Sunday, 23 November 2014

Tomb Raider (PC)

Today on Super Adventures, I'm putting a few hours into the original Tomb Raider! Uh, I mean I'm playing the original version of the 2013 reboot/prequel instead of the 2014 'Definitive Edition' of the 2013 game, I'm not playing the original ORIGINAL Tomb Raider. Oh fuck it, I'm calling this Lara Croft's Tropical Torture Island Vacation.

I suppose I could also call it Tomb Raider 9, though they got bored of numbering the games somewhere back around 3, and that doesn't include things like the Game Boy games and the isometric Lara Croft series. Or the remake of Tomb Raider 1 that came out a few years back called Tomb Raider Anniversary. Man there's a lot of Tomb Raider games in the world right now, and I've barely played any of them. I was scared off years ago when the reviews for each new game reported that it was more of the same, except worse.

Tomb Raider 2013 isn't more of the same though, and while that may have worried the faithful (especially after the early trailers), it caught my interest. I'm the asshole who liked Resident Evil 5 more than Resident Evil 2, and Fallout 3 more than Fallout 2 you see, so there's reason for me to approach this with a bit of optimism... though to be honest I actually kind of played and finished the entire game a year ago, so I won't be coming in blind and utterly clueless like I usually do. Sorry.

(Click the screenshots to open them up into a slightly less pathetic 1280x720 resolution. You should be grateful for that much, seeing as the game was far more interested in giving me a completely unacceptable 1272x720!)

The game begins with a CGI intro, and the CGI intro begins with Lara Croft in her room, on a boat. She's got a table covered in books, a locker full of maps and a ridiculously well rendered expression of concern looking back at her in the mirror.

That's the good thing about spending so much time playing games from the 90s, it means that to me AAA games from last year look like they're being streamed through Steam's new time travel feature to my ancient PC from the future.

There is a bit of narration to this intro, but it's very vague. "In our darkest moments, when life flashes before us, we find something; something that keeps us going," that kind of thing. There's no exposition, no introductions, no set up. Just a storm so bad it that knocks Lara out of her bunk while she's listening to her mp3s.

Lara races through the Endurance as it fills with water, only to find that half the ship has decided to go its separate way, and it's the half with the lifeboat on it. She tries a desperate daring leap, but sadly no one ever gets the first proper jump right in a Tomb Raider game, and she plunges to the icy depths below.

See, that's how you do an intro! I've been told absolutely nothing about these people or what they're doing sailing around in the Dragon's Triangle, but I've been invited to give a shit about finding out. A game has to hook a player in and get them invested before dumping too much information on them... just scroll up to that wall of text at the start of this article again and you'll see how off-putting an info-dump intro can be!

This is actually a younger version of Lara than in the earlier games, a 21 year old fresh from college setting out on her first adventure. The original version of the character was forged into a fearless wolf-slaying back-flipping action-archaeologist after a surviving plane crash in the Himalayas at age 21, so this doomed expedition is presumably replacing that event. She's still clearly posh and English though in case that was in doubt.

Well the good news is that Lara successfully avoided drowning! Though she's woken up to find herself tied up in a sheet, hanging from the ceiling in front of an altar of skulls, so it's probably safe to presume that the natives on this island aren't friendly.

This reminds me a little of the beginning of Another World, when you're thrown into prison cell suspended from a rope, and I bet the solution is the same. The game apparently wants me to master pressing left and right before I move onto anything more complicated.

Oh damn, that was nasty! First I set her legs on fire to burn the rope, then I dropped her right onto a metal spike. I don't know how she's going to be doing gymnastics with that thing sticking through her side.

Mash [ENTER] to pull? Seriously?

I've got to give the voice actor massive credit here, as she really sells the fact that she's yanking a metal rod out of her torso. This is such a different experience to those other two Tomb Raider games I played this month, as Lara actually genuinely sounds hurt and scared here and it's kinda disturbing.

