Wot I Think: Tomb Raider

By John Walker on March 6th, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

Tomb Raider is out, and I’ve played the single player to the very end. How does Lara fare in this reboot of one of gaming’s most famous series? Here’s wot I think:

I don’t think there could be a more emblematic game of the divide gaming has taken in the last few years. In the blue corner are the traditionalists, the old-school, they who see gaming as something they control. In the red corner, the new-school, the neophites, they who see gaming as an experience to be guided through. Tomb Raider, a series traditionally set in the old, in this reboot of the franchise firmly enters the new. It’s got something it wants to show you, so could you please follow this way.

But let’s be clear – this isn’t Medal Of Honor. While Crystal Dynamics have created a game that frankly seems to resent letting you be in control every now and then, those moments do happen, there are extended sections where you can explore, challenge yourself, and most of all, play. And I think that’s the word that divides these two branches of gaming – play. It’s where Tomb Raider is at its absolute strongest, where it feels like something classic, yet technologically modern, free and explorable. It’s also what the game seems to be constantly fighting against letting you do.

So we’re meeting Lara for the first time, all over again. In the hands of the team who created the last superb trilogy, but with a fresh start, a new approach to the British heroine. Stranded on an island with a group of her explorer colleagues, quickly it becomes apparent that a small army of crazed shipwreckees are intent on killing anyone they see as an “outsider”. There’s something about some goddess, weird weather meaning anything that flies or floats nearby gets wrecked, and a clutter of other mumbojumbo that demands we run about climbing and shooting. Lara begins as a young, innocent girl, horrified at being forced to kill to save her own life, and then begins her inevitable journey into a grunting killing machine. (Although it’s a little more nuanced than that.)

It’s become quite well known that the first hour is notoriously filled with quick-time events (QTEs), button mashing, and a strict, linear path. CD themselves explained that we should not worry, that the previews of this portion were not representative of the full game, and it all opens out soon enough. Well, that’s only partially true. Yes, you absolutely can revisit previous areas of the island (using a fast travel option, should you wish), to scoop up any of the seventy trillion secret items scattered about, locate any “Optional Tombs” (puzzle-based vaults where you must manipulate the scenery to reach a treasure), and climb to the top of things to say that you did. But the game really doesn’t want you to. It wants you to keep going, to rescue the next person, to keep saving the day. The urgency with which you’re pressed to carry on means that to go off and explore is to shatter the thin veneer of a narrative it so desperately wants to have.

This narrative, which offers not a single twist, surprise, or even interesting notion, is shoved down your throat at every opportunity, the controls constantly wrestled from your hands as it crucially needs to take over to stop you from doing something it might not like. This is so deeply at the core of every element of the game that you can’t even shimmy along a ledge without the game doing the bits where you go past a pillar for you. Run toward a building and scoooop, control is stolen, the camera jerked upward, because you might not have looked up at the pretty thing they drew. It feels like a combination of arrogance and deep paranoia. “You might play the game wrong! Let me do it!”

For the first hour or so, I don’t remember being in complete control for more than about 30 seconds at a time. This certainly slows down later on, but never so I didn’t feel endlessly exasperated. Sometimes it’s so it can cram the next story element in – a room in which you think, “Okay, I’ll shoot him with an arrow, and then take them out with the rifle” suddenly becomes a cutscene in which Lara stands uselessly still while someone gets killed or captured. Other times, most of the time, it’s for no discernible reason whatsoever.

This scripting also means that Lara is repeatedly put in situations where she must run/slide/fall away from everything exploding and collapsing. (Never has one person fallen so far, so often. The brutality with which Croft is ceaselessly met is astonishing.) And during these sections your job is to move left or right to avoid obstacles, and sometimes jump. It’s enormously impressive, the scenery blowing up and tearing away, the fantastic physics very well shown off. But are you playing? Barely.

This all really cannot be emphasised enough, and I think perhaps is best captured by the following: The game decides when you run, walk, sprint, crawl, get weapons out, put them away, light torches, put them out… There literally isn’t a crawl button in the game, because it’s going to do that for you. And most peculiar of all, there’s no indication from the game when it’s in control or you are. On some occasions I’ve found myself embarrassed to realise I’ve not been controlling things for a while, like a kid in a service station, thinking they’re steering the arcade car while “INSERT COIN” flashes on the screen. On many others I was killed because I wasn’t aware it had stopped playing for me, and didn’t know it was my turn to press forward again. Games do that widescreen borders thing for a reason, Crystal.

And this is such a massive shame, because when you are playing, damn, it’s great. Despite the addition of upgradeable weapons, and some RPG-ish XP-based stats for Lara, it’s actually remarkably similar to the previous Tomb Raiders from the developer. There are puzzle-climbing sections, and there are shooty-bang sections. No one ever wanted the latter in any of the previous eight hundred Tomb Raider games, but they were darned well included anyway. This time, while I’m pretty sure no one on Earth would have cared if they were ditched entirely, instead they’ve had the rather bright idea to make them actually decent. Yes, it becomes yet another cover shooter, but the bow and arrow is great fun to use, and the rest of the weapons are ludicrously powerful. I think there’s too much of it, where more tombs and exploring would always have been preferable, but at least this time out it’s not an absolute chore.

But what’s really great is still the exploring. Crystal Dynamics have proved a number of times just how smart they are at creating challenges, setting up location-based puzzles and letting you explore to solve them. Here Tomb Raider shines. Yes, it’s still entirely artificial, with ledges and beams you can use ludicrously painted white (thanks helpful locals!), and the rope-able sections all mysteriously perfectly placed to allow progress. When something is wrecked, it just so happens to be wrecked in a way that creates a new path! But none of that really matters, because it’s about offering a playground. When the first game that offers truly free climbing and exploring appears it’ll be the greatest day in history, but in the meantime, no one does it as slickly as CD.

So I’m left utterly bemused why they seemed to want to bury it so deeply.

Something should be said for the portrayal of Lara. Yes, obviously things go from her being terrified to have killed a guy, to killing them in their dozens. But it’s not deserving of the scorn some have offered. Lara is portrayed as suffering throughout. It’s seriously gruesome what she’s subjected to, endlessly smashing through roofs and walls, gashed, punched, and bruised. And it feels like it too. She’s never happy (apart from when opening boxes containing relics, when she creepily breaks from whatever horrors she’s facing and excitedly describes a coin to you), always hurting, and never confident. And that makes an important difference. While she’s surrounded by dreadful stereotypes and pantomime villains, her state of mind is gently portrayed. And the interesting effect of this is, no matter how many you kill, she never seems to like it. It always feels regrettable, like it’s eating at her soul. Of everything this game does well, this is its highest achievement.

Things are pretty unrelentingly bleak, too. While the dipshit friends offer nothing but glib nonsense (albeit well acted in the main), the grim weather, sparse lands, and phenomenal amount of gore-strewn corpses certainly set a tone. In fact, there are so many dead bodies that I’m pretty sure this remote island must once have been the most populated place on Earth.

The upgrade system is fairly pointless. It may as well have been just added skills as you progress, since it’s pretty difficult not to have enough XP and salvage to grab everything on offer as you play. But still, you get to choose the order in which you add them, so if you’re especially keen on being able to beat a man to death with an axe, you can opt for that before you improve how long you can hold an arrow in a bow. Really, nothing makes a dramatic difference to the game itself, not least because what you actually do to progress is so heavily scripted that it couldn’t allow it to.

I’m left just bewildered that the most fun I’ve had with the game is going back to sections I’ve already played. This time I’m actually allowed to enjoy them properly, without characters screaming at me to go a certain way, do a certain thing, and the controls endlessly taken from me. Sure, to do so is to abandon what a character has just screamed at you that you need to do, but it’s worth it just to enjoy the game that’s buried beneath the noise. And crucially, once the game’s over you can go back to any area to do so, meaning you can allow the nose-dragging to pull you past without worrying you’re going to miss out.

It looks stunning for a game designed for current-gen tech, and it’s important to note that Nixxes have done another great job for Square, ensuring the game takes advantage of what a PC can do over a console. Although the much trumpeted “TressFX” designed to give Lara realistic hair is absolutely crippling on powerful NVidia cards. Created by AMD, it really seems to only be an option for their own cards. (And it looks epically silly, too.) Also, despite a pretty powerful rig, putting things above the “quite good” details saw things really struggle. Turn things up to the max and I wasn’t offered a slideshow, so much as received a single postcard. I think things could have been better optimised, and perhaps the next set of graphics drivers will see to that.

It creates such an odd space. Tomb Raider is a theme park ride, but one where you can get off and go back to look around the ghost towns you’ve left behind. It’s a game for the new crowd, but clearly with hankerings to be part of the old. When you first see that island map, and the quick travel points, it’s hard not to think you’ve got yourself a Far Cry 3-style thing here, something that will let you encounter the game in your own way, with a main story running through. But that certainly isn’t the case. The story, which you could predict in its entirety from the opening cutscene (let’s just say that of the collection of stereotypes you have with you, none deviates from their inevitable path), doesn’t offer any reward for this obsessive control-freakery.

With the game making every decision for you – and I feel the need to stress this again – even deciding when you run, walk or crawl, some will argue it all allows this rollercoaster ride to be as smooth as possible. It all allows you to be swept along by the experience, to be wowed by the epic scenery and breathtaking destruction. But me – I want to play.

When it let me, I had a really good time. When it didn’t, well, I sat back in my chair and wondered what I was doing here.

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254 Comments »

  1. wodin says:

    I’m loving it..it has all the things we hate QTE’s etc etc..but boy it’s a superb experience. It also pisses all over Crysis 3 on the graphics aswell.

    It’s the first game ever that I don’t mind going back to a previous map to collect everything or anything I missed.

