I have been a huge Tomb Raider fan ever since my father plonked me on his knee and let me take control of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider II. I still remember it to this day, bursting into tears because I managed to lead her to an early demise; she was flattened by a boulder. Somewhat inappropriate for a mere child to witness you might say... I didn't revisit the games until a few years afterwards. The early games were a huge part of my childhood and I would constantly replay them until I knew them inside and out. Lara was and still is an idol to me. At a younger age I was more enthralled and even took to replaying Angel of Darkness despite the fact that deep down I knew it was shambles and didn't do the Tomb Raider games any justice.
When Legends was released I adored it. I marvelled at the new look Lara had and the new gameplay mechanics. The same with Anniversary and Underworld. I also really enjoyed that the story was linked and felt like it was actually going somewhere. Though it has always been a series than can simply flourish from many different, random stories, I felt truly connected to Lara's personal driven mission.
A tad bit more recent...
When I heard about the reboot I was initially disheartened. I wasn't taken in by the new story and had so hoped that the next instalment in the series would have perhaps carried on after Underworld. In many ways I was being stubborn. The story had more or less concluded and really all I wanted was a regular Tomb Raider experience. If they were dropping the personal story just plonk Lara on a mission to hunt down a famous artifact that would lead her to various exotic locations...The change of back story was something I wasn't comfortable with. There are already many alterations and different versions of Lara's history. I guess I didn't want yet another retell of how she became the world famous archaeologist we all know her as.
I have been despairing at the direction the gaming industry has been taken of late. Many triple A titles have been released and received as utter disappointments. After the redemption of the Tomb Raider series I was so nervous that a reboot could mean that the new title would follow suit. Especially with the addition of multiplayer to a game that has never and in my opinion should never have had it. But I was wrong in regards to the singleplayer.
So, so wrong.
I knew that despite my concerns I would play it. I had to. How could I not? I had in fact already heard extremely positive reviews from websites (including Destructoid) and from friends and so my spirits began to lift ever so slightly until I actually grew anxious watching the installation bar. When I finally had it all set up I dove straight in and well, I was engrossed from the very first few seconds.
I play on a somewhat high end PC (though outdated by now, I can still run all new releases on high settings, at times ultra.) and Tomb Raider is a stunning game. Though in all honesty I was too distracted by the story and action to pay as much heed to my surroundings as I perhaps should have! To think that I so heavily questioned the story! I can be a bit too proud and rarely like to admit mistakes but I was well and truly too quick to judge on this occasion.
Through my biased vision I previously couldn't see that a reboot would do Lara a world of good. A weird way of putting it I suppose, with what she actually goes through in the latest game! But it's true. It was a refreshing experience from start to finish. Gripping, exciting and yet dark and gritty. Tomb Raider has always had some scary horror aspects to it but nothing quite like in the 2013 release.
This isn't a review by any means so I won't go into detail about pros and cons and such. I guess I wanted to write up a fairly brief confession of sorts. And I wanted to express my joy in regards to the latest Tomb Raider. It was an amazing ride. At one point it got too intense for me and I had to quit and take a break! I have my 100% save sitting pretty and now I'm waiting a week or so to do a replay. As a long time fan of Lara Croft I can safely state that I am one happy panda. I eagerly await the next game and this time I'll be a lot more positive when it's announced I'm sure ;)
So, here I am, after a very lengthy hiatus from any kind of writing, and I suppose I could have thought of something better to ramble on about. I could've actually put some time and effort into thinking back on this year and what my top games or worst games of 2012 were, but in all honesty my brain cannot even summon the will power to do so! Instead you can read about my experiences with a mod that you probably either love or hate.
I have a feeling DayZ is something to tread lightly around as a subject for a blog. Though it's popularity cannot be ignored, there are certainly many gamers out there that don't quite understand peoples fascination with it. Admittedly I was once extremely cynical about the mod. I scoffed at the idea of everyone buying ARMA II purely to install DayZ. I didn't even like ARMA II as personally I care nothing for the genre. Upon seeing the clunky, buggy gameplay of DayZ, well... It left a lot to be desired.
Now just before Christmas my paps asked me to gift him ARMA II on his Steam account. When I enquired about this choice of gift, as he had played it ages ago and lost interest, he sheepishly replied that it was mainly because he wanted to try out "that DayZ thing". He swiftly went on to defend himself by saying that he wants to mess around in the map editor like he used to do and it wasn't just because of the mod. I brushed it aside and got it him as an early Christmas gift. To my amusement, he really got stuck in. He was constantly telling me what he'd been up to, what loot he'd found and what kind of people he had bumped into. That was around the time I started looking into it in more depth. Finally I caved and bought ARMA II for myself, knowing full well that I would use it purely to try "that DayZ thing".