Alright, she's on her feet and stumbling around now at least, so we've hit actual gameplay. Though it's 'find your way out of a sealed room' gameplay rather than 'backflip over wolves' gameplay, so I've got to apply my brain here. Or I could activate Lara's 'Survival Instinct' view and highlight the objects in the room that are important for the puzzle.

This one's pretty simple though. There's a sheet tied to a rail up there with a red barrel of fuel on the other end; I can't burn everything in this game, but I can sure set fire to that. A small explosion should clear the obstruction and I can get back to wading through water in the dark while whimpering in pain.

Damn, puzzle room #2 is a little more complicated. Even Lara doesn't understand what the point of this contraption is, though if I spend too long figuring it out I bet she'll start shouting out hints, so I need to work fast.

Okay, the exit at the far end of the room is blocked off by a fence, some red barrels, and what looks like an old World War II mine. All I need to do is give it a good kick and I should be out of here! Though maybe smashing the barrier from a safe distance is a smarter plan. To do this I've got two lifts in the middle hanging from the ends of a pulley system, and a cage on the right connected to a ramp, hmmmm.

Actually, you probably don't want to hang around and read the tedious specifics of how I get through this, the point of this screenshot was to show that the game has puzzles and they're like this, so feel free to jump ahead!

Long-winded Puzzle Solving Process Box.

I started by burning the two posts anchoring the frame on the left, which released it up into the ceiling, dropping the other one into the water where it started to accumulate floating flotsam. I'm not sure why I want a box full of barrels and crates, but that orange ramp is obviously a big clue that I need to jump over onto the left hand platform and use my weight to bring that side back down to earth. So I'll go do that.

As you'd expect, pulling one side down lifted the other cage back out of the water, and the cage turned out to be set up to empty its trash into the crate on the right. So now I have a container full of crap that opens up onto a trash-slide pointing right at the barrier I want to destroy... seems like I've got this one!

Except no, releasing the crates down the ramp does nothing, so I have to mess around with the pulley system again to restock it with boxes and rethink this thing. Though with the 'set fire' icon appearing whenever I get too close the cage, I don't think it's too much of a mystery what the missing ingredient is.

Flaming cargo combined with ancient naval mine = no more fence and no more eyebrows.

Solving the puzzle gets me a free ride down the the spiky debris slide! I can steer Lara left and right to avoid hazards as I go, so it's just like playing some old 80s arcade game!

Speaking of archaic 80s arcade gameplay, look what's turned up! Yep we're taking a trip back to the age of Dragon's Lair and Space Ace, as it's QTE time! I've got to mash left and right, and then hit a button at right moment to save Lara from a gruesome death due to falling rocks. What that button is though I've no idea, as the game shows icons instead of keys, and by the time I'd glanced down to read the text below it was far too late.

If you play this on a console or using an Xbox 360 controller I believe it displays the actual buttons instead, but I'm playing with mouse and keyboard and the cryptic symbols just amplify the inherent annoyance, turning a tense action scene into tedious trial and error.

Okay, right I have to press 'mouse 4'... shit, which one's that again?

Well I'm finally out of the caves and look there's a title floating up here! Also a whole lot of shipwrecks.

If I had TressFX enabled you'd be able to see all the strands of Lara's ponytail blowing in the breeze here, but my PC's just not up to it I'm afraid. Still, the game looks pretty great to me as it is. I've got no complaints.

After Lara was done catching her breath and admiring the title, we got right back to desperate survival action. This time I have to climb up and across a crashed plane hanging over a chasm. Lara used to do this exact thing all the time in the last few games, but here she really doesn't sound all that enthusiastic about it.

Just like how the levels in Mirror's Edge have the safe path marked out with red objects, Tomb Raider likes to mark things in white. If I see something marked with white, it's often a sign that I should be climbing on it, hanging from it, setting it on fire etc. White is my ally and I can trust it.

The ground on the other hand is an unreliable asshole. The game loves to give me a obvious exit, then drop the floor and send Lara bouncing down a mudslide.