    Seriously I wasn’t expecting to much..and the QTE’s are damn annoying at times as I fumble with the keyboard..but I can forgive that sin because it’s giving me a superb experience and I love it..it’s fun.

    Yes it takes control at times..but I got used to it..and the climbing is great fun..so far it’s my game of the year.

    tresFX works fine in my 6850..looks great aswell but only Lara has it.

    • Njordsk says:

      I’m enjoying the ride too, but a part of me somehow misses the old gameplay. brain-fucking jumping puzzles etc…

      It’s a good uncharted 4 to sum it up.

      • mikmanner says:

        I’ve been playing Tomb Raider Anniversary and loving it, worried about this games apparent lack of ‘Tomb Raiding’

        • WoundedBum says:

          There’s optional tombs that are hidden in quite a lot of areas, so you should get your fix.

          • mikmanner says:

            I’ve heard the optional Tombs don’t last for more than 2 – 5 minutes each.

          • WoundedBum says:

            True, they’re not long, but to get to them requires looking around and climbing in itself and from what I’ve played there’s a reasonably good number so I think it’s alright. Not finished yet though.

          • botonjim says:

            I read there are no more than 7 in the game.

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        • wodin says:

          Well I’ve done about 5 or 6 tombs so far…and I think I’m about 40% through..or less even.

          • John Walker says:

            Don’t forget that the percentage you’re seeing is how many twiddly fiddly things you’ve picked up. I was pretty completest about it, and ended on 80%.

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    • ResonanceCascade says:

      “It also pisses all over Crysis 3 on the graphics aswell.”

      Ah, not sure I agree with your police work 100% there, Lou.

      But yes, Tomb Raider is a good game when it lets you play it. The review is pretty much spot-on.

      • wodin says:

        What it is I think is TR is far better optimised..I can get TR looking beautiful and Crysis 3 not as good before lag kicks in.

        • maximiZe says:

          Tomb Raider simply resorts to far more trickery than Crysis 3 does. I don’t even like Crytek’s aimless art direction, but fidelity-wise it undisputably “pisses all over” Tomb Raider.

          • Marik Bentusi says:

            That depends on a whole bunch of definitions. There’s “graphics = graphics” for example and “graphics = graphics + aesthetics” for example. In case of the latter, “graphics” is about technical fidelity and aesthetics are about the artstyle. And even if we take the definition of the latter, you’ll have to decide what’s “higher fidelity” – good looking game running smoothly or a somewhat better looking game pushing high end.

            ’cause we’re getting pretty close to the point where multiplying polygons and textures by a factor of ten don’t make a difference notable in fluid gameplay anymore and graphics are decided by how close you can get to rock before you start to see the pixels, i.e. pure texture size and nothing else.

            Personally I imagine it’s easier to make monster graphics run on monster machines rather than good graphics on a lot of machines, and “trickery” would only add to that. I think you gotta be pretty amazing to make great graphics despite old hardware. That’s why I find it absolutely crazy what devs can do with UE3.5 while CryEngine never took off as hoped from what I can see.

            You’re probably right that C3 has more polies and larger textures and more DX11 effects tho. So numbers-wise yeah, I’d give them the trophy.

          • f69 says:

            Visual value of a game depends on its pleasantness to look at not its number of polygons.

    • OmNomNom says:

      Lol. Pisses all over Crysis 3 graphics…

      Tomb Raider is low polygon and has more sprites than Doom…

    • waltC says:

      @ Wodin ” It also pisses all over Crysis 3 on the graphics as well.”

      Really? You have both games? I only ask because Scott on Tech-Report, the site principal, is awed by Crysis 3–its graphics, to be precise. He has 7970 Crossfire and a nVidia Titan to test with, along with a 30″ 2560×1600-capable monitor (or is it 16:9? Anyway, that’s close…;)), and he just flat out thinks the game is Gorgeous (capitalized.) I don’t own either game at the moment, and I was just made curious by your comment. Does it reflect a heartfelt loathing for Crysis 3 or is it that you really do love Tomb Raider’s graphics that much?

      • zbeeblebrox says:

        Oh, I’d say it’s more a matter of the art direction being better for TR, and this can color someone’s perception of detail resolution. If a game of lesser technical quality has higher design quality, it will often appear to also be of higher technical quality even when it isn’t.

        And Tomb Raider was designed gorgeously.

    • BinarySunset says:

      Great article, but the grammar (yes, I’m one of them) seems a bit off, with some fragments and reference issues present. I think it’s a great review, but I found it hard to read because of these errors.

  2. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    Caveat to below: I am only part-way through.

    I’m having a very different experience to John. We’ve been discussing it a bit on the forums whilst waiting for this WIT. I’ve found it to be a great deal of fun so far, more interesting than FC3 though there are many similarities, which might just be down to the fact that it’s a bit more directed.

    I haven’t found there to be many instances where I got frustrated by lack of choice, barring the somewhat-over-the-top (aren’t they always) QTEs. In the game seems no less to “play itself” than previous Tomb Raiders.

    My attitude to this (and FC3) might be coloured by the fact I’ve been reading “The Paradox of Choice” recently, which makes a good case for limiting options.

    • Iskariot says:

      “which makes a good case for limiting options.”

      I think a tombraider movie is the thing for you.
      ;)

    • John Walker says:

      That simply isn’t true! Previous Tomb Raider has never taken the controls from you every 30 seconds, and certainly never interfered with climbing mid-action.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        There weren’t endless cutscenes in previous Tomb Raider games?

        In any case, and without meaning to pick holes in your WIT (which, don’t get me wrong, I thought was very insightful, it just didn’t match my experience thus far), what’s the problem with having Lara automatically crouch when approaching something she’ll need to crouch under? I can’t make a case for having to press a button/key to crouch to go under something as being any more fun than not.

        • fish99 says:

          No there weren’t.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            Well in that case I take it back.

          • zbeeblebrox says:

            What are you talking about? Legends was a clusterfuck of slow-mo QTEs and cutscenes! It almost felt like the game only gave control to you when Laura’s actions made no story impact “Oh here’s another long jumping puzzle. Nothing’s happening right now, so go play for a while as we get the next cutscene ready”

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I think I can make the case – games are interactive. Having a button which, from a purely design point of view changes the characters state to allow them to travel along a path which is otherwise blocked to them means that you can exploit that mechanic in various ways. For example, you could hide a route to a secret and an observant player will notice and press the button and find the secret. Automatically pressing the button for the player serves only to eradicate the ,interactivity, thus taking away a game-play mechanic from the game bringing it closer to a “non-game”.

          Automatically and unexpectedly changing the characters animation is jarring – a positive if you want to surprise the player, but not so good when it comes to traversing a simple corridor. It breaks the immersion, whatever that means.

          Finally, not letting the player perform an action which is actually a part of the game is frustrating. Like those cutscene heavy games in which all the coolest stuff happens in a non-interactive way, enter a room and the cutscene has the main character do kung-fu kicks, but in the game he is restricted to firing guns is bad game design. Let the players do everything the character can do, even things as mundane as crouching.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            But on the other hand, take something like GTA. It’s one button to open the door of a car, remove whomever is inside, and get in. Is control “removed from the player” because they don’t perform each action separately?

          • karry says:

            Not quite, because the button actually exists, and it performs a very specific chain of actions. In Tomb Raider 10 you dont even have the button in the first place, Lara just does whatever, without any prompt or reason, simply because it was scripted that she will crouch in this spot.

          • lucky jim says:

            The way the mechanic works in Tomb Raider, though.. it only serves to add to the immersion factor in my experiences. She can turn herself sideways and start crawling through cracks in the wall, and I feel no immersion lost by walking up to and into that crack in the wall. She raises her torch above water levels, ducks under obstacles, grabs the wall/cliff for support when traversing a particularly scary little goat-path along the cliff, or whatever you might call it. It feels like the player and character they are playing are heavily immersed in, and interacting with the environment, rather than it just being a map the player is plopped in. And none of these transitions are unexpected. So far they all seem to fit quite well.

            And the interactive cutscenes are as cool as they should be. Even if it’s just QTE’s, the player is readily involved in fighting back opponents, turning guns on them, stabbing nasty wolves in the side until they die, etc. I agree that in general I hate when cutscenes do all the cool stuff and don’t allow the player any interaction, but I haven’t come across such a scene in Tomb Raider yet.

          • theleif says:

            @Lucky Jim: Precisely my thoughts. You are a wise and good man.

          • snajk says:

            @karry Well you have a point it’s just that things doesn’t happen completely by themselves. You move forward and Lara crouches or shimmys or squeezes through because that’s the way forward. If you stop pushing forward she’ll stop whatever she’s doing. They could’ve kept the crouch-part out of this and given it a button but it wouldn’t have made that much of a difference. For instance, it’s usually not very apparent if a tomb entrance or such requires Lara to crouch or just squeeze through sideways, now you just move forward and she keeps moving forward through whatever tiny spaces that are in her way. With a crouch-button she’d just stop if you needed to crouch but otherwise she’d kept moving, how would that add to the game, make it more realistic? It’s like the beam-crossing, ever since it appeared in the series it’s been comletely automatic. When Lara approaches a beam she moves slowly and once she’s on the beam her arms go out to help with the balance. That’s normal, you push her forward, she moves forward as fast as she can, wether that means crouching, balancing on a beam or whatever.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          For me it’s not about pressing a button when I need to crouch, but that I can do it even when I don’t need to. I don’t know how that’s more fun, but it feels more …better…to me

          • Sheng-ji says:

            It’s because you are having more interaction with the character.

