Keeping Up With The Jones: Rise Of The Tomb Raider

By Adam Smith on June 9th, 2014 at 10:00 pm.

The sequel to Tomb Raider: The Reboot has a title and a trailer. The title really is Rise Of The Tomb Raider, which I suppose is better than Raid Of The Tomb Riser, or High Rise Raider, in which Croft and some other posh sorts wage violent class warfare in a south London estate. In the actual sequel, Lara has been left so emotionally damaged by her experiences on the gusty island of the first game that she has to wear a hoodie. And see a therapist who reminds me of a non-specific Fox News anchor.

Multiple global locations are confirmed so this probably isn’t a point and click adventure about rebuilding Lara’s shattered mind. She’s going to jog around exotic locations shooting arrows into peoples’ brainstems.

I quite enjoyed the latest Tomb Raider but by the time everything on the screen started blowing up, I decided to stop playing. That may have made my memories of it fonder than they would have been if I’d struggled through to the end.

Jolly good co-operative Croft game Guardian of Light is also receiving a sequel in the shape of isometric four-player title Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. Leading archaeologists all agree that Osiris has some absolutely stonking tombs.

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53 Comments »

  1. XhomeB says:

    An important question which needs to be answered before I decide whether to get excited about this thing or not: have they hired competent writers?
    I hated the writing, characters and cliche/plot hole-ridden plot in TR2013. So much potential was utterly wasted. UGH.

    Anyway, I sincerely hope there’s more actual tomb raiding, puzzle solving and platforming this time. Also, the sense of solitude (and wonder) needs to return – the original felt like a Doom clone at times, the number of enemies Lara had to face defied all logic, to say the island was overcrowded would be an understatement.

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      jezcentral says:

      I think we can all agree that Rhianna Pratchett is a competent writer. The problem is the process of making a game means that everything gets chopped up to get in the final product, and the most obvious loss of coherence is in the writing.

      • DanMan says:

        This. Don’t just blame it all on her. I’ve read somewhere that the story people had to kind of fight to even get the version we eventually got. I liked the end result for the most part btw. But like Adam already wrote – until she turned into Rambo’s little sister, with a bodycount to go along with it.

      • Lord of the Fungi says:

        Can we? Oh I guess we can, it’s hard to argue with competent – which, I assume means can write something coherent in proper English. Good one would be harder to agree on, as it seems I didn’t play the one game where her writing is good. And apparently I cannot judge by other games as story mediocrity is always someone else’s fault.

        • Philomelle says:

          “And apparently I cannot judge by other games as story mediocrity is always someone else’s fault.”

          No, you cannot judge because you are desperately pretending that Tomb Raider and Mirror’s Edge are the majority of her work in video games despite them making up barely a fourth of her portfolio.

          Heavenly Sword nearly earned her a BAFTA. Overlord won a WGGB, while her localization of Risen was nominated the same. The non-story banter between the two protagonists was widely considered to be the best part of both Prince of Persia and Bioshock Infinite, and she wrote all of that. Her early work on the Divinity series (she wrote the prequel novella for Divine Divinity and much of the editing for Beyond Divinity) also helped set the series’ tone.

          So yes, people will either raise eyebrows or mock you when you base your argument on the only two games out of a 15+ game portfolio where the writer wasn’t given creative freedom.

          • Lord of the Fungi says:

            Yes, and none of those things impressed me particularly. Maybe Overlord would, if I could remember it, but for the life of me, I can’t (and I can see from screenshots that I did play it). I didn’t play Heavenly Sword, as it’s console exclusive. So yea, I do think she is overrated.

          • Philomelle says:

            And that’s a matter of your preference. Different people preferring different writing styles is a good thing.

            But there’s a difference between simply saying that you don’t like her writing and lying about the state of her portfolio to enhance your argument.

      • MkMax says:

        dont include me, i haven’t liked anything with her as the lead writer.
        ill never understand why she gets so much press, she is not “bad”, but she is average, run of the mill, unremarkable, in fact, if RPS didnt hype her every time i wouldnt have any idea who wrote those games because i would just forget about them the second i go play something else, just another average crappy story with forgettable characters

    • Philomelle says:

      The original game had them hire a very good writer, only to give her a complete character list with backsories (who were designed to provide the players with extra multiplayer models, not as actual characters), provide her with a mostly complete sequence of events and tell her that she’s allowed to scribble a couple lines in-between all the explosions they already put into the game. I imagine this one won’t end up any better.