Now we've reached a relatively safe place (that I'm going to call the end of level one), Lara is able to light a bonfire, then sit down for a minute and reflect on just how terrible her day has been so far. Actually she found her friend's bag along the way, so she can use the camcorder inside to dwell on happier times instead.

Like the time she convinced the crew to bring the ship into the storm in the first place. Oops.

This is the first introduction to the plot and characters, and it's a good time for it as I could use a break and new players should be more than ready to find out what's going on and who this 'Sam' person she keeps mentioning is. These camcorder breaks happen a few more times throughout the game, but they're always skippable.

You don't get all the pieces dumped on you right way, but we're shown who Sam is, what the expedition is about, that the guy wearing glasses is a dick, and that Lara cares about these people. It turns out that the Endurance sailed out here to find the lost kingdom of Yamatai, once ruled by the Sun Queen Himiko, who is said to have been able to summon storms with her shamanistic powers. Of course Lara doesn't believe superstitious rubbish like that, but even if the magic is a myth, that doesn't mean that the storms are.

But Yamatai's beside the point right now, so I can mentally file that away for later. Lara's hungry and that's a problem because it doesn't seem like McDonalds has discovered this island yet; I'm going to have to hunt a deer.

I was actually surprised when I reached this area on my first playthrough, because for once it's not a straight line filled with traps and QTEs. I've actually got a bit of room to run around and explore here, like in the Tomb Raider games of old. It's not even remotely open world, but if I keep a look out for white ledges there's things to be discovered in here.

Aha, I've found a deer at last! I'm a terrible hunter, but even I can't miss from this distance when I'm using a mouse to aim... aw shit, it moved at the last second! I'll get it with the next shot. Hang on, this isn't Lara Croft's origin story... it's Green Arrow's!

This is why I'm playing it with mouse and keys instead of a controller by the way. When it comes to combat, the game is more of a third person shooter than the earlier Tomb Raiders; there's no somersaulting over wolves, blasting away with dual pistols and infinite ammo anymore. If I want to kill something, I have to actually aim at it.

And one arrow later that's the survival aspect of the game done with; Lara never needs to kill another animal for food ever again. I can see how that would bother some people, as it sets up an expectation that the game never delivers on, but personally I'm happier killing the things that are actively trying to end me.

Not that killing is pointless, as I can get XP and 'salvage' from it. XP leads to skill points, which can be spent at campfires to upgrade Lara's skills, while salvage is used to upgrade weapons. Yup Tomb Raider has finally decided to include 'RPG elements' for better or worse.


Hey, I've found a treasure map that's added the location of all the items to my ingame map. Also I've found that I have a ingame map! Where was this when I needed it in those other games?

There's all kinds of optional crap to collect or interact with in each area: documents, relics, GPS caches etc., and some of it helps to fill in some of the backstory of the island and the surviving Endurance crew in the same way as the audio diaries in games like BioShock and Doom 3.

And sometimes they're just fake noh masks with a price sticker on them.

You could argue that there's too many collectables around, so if you decide to grab them all you're going to be stuck in one place for a while, but I think it's cool to hear Lara get to show some enthusiasm about something. If it wasn't for the biting cold, hunger, and the lunatics out to kill her, Lara would love to go exploring the history of a place like this, and she clearly knows a lot about the relics she finds.

Makes me want to play a Half-Life game where Gordon Freeman continually makes comments to himself about how amazing the particle accelerator he's crawling through is.


Oh no, the plot happened and now I've been captured and tied up again! At least I wasn't strung up from the ceiling this time, and they even glanced somewhere else for a moment and gave me a chance to slip away, which is nice. Shame they took my damn bow though.

Here I'm apparently learning about stealth, as I have to slip behind enemies as soon as their backs are turned, and make my way through a narrow winding path of hiding places. Sound doesn't seem to be part of this equation, so if they can't see me, I don't exist.