            Think about modern cars vs old cars. My current car does literally everything it is legally able to through a computer. It decides where to blow what temperature of air, even where that air is collected from! It chooses which wheels move when I turn the steering wheel and tells me when to top up the air, service the car etc etc. It even has the capacity to decide when I am in an emergency situation and brake to a standstill on my behalf, I believe it has the capacity to actually drive itself, should the correct software become legal. It feels like I am sat in a front room when I drive and I am undoubtedly safer both to myself and other road users compared to an old car.

            But the driving experience is a pale comaprison to taking a “proper car” in which everything is manual for a spin. Need to start your engine? Better adjust your air/fuel mix to compensate for the cold air. Need to turn the car? No motors helping you out, you maintain your steering with your strength and mechanical advantage.

            Sure if all you want to do is to get to Birmingham for the latest seminar in whatever, the beamer is the perfect choice, but what if you want to drive a car?

          • Ragnar says:

            I don’t think it’s about better interaction with the character at all, and the manual car analogy seems to be driving off in the wrong direction entirely. We’re not looking for an exploration sim, where you press one button to lift the left knee, another to plant the left foot, and then different buttons for the right.

            What players are looking for is choice and a feeling of control. If they have a crouch button, they can chose to crouch when they don’t have to. They feel in control of the character. If all the choices about whether to crouch or not are taken away from them, they feel less in control. Some people are bothered by it, while others don’t mind at all. Likewise, some people don’t care that there’s a fence blocking them in, while others will rage against that fence for limiting their freedom.

            That said, doesn’t have the problem seen in CoD games where the AI companions not only tell you what to do, but often play the game for you – and in higher difficulty levels, you often have to rely on them to do so. While it makes it feel more authentic – you’re just a single member of an elite team, so why should the game revolve around you and ignore your equally skilled companions – it also makes it a lot less fun. In Tomb Raider, it’s you pulling the bow.

      • FleeingNevada says:

        To be fair, this new one doesn’t take away control every 30 seconds either. That’s simply not true, no matter what you thought of the game.

        • KenTWOu says:

          +1 John seriously exaggerated this issue. And I can’t say that this is an issue! Obviously sometimes you walk through very small claustrophobic area or can’t run in the small dark tunnel or crawl through the water cause the game limits your actions and makes it very convenient way. But! But they’re hiding loading process that way!!! So it is absolutely understandable!

    • Nick says:

      “In the game seems no less to “play itself” than previous Tomb Raiders.”

      Uh, what? The vast majority of TR games don’t even have QTEs, let alone anything else like that.

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        liquidsoap89 says:

        Having just recently finished the CD trilogy, I have to say that they do have a fair amount of QTEs in them. Definitely not as much as in this one (the first hour probably has more than all 3 combined), but they definitely do use them.

        And while I’m here (HA!), I have to say that I REALLY don’t like the icons they use for the QTEs in this game. It took me about 10 tries to figure out what I was supposed to be pressing because the button prompts weren’t actually showing me a key to press, but a symbol (in this instance it was an “!”). Long story short, this required a bit of steam discussion browsing to figure out what the prompts were actually asking me to press, and when.

    • Yosharian says:

      There are a handful of moments where I really wished I had control, and at some of those points there was a reasonable excuse for the game not giving me that control, for storyline reasons. Overall, not grounds for dissing the game.

      I really think everyone is being overly harsh on this game.

    • mseifullah says:

      I’ve read The Paradox of Choice about two and half times over the the years. Quite a fun and fascinating read, amirite?

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        It’s eye-opening, that’s for sure.

        • Triplanetary says:

          Good book, but only a pretentious blowhard would apply it here. “To crouch or not to crouch” is not a decision that ever caused me any great anxiety while I was playing a game.

          • Ninja Foodstuff says:

            Um no. I mentioned it only in terms of how I felt the limited choices in TR compared to Far Cry 3 served me better.

          • Bassen_Hjertelos says:

            Yes, and the fact that the study is a wee bit controversial coupled with the fact that no other studies (I’m aware of) have found the same correlation should make people less inclined to mention it every bleeding time there’s talk about choice in games.

          • zbeeblebrox says:

            Yeah, but the complaint about walking, running and crawling DOES totally apply. If this was a player’s choice, why the hell would they ever choose anything other than run? When have players not exclusively used ‘run’ when it’s an option? So why even bother? Especially when you can then dictate the character’s disposition (she also limps when she’s injured BTW), thus *improving* the experience by controlling the gait in order to build character disposition. And the game does this successfully, as admitted by John. So I consider the whole complaint moot.

            Also, Basen, I don’t know what you’re talking about. Choice Paralysis is *not* controversial. It’s a pretty well-accepted thing in psychology.

      • mutopia says:

        You’re forgetting that book is about LIFE and consumer culture where “choice” is used to justify our massive overconsumption, overproduction and inequality of income and wealth.

        It does not apply to gaming, at least not in any meaningful sense. In many videogames, frequently and randomly taking away control of either the player character or whatever game mechanic the player is in control of (or has agency in) results in a fairly awkward sensation of being forcefully strapped into a rollercoaster cart. The more you take away from the player, the less agency he or she will experience. Games essentially revolve around agency. Many game designers mistake agency for unnecessary complexity, and in their bid to streamline the experience, remove both complexity and agency.

        It’s really a very odd method, because one could say the central challenge that game designers face is giving the player something on his plate (ie agency, challenge) and only ever taking it away again between game-play segments (like areas or levels) because that is the agreed upon place where players expect and even enjoy it (at least accept it). If many of your cutscenes/QTEs involve the player character performing all these actions that the player would normally perform themselves, they’re essentially guilty of breaking the game-equivalent of “Show, don’t tell” (ie, “Let the players play the game, don’t do it for them”) and the player is left wondering why he or she couldn’t play that bit themselves. In the worst cases, the game is whacking the player over the head with the fourth wall.

        It’s true that these rules are there to be broken, but *not* if there’s no good reason to!

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        Lamb Chop says:

        I’ve had the luck of actually taking a module with the author in college, and it was regularly discussed around campus. The principle of satisficing at the core of the paradox of choice is a psychological fact that he uses to ground a broader philosophical approach to decision making. While it is primarily about our interaction with consumer products and how overproduction and overconsumption don’t serve to improve quality of life, it is also more broadly applicable to understanding our conceptions of human freedom.

        (I’m moving away from talking about games here, but I’ll bring it back). Especially in western American society, there’s a cultural tendency to conflate liberty with the whole of freedom. Liberty, thus defined, is negative freedom, the freedom from interference, essentially not being told or forced what to do. There’s also forms of positive freedom, for example, the freedom afforded by having practices that allow for participation in a group activity. I can only play chess with others if we all agree to abide by the same rules…limiting my liberty by following those rules actually increases my freedom to participate in a shared practice.

        Back to games, a well-directed experience can grant one the freedom to experience a well-told story. The challenge is finding the right balance between directing a story forward and offering a player agency within the context of that story (and to some extent to define the outcomes of the story itself). The best balance here is certainly different for different people and that’s why, for example, I bounced off Far Cry 3 and found it uncompelling but really enjoyed Dishonored for offering a more directed narrative with a ton of choice within that context, while RPS found the former to be a better game. Perhaps the level of directed-ness in Tomb Raider sometimes oversteps but there is certainly reasonable discussion to be had about what are objectively poor design decisions and what are necessary tradeoffs between narrative control and player agency with different answers for different players. All that’s to say that engaging critically with ideas like the paradox of choice can help us think about how we approach gaming as an experience and an art form.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          That’s all great, but it could also be seen as rationalizing limitations on freedom. A lot of intellectualizing just to say, “I know what’s good for you better than you do, so shut up and do as I say”.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      My experience has been exactly the opposite. Because I can do what I want, on my own schedule in Far Cry 3, I found it a much more engrossing and compelling experience than Tomb Raider has been in hours I’ve played it. I’ve even played some FC3 on a low to mid-level machine and even though it didn’t look as good, the mechanics, the choices, kept me in the game instead of thinking, “Why can’t I crouch instead of stand?”

      I know there’s a lot of anti-Far Cry 3 sentiment around here having to do with stuff that has nothing to do with moving, running, exploring, etc, but for the life of me, I cannot understand how someone could prefer the experience of playing Tomb Raider to the experience of playing FC3, which for my money is one of the best games of the past several years. Unless, a large part of that experience comes from recognition and familiarity with the intellectual property. This is the first Tomb Raider game I’ve played.

      If Far Cry 4 was announced today, I’d spend $100 on a pre-order. I wish I had waited until Steam offered Tomb Raider at a discount.

      • SuperNashwanPower says:

        I think there is a degree of randomness to people’s experiences of FC3. For example, try this. Do the mission where you have to go to the cave to pick up the mushrooms for the doc early in the game. Rather than running down the hill, try to go and use the hang glider behind the house. What will happen is that you are deemed to be leaving the mission area, you will suddenly plummet from the glider, and die – to be restarted on the mission and in no uncertainty that you really should be walking down the hill. If you just chose to walk down the hill, you wouldn’t have had that frustration. Or, go and try ‘Dog Soldier’. Instead of vaulting the fence and walking up to where the dogs are, try to back out of the shack’s driveway in a jeep. The game will not let you and you will fail.

        For me, the whole of the game was like that. Maybe I just managed to hit on the snags that most people missed, but the game seemed determined to take away choice at every turn. The pinnacle of frustration with the limiting of the world came when, in this wide open game, my important mission was to walk 10 feet across a street and spy on a homosexual tryst (Seriously? She couldn’t have looked out the window?). Other than crafting and radio towers / bases, the game felt like it wanted to hem me in. Then the shock came that clearing the last outpost meant no more random firefights on the island, because the pirates no longer drove around. The game had gone dead on me after 4 hours of play. Admittedly, if I had not done the outposts, it would have played differently. I may have had more of those awesome emergent moments. For these reasons I think that FC3 is experienced as vastly different from person to person. You could congratulate it on the fact that it allows for different experiences I suppose, but I still felt bitterly disappointed in it. There were some good, fairly open missions later on, but given the above annoyances, the linearity and QTE based nature of so many of the missions (The three COD fixed turret sections were a particular irritation) became harder to overlook.