      I did love the game to pieces, but it was really crippled by the marketing department barging in on every turn and beating their “formula for success” over the heads of the developers. They visibly wanted to make a game marketable to people who treat games like Hollywood blockbusters (aka the same audience CoD is marketed to), not a game that is actually good and creative.

    • SillyWizard says:

      Judging from the shit that psychologist was saying, I wouldn’t hold my breath. He’s clearly not a licensed clinician.

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        Thermal Ions says:

        That’s because he actually is an ex- non-specific Fox News Anchor who thought his honorary doctorate for years of reporting on the psychological impacts of violent video games actually meant something.

    • IneptFromRussia says:

      Yeah Rhianna Pratchett is writing sequel too. She never wrote a decent script for the game in my opinion(Mirror’s Edge, Tomb Raider, Thief), this probably wouldn’t be an exception. Although i already can see that a certain gaming website gonna love the narrative of the game no matter how silly just because of pandering to feminist agenda, but whatever. Hope the gameplay is good :)

      • bill says:

        I think she gets coverage more because of her last name than her gender. And people assume she’s a good writer because of her name, and simply because she’s one of the few video game writer’s whose name we actually know.

        As to whether she’s really a good writer, it seems very hard to tell when video game development doesn’t seem to leave much room for writers to do or decide much. She at least seems to be trying. She falls into stereotypes a little too much, but again, that’s games.

        • Philomelle says:

          No, she gets coverage because her work on Heavenly Sword, Overlord and Prince of Persia 2008 was incredible and was the sole reason why a lot of people were looking forward to the Tomb Raider reboot.

          It just so happened that Mirror’s Edge had 90% of her script cut out at the last moment and without consulting her, while Tomb Raider suffered from design by committee and gave her next to zero creative freedom.

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          jezcentral says:

          EDIT: Bah, need coffee. Sorry, Bill. Completely misread your post.

          Bill: Force for good.

          Jezcentral: Force for stupidity.

    • WhatKateDoes says:

      For the record Rhianna has stated on Twitter that she’s only one of a team of writers this time around…

  2. Artea says:

    Oh yay, another hackneyed attempt at a dark and edgy Tomb Raider game.

  3. TheBigBookOfTerror says:

    I was the same, never finished it because it seemed to add a more open world to explore, but as it progressed it felt more closed off and restrictive. And the QTE were atrocious, I didn’t care what was happening in the cutscenes I just wanted them out of the way. Shame, as the combat mechanics were greatly improved over the earlier games and it looked fantastic. I don’t hold up much hope for this new one, looks even more dour and depressing! “Be an adventurer, except it’s no fun and you’ve got PTSD YAY!”

    • XhomeB says:

      The melee combat system literally was nothing but a QTE-fest. Press X and kill an enemy in one blow. Horrible.

      • spr00se says:

        ?

        I finished the game yesterday having started playing last week, and put all my points in melee as soon as it was available. Melee didn’t work that way. You could stealth kill with one press (once you had the axe) which is standard practice, and once you unlocked some high end abilities, you could evade-kill .. but that was multiple presses, plus timing the dodge and the counter / kill.

        While the game definitely had issues elsewhere I kind of liked the way melee was relatively hard to use – ie, you struggled to facetank more than 1 enemy at a time, etc. Made Lara feel a little fragile / mostly suited to range.

        Think you might be remembering a different game.

  4. Gilead says:

    Raiders of the Lost Art (of Making Games About Actually Raiding Tombs for Once)

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    VelvetFistIronGlove says:

    Hopefully they used up all their prop corpses in the last game. There were just a few too many bodies everywhere (even excluding the ones that Lara killed).

  6. Muttley says:

    Personally, as a fan of the Tomb Raider games since the first, I absolutely loved the Tomb Raider reboot, although some larger, more difficult tombs would have been welcome.

    Really interested to see where they take this.

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    RedViv says:

    This of course means they need to pick up their mounted combat Lara concept later on and make Ride of the Tomb Raiser.

  8. Bravado says:

    Seriously – Rise of The Tomb Raider? That is one generic lame-ass title for a game.

    • Jalan says:

      I guess George Lucas takes an odd job coming up with titles for games and the like these days.

  9. Shezo says:

    Got irked a bit by the “arrow in the head” scene for whatever reason.
    Previous game tried to make Lara more human and relatable (sort of) and now she’s a cold ruthless killing machine.
    “Survivor is born” my ass.