Shit, Lara got herself seen in a cutscene, by the guy who took her bow! Now it's disturbing QTE time, as our heroine is cornered and forced to react as the armed thug reaches for her. Shit, what button am I supposed to press this time?

Ah, it's mouse button 4 again, I can do that!

Crap, too slow.

Oh he was just going to choke the life out of her! Well that's not so bad.

Man, this loves its horrific violent deaths almost as much as that Kingdom: The Far Reaches game I played a couple of months ago, and that thing was basically just a series of animated death cutscenes linked by a map screen. Tomb Raider is a real horror movie at times.

Even if I do manage to react in time though, what's Lara going to do? She's unarmed, tied up, wounded, and somehow I don't see her overpowering this thug. This is young archaeology student Lara remember, she's never killed a man in her life.


Well fuck! Go Lara!

Of course the effect of that cutscene was kind of diminished by the fact that I had to concentrate more on what buttons I had to be mashing, but she convincingly pulled that off. And took his head off too while she was at it.

She spends a minute or two absolutely freaking out about murdering someone, then reaches down and gets her damn bow back. One down.

Now I have to fight my way past the rest of them, but fortunately they've stacked up all these waist-high boxes around for me to duck beneath! Lara keeps her head down in combat all the time, so there's no need for a cover button, and holding the aim button makes her pop up to take a shot.

Though if I can catch them unaware, I can switch to the bow and take them down unseen without even worrying about return fire. The thing is like a silenced sniper rifle, and I can hold the button down to charge up my shots for extra damage.

Tomb Raider was released during the Year of The Bow, where it seemed like every other game coming out had this medieval stick launcher in it as a selling point: The Last of Us, Assassin's Creed 3, Crysis 3, Far Cry 3... a lot of them had '3' in the title as well now that I think about it. Tomb Raider's bow definitely doesn't disappoint though, and I expect I'll be relying on it for the rest of the game.

Hey, I've unlocked fast travel! Now I can teleport from base camp to base camp, and stripmine each area for all of the items I missed. It seems weird for the game to have this kind of freedom, considering how it's about constantly moving forward (often destroying the path as you go), but it's apparently impossible to leave something behind and miss out.

Oh damn, now Lara's moved up to stealth kills. If I walk up behind someone and hit the melee button before they notice me, she'll throttle them to death with her bow. And then I can go and do the same on that gentleman up the with his back turned too. The move isn't necessarily silent, the other enemies just can't hear shit.

They can certainly shoot straight though, once they know I'm there. It only took two seconds for my screen to fill up with blood, but I have to keep pressing forward as I kind of set the rest of this cabin on fire, and it's spreading. It doesn't help that there's goons over there throwing lit dynamite my way as well. Things sure got serious all of a sudden.

These guys are continually moving around to make life more difficult for me. They'll flip over tables to make cover, try to flush me out, move around to flank me, or just charge right up to my face, and I have stay agile and aim for headshots when I can. Fortunately I can drop them fast; no bullet sponges in this group.

Oh, I should mention that the screen eventually cleared up on its own. They've switched to regenerating health for this one.


I'm accumulating and upgrading my tools as I progress through the game, and this is opening up new routes for me, even in areas I've already visited. The torch can burn obstructions and flammable puzzle objects, the axe forces open doors and boxes, and now my new climbing axe upgrade lets me climb these (white) rock walls as well.

I can see some items in this area that I likely can't reach yet without future upgrades, so it's going a bit Zelda, or a bit Arkham Asylum on me now. I'm expected to come back here later when I have better gear if I want to grab all the collectables.

Hey look what I found up the cliff! It might look a lot like that place with the shipwreck junk device at the start, but this is actually my very first tomb! It's rare to find any cave in this game without skulls all over it, but this time it's official.

It's also entirely optional, so I could just walk on by and ignore this puzzle, but I have to raid at least one of these places or else the game title don't make no sense at all.


Well that took me a minute longer than it should've done to figure out. I forgot that I could light up my torch at one of the fire sources in the room and carry it with me to burn stuff.