        Maybe if I play it again I will love it, but I have little urge to go back.

  3. luukdeman111 says:

    but her hair looks great, doesn’t it guys!

    • wodin says:

      Looks lovely..except near the beginning where she is hanging upside down yet only her pony tail drops down not her fringe etc.

      Just a real fun game. I also prefer it over FC3 and Crysis 3.

      • karry says:

        ” I also prefer it over FC3 and Crysis 3.”

        I believe you are exactly the type of person they created movie industry for.

  4. mikmanner says:

    I’d love a Tomb Raider style game with no shooting and a climbing system inspired by GIRP. You’re totally right that, “When the first game that offers truly free climbing and exploring appears it’ll be the greatest day in history.”

  5. fish99 says:

    Glad I waited for reviews, I’ll be skipping this one.

    • wodin says:

      Your missing out..I expect everything you hear that puts you off would put me off too…but it is a great game.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        I don’t know why you’re getting so upset (Or whatever the emotion is that has caused you to post so often all over multiple articles for at least 24 hours about how much you like this game) over other peoples opinions. Personally the review has made me want the game, that’s the beauty of RPS wot I thinks – no scores, no one line wrap-ups, no pros and cons list – just an good read which helps you understand if the game will be enjoyable for you or not.

      • fish99 says:

        Games playing themselves and over-using cut scenes aren’t trends I want to support, but anyway, even if I did buy it, I probably wouldn’t play it for months, so I may as well just pick it up when it’s dirt cheap. I barely play 10% of the games I buy, and have a huge backlog to get through.

        Of course it’s partly because there just aren’t that many really good games around these days, and I won’t play any old dross, but there’s also just far too many games being produced for anyone to actually play unless you want to spend 10+ hrs every day gaming, which I don’t.

        • Addkell says:

          As has been stated John in the article greatly over exaggerates the amount of “control taken away,” to the point of being absurd for comic value alone. This statement alone, “For the first hour or so, I don’t remember being in complete control for more than about 30 seconds at a time.” is a flat out incorrect statement.

          • fish99 says:

            I’m sure that’s true, but reading the whole comments there seems to be plenty of people agreeing with his dislike of this aspect of the game. I’m kinda sick of games that play like action movies. Like I said if I buy it, I’m effectively supporting that trend.

      • Focksbot says:

        He’s only missing out if he spends the time he would have spent playing the game twiddling his thumbs instead. If he goes off and buys a better game, then all is fine and dandy.

        That’s the thing – with so many new and classic games to play and ponder, I’ve got no time for a Tomb Raider game that’s half poorly written CGI film.

    • Giuseppe says:

      Yeah, I’ll skip it too, at least for now. Perhaps I’ll give it a try when it’ll be in the budget bin, if ever.

      I don’t care much about “OMG, lookit the graphix!”, I care about gameplay; as in a game that actually let’s me play it. But of course, these days everything with a big title and budget has to be “dark and gritty”, and give “a streamlined cinematic experience”.

      • wodin says:

        And if you think I’m a OMG look at the graphics..your sadly mistaken…

        • Giuseppe says:

          I didn’t even reply to you, now did I, so what on Earth are you on about?

    • yourgrandma says:

      You aren’t missing much. It’s a typical modern action game full of fluff like QTE’s and regenerative health cover shooting and weapons unlocks. Platforming is a minor part of the game while being extremely lame and easy as well. I’m not surprised most reviews sites are freaking out over it, they love the whole “its like a action movie!” thing.

      • Triplanetary says:

        And what’s sad is that you can get the feel of being in an action movie without letting the game play for you. All you have to do is play Just Cause 2 or Saints Row: The Third.

  6. Iskariot says:

    Glad I had the patience to wait for an RPS review.
    The game was high on my list.
    Now it is not anymore.
    I just can’t stand games that play itself all the time.

  7. Blackseraph says:

    Quick time events were crappy and there were too many of them, and there was far too much solari morons there, I mean seriously I must have killed over 500 of them, that is quite few shipwrecks.

    There was indeed far too much shooting things in this game it would have been better game with half of it or even all of it gone.

    However I did like it in the end fairly much.

  8. Auru says:

    I’m playing this on a pretty old i5 with a nvidia 560ti, I turned tressfx off, put everything on high except textures which is on ultra.. the benchmark gives me an average of 58fps, it runs brilliantly imo.. strange to hear that you had trouble with it.

    • VanishedDecoy says:

      Oh wow. That’s quite good. I have a GTX580 and was worried that it’d chug based on what people have been saying.

  9. WoundedBum says:

    Yeah the most fun parts are the optional tombs etc. I recommend just exploring whenever you can when playing this and looking around for lots of relics and other collectibles. That said there will always be more to do when you come back to an area later.

    I was happy that at least when the game takes control away it’s a bit more enjoyable than Max Payne 3.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    So do we think Rhianna Pratchett isn’t (yet) a good games writer? I haven’t played any of her work (aside from the opening of Beyond Divinity) but she’s in the press a lot so I’m curious.

    • Premium User Badge

      Aerothorn says:

      Also apparently the writer of Tomb Raider will be writing future Discworld novels. Hmm.

      • Premium User Badge

        RedViv says:

        She has stated that she will not. It’s her father’s work, and they will keep it that way.

      • Totally heterosexual says:

        Wait what?

        Seriously?

        • Werthead says:

          There was a garbled interview where it was suggested she would be taking over the Discworld novels. It turns out that the situation is that she will be working on the City Watch TV series (which they are casting at the moment) and may take a hand with some Discworld side-projects (maybe things more like the comic adaptations, companion books etc, though that’s my supposition). The novels themselves she is strictly leaving alone.

      • Philomelle says:

        Why wouldn’t she write them? Rhianna Pratchett, the writer of Tomb Raider (as well as Mirror’s Edge, Overlord and a number of other wonderful games), is the daughter of Terry Pratchett, the creator of Discworld.

        • The Random One says:

          Yes, but the opinion of many is that she is not as skilled as her father. Which, admitedly, is a big hat to fill (with midnight).

        • Triplanetary says:

          She’s not a good writer. Mirror’s Edge is a great game, but not for the story. The story is serviceable but unoriginal, which seems to sum up her entire career.

    • Premium User Badge

      maninahat says:

      She wrote Mirror’s Edge, which had an interesting setting but a fairly unimpressive story. I knew someone who met her, and she said the studio had put her writing through the mangle. Whether that’s an excuse or the reason for why ME turned out that way, I don’t know.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        There was a lot of interference during Mirrors Edge’s development, including the addition of combat late in the game. It’s likely that a lot of changes were made to the script. I should hope so anyways, because the Big Brother vibe was incredibly trite and silly. Still a very unusual story simply because it was about two sisters trying to reconnect. That’s got to be a first for AAA gaming.

        • Cooper says:

          Mirror’s Edge was made -before- the story was written.

          Level had been finalised, everything done. Then, late in the process, she was rbought in along with an artist to put together those in-between level bits.
          There’s not much you can do in that situation…

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      She does a nice job writing Lara, for what it’s worth. Not far enough in to say for sure on the plot, but so far it’s pretty ho-hum.

    • Xocrates says:

      From the games I’ve played where she was the writer (according to wikipedia – Mirror’s Edge, Overlord 1 & 2, Prince of Persia 2008) I get the impression she’s a very competent but not particularly creative writer.

      Mind you, given the dreck we usually get in games, this places her above most others in the industry.

      • Bhazor says:

        Mirror’s Edge was trying to be a taut thriller which was directly opposed to the presentation and gameplay.
        Overlord was terrible with bad attempts at being a Discworld style loving homage.
        Tomb Raider is a confused mess which consists of Lara crying and shivering uncontrollably with 16 broken ribs (though no unsightly scars to her breasts or face naturally) in cut-scenes and then diving from cover to cover chaining a dozen head shots before having another sulk.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          It seems to be the in thing at the moment to un-constructively criticise game stories.

          • Bhazor says:

            The criticism is that her stories go directly against the game they’re in.
            Building a whole story around a character’s horror at murdering probably shouldn’t be put in a game where you kill literally hundreds of people with a fucking shotgun and no repercussions.

          • Xocrates says:

            Frankly, that sounds more like the writers and game designers not talking to each other than a failing of the writing.

          • Triplanetary says:

            Fuck you and your dismissive “I’m above unconstructively criticizing game stories” bullshit. People are going to have opinions about the media they consume. Pull the stick out of your ass and get over it.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Unconstructive criticism is nothing to be proud of.

            Constructive criticism is important.

            I have not got a stick up my ass, it’s just I see with literally every game a stream of posts all saying “Hur….. Dur… this story blows!” Which helps precisely no-one because all you are doing is presenting your opinion with no reasoning or justification. Have you seen the number of highly successful stories you can consume? Let’s just take the winners of well renowned literary awards. There are tens of thousands, with hundreds more being released every month. Which proves one thing – there are stories which one person will enjoy that another will not. Which makes your opinion on a story worthless.

            What do we call people who make worthless negative posts? Trolls right?