    • mashkeyboardgetusername says:

      “I think we’re making progress in these sessions. You say the flashbacks have stopped. This is excellent improvement.
      “But, I’m concerned that you’re still shutting yourself away at home. It’s important to gradually take steps into the outside world. Take some walks. Maybe pick up a nice hobby. Girl your age should be exploring new horizons.
      “I’d like to know you’re taking care of yourself. For many people these traumas become a mental trap. They get…stuck, like a ship, frozen in ice.”
      *thunk*
      HEADSHOT +15XP
      “More pschobabble”
      “‘Inspirational’ quote from Lara”
      [TOMBNAME] DISCOVERED +50XP

      • Smoky_the_Bear says:

        This, it seems like its trying too hard to be intellectual and edgy one minute. Next minute your gunning down people left right and centre at a rate only beaten by the new Wolfenstein game. I don’t play action games for some “deep, meaningful storyline” nor vice versa.

    • DanMan says:

      We think alike. I also instantly thought: “Noo, not a killing machine again. Try something else. Please.”

    • Convolvulus says:

      I don’t think the previous game was trying to make her human and ‘relatable’ at all. It’s a classic hero’s journey (katabasis included) with the added dynamic of the hero being a modern woman from a world in which putting an arrow through someone’s head is generally frowned upon. The common story criticism was that she gets over the horror of murder too quickly. She freaks out over killing the first guy and then kills another hundred pretty easily. Actually, what she was wrestling with that entire game wasn’t the horror of her circumstances but the horror that she’s finally in her element as a world-class adrenaline junkie psycho killer.

  10. Geebs says:

    Seemed to be doing a lot more falling.

    I would have called it “Tomb Raider: Shit! BEAR!”

  11. mpk says:

    To be fair, that trailer stopped just short of ultimate blandosity – it didn’t have a final strapline of “RAIDERS WILL TOMB RISE”

    Only just short mind. The applause at the end of that video was really very depressing.

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    Joshua says:

    “High Rise Raider, in which Croft and some other posh sorts wage violent class warfare in a south London estate.”

    What’s wrong with that? It sounds utterly hilarious!

  13. jorygriffis says:

    Horrible trailer. The reaction it got out of me was, “Why the fuck is she talking to herself?”

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      Big Murray says:

      She’s responding to the therapist. Either the environment she’s in isn’t real and it’s part of a flashback she’s having, or she’s there and hearing the voice of the therapist.

      • jorygriffis says:

        There’s no version of this scene that isn’t incredibly goofy.

  14. Xocrates says:

    They also announced a sequel to Guardian of Light, now that one I’m interested in.

    Anyway, this one is very much on my “wait and see” list. The reboot wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t Tomb Raider for me. It felt overproduced and designed by committee, which at the end of the day also made it feel kind of bland.

    That said, it did gave me hope they would go more Tomb-raider-ish for the sequels.

    Though it amused me a bit that their attempt to humanised Lara made her feel more like a murderous psycho than any one the previous games I’ve played (and demonstrated by this trailer).

  15. altum videtur says:

    Color me not at all.

    Here’s how ya do Tom Braider right:
    1. main character? sociopath posessed of a maniacal obsession with acquiring ancient artifacts and also weapons, bereft of even the most basic concern for anything beyond these directives
    2. plot? just drop a fucking t-rex in a big dark cave
    3. gameplay? hope you know binary because by fuck we’ll make you count out these levers

    • pepperfez says:

      But you don’t understand, she’s damaged and vulnerable and only raids tombs to deal with the crippling pain. This is serious high art, get your sense of fun outta here.

  16. Shodex says:

    Sometimes I feel like the only guy who actually enjoyed the Tomb Raider reboot, or as I like to call it “Ah! Ah! Ah! I can do it! Ow! Ooooouch! That hu- Oh look, a cave with maybe a tomb to raid later for some XP or something!” the Game.

    Okay, I don’t really call it that. But I do like it for what it was, an action romp. I think people are giving it too much flak for the insane beating Lara takes in the game. I mean, Nathan Drake takes the same amount of beating if not more and we just kind of point and laugh when he writhes in pain because the overall theme is more tongue and cheek. Tomb Raider certainly sets it self up to look dirty and realistic, but I don’t remember it ever saying it WAS realistic. Tomb Raider never has been.