Anyway I opened the treasure chest at the top, and received... some XP and salvage I guess. I was hoping she'd reach in and pull out a shield or something, but I guess additional potential for self improvement will do.

Okay, now that I've successfully evaded the islanders I've got a new objective: get to an old radio tower and use the equipment there to send out an SOS.


Done! Wait, crap, the handle broke off.

To be honest, I only really took this shot because of those leaves. Those things are almost photorealistic and it's weirding me out. I guess it must be autumn right now in the uncanny valley.

There's another way to send a message with the tower, but it means climbing right up to the top of it and messing with the maintenance panel. In the snow. With no coat on.

At this point the game's gotten much more linear again, funnelling me down a narrow path full of enemy encounters and the occasional QTE scene. This is how the game's going to work from now on: transitioning between narrow levels, open exploration zones, puzzle rooms, and 'oh shit everything's collapsing again so RUN' sequences.

Oh and boss fights. How did I forget about the boss fights?

Actually this guy's more of an special enemy type, and he goes down easy enough if you know the trick. Fortunately the game spells out the trick very clearly in on screen tutorial text, so I'm well aware that I need to scramble across the floor to dodge his machete and leave his face exposed and vulnerable to my bullets. It reminds me a little of the Adrenaline Dodge move I had to learn in Tomb Raider: Anniversary, except far more sensible.

It's a bit of a shame they took away Lara's roll move and gave her a dodge instead, but then I suppose rolling doesn't quite work so well when you have a quiver full of arrows on your back and a hole in your torso.

Why do I suddenly get the feeling that she's going to slip at some point and hit every rung on the way down?

She's been impaled, had her shoulder sliced open by an arrow, got her foot caught in a bear trap, burned her hand, been dropped into freezing water, and now she's climbing a radio mast in the icy biting wind without a coat on. The developers have taken a cartoony video game character and turned her into the female John McClane, who bleeds and winces and yells out in pain, but then picks herself up and gets on with it anyway. Which is funny considering that the Die Hard movies eventually turned McClane into a cartoon character.

Here's another thing that's funny... there hasn't been single QTE in this whole scene! And yet somehow it's just as tense and dramatic without distracting messages popping up telling me to mash left and right, then hit [ENTER]!


Now I'm back to sliding down a hill, dodging flaming wreckage and steering around debris. The game sure loves to keep changing pace and shifting gameplay. I don't remember seeing any loading screens either, so the levels flow together between cutscenes as one long chain of ridiculous events.

Well okay there was a bit of plot between the tower and the explosions, but I'm not going to spoil the story for you. In fact I think I should turn this off at the next bonfire save point before I give away too much.

But there's more to the game than just its gripping single player storyline! It also lets you unlock 3D character models to rotate and examine at your leisure, like 'Endurance Deck Hand' here. Man, I don't even remember this guy showing up in the background of a shot.

Oh, plus it also has a multiplayer mode, but that's not really my department.


It seems a bit pointless for me to try to review Tomb Raider 2013, when everyone else already took their turn at rating the game last year, but in case there was any tiny sliver of doubt left in the world... yes this is a bloody good video game.

I'm not sure I can call it a great prequel though, as I haven't played all that many games in the franchise and I've never been much of a fan, but the original six Tomb Raider games from Core Design provide one of the best examples out there of what happens when a series stagnates and fails to evolve to match the competition, and Crystal Dynamics were wise to update the formula a little for their run. This is a step into a slightly different genre, and that's always going to piss people off, but sometimes change is good, and there's still plenty of shimmying across ledges and shooting wolves here. Though not a great deal of swimming for a game set on an island I noticed.

There is a big focus on story though, and in my opinion they pulled it off spectacularly, balancing the narrative and gameplay so that they strengthen each other. And I don't just mean that the QTEs make you feel Lara's pain. Speaking of Lara Croft, she never really grows into her old self exactly, but imagine Ellen Ripley and Rambo had a daughter together and you won't be far off how she turns out by the end. You could say her transition to being a competent killer is a bit abrupt, but I suppose it has to be. This being an action game means that there's a lot of assholes in between her and her friends, and she either deals with them or she dies. To her credit she actually tries talking them down during gameplay, at least at first, and she continues to grow and adapt throughout the game.

