybe one thing-- this vision of future gaming that people had 20 years ago that has supposedly not materialized, what is it? Is this really true?

I'll offer my own expectations. It's 2013, 20 years ago was 1993-- I was playing games like Street Fighter 2 Turbo and Star Fox on my SNES, Gunstar Heroes on my brothers Genesis, and Virtua Racing in the arcade. I saw Jurassic Park on the big screen, and by that point understood that much of its animation was made possible by Silicon Graphics computers. Gaming wise, honestly, if someone would have asked me what I thought video games would have looked like 20 years from that point, I would told you they would have graphics on par with Jurassic Park and other movies that utilized the new at the time CGI. I suppose that has come to pass.

Games were so limited A/V wise back then I doubt many people were envisioning gameplay innovations like the Wii and Kinect for instance over a drastically improved A/V experience. This is just my opinion though, what did you envision?

Probably a little bit more than 20yrs for me............anyway here are some games i loved.

Big Mac - the Mad Maintenance Man

Spectipede

Kikstart

Outrun

Afterburner

World Soccer

Shinobi

Ys the Vanished Omens

I played these as a kid and they really fired my imagination. They didn't (because they couldn't) try to be realistic. You had 1 button and a stick or 2 buttons and a stick. The tech limited what could be done. They focused purely on being out and out fun games and they were all the better for it. Take Ys for example.........there was this big world to explore, you felt like you were going on an adventure, but at no point did it feel realistic, even as a young kid. So at no point did i think, "hey what if i try climbing this tree, or jump over this fence, or climb up this cliff" etc.

Now though, games have these incredibly complex and realistic looking worlds but, you still can't climb that tree, jump over that fence, or climb up that cliff, which feels 10X more frustrating and limiting because the games are usually aiming for ultimate gritty realism.

Some games have lived up to my expectations - Trials, Pro Evo, OOT, Mario 64, TR, Ridge Racer, FF7, Silent Hill etc. The problem is, not much is now living up to those games!

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Skyward Sword did...

I'll bite.........SS is the perfect example of what i'm talking about. Its like Nintendo hit a wall and had nowhere left to go with Zelda. Its almost like they didn't actually realise what makes Zelda and OOT so good!

Get the checklist out Link...........different graphical style. Check. Big empty gameworld. Check. Different kind of transportation. Check. Wavy controls to distract from the lack of new ideas/gameplay. Check. Everything made easier and scaled back for "the world's biggest idiot". Check. Loads of flashy cutscenes. Check.

It was so much less than OOT it was laughable. It was almost Anti-Nintendo in its design. They spent such a long time making a giant world, with amazing graphics, fancy cinematic cutscenes and rich sound, that they ended up with a massively dated, linear title with shallow and restrictive gameplay, that actually had very little at all that was genuinely new in terms of decent gameplay ideas.

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The problem with most retro games though is that the vast majority of them are fucking awful to play these days. I started gaming on the 2600 and have been through every gen so far, and still think games are better now than they were "back in the day". It's all rose tinted glasses.

I'lll admit that last gen was better than this one, but that's about it. I like difficult games, a lot, but I simply cannot be fucked with old school dodginess any more.

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The problem with most retro games though is that the vast majority of them are fucking awful to play these days. I started gaming on the 2600 and have been through every gen so far, and still think games are better now than they were "back in the day". It's all rose tinted glasses.

I'lll admit that last gen was better than this one, but that's about it. I like difficult games, a lot, but I simply cannot be fucked with old school dodginess any more.

Can't say that i agree with you, although obviously a lot of older games haven't aged that well.

Many of the older 2D games are just as playable now as they were back then and they're still a million times more inventive than a lot of the stuff we see now.

Stuff i'd really like to be playing atm.........a decent horror game to rival SH2. A brilliant new Adventure game, with complex puzzles, in-depth exploration, that doesn't treat me like a total idiot! Something along the lines of a classic Sega Arcade game - Outrun, Space Harrier, Crazy Taxi etc, only brand new.........oh and a new Wave Race style game.

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True, but Super Mario 3D Land shows what they can do.

I really hope Zelda gets its mojo back soon. Although Mario retains a lot of the hallmarks of the series, it always feels like Nintendo think what new puzzles, courses and tricks can we bring to the player.

With Zelda, it appears to get caught up in what the hallmarks are, such as slingshot and dungeons, then forgets to bring anything new to the table. It's a re-tread after a re-tread.

Imagine a new Zelda where the only blue print is to make an adventure game. I hope the Wii U or 3DS will play host to that vision soon.

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