I've finally been playing the new Tomb Raider for the past few days, and really enjoying it! I'd been really excited about it since I first heard about its premise, and I was sad that it got so much negative publicity prior to its release, but it seems like everything turned out all right in the end. So that's good! Having been a fan of the series since the first game, I have to say that this new version of Lara really is the best yet! She's a character that I can really sympathize with (for the most part) and I feel like I can really get a sense of what she's going through emotionally on her adventure. I like her new voice actor a lot too (I still don't understand where the people are coming from who think her expressions of pain sound sexual, but whatever). The game is also absolutely gorgeous; I can't help but explore every inch of the island, enamored by the beauty of it all. Exploring the optional tombs and discovering relics is my favorite part of the gameplay by far, and I'm glad that the jumping mechanics that the series has always relied on seem to have been polished to perfection.
A deeper, more thoughtful Lara Croft.
It's not without its flaws, though, of course. The reliance on QTEs for action sequences are a nuisance. Just give me a cutscene, I don't mind watching cutscenes! I do mind having to rewatch action sequences over and over again because I failed to press one button within the half-second time limit you're giving me! I don't have to feel like I'm actively participating in every little part of the game, especially when QTEs are quite the opposite of an immersive gameplay mechanic. Maybe they work in some games like Asura's Wrath, but for the most part, I really just wish QTEs would disappear from gaming entirely.
I'm also slightly put off by the amount of human enemies that Lara must kill in order to progress through the game. Previous Tomb Raider games have primarily focused on Lara fighting off wild animals, with occasional human enemies as bosses. She's not really known for going on massive killing sprees against her fellow man. I get that she's protecting herself from the hostile inhabitants of the island, but it still seems to clash with the personality that they're trying to build for her. To me, it feels like they were just trying to attract a wider audience by taking cues from the popular shooter genre, even though it conflicts with the characters in their game. I probably wouldn't have minded if they had made it optional, where you could instead sneak around enemies and still progress, but that's not really the case here. It's still a thoroughly enjoyable game, but the QTEs and mindless violence will unfortunately hold it back from being a favorite of mine.
That being said, I'm ready to get back into the game and explore some more tombs, so let's go ahead and get these 'caps finished up already!
* - A fantastic conclusion to Azudarko's series on why the representation of LGBT characters in video games matters to him (and many others)!
* - Farmer Elsa has been spending some quality time with Dark Souls lately, reaping all those sweet souls!
* - Jinx 01 highlights some awesome indie games which are currently on sale during the Steam Indie Spring Sale!
Ahh, the tombs! This is what it's all about!
F - Friday Night Fights on the 360 + Gears of Dredd!
F - Friday Night Fights on the PS3 + YOLO!
F - Friday Night Fights on Nintendo + Duck Hunting!
T - TheToiletDuck thought Thomas Was Alone was a delightful game, much like a Pixar movie!
T - Pixielated just purchased all of the Persona games for her Vita!
T - Ryne Sechrist highly recommends Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate!
N - It sounds like some security problems have been detected with Origin, EA's digital distribution service.
R - voex reviews the PS3 version of Dishonered.
D - Twisted Jenius discusses the enemy designs for their upcoming game.
$ - March 22nd UK releases and bargains!
F - A new trailer was released for a neat looking anime, RWBY, which looks like it would make a cool video game.
R - Bibbly tries to decipher his own 4am rant blog from yesterday. Something about dicks and cake.
Quick, Lara! Waggle the left stick or you'll die! Again!