People have pointed out that I give out my little gold stars a little too frequently, and that's probably true, so this time I'm going a step further and giving Tomb Raider on an Island my highest possible rating. It's very good at doing what it sets out to do, and I was entertained from start to finish. If they'd added a QTE off option I would've rated it even higher though, so they shot themselves in the foot a bit there.


It turns out that I'm easily impressed by flashy modern shooters with checkpoints and slick gameplay, who knew? Thankfully though I'm not the only person on the internet with an opinion, so if you want to share yours you can type it out into that box below. Also throw some feedback my way, it's the only way I'll ever learn.

Next time: I start playing some 'U ' games.


  1. Ray great review! I enjoyed reading it I played the original TR and TR II back in the day. I picked up TR II at a thrift store but this had 2 TR Gold disks instead and TR Legend.

    God their are so many games I hope you review in the next year, most notably Scratches:Directors Cut but also Minecraft and Condemned Criminal Origins (I bought Scratches for only a penny used on Amazon btw)

    Good taste in games, Fallout 3 was great. RE II though was the 2 or 3rd best RE game

    1. I can guarantee with absolute certainty that it's likely that at least one of those games might be played next year for sure. It probably won't be Minecraft though, seeing as the world's already got enough opinions about the game in it already and it doesn't need me adding to them.

      (Also it's pricey for a 5 year old game.)

    2. Ray yes Minecraft is pricey.. I played the demo but had to buy the card at Wal Mart for the full version of the game.

      That's awesome btw.

      p.s. My friend, lets call him JM, whom also reviews games will not review Minecraft either, too recent for him H says.

      p.p.s. I wish I could quote your reviews on future Amazon game reviews but... Only with your permission.

    3. You want to quote ME? That'd just be weird. I think it'd be weird anyway. I think I'd rather keep all my writing fenced in right now, where I can keep an eye on it and edit it if it misbehaves.

  2. Is this the same game where Lara Croft, the ridiculously badass woman that's like a female version of the '80s action hero trope.... is turned into a crying wimp, who almost gets raped because of course she would since she's a female character, and who moans suggestively when running or fighting, and who was developed with the idea that "players must want to protect her"?

    Oh my gosh, look at the sad, forlorn face of Lara by the bonfire. It's like someone remade Duke Nukem into a likeable guy, who cries and is in danger and there he is standing sad and forlorn by the fire. The horror.

    So.. is this game that game? You're not awarding the gold star and the price to THAT!

    1. It's an origin story! Star Wars begins with the last of the Jedi whining to his adopted parents because they won't let him drive down to Tocshe station to buy power converters, Batman Begins turns Bruce Wayne into a whimpering 8 year old who couldn't even fight off one mugger, and in Metal Gear Solid 3 the main villain of the first two games is transformed into a likeable hero with a cardboard box obsession!

      Lara is scared and upset in this for sure, and I can understand why fans would feel that it doesn't fit her character (it definitely wouldn't fit Duke Nukem's character, who likely had steroids in his baby milk), but personally I think she works fine as more of a human being, amongst other human beings. If you mess up a QTE the enemy characters just straight up kill her, any threat of rape is just (understandably) assumed due to the way the cutscenes are set up, with the big powerful bearded asshole trying to get his hands on a vulnerable, weaker looking woman. It's definitely got more of a 'survival horror' atmosphere to it in those scenes, but they almost always end with Lara murdering the guy. In regular gameplay though she's a predator for the most part, with the game getting all 'He who fights monsters should see to it that he himself does not become a monster' on you by the end.

