Rise of the Tomb Raider Feels Like A Second Origin Story

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rgrekejin:

Shannon Spencer Fox:
(Mind you, the whole deal with the Microsoft exclusivity then happened, and since I don't own an Xbone, nor do I plan to get one, was a rather aggravating blow. But that's another subject.)

You know it's just a timed exclusive, right? It'll be out on PC and PS4 sometime next year.

Oh, I'm quite aware of that. It doesn't change the fact that it happened in the first place, though. Up until recently, I was torn between getting it when it comes out on PC, or passing it all together as a sign of protest... the game's crap quality helped make that easier, though. That said, however, I may pick it up when it hits the 75%-off section on Steam however into the future that is. Maybe.

Amaror:
This so much. That one was just petty and purposefully ignorant of what was happening. There's so much to criticize about this game's story, you don't have to nitpick, yathzee!
For example the "Mysterious, neboulus organization" as the enemy with the "Because my dad was interested in it"-motivation.
And not to forget both the bad guys and the good guys being idiots *Cough* Hiding in crypt *Cough*

That's another thing that bugged me: say what you will about the first game's story, it at least had an attempt at giving Lara agency, at least from the 'so me and my friends don't get shot in the face' department. In the new one, however, it's more 'so I can prove my dad wasn't crazy'?

Personally, I originally thought what they should have done is have Lara try to get back to her life, but suffering from at least some kind of issues from the previous game (like what any sane person would experience), but then have these Trinity jerks break into her house looking for her father's research... admittedly, though, that's kind of both trite, and also more rehashes the first game by making Lara involved only due to the threat of violence.

My current theory, however, is this: Lara trying to get back to her old life, etc, and someone from Trinity approaches her openly asking for her help going through her father's research... which instantly gives the antagonist a bit more dimension, and also gives Lara a reason to look into it. She'd likely find out what they're really up to later, but it would be more interesting if the plot took a more Princess Mononoke route, where both sides aren't quite so blatantly black and white: Trinity may want to control the artifact for power, but also to end sickness in the world, etc.

But that's just my thinking, anyway.

Shannon Spencer Fox:

That's another thing that bugged me: say what you will about the first game's story, it at least had an attempt at giving Lara agency, at least from the 'so me and my friends don't get shot in the face' department. In the new one, however, it's more 'so I can prove my dad wasn't crazy'?

Personally, I originally thought what they should have done is have Lara try to get back to her life, but suffering from at least some kind of issues from the previous game (like what any sane person would experience), but then have these Trinity jerks break into her house looking for her father's research... admittedly, though, that's kind of both trite, and also more rehashes the first game by making Lara involved only due to the threat of violence.

My current theory, however, is this: Lara trying to get back to her old life, etc, and someone from Trinity approaches her openly asking for her help going through her father's research... which instantly gives the antagonist a bit more dimension, and also gives Lara a reason to look into it. She'd likely find out what they're really up to later, but it would be more interesting if the plot took a more Princess Mononoke route, where both sides aren't quite so blatantly black and white: Trinity may want to control the artifact for power, but also to end sickness in the world, etc.

But that's just my thinking, anyway.

I think it would have been nice if they had just cut the "dad" thing out entirely. Instead Lara tries to live normally, but quickly gets restless and starts to crave another adventure. Then she discovers the trail to this artifact and tries to find it, maybe the knowledge gained in the first Tomb Raider helps her somehow to get so far.
And then she just happens to come up against Trinity in her search, maybe she comes upon them as they attack some natives and tries to save them. Thinking about it that could actually have been used to get in a neat twist, were Trinity just wanted to destroy the artifact all along and the natives tried to preserve it's terrible power, which Lara unknowingly aided.

maximalist566:
Think Rhianna's problem is that she delibirately tries to write something different from her father's work. No humor, no interesting situations, no larger than life characters. It's just sterile. It's hard to be daughter of Sir Terry, I guess, but that doesn't mean that she can get a pass on sloppy writing.

Since she has the technical proficiency, I wonder why she hasn't improved. Almost anyone can build on the non-technical aspect. Maybe she's coddled because of her name, or doesn't have the ambition (in which case she would be better off using her talent in non-fiction), or no one dares to criticise a woman working in the gaming industry, or any constructive feedback is buried under the so-called hate.

Poor game design and pressure from publishers could only explain a part of it.

rgrekejin:

Shannon Spencer Fox:
(Mind you, the whole deal with the Microsoft exclusivity then happened, and since I don't own an Xbone, nor do I plan to get one, was a rather aggravating blow. But that's another subject.)