            Now a justification for your opinion suddenly makes your post useful. Bhazor has now followed up with the reason why he thinks the story is a “confused mess”. It kinda contradicts what John says, which makes it all the more useful. Now, I can take his criticism seriously, it helps me understand his position and enables me, if I so desired have a conversation with him about the story. I could point out to him that no game has managed to streamline it’s processor usage to properly simulate the effects of various injuries on the human body yet, so why such unrealistically high expectations of this game when it comes to the shivering with broken ribs issue. Not really a valid criticism of the story, more a criticism of the game engine as was his remarks about diving from cover to cover and unleashing headshots – is he suggesting that by him playing the game this way he has compromised the story? Perhaps he has an opinion about whether the game should allow him to play in a way that breaks with the story?

            So, no, I don’t have a stick in my ass because I called out an obvious troll.

            Well maybe I do, but at least I can voice my opinion without resorting to base language, which I am indeed way above. At least I can justify what I write without sounding like my brain is only partway developed and at least I can answer you without needing to try to insult you to justify the existence of my post.

          • smb says:

            @Sheng-ji
            People think you might have a stick up your arse because Bhazor did present a justified view that you seemingly missed or ignored, in favor of starting a weak tirade against criticizing game stories. That reply merely reiterated his original point.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “Overlord was terrible with bad attempts at being a Discworld style loving homage.”

            Is not constructive criticism.

          • Focksbot says:

            Sadly, there’s not much to constructively criticise.

            Now, sure, writing for games is a strange, difficult and relatively new territory, and now matter how talented Rhianna Pratchett is, she’s somehow got to make a convincing story fit around largely repetitive sequences and hoary old gaming tropes.

            But the fact remains that most mainstream games’ stories aren’t worth any ‘constructive’ critics’ time – they struggle even at the most basic level of providing a convincing distraction from the artificiality of the game world. Plot and character are usually sub the level of a battered airport novel. On the level of thematic coherence, creative vision and imaginative insight, most don’t register a single blip.

            Things are a bit more exciting at the indie level, of course.

          • KenTWOu says:

            @smb says:

            because Bhazor did present a justified view…

            He did present shit, cause Tomb Raider story wasn’t built around a character’s horror at murdering.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      She’s pretty okay-ish. She’s not bad there’s very little to separate her from the vast majority of people who write for games and the reason I suspect she gets mentioned a lot is because she has a famous dad and thus is an easily indentifiable figure for the press to point at.

      Mirror’s edge was sort of interesting but Overlord was one of the single most painful examples of British ‘HERE COME DA JOKES’ writing I have ever seen.

    • thelongshot says:

      She also was involved with writing Heavenly Sword, but how much she’s responsible for is debatable, particularly when Andy Sirkis was also a credited writer. This is, I think, her first shot as a head writer for a game.

      I think the problem with trying to judge how good someone is as a contributing writer to a video game is that there are a lot of factors that go into why things are done. It is like judging a screenwriter by the quality of the movie.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        Is it unfair to compare her writing against the writing of other games, though? Based on those metrics, I am wondering when Rhianna Pratchett becoming involved in a game became a cause of celebration, given that all evidence seems to point to her being a fairly workmanlike, kinda average writer.

        • Premium User Badge

          drewski says:

          Even if you think she’s an average writer (which I think is nonsense, her Lara is better realised than 99% of the “characters” in games), it’d still be enough to vault her into the top 0.1% of games writers.

          When you consider that typical gaming heroes are Master Chief, Nathan Drake or Marcus Fenix-a-likes, having a completely human player character – regardless of the rest of the story – is a massive, massive leap forward.

          The worst you can say about Rhianna Pratchett is that she’s better than almost everyone else, because she actually writes games about people.

          • Optimaximal says:

            This is a time when I wish RPS would implement comment voting…

            +1

          • Focksbot says:

            I can’t agree with this. Granted I haven’t played through TR, but of the portions I’ve seen, there’s not a single line of dialogue Lara utters or action she takes that rises above the level of tolerable cliche. I also haven’t seen anyone discuss any surprising character developments that come up, so I take it she just goes on in a similar tone throughout the game.

            I do agree with you that most game scripts end up as total hack-jobs, either through lack of talent or constrictions placed on writers, but the writing of, say, GLaDOS, is streets ahead of what we have here, and even some silently scripted games like Castle Crashers have more wit and ingenuity in their presentation of events.

    • Baal_Sagoth says:

      I thought Overlord 1&2 as well as TR were pretty damn good personally.

  11. wodin says:

    I honestly think John’s Wot I think was a little harsh. I was expecting an article about how surprised they where that they really enjoyed it despite having mechanics that many hate.

    Far better than FC3 in my eyes.

    • John Walker says:

      I’ve loved CD’s previous Tomb Raider games, and after seeing the scores it was getting for console, went in certain I was going to have a great time.

      And as the review says, I often did. And I often didn’t.

      • wodin says:

        I didn’t read any reviews so went in with low expectations..maybe thats why I’ve been very impressed.

      • webwielder says:

        Surely you realize that AAA games are reviewed based on how polished and smooth an experience they provide, and not on the intrinsic nature and quality of the gameplay and its systems?

        • Severian says:

          I would have to generally agree with this comment. Rare is the reviewer who delves into the “feeling” the game provides (beyond just “it was fun”), as mediated by the mechanics. One of the many reasons why I’ve always liked and respected the RPS WIT’s, regardless of whether I end up agreeing with them. Also, Tom Chick’s reviews, because he also sets high standards and appears thoughtful about his critiques.

  12. Wodge says:

    I’m a fair chunk through the single player, but I’ve delved into the multiplayer side of things, other than the survivors team always being Samantha, it’s rather good, if a little “hide and shoot your arrows at peoples braincases.”

  13. Fox89 says:

    I’m not miles in but really enjoying myself so far. I was very skeptical before hand “Oh look, another shooty shooter. Where is the actual Raiding of Tombs? Where is all the platforming and stuff?”

    But playing it I am consistently enjoying myself. Yes pretty big chunks of it is very scripted but I’m finding it isn’t doing so in a massively restrictive way. There was one bit where I was having a shootout in a burning building, and I thought it was the old Uncharted thing of “Yeah… the building won’t actually burn more until you get to the next floor”. Nope! The fire completely ignored where I was and just did its burning thing, and first time I died because I didn’t clear the area and get out in time. I also tested it at one point where I was limping down a narrow path and I wondered if I actually was just in a tiny invisible corridor. So I jumped off the cliff and got killed.

    So yes it’s linear, but it did at least allow me to be monumentally stupid if I so chose. I respect that. As I said only a couple of hours in at this point, but it’s doing a very good job winning me over, and 1) there are some nice exploration/platform sections in between the story and 2) even when it turns into a shooting gallery the areas I’m fighting in are more open than I expected, allowing me to explore a little bit even in hostile territory.

    Personally I’ve not yet felt like the game was basically playing itself. I can see the points where it probably is, but it doesn’t feel unnatural like it does in many other games, and it is far, far better than I was expecting.

    Oh, and I love those little asides when you find a relic where Lara tells you about the Noh Theatre Mask you just found. Archaeological geekery in the face of mortal peril? That is very Lara Croft!

  14. ArtyFishal says:

    I agree with just about everything in this review, except for the performance part. My rig isn’t top of the line (I have an 3.4GHz i5, 8gb ram, and a GTX 560), and everything runs smoothly on Ultra with TressFx turned off. TressFx destroys the framerate though. I don’t know why the reviewer encountered such slowdown.

    It is enjoyable, but it is not great for it errs far too much on the side of hand-holding (plus the quicktime events are annoying and not fun) , and the characterization is just not adventurous (pun intended). In fact, the entire design is not adventurous.

    I do respectably disagree with wodin however: Crysis 3 is far more impressive visually. The downpour at the beginning of Crysis 3 felt tangible(like reach for an umbrella tangible), and the grass seemed as if you could run your fingers through it. Tomb Raider hardly feels wet, and the crumbling cave in the beginning seems laughable like a cheap haunted house effect.

    • wodin says:

      Hmm..the whole image is alot clearer in TR..maybe it’s all down to graphic settings. I just found TR way ahead and running well where Crysis 3 couldn’t get as good before to much lag kicked it.

      Maybe both at max settings Crysis beats it, however TR is far better optimised.

      I have Tri Core @3.4, ATI6850 1gig, 8 gig ram.

      • ArtyFishal says:

        I’ll give you that. TR does run smoothly. Seeing as you have an ATI card, are you able to run it well with the hair fx turned on?

    • lucky jim says:

      I’m pretty happy with the performance as well. Getting 40-60 frames with everything maxed, including TressFX on @1080P using a 7970 card.

      Seems reasonable considering how good the game looks, and I can deal with framerates under 60 for this type of game.

    • Premium User Badge

      Wisq says:

      TotalBiscuit issued a couple of PSAs regarding Tomb Raider: One, that it’s crash-prone on GTX 600 series cards (so wait for a fix before you grab it), and two, that while his FPS was fine normally, TressFX completely demolished his framerate, cutting it by about half. All of which fully supports the “optimised for AMD GPUs” conculsion.

      (On that topic: The AMD ATI acquisition sucks for terminology. Now I can’t say “optimised for AMD” without ambiguously meaning either the GPUs or the CPUs. No such problem for Intel or nVidia. Ah well.)

      • Fox89 says:

        In regards to this. I have a GTX 680 and was getting a number of crashes. Since applying the setting changes TB recommended (Tessellation off, Exclusive Fullscreen off) I have had no problems whatsoever.

        So if anyone is considering getting it with a 600 series graphics card, bear those things in mind and you should be fine while Nvidia sort out their next drivers.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      I’m playing it with a 2600k i7, 8GB RAM and a GTX 480. For most of the game I had it on Ultimate at 1920×1200… and for the most part it was fine. Not silky smooth, not unplayable… mostly fine. But every so often I’d get these massive slowdowns that just would not go away. Eventually I noticed that it was especially bad when I was aiming… i.e. zoomed in right against the back of Lara’s head. And finally I thought, “Maybe it’s the hair thing?”