    Is it a perfect game? Of course not. Is it a game everyone should play? Naah. But I think it’s catching more flak than it’s earned. So many people were for some reason expected Tomb Raider to be more than it ever wanted to be, and they reprimanding it when it doesn’t live up to your artificial expectations. Sure it takes itself seriously but it’s not art, it’s not trying to be art, it’s trying to be an action game and it’s a hell of a lot better of one than Call of Battlefield: Modern Warface of Honour 7.

    • TehK says:

      Same here. I really enjoyed the reboot. Of course it deserved criticism but I feel people are attacking it mostly because it’s “cool” to not like AAA franchises or something.

      I would really like it if they would continue what they did in that reboot. However the new title is quite silly and the trailer is a bit mediocre. So as always… wait and see.

    • Xocrates says:

      I saw a lot of criticisms of the new game, but “the insane beating Lara takes in the game” was never one of them.

      However: “look, a cave with maybe a tomb to raid later for some XP or something” was, since it meant the tomb raiding itself was essentially absent and cast to the side.

      The other large criticism was the gameplay and story disconnect, i.e. the “ohh, I’m so weak and vulnerable, now watch as I flip a switch and murder dozens of people indiscriminately”

      To be clear, it’s not a bad game, it’s just not tomb raider.

      • MkMax says:

        “ohh, I’m so weak and vulnerable, now watch as I flip a switch and murder dozens of people indiscriminately” you are putting it mildly, it was more like :

        “oooh im so tired, so hungry, omg ill have to kill bambi to survive”
        (5 minutes later) *shoots pirate’s head off with a shotgun* *stealth kills 3 with arrows to the head* *machineguns another 6*
        “sob sob, im so alone, ooh look at my friend who is obviously going to die and my other friend who obviously going to betray me, how can i live without them ?”
        *kills 5 with a grenade, sets several on fire, machineguns dozens*
        “ooooh a shiny coin, the whoevers used to bathe in the blood of virgins as they made these, wooopie! :D”
        “sob sob woe is me, killing is so hard”
        *kills everyone in the entire island, and the bunnies, and the deers, and the rats and the wolves*

        i thought she had split personalities the entire game

    • milton says:

      Don’t worry, I enjoyed it too.

      At first, I played it and then just stopped. The story didn’t catch me the QTE’s were infuriating and the unlock system was pretty shallow.

      However after coming back to it a few months ago, I found myself really enjoying the game. While it was an action romp, it was actually a pretty decent linear game.

      In my opinion Tomb Raider (2013) is similar to Hitman:Absolution. They depart hard from their roots, coming back as a totally different game. While it’s not what you wanted or what you expected, it was still fun in it’s own right.

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    cpt_freakout says:

    I also enjoyed the reboot, at least when it let me play with the scenery for a good while. The story was not atrocious but it was not that good either, so I wouldn’t expect a lot from this in that area. The ‘survivor’ discourse is suitable to continue with what happened on the first game, but hopefully it won’t just be a crutch to justify action sequences. Anyway, if we get even more interactivity with the environment this time around, I’ll be happy.

  18. PsychoWedge says:

    I often wear a hoodie when I go to therapy. A hoodie can be like long hair. It protects from gazes, from being spoken to, from being recognized, from being examined, from having to look at people and things yourself, from being visible to everyone around you with just a seconds glance. It’s like a thick blanket you can pull over yourself and wrap yourself in. Not to sound overly dramatic but this… portable haven… for my mind quite regularly makes the difference between an almost unbearable trek to the therapist and a mearly uncomfortable one.

  19. Neith says:

    “More game of women issues for Feminazis to eat up cos we for know they weak cos of blood vagina and breasts and emotions. Why come no Leon Kennedy/ Why come no Natahn Drake? Because FEMINAZIS why. Sorry i no speak good- of human species.”

    Yeah, love reading some of the comments when it comes to a female protagonist.

    Anyways, TReboot was quite the disappointment. As a lifelong fan of TR, my chips were all in. But it was SO… style over substance. What made/makes the “Classic” TR games fun is that there was shit to do in them other than shoot things in the face. To this day, even with those tank controls, the “Classic” TRs have more going for them.

    This new one seems, to me at least, to be like “Alice: Madness Returns”. She’s suffered something horrible, and is trying to deal with it and adjust.

    Can we stop with introspective crap and just get to Raiding Tombs plea?

    Guess I’ll be waiting for the TR Reboot REBOOT.

  20. MkMax says:

    i wonder if well get to raid any tombs in this tomb raider, at least one with more than one simple physics puzzle