You know it's just a timed exclusive, right? It'll be out on PC and PS4 sometime next year.

remnant_phoenix:
*snip*

I think you're missing the thrust of Yahtzee's argument. We all know that, technically, Lara doesn't *have* to do these things. The point is that by sticking her with an emotionally loaded legacy quest Lara is prevented from developing the character's traditional devil-may-care attitude, going on globetrotting adventures and looting ancient ruins for love of money and the fun of it. Lara still isn't raiding tombs because it's something she *likes to do*, she's doing it because it feels like something she is *obligated* to do, and that robs her of a degree of agency.

I don't really see how acting on a strong emotional compulsion to indulge curiosity and honor a legacy is a lack of agency. If one contends transcending one's emotions and giving specific acknowledgement that they are acting on a choice and is required for agency, as Yahtzee seems to be doing, then I would disagree.

"In sociology and philosophy, agency is the capacity of an entity (a person or other entity, human or any living being in general, or soul-consciousness in religion) to act in any given environment." From Wikipedia, but a good definition I'd say.

My exception to Yahtzee's argument comes down to the fact that he called the "I HAVE to do this" as a character motivation "bad writing." I suspect that it make come down to semantics. My immediate reaction was "It's not bad writing. It's just character writing that you can't personally relate to."

As a writer myself, when I hear "bad writing" I think "dysfunctional writing, broken writing, mechanically-unsound writing". In hindsight, I think he may have been speaking more subjectively, calling it "cheap-ass writing" in the sense of "I personally don't like this. This doesn't work for ME. A character who says 'I HAVE to' is unrelatable to ME."

Xsjadoblayde:
This can all be easily explained by the publisher's will, which is something more or less along the lines of; "Hurr dur, more of the first one! More! Better graphics! More fragile woman sounds and animations...MORE!! Do not change a single trait or technique...it is the will of Squeenix. Heed our demands or suffer the dire consequences of no funding...MORE!!"
While a deep, low hum begins to emanate through the pitch black above... the start-up grind of Microsoft's vast, cataclysmic machine, growls menacingly at Rhianna, who stutters her trembling reply, "y-y-y-yes, u-uh-of course...i'll j-just, sorry, what? N-no, it's ok, i g-g-g-got this. P-p-please let me go after?"

...

"We will be watching closely, Rhianna..."

That's more or less what I was thinking as well. Writing for a game imposes you with a ton of limitations. I heard her do an interview on writing for Tomb Raider once. I'd love it if she did another one for what it was like writing for this game. How much control did they give her? How badly did she want to even write for a sequel?

Actually, it would be kind of funny if this whole "This sucks, but I have to do this" thing was really about her attitude towards writing for this game.

DrownedAmmet:

Vladimir Eremeyev:
Rhianna Pratchett AKA "The Script Writer Woman".
Known offenses: Ruined multiple (former) successful franchises with plot full of contradictions, nonsense and general lack of common sense as well as staining her father's legacy.

While not questioning her writing abilities one has to wonder, what were they (publishers and developers) thinking?
Continuously hiring her again and again, fail after fail - massive critique both from regular users and reviewers alike, any sane person with an ounce of common sense would not step on the same rake again, right?
Either they are deliberately trying to ruin their games via bad scriptwriting or she's 'in bed' with someone upstairs.(has relatives, friends, admirers or really are in bed with somebody)

I'm done.

In her defense, I don't think it's all her fault. If the main problem is ludonarrative dissonance, then its not only the writers fault, but also the ones who had to mesh it with the game. There were parts of the 2013 Tomb Raider that I really enjoyed, I thought it was done really well how one moment she is freaking out about killing a deer, then she gets a machinegun and goes all Jon McClane "I have a machinegun now motherfuckers!" But then it all falls apart when she is forced back into "scared little girl box," then back out of it to triumphantly climb a radio tower, then back into it next time she is thrown into a cutscene where she has to hide scared from one dude. Don't know how much you can blame ludonarritive dissonance on one writer

Haven't played the new one yet, but seems kind of shitty if they are still doing that

Yeah, that's one of my biggest problems with the new Tomb Raider (having only played the 2013 release, but oh well). The whole game tries to set up Lara as this young woman reluctantly forced to kill for her own survival... but there's no option other than combat throughout the entire game. They try to make us hate the villains for killing people, while at the same time having Lara do the same thing for exactly the same reasons.

I think the entire game would have benefitted a lot if there were no human enemies. I mean, they're stuck on an island in the middle of god knows where, and an angry goddess is keeping them trapped there. So how about making all the enemies wildlife, or magical summons brought forth by the goddess to do her bidding? I mean, tigers are dangerous. They might exist on the island. Or snakes. Or have more of a focus on simple survival, where you need to eat and drink or DIE! Anything would have been better than the cultist.