      And low and behold, I went into the settings, turned off TressFX, and I don’t think I’ve dropped a single frame since.

      Shame though, as, while the effect is subtle, once you’ve gotten used to it the traditional hair modelling is a noticeable downgrade.

  15. Low Life says:

    “Although the much trumpeted “TressFX” designed to give Lara realistic hair is absolutely crippling on powerful NVidia cards. Created by AMD, it really seems to only be an option for their own cards.”

    I wonder if this is because it’s using double-precision floating point values, the performance of which Nvidia has traditionally crippled in their consumer-grade GPUs. They changed that for Titan (though calling Titan consumer-grade is a bit of a stretch), but I couldn’t find any benchmarks of Tomb Raider with one of those to see if that makes any difference.

    • wodin says:

      Makes a change we ATI owners get something..you’ve had physx for long enough.

    • HothMonster says:

      Words on the internet yesterday were claiming Nvidia didn’t receive full code for the game until release so they will hopefully have it better optimized to run on their hardware soon.

      Some people were saying just updating to 314.07 doubled their framerate though so at least make sure you are up to date.

      But yeah, I’m sure the gpgpu design AMD has been going with certainly helps for this.

  16. SanguineAngel says:

    “But the game really doesn’t want you to. It wants you to keep going, to rescue the next person, to keep saving the day. The urgency with which you’re pressed to carry on means that to go off and explore is to shatter the thin veneer of a narrative it so desperately wants to have.”

    This is my exact experience of virtually any “open world” narrative game from Elder Scrolls to Far Cry 3 and it is always, always disappointing. It’s what the Witcher 3 seems to be directly tackling with their approach which is why I am intrigued to see what they do about it.

    • Premium User Badge

      maninahat says:

      I don’t think it was as big a problem in Far Cry 3. The characters specifically point out how Brody is becoming less interested in their plan to escape. Him becoming more violent and vengeful in the main story happily coincides with the actions of any player who chooses to go hunting and outpost smashing over sticking to the main missions.

      STALKER: CoP had no problems with this at all. The main story was so simple and non-intrusive you could practically ignore it and not feel bad. In fact, to complete your mission, you basically have to get side tracked regularly, so there is no sense that you are supposed to be in a desperate hurry.

      • Premium User Badge

        Wisq says:

        I haven’t played Far Cry 3 just yet, but that does sound like an elegant way to solve the problem. Give a clear main storyline, but give in-character reasons why you might not care to pursue it just yet.

        It seems like there are only really two options to make open-world games realistic in this manner: One, an in-character reason to avoid the main story. Two, actually tell you to go off and do stuff because you need something for the main story to progress. (Saints Row 2 took this approach, and I think Mass Effect 3 did too, with the “raising a fleet” thing?)

        I suppose one could argue these are both the same thing, but the former tends to involve either a weak story or a psychopath main character. Which might say something about us, the players, and our OCD need to see, do, and finish everything. ;)

        I don’t know that there’ll ever be a third option, at least until our games are written by AIs that act like pen-and-paper GMs and just make stuff up in whatever direction we want to go. Until then, you either don’t make enough side content and the player feels like they’re hitting invisible plot walls, or you make so much that the main story is an inconsequential part of the whole.

        • Bhazor says:

          One game that did it perfectly is Outcast.
          You start off with a central objective of killing this bastard and instructions on how to do it and within two hours you’re standing on his doorstep. Unfortunately there’s a large, powerful, well equipped army of alien super soldiers standing in the way.
          So you have to circle around. Go to new regions to weaken them, every mission doing something to fuck with them or to give you more power to fuck them with. Cutting off their food production lowers their health, freeing the slaves from the mines weakens their weapons, getting the citizens to love you will trigger militias to fight with you and so on.

          It’s quite possibly the greatest sandbox game ever made and all that anyone talks about is how hard the tutorial is.
          Sigh.

          On that note I’ve never played it but the original Just Cause was built on a similar where you’re dropped on a huge island and have to kill the president who is sitting right there in his heavily fortified compound.

    • gritz says:

      The older Elder Scrolls games (namely Daggerfall and Morrowind) didn’t put much urgency on the main storyline. In particular, the main quest of Morrowind starts out by telling you early on to go out and explore and do other things.

      Oblivion was really when they ratcheted up the drama and made you feel like you were abandoning the fate of the world whenever you spent an hour picking herbs instead of killing daedra.

      Personally, my least favorite example of this is Baldur’s Gate 2, where close to half of the game is optional and unrelated to the main story, but there’s never a point in that story where it feels appropriate to go explore it. “Sorry sister, I know an evil wizard has just put you in an insane asylum for evil wizards and is subjecting you to terrible experiments, but this lady needs me to kill all the trolls in her castle right now.”

      • fish99 says:

        Bit of an exaggeration there. I mean sure when you escape the prison, they mark your next objective and it’s the active quest, but you’re quite free to just ignore it. I know it took me many hours to get round to going to see Jaffre (or w/e) and getting a horse.

      • Nick says:

        apart from the whole “you must gather this much gold to get the thieves guild’s help” thing in act 2 and the “you might want to gather powerful allies” thing when you return to the open area you mean?

    • JabbleWok says:

      Well, this all sounds like it’s basically a slightly interactive movie which allows you to go back and visit the empty sets, though I suppose that’s the trend for much of the AAA games market these days. For an old school gamer like me it doesn’t really appeal – maybe try it later when it’s on budget.

      For TES you could pretty much completely ignore the main quest and fill your time with side-quests and exploration, and IMO many of the mod-added plots and sceneries (notably in Oblivion) were far superior to the in-built ones. Think of Lost Spires, Blood & Mud and Unique Landscapes. There was certainly no sense of coercing the player to progress the main plot as the next stage could be done at any time, or just ignored. For original STALKER you had to complete main quest stages to unlock the next map area, but again this could be done at any time and left the player feeling in complete control of their gameplay. I’m curious to see where the next Witcher goes.

      While I’m not averse to appropriately placed cutscenes, I do prefer my games to feel like games and not movies. Maybe, though, the only way to get people to watch any further TR movies is to build them into the games themselves, with pell-mell pace. Besides, Angelina Jolie doesn’t really do ‘vulnerable’. (:o>

    • JackShandy says:

      It’s weird because there’s so many stories that don’t do this. Cugel’s Saga, for instance, is totally fine with having it’s hero potter around the world getting into misadventures without dragging him along to his goal. That’s in a linear medium.

  17. Premium User Badge

    RedViv says:

    I have to give it that, in terms of 90s nostalgia: I have not seen a launch menu with the “Get more of our trailers over here!” in at least ten years, if not this entire millennium.
    Otherwise having a great time so far, a mere eight hours in. I rather grandly misjudged how very strongly the trailers (and even bloody dev demo reports) misrepresented the game.

  18. IneptFromRussia says:

    Combat is total shit, i really think developers these days do not treat shooty combat with reverence that it perhaps deserves. Purchased it for the secrets, but they aren’t exactly fun to find in game’s bleak brown-green (albeit pretty) environments. If you obsessed over collectables like me – buy Darksiders 2, better puzzles, better secrets and combat doesn’t feel like the most boring part of the game. It also has music, feature that Crystal Dynamics forgot to put in the game.

    • Totally heterosexual says:

      Well I don’t know about this game, but certainly don’t tell people to buy fucking darksiders 2 you silly man.

    • ArtyFishal says:

      I support you, everyone should buy Darksiders 2. I love that series. You forgot to mention better platforming!

    • Yosharian says:

      “total shit”

      Really? The combat is pretty great, you are either a shill or are being obtuse. It’s smooth and responsive, and fun. To describe it as total shit makes me think that you are full of it.

      • IneptFromRussia says:

        Dunno man, shooting suppose to be fun times, even if it is tps. 3 ranged weapons – rifle, pistol, shotgun. What the fuck? If you gonna go supernatural, channel that nonsense into something that will actually serve gameplay, else do not bother to put any gunplay in a game in the first place. Combat wouldn’t lost anything if you only had a bow.

        • wodin says:

          I’m enjoying the combat..Bow and Shotgun are invaluable I find..the odd occasion the assault rifle comes in handy aswell…You certainly can’t complete the game with just the bow. Also when the enemy gets up close the bow is useless.

        • Yosharian says:

          Uh, Lara Croft has always used a pistol… In the very first game she dual-wielded them, so it’s hardly beyond realism to have her handling a few guns.

          And yes, she’s a perfect shot straight away. So what. Maybe she used to go to the shooting range. Who cares. The combat is fun, if a little on the easy side due to console gamer difficulty levels, mainly caused by having wayyyy too much ammunition at all times.

  19. lucky jim says:

    This is definitely the kind of game I usually hate, gameplay-wise. It herds you along a certain path, forces control out of the player and relies on a lot of QTE’s. YET, with this particular game I’m having a blast. I think it’s the combination of characters/voice acting, and mix of adventure that keeps me quite interested in the game. It also looks quite good. I can definitely feel for Lara in this game far more than I ever could a character like Nathan Drake, for example.

    At times, though.. especially near the beginning when you’re just simply hunting for some food, I realized this would make a really great semi-open-world game. But… way MORE open-world. That would allow you to go between areas, through jungle/forest/beach, looking for tombs and looking for your friends, without being trodden down a specific patch. And having to survive the island on your own would be quite interesting. I think they really have the framework for something great here, and I hope they expand upon it and provide more freedom to the player.