The thing with me is I scare easily when it comes to games. And oddly enough zombies are not the scariest thing about this particular mod...
I'm guessing that most of you that play DayZ are going to facepalm me when I go on to write that other players scare the crap out of me. Initially at any rate. The zombugs are merely an annoyance, there to get in your way when you're trying to wriggle your way through a door to try pick up some loot. Yes okay they can cause bleeding and panic, and the military zombies are more threatening because they're more deadly, but let's face it... They don't scare, they annoy. But other players, well, they're very different. Also, those damn peripheral dots, man!
I'll be honest with you and say that I have only played probably less than ten sessions in total. I am very new to DayZ and haven't completely figured out what the hell I'm doing. Worse than that I had to rebind all the damn controls to fit my gaming keyboard so my tiny hand has no trouble reaching important commands. However ARMA II is one of those cursed games that has a lot of bloody key bindings. So you can imagine how defenceless I feel when roaming the harsh maps of DayZ. In fact the first time I ever logged in, I found a revolver and sat in a house for about fifteen minutes trying to fix my controls and then got shot in the face. I learned the hard way that I should have at least hid in a bush for that kind of thing. The few times I have played, whenever I have spotted another player I have become like a deer in the headlights (forgive my use of a typical phrase there.) I'm sure once I (if ever) become a hardened veteran I won't suffer from this mode of panic, however for now it sticks. Though I can say that overall,so far, I have been somewhat lucky.
I noted that there was a twist to this rambling blog post. And I'm about to reveal it, though I'm sure it'll be utterly disappointing to most. You see, most of my experiences I have of DayZ are with my father. There, the twist! Told you it'd be a complete flop!
Now, as a twenty-two year old woman, I haven't played any co-op games with my paps for a long time. Thinking back, we used to play Unreal Tournament and Quake together at times, and we completed Resident Evil 5 twice (on the PC of all things). That was the last game I played with him. And considering I'm such a wuss, I was reluctant to venture into DayZ for the first time alone. Who better to look out for you than your old man, huh? And so we loaded it up, chose a server and off we were. It didn't take us long to meet up and off we went, collecting anything we could find and heading north to where the action is. Now the one thing I should mention about my father is that he suffers from the typical stubbornness that a lot of men suffer from, especially men of a certain generation. I admit it must be comical from a witnesses point of view listening to him trying to explain whereabouts he is in relation to me and I'm just being typically female with my inept sense of direction. Or us arguing as to where we should head next, of course. But for the most part, we tend to fare pretty well together in the zombie apocalypse. We have so far only met friendly guys to team up with temporarily. I have yet to be sniped! One of my fathers favourite things to say to me is: "If we see anyone, you talk first, they'll take it easy on you, you're a girl." Though in DayZ gender means very little, and in all honesty why should they take it easier on me? I'm just as deadly with an FN FAL. (Okay, okay, I'm not. I'd miss most if not all shots due to my panic-mode ACTIVATE.)
Funnily enough when we play as our father-daughter duo, we never encounter any action, and yet when I do try to go solo something out of the ordinary does tend to happen. One time I happened to spawn next to a goat and a tank, a wonderful combination, and instantly got hailed down by a friendly guy. We teamed up and spent the next hour running around, attracting hordes of military zombies, spending all our ammo on them and then ending up stuck at the top of a control tower. He also happened to be a game reviewer!
All in all DayZ is thoroughly enjoyable and I am looking forward to enjoying it to its full potential. The PvP aspect of it I have yet to fully dabble in, as like I mentioned I have yet to encounter a hostile player, let alone a bandit. I am also hoping to be able to find a vehicle and feelin... pimpin'? I'm not exactly sure what it is that keeps me going back for more and craving game time with it. Perhaps it is partially due to the loot whore aspect. Though I have never typically been fan of realistic army simulators with the vehicles and the guns etc, there is something highly satisfying about finding loot spawns in DayZ. And also it is a game I can play with my father. Yes he can be difficult to game with, he has an insanely short fuse, you should hear him when he gets slapped around by zombugs. And yes he can be stubborn and bossy, but it's an odd bit of bonding time we can indulge in. I guess that was the incentive for this rambling blog.
To put an end to the ramble, I wish you all a happy beginning of 2013!