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Rambow: Tomb Raider's Stealth And Shooty Shooting

That game of verbal Twister gone horribly, horribly wrong up there? I’m pretty sure it’s some kind of an attempt at combining the words “Rambo” and “bow [and arrow]” – not, say, “Rambo” and “rainbow,” which I immediately suspected upon reading it. But then, I also wrote it, so I’m pretty sure I understand the author’s intent more than most. At any rate, that brain-and-bone-spattering word pileup occurred because of Tomb Raider‘s combat, which is basically Rambo, but even bow-er. Which is kind of wild, because Rambo already had a bow to begin with. But yes, Lara sneaks and turns baddies into pincushions and slays infinity men on her “first step to becoming a seasoned adventurer.” They really make you earn that title, huh?

So basically, it’s all about slowing acquiring new skills and building better weapons en route to becoming the ultimate killing machin– I mean, adventurer. Here’s the gist, as per Square Enix’s top-of-the-line gist production factory:

“Outnumbered and outgunned, stealth is frequently Lara’s strongest advantage. Approaching enemies undetected will allow her to pull of silent kills and keep fellow Solarii in the dark. The environment will also provide frequent opportunities for Lara to gain the upper hand. She must always be prepared to brawl up close, however, aided by dodge and counter moves and improved equipment. With wits and weapons combined, Lara is a smart and ultimately very dangerous fighter.”

There are some nice bits of subterfuge, too – for instance, distracting enemies with sound – but the environmental usage section struck me as kind of a joke. She’s stranded on an island full of unpredictable wildlife and potentially deadly detritus, so of course she’s going to… shoot explosive barrels. But wait, there are also explosive lanterns!

Also, while I’m nitpicking, why have videogame fisticuffs reached the point where they’re caked in even more slow-mo than the Matrix? And honestly, does that even fit this premise? “Lara’s an ordinary girl catapulted into extraordinary circumstances. She’ll have to use her wits, athleticism, and kung-fu magic superpowers to survive.” Does that seem a bit off, or am I just crazy?

I apologize. I do actually think Tomb Raider still looks fairly strong – just in a very traditionally game-y sort of way. The initial announcement got my hopes up for something a bit more, er, grounded, but they’ve been sinking – like an entire bowling alley in quicksand – ever since. I’m still anticipating an interesting (and hopefully not problematic) origin story, but tooth-and-nail survival this ain’t.

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Nathan Grayson

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