    I’m also hoping the game gets more difficult at some point. I actually found the wolves fairly challenging since they’re fast. You need to have decent aim, reaction, and dodging ability to avoid getting injured. On the flipside, the human opponents are incredibly clumsy. All their animations seem exaggerated to the point where they take too long to do anything.. aim, run, shoot, threaten you.. pop out of cover.. always gives you a million years to aim for a headshot and finish them off without being in any real danger. And I haven’t been using the stealth action bits or elements of distraction yet. I may start playing that way just for the sense of variety.

  20. gravity_spoon says:

    Well looks like another IP gone to shit then. Onto something else. Perhaps it is time to back Torment KS.

  21. Dominic White says:

    I’m maybe 6-7 hours into the game and enjoying it a lot. It’s very Uncharted, but better, with more freedom of movement both in and out of combat. The fighting flows very smoothly – there’s no ‘take cover’ button. Lara automatically lowers herself against cover, and will pop out around a corner if you take aim.

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt like the game is taking control from me. The vast majority of modern action games are far more restrictive. And, as is mentioned, you get free reign to explore and climb and hunt for goodies once the initial flurry of activity in a new area dies down.

    As for the accusations that it’s exploitative, Rab Florence was very hesitant to even try the game based on the skeevy marketing surrounding it, but after playing it, he had nothing but glowing praise:
    http://effingarcade.tumblr.com/post/44702546202/on-lara-croft

    Lara is basically Lady Rambo. Replace her with a male character and you’d have people hailing this as the manliest game ever. Have a woman endure injuries while fighting off an army of crazy cultists, and it’s somehow torture-porn.

    • John Walker says:

      You realise that no one here has suggested that it’s in any way exploitative, neither the review, nor any of the preceding comments?

      • Dominic White says:

        It was a general comment, not in response to this particular review – a lot of other reviews still claim that the game is creepy torture-porn and that there’s something inherently sexual about Lara getting hurt. A lot of people have been put off ever playing the game because of this perception, and a lot of the marketing seems to have been almost emphasizing this.

    • karry says:

      I keep hearing that this is what (much lauded) Uncharted series is like on consoles. If that is true – good thing they didnt bring it on PC.

      • Iceman346 says:

        Uncharted is quite a lot more streamlined and scripted than the new Tomb Raider. Thats one of the reasons why I personally am pleasantly surprised at the moment. I was expecting a full on Uncharted clone. Ergo impressive QTE setpieces mixed with bouts of shooting a lot of bad guys.
        But in Tomb Raider you actually get quite a bit of freedom and exploration. And while there are both shootouts and impressively looking on rails moments those are not as prevalent as I feared.

        I’m currently about 10 hours in and having a jolly good time.

      • Premium User Badge

        Nathan says:

        Whilst that sort of game might not be your personal cup of tea, what’s wrong with one of the most popular and critical acclaimed game series of the last ten years being on the PC? You aren’t obliged to play it.

        • karry says:

          WHat you’re saying is that “millions of flies cant be wrong” ?

    • Triplanetary says:

      From your link: “This Lara Croft is different. She’s terrified. She’s cold, shivering in the rain. She can barely balance as she walks over a narrow beam. She constantly tells herself ‘You can do this. You can do this.’”

      How is that in any way, shape, or form Lady Rambo?

      Don’t get me wrong. Vulnerable heroes – great, awesome. But how many male heroes in gaming would ever be portrayed this way? I’m not saying Lara shouldn’t be portrayed this way, but before we declare TR a turning point in video game portrayals of gender, I’d like to see more male heroes who are equally vulnerable.

      • Dominic White says:

        That’s the first hour or two of the game. There’s a point not too long after where Lara basically snaps, takes on an entire cultist army singlehandedly while bellowing “COME ON! IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT!?”.

        Yes, she starts the game as a regular archaeologist in a terrifying situation, but her mentor (an ex-SAS hardarse) keeps reminding her that she’s ‘A Croft’, and that her father was very much the invulnerable adventurer type. After a while, Lara realizes that she fits that definition too.

        Every single gameplay trailer and video seems to consist entirely of footage from the first hour or two of the game. You really don’t get to see the Lara that figures that an emergency cauterization kit can double as the makings of a quiver of flaming arrows.

        • Focksbot says:

          So she’s basically told to ‘man up’ and emulate her father? Sounds very progressive.

  22. Yosharian says:

    This is a great game, I think you’ve been too harsh on it. I think it’s way better than FC3, for example, and everyone wanked themselves dry over that game.

  23. scatterlogical says:

    I am not usually one for heavily-scripted games, give me a good open world or sandbox any day. That said, I am thoroughly enjoying Tomb Raider for the cinematic blast that it is. Sure, it’s mostly on rails, but so are thrilling coasters – and I do feel that the mix of interactivity with the viceral cutscenes really makes you feel for Lara a whole lot more than if you were watching this as a movie or just controlling her as a pure game avatar. I must admit, I’ve found myself apologizing to her for injuring/killing her on more than one occasion. So my recommendation is to definitely give this game a whirl, it’s a hell of a good ride, but don’t expect to go off-road from Crystal Dynamic’s carefully sculpted but linear plot.

  24. Rian Snuff says:

    From my friends so far the only negative thing I’ve heard is “It wasn’t long enough”.
    And you can take that two ways.. Haha. I can’t wait till’ I can afford some new titles.

  25. Eclipse says:

    ” the old-school, they who see gaming as something they control. In the red corner, the new-school, the neophites, they who see gaming as an experience to be guided through. Tomb Raider, a series traditionally set in the old, in this reboot of the franchise firmly enters the new.”

    So, basically, it sucks balls :\

  26. Barchester says:

    I’m loving the game so far. There’s something immensely satisfying about shooting everyone to death with a well aimed arrow instead of guns.

  27. guygodbois00 says:

    Excellent review Mr Walker. Entertaining , yet very, very Informative. 3x dragon icons next to your (Legendary) writing skill.

  28. Hindenburg says:

    I’m constantly slightly amused at the uncharted comparisons.
    Having finished the game with a 99% completion rate, to me it felt far more like Tomb Raider: Arkham Asylum.

    Melee combat being replaced by bang bang, obviously.

    • Fox89 says:

      This is probably the better analogy. Definitely getting more of an Arkham feel than an Uncharted one for the most part – and I mean that in a good way.

      Although I am still too early for the really heavy shooty-bang stuff… :)

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      Assassin’s Creed vs Uncharted vs Arkham Asylum.

  29. Artista says:

    You know what, I didn’t want to get this game, everything about it was telling me that I wouldn’t like it, but as a TR fan I couldn’t resist. I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong, and I was wrong about this game. I still think past Tomb Raider games are better overall, this game just doesn’t have that moment of total silence where you’re all alone.

    You explore a little bit and then suddendly, shoot that guy! Don’t get me wrong, the shooting is fun. Unnecessary, but fun. This is the first game where I actually want to use a bow and arrow. I haven’t finished it yet, still only 25% done, but so far, I really miss the climbing bits from the other games, though.

    Also, I killed some bunnies with my bow. I just… “ooh! bunnies! can I kill them? die die die!!” :(

    • wodin says:

      Plenty of climbing to do mate..loads..also the tombs are quite.

  30. wodin says:

    Funny how a vast majority of comments here by those who have played it say they really enjoy it, yet those who haven’t say they are going to stay well away from it.

    Honestly it has things that we all hate and moan about on here..HOWEVER..it’s a great fun game. A vast majority of games are far worse than this one.

    • Yosharian says:

      Pretty much this, most of the forums on every site atm are a bunch of people who havent played the game, bitching about it, and people who have actually played it varying from ‘it’s ok, some bits I don’t like’ to ‘it’s very good’.

      It’s a good game. That’s something quite amazing considering the industry’s output lately, and considering it’s a ‘gritty reboot’.

    • Zenicetus says:

      It’s important to make allowances for different gaming preferences. For example, If I have a visceral loathing of QTE’s in PC games (and I do), then I don’t think I’m being unreasonable in deciding not to buy the game at full price on release day, when I hear it’s loaded with QTE’s.

      • Yosharian says:

        I don’t particularly like QTEs and I loathe it when games take away control, like for example the dumb cutscenes in Doom 3.

        Yet, I’m thoroughly enjoying Tomb Raider. I think it’s unfair to simplify it down to ‘oh it has some QTEs so you won’t like it’. It’s a good game, it deserves better treatment than that.

        But do whatever you like, it’s no bother to me.

        • Premium User Badge

          Nathan says:

          I can only remember four of five QTEs in the first hour or two. Annoying, to be sure, but not a big enough deal to base a purchase decision on.

  31. Utsunomiya says:

    I wish they actually proofread that gibberish they wrote for the rapey-russian-bad-guy.
    And it’s Pimiko, not Himiko, goddammit.
    Also, boy, do I love disappearing corpses that you can’t loot because they’re not there anymore.

    • wodin says:

      The corpse thing is annoying but I think it only happens if you blow them up.

  32. Snargelfargen says:

    Interesting review. As a gamer I’m very impatient and a compulsive explorer, so heavily scripted games drive me nuts. That said, I have several Final Fantasy games set aside for when I I’m sick as a dog, and just want to be led through a story until the pain goes away. Sounds like Tomb Raider will be a good addition to the pill cabinet.

  33. blacksun_redux says:

    Personally, the first thing that turned me off about this game, (having not played it yet) was the decision to reboot Laura from her old bubbly bright plucky “female indiana jones” (Not to mention, unashamed sex symbol) self to a beat down, dark and troubled character. It bothers me when game or film makers decide to create value simply by tweaking the “darker and gritter” knob up a few notches. I grow weary of ultra violence, and for me, that’s not always a plus.

    But, I’m totally looking forward to playing this, and see if my concerns are validated.

