So! I know the last game I mentioned playing was Virtues Last Reward (which I am still playing, thank you unlockable timelines I need in order to complete the game) BUT Brad sucked me into Tomb Raider. Something about wanting a female opinion on a female protagonist or something along those utterly sexist lines.
ANYWAY! Brad bought this for PC and I played it with a XBox controller so I’ll be judging it from that angle. I did have a few freezing issues that made me need to restart it. Brad has apparently not experienced it yet, but oh goodness it’s frustrating. Luckily this game saves about every five seconds.
From what I understand this is a reboot. Full disclosure, I swore to myself I would never play this game. After seeing numerous cosplays with random internet nerds drooling over girls I’m not fully convinced know what an inverted control is I was very jaded about the whole idea. Not to mention the whole Angelina Jolie computer enhanced thing. The whole thing was enough to churn my stomach. I know, I’m one of those girls that just doesn’t care about stereotypes and thinks the whole uber feminist thing is blah but geez Tomb Raider’s publicity just turned me off.
That being said:
Seriously, this is one of the first games I’ve played in a while that truly made me lose track of time while I was playing it. I think the writing for Lara Croft was fantastic. She was just enough vulnerable mixed with a spark that was able to convince me she could actually kick butt. I actually got emotionally invested in this character and the people that she cared about. I don’t feel like there was an actual lull in the storyline, it just kept going.
Also, her design. Oh artists, good choices. It sounds kind of creepy but whenever there is a featured female character I have a tendency to really judge the general physique hard. This might have come from years of sizing up girls to figure out whether or not they were prettier than me (yes girls do that, yes I did that, shut up). This just seemed to naturally pass on to looking at female video game characters. Do they seem proportional? Does the body actually look natural? Are there any obvious gratuitous features?
So, for all you guys out there: Yes, girls with this Lara Croft’s proportions do exist. And they do have those proportions NATURALLY. *gasp* The one thing of note that I kept focusing on were Lara Croft’s legs. It took me a minute to realize that the designer must have truly just intended her legs to be that muscular. Physically it makes sense. She does a LOT of stuff so her having gymnast legs works. I did laugh a bit at how tight her pants are, I don’t know how she moved in those. And THANK YOU for making her look like an actual girl in the face. There were no weird proportions, she just seemed like a really beautiful girl. Her face wasn’t flawless, it was just “flawed” in the right manner.
Hair physics. So there is this super setting that makes the hair all Pantene Pro V. It’s HILARIOUS!! Pretty sure Brad and I spend a good deal just panning around her hair looking all beautiful. I appreciate ALL they did with design and such, but oh gosh the hair.
Okay, so off of the physical design. Basic game design. This game is very pretty. It definitely has levels that you just kind of want to walk around in. It all feels extremely open even though it’s obvious you are being pointed in a certain direction.
I appreciated the little feminine things that she did. When she jumps in the water she kind of shakes her hands off. When she squeezes through crevices, she really does shift her body like a woman would. They have a scene where she’s looking in a mirror at herself after being through hell and back, genius. No woman is going to pass up looking at herself in the mirror. I was a bit surprised she didn’t grab some soap and wash her hair though. Mostly because they really do just make her look dirty and filthy, her clothes get tattered and her face is all scratched up. It’s just very very real. I’ve never seen a video game capture such a real character before. There was something about her utterly relatable and it’s not something found especially in female characters.
I think I’m getting off a bit. I can safely say the writing for this game was it’s strongest point.
How much gameplay do you sacrifice for prettiness? I’m tired of QTEs being used in such a heavy handed manner. I don’t CARE if you want me to hit Y to stab a guy in the knee if I shotgun him in the face SOMETHING SHOULD HAPPEN!
Brad has his own take on this which I’ll either let him add on to this or add in the comments, but I think it was spot on. I managed to beat the game before him so I wanted to see his reaction to the way they chose to end the game.
I do not consider myself a hardcore gamer. I game for fun, especially since now I have a lot on my plate. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for gaming. That being said, don’t take the challenge away from me. It feels similar to when I’d walk in the room while one of my brothers was playing a game and then I’d realize I hadn’t gotten to where they were, it feels like CHEATING! Don’t install some steal form of Game Genie (look it up…) onto my game. I would like to improve my skill, not feel like I have someone holding my hand throughout the game. Other then the QTEs there was a sense of rawness to this game that I enjoyed. The ending obstacles were fantastic and I found myself holding my breath during certain moments because I was completely unsure of what the outcome would be. That’s necessary in any game, especially one like this.
Now on to an amusing story
It’s a survivalist game so of course there is animal shooting. You can shoot deer, rabbit, rats, etc. Anyway, when this first popped up I was determined to only shoot bucks (male deer), that was it. Brad told me to shoot a bunny with my bow and arrow. I refused. This is what followed:
Me – “I’m not shooting a bunny! Look they’re being friendly. That one is all curious and cute.”
Brad – “Just shoot a bunny”
::A few minutes pass. I aim for a buck, shoot, annnnd a bunny jumps in front of my arrow::
Me- ::GASP:: OH MY GOD!!
Brad – ::dies laughing::
Cue me whimpering about how I shot the poor bunny who only wanted to be my friend. Only adding to Brad’s laughter . . . jerk.