Back in July, I (kinda, sorta) weighed in on the controversy surrounding the new Tomb Raider game, and that I would be keeping my eye on it. Now that the game itself launched earlier this month, the results…
… are actually pretty positive! I’ve heard a lot of good things from reviewers, as well as friends whose opinions I trust. The weird comments made by devs can thankfully be pushed aside as dumb marketing statements. The new Lara has succeeded at becoming a character (well mostly) and less of the icon she used to be.
I haven’t played the game myself, and probably won’t for a while, but I’ve been paying attention to what people are saying about the game, and it can all pretty much be summed up in this video by Campster (along with his usual analysis).
Note: lots of spoilers.
By all accounts, there were some pitfalls. One of those being I think the devs went a little overboard in putting Lara through some brutal punishment, especially in the beginning of the game. And it’s especially weird (to say the least) that people are making .gifs and montages of some of Lara’s… death scenes… should the player fail. I’m not linking to those; you can look that up yourself if you’re so desperate (probably NSFW). All in all though, seeing how far this game has come is certainly something at least. The suggested fixes seem easy enough to implement. One of the things I heard from several people was the game needs less combat, and more platforming and puzzles.
One major problem with the graphics of Tomb Raider that I heard about concerned the game’s Tress FX, the technology used to make Lara’s hair significantly more “realistic”. It sounds like it takes a really high end-machine to run (as in, you can uber max out every single visual setting, but turn on Tress and the computer screams “UNCLE!” type of high-end machine), and pulls resources from places it shouldn’t need to. It sounds like a technical problem. I don’t know. Shamus & Co. talk more about it towards the end of their recent podcast.
Overall, it will be interesting to see where Crystal Dynamics goes next with the franchise! This game is definitely going on the wishlist!
PS: Similarities to The Descent? I hated that movie! Well, no biggie, I guess.