  34. Kinth says:

    While I am really enjoying the gameplay the overall generic story has me really worried for the Discworld series. The game was written by Terry Pratchett’s daughter who is set to take the helm from Terry once he thinks he is no longer capable of creating new stories (due to Alzheimers)

    While the dialog overall isn’t that bad, the story is just very bland and those awkward moments where you are forced to watch the video camera at camp fires are utterly cringe worthy attempts at adding character depth to characters you barely ever meet. And when you first meet Matthias no one thought oh wait a minute here is this man that comes out of nowhere that no one has met on an island covered in scavengers and killers out in the middle of nowhere, maybe we shouldn’t trust him?

    Overall gameplay is great, the story is a little generic though. It’s not a terrible story it’s just not all that interesting. There are some utterly stunning locales though, like the hidden cave where there is a giant building built into he cave walls. It’s a a shame the story couldn’t achieve the same level of mystery I felt going into that cave.

    • Chris D says:

      I wouldn’t worry too much if I were you. She talked about that in this interview

      The relevant quote is:”‘There was an assumption I was going to write Discworld, which isn’t exactly the case,’ explains Pratchett. ‘They’re sacred, they’re Dad’s legacy and I’m the protector of Discworld and that means protecting it from myself as well.”

      • Triplanetary says:

        If only Brian Herbert had had the same respect for his father’s legacy.

  35. JohnH says:

    I’m loving it so far, great story and overall good gameplay imho. But there’s two things that really annoy me; 1 – Whoever made the QTE’s for pc should be flogged, making me die at least once per QTE just because half the symbols don’t show until you should’ve pressed them and then you have to figure out what key that symbol means afterwards is driving me nuts. What’s wrong with just showing press E instead of a hand symbol? Even RE5 got that right. And 2 – Constant CTDs while camping since I got a Geforce card…

    • Fox89 says:

      Turn off tesselation and exclusive fullscreen if you have them on. Hopefully that will keep you going until new drivers :)

    • Yosharian says:

      I have button prompts turned off and it only took me a few deaths to learn the symbols.

    • KenTWOu says:

      What’s wrong with just showing press E instead of a hand symbol?

      Some keyboard/mouse buttons have pretty long names.

  36. Chris D says:

    reply fail

  37. RogerioFM says:

    Screw saving friends, I only saved my first ‘friend’ on Far cry 3 after killing every beast on the island at least 3 times and climbed every tower and cleared every camp. I didn’t like those friends, so I didn’t bothered with them.

  38. byjimini says:

    I’ll stick with Anniversary, then.

  39. Strangerator says:

    “It’s got something it wants to show you, so could you please follow this way.”

    Thanks for putting this early, saved me some time!

  40. wodin says:

    I demand another RPS journo does a Wot I think…seems an awful lot of people are put off by Johns article..yest when you read the comments a vast majority really enjoy the game. A shame as i think a few who are saying NO would probably enjoy it.

    • Yosharian says:

      I have to say I agree, I find the review to be overly critical, where RPS was happy to overlook FC3′s criticisms, here they seem to be deal-breaking, despite FC3 doing much the same shit as what’s being criticised here. And FC3, unlike TR, has an utterly ridiculous story that makes no sense.

    • Snidesworth says:

      As much as I disagree with John’s opinion (I found Far Cry 3 boring and have been enjoying Tomb Raider as a whole so far) I don’t think WITs should be posted (or withheld) based on how much of a crowd pleaser they are.

      • wodin says:

        I agree..but sometimes maybe two wot I thinks by people who have two different opinions on a game might be a good idea..as there we have a really decent game with people saying NO because of certain game mechanics yet those who have played it and commented here on the whole really enjoy it.

        • Triplanetary says:

          In other words you want to see a review that agrees with your opinion of the game and you’re going to whine like a child until you get it.

        • Hanban says:

          You know.. there are other gaming sites out there. I’m pretty sure you can find some site which has written a review that echoes your thoughts on the game.

    • fish99 says:

      No offense but by using the word demand you come across as someone who can’t accept other peoples opinions.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I think it’s worth a roundtable and a verdict *if* some of the other writers significantly disagree with John.

  41. PC-GAMER-4LIFE says:

    Its another tedious QTE action game think Gears Of War, God War, Uncharted, COD throw in Lara Croft = Tomb Raider 2013.

    Deeply flawed & limited gameplay gfx are also pretty poor for a 2013 release the water looks worse than the older TR games made by Crystal Dynamics obviously an afterthought to run on current consoles. Nixxes did their usual terific porting role but the content is poor & the gameplay tedious & boring. Massive hype & mega advertising budget ensure it will sell well but I doubt anyone will remember this game in 12 months time other than a poster child for all that is wrong about QTE based gameplay & linear gameworlds which flatter to deceive & offer a tiny playing area broken up into lots of console memory friendly gameplay chunks but hide the real lack of content.

  42. buzzmong says:

    Eh, might get it when it’s on sale then, as I suspect I’d be annoyed by the hand holding.

    • KenTWOu says:

      There is no hand holding until you press Survival Instinct button and you can play the game without pressing it.

  43. Premium User Badge

    draglikepull says:

    “Games do that widescreen borders thing for a reason, Crystal.”

    Oh god, I hate hate hate when games do that. It doesn’t look cinematic. It looks like the developers want my nice widescreen HD TV to look like a 4:3 CRT screen. It’s awful, it’s ugly, and it wastes perfectly good screen space.

    • YogSo says:

      WHOOOSH!! –> Sound of John’s point passing miles over your head.

      To make it painfully clear, both to you and any passing TR developer that may be reading these comments:

      * You are playing the game. Suddenly, black borders appear. –> Message conveyed to the player: “This is a NON-INTERACTIVE cutscene. Just relax and enjoy(?) our great story.”

      * Black borders dissappear. –> Message conveyed to the player: “Ok, you are back in control again. Yes, we know, the game looks as gorgeous as the cinematic, doesn’t it? Ah, the joys of modern technology… Oh, by the way, you should watch out for that incoming giant boulder. Just sayin’.”

      So, back to John’s comment: “Games do that widescreen borders thing for a reason, Crystal.” Get it now?

      • Premium User Badge

        draglikepull says:

        Yes, I got that in the first place and I still think it’s an ugly an entirely sub-optimal solution. There are other ways to dilineate cut scenes from sections where the player has control through things like camera movements, or turning the UI off during cut scenes and turning it back on during gameplay or, and this may be a crazy idea, not mashing cut scenes into the middle of gameplay sequences.

        It was, however, very generous of you to assume that I’m an idiot and not someone with an opinion that differs from yours, so thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt and not being needlessly condescending!

    • fish99 says:

      You misunderstood, it’s not the horizontal borders that close in, it’s the top and bottom borders, so the aspect ratio becomes 2.35:1 like a movie. It’s very appropriate for a cut scene and works very well in games that use it.

  44. Jamesworkshop says:

    I think it works, its damn long game that’s split in half duct taping a uncharted thrill ride to a batman Arkham modern 3d metroidvania, one precedes the other.

    Running on a GTX 560 i haven’t had to many problems the first 2 hours had a lot of crashes, which then disappeared, and then in the end levels the sound would randomly stop.

  45. aepervius says:

    I played it on PS3 and it was a fun but very short ride. I never went back to any zone (only once for a few mintues at the end, to get +150 salvage to get my final upgrade for the bow – grenade arrow – which I did not even use). I fiished the game with something like 70-75%. It was a fun game to rent for 2 days. All in All I still prefer the last TR to this one.

  46. krait says:

    Please, an SDK this time?

    Or maybe a world editor for the trilogy? I’ve been wanting to map for these games for years. And not just for multiplayer maps like in FC2, I want to make single player TR levels. But I guess under Squeenix, this has become less likely rather than more.

    Oh well, one can dream.

  47. Mathute87 says:

    Well, to be honest I rather have Lara crawling than the cover system that’s been used by every third person game lately.

    I’d like to see you bitch about control in every single game from now on, because it’s not as bad as you say it is. This game is getting some unnecessary hate from some people, but hey, opinions.

    Well, but thank goodness I have a job and I’m able to try it out myself, and not depend on some reviewer that got out of bed with his left foot.

    • Triplanetary says:

      I swear, gamers who disagree with a review are some of the whiniest little kids on the planet.

      • Mathute87 says:

        Well, I usually don’t. These reviews are pretty much all the one I read, but unlike many people, my purchasing options are not defined by one review. And if I believe the reviewer is being a little too harsh, I will comment on that, because that’s what the comments section is for, right? For people like you and me to feel like someone gives a fuck about what we say. So, if I’m annoying to you because I disagree with the reviewer, then don’t fucking read me. Spare the headache. Go play something.

        But if you insist on keeping this on, then read some of the comments here: “Well, I’ll have to pass”; “well, companies shove QTEs down our throats. Pass”; “well, I like to play games too”; “won’t be buying, It sucks”. If you really enjoy a game and then realize people are that stupid to wait for ONE person to decide for them… I don’t know, I’d like to say something about it. Won’t change a thing, but at least I’m saying it.

        Besides, it’s not just me. Just read the decent comments, a lot of people disagree..

        And he has the right to bitch about and praise whatever he wants, there’s a reason why he works here and so many people don’t, but that won’t stop me thinking that this review is, at least when it comes to the “I like to play” argument, a bit too much on the negative side. It’s not a perfect game by any means, but this review makes it seem a lot worse than what it really is.

  48. MOKKA says:

    Why so much negativity?

  49. Wedge says:

    Sounds okay for the price of free I got it for. But it also made me go and install Legend and Underworld, because I never finished Legend and never even played Underworld, and Anniversary was great…

  50. Bobtree says:

    > It looks stunning

    The color balance in all the screenshots is awful. It almost looks like they tried to clone the atmosphere of Dark Souls but messed it up badly.