Because as I've said countless times (or twice or so on the internet), Tomb Raider loses a lot for me because the villains are driven by the same motivation that you are; they want to get off this hellhole, go home, live normal lives. They don't even try to do anything like "they're all terrorists who want to use the weapons they've found to take over the world", as ludicrous as that would have been, they just want to go home! At first they are more ruthless, and actually seem villainous by trying to kill you, but as the game progresses you mow down so many of them that it can't be classified as "self-defense" anymore. You just kill them because they're there. Lara Croft is the bigger villain in Tomb Raider!

Which would have been a nice twist, if the developers were self-aware enough to realize what a selfish psychopath Lara Croft really is, the way she's written. But as can be seen by their oblivious "shoot the bad guy, he's a monster!" in the finale, I very much doubt that.

Johnny Novgorod:
Though I didn't like Lara's origin story, I thought it was done rather neatly, up to and including the following: that on her heroic journey from innocence to maturity, Lara...

Really? You thought that was subtle writing? Maybe you're being sarcastic, I'm not sure, but it felt so heavy handed and cliche that it bored me to tears.

OT: Haven't played RotTR and I have no plans on it. The reboot left such a sour taste in my mouth that I have no plans on continuing with the series, even for dirt cheap on steam sale.

Aiddon:
That is the funny thing about Reboot-Lara: by technicality she IS a better-written and more complex character,

That's not saying much, as original Lara was basically just a barbie doll with guns, as far as character depth goes. I fully agree that new Lara is better written, but starting at a template of basically nothing, any amount of attention to her character is going to be an improvement. Still doesn't mean that what they did create was actually a good character, just better than the original.

Happyninja42:

Johnny Novgorod:
Though I didn't like Lara's origin story, I thought it was done rather neatly, up to and including the following: that on her heroic journey from innocence to maturity, Lara...

Really? You thought that was subtle writing? Maybe you're being sarcastic, I'm not sure, but it felt so heavy handed and cliche that it bored me to tears.

This is my facecam for "Talk about subtlety!".

image

Sarcasm is easily lost in mere words.

Vladimir Eremeyev:
Rhianna Pratchett AKA "The Script Writer Woman".
Known offenses: Ruined multiple (former) successful franchises with plot full of contradictions, nonsense and general lack of common sense as well as staining her father's legacy.

While not questioning her writing abilities one has to wonder, what were they (publishers and developers) thinking?
Continuously hiring her again and again, fail after fail - massive critique both from regular users and reviewers alike, any sane person with an ounce of common sense would not step on the same rake again, right?
Either they are deliberately trying to ruin their games via bad scriptwriting or she's 'in bed' with someone upstairs.(has relatives, friends, admirers or really are in bed with somebody)

I'm done.

Damon Lindelof keeps getting work too. I don't know how.

I kind of feel a bit sorry for Rhianna tbh. That sort of legacy really can't be a nice thing to have dangling over your head.

sageoftruth:

Xsjadoblayde:
This can all be easily explained by the publisher's will, which is something more or less along the lines of; "Hurr dur, more of the first one! More! Better graphics! More fragile woman sounds and animations...MORE!! Do not change a single trait or technique...it is the will of Squeenix. Heed our demands or suffer the dire consequences of no funding...MORE!!"
While a deep, low hum begins to emanate through the pitch black above... the start-up grind of Microsoft's vast, cataclysmic machine, growls menacingly at Rhianna, who stutters her trembling reply, "y-y-y-yes, u-uh-of course...i'll j-just, sorry, what? N-no, it's ok, i g-g-g-got this. P-p-please let me go after?"

...

"We will be watching closely, Rhianna..."

That's more or less what I was thinking as well. Writing for a game imposes you with a ton of limitations. I heard her do an interview on writing for Tomb Raider once. I'd love it if she did another one for what it was like writing for this game. How much control did they give her? How badly did she want to even write for a sequel?

Actually, it would be kind of funny if this whole "This sucks, but I have to do this" thing was really about her attitude towards writing for this game.

Now that is an interesting thought, the whole game as a metaphor for her entrapment within the limitations placed upon by corporate needs/desires. The shadowy organisation, the father figure, the seemingly endless hurdles that refuse to change. Hmmm...

Aeshi:
I kind of feel a bit sorry for Rhianna tbh. That sort of legacy really can't be a nice thing to have dangling over your head.

Why? Because of mediocre portrayal of an important videogame character? I have seen worse with less remorse from the authors (Other M, for example).

If you want a game where the hero starts off whiney and gets more hard-arsed as the game progresses, there's a little free indie gem called Iji that does it very well.

For the first couple of levels, she yelps and screams and even randomly apologises when you kill enemies (who are humanoid but clearly not human). After a while she embraces her rage and powers through her fear, as the whines and yelps change to more aggressive cries. By the end of it, she's laughing it up, quite literally, as she kicks down doors, bounces back rockets and rails enemies through walls.

Assuming you went for the more violent path, of course (highly recommended for the