      If there's one theme throughout the game, is that it doesn't matter what anyone does to Lara Croft, she'll grow stronger from it, and she'll just keep going. Those 'suggestive moans' are often due to the fact that she's limping in pain after pulling her foot out of a bear trap, or tearing a shard of metal from her gut, or cauterising a wound with a red-hot arrowhead, and yet she's STILL coming for the latest asshole who hurt her friends. Personally I think that they did take it a bit too far, as the actress does a disturbingly good job at selling the character's pain, but I like John McClane/Indiana Jones-style vulnerable heroes so I had no real issues with their decision to portray Lara as someone who endures a bit of hurt along the way.

      It's a different take on Lara Croft, but I wouldn't try to convince anyone it's a superior one, and to be honest I was pretty much looking at her as an entirely different person with the same name for most of the game. But then I got to the ending, where she FINALLY gets hold of that second pistol, and I suddenly recognised her. Less cocky, no less badass.

    2. You said it yourself: for at least 90% of the game, she's an entirely different person with the same name. That, that right there, is the problem.

      If this wasn't a game about Lara Croft, but about a female Nathan Drake clone (because that's what she is: even the pain and the hurt are very typical Nate trademarks, just look at every announcement video for every Uncharted game)...... then it would be ok I guess. I wouldn't be impressed, but it'd be different.

      But this game here. This game here is showing a younger Duke Nukem as an insecure young boy who gets picked up in school and cries and is terrified of the alien monsters when they show up.

      And you understand: the idea of an insecure boy bullied in school and scared of the alien menace he is forced to deal with is actually a good idea.

    3. I suppose whether it's a problem or not depends on how attached you are to her previous portrayals, and how keen you are on the idea of reinventing characters in general. Personally I prefer it when sequels stick as close to the established character as possible, but to drag this back to Batman again, I can't deny that I'd rather have Michael Keaton wearing the pointy ears than Adam West, and Christian Bale instead of George Clooney. I think that sometimes a different take on a character can actually be a good thing... but it's all subjective.

      I absolutely agree that it'd be a terrible idea to show young Duke Nukem scared of aliens (unless the writers had a damn good twist in mind), but honestly I've never put the guy on the same level as Lara Croft. Duke Nukem is a semi-sentient lifeform constructed entirely out of 80s action hero traits and recycled dialogue. He looks a bit like Schwarzenegger, he sounds a bit like Eastwood, and every other word out of his mouth is from either the Evil Dead films or They Live. Lara on the other hand always came across as more of a person than a parody to me, in my limited exposure. Sure her 16 year old self was revealed in Last Revelation to be a shorter, higher pitched version of her regular self-assured smart-assed character, and maybe that was a good choice for those games, but I don't think she's actually as resistant to reimagination as someone like Duke would be.

      If NuLara isn't what you want, she isn't what you want, and there's no sense or point in me trying to persuade you otherwise. But she clicked with me and I enjoyed playing through her evolution from an implausibly acrobatic nerdycat into a stone cold assassin. Though now she's gotten that over with, hopefully she'll be more like her old self in the next game so that everyone can be happy.

    4. And then there are PC only gamers (endangered species by now, but still holding on :D ) who dont mind to get somebody remotely resembling Nathan Drake, because they never get chance to get fed up with him in first place. :)

    5. I'm definitely not a PC only gamer, but I am a PS3less gamer and I've never had the chance to play any of the the Uncharteds yet (damn you console exclusivity!) But I wouldn't want any developer to take an established well-liked character and transform them into a clone of whoever's popular right now, because fans are going to end up alienated and potential new players are going to see right through it. Not that I think that's what has happened here.

      Though on the other hand I've been told that it's really obvious that some of Uncharted's gameplay and storytelling genes have been spliced into Tomb Raider 2013's DNA, and I think this particular bit of re-engineering was to the game's benefit. In fact as soon as I get a PS3 those Uncharted games are going on my shopping list, because I want more of this. So look forward to seeing me write about them at some point in 2024.

    6. If you have to pick one, go with Uncharted 2 as it's the best of the series.


Semi-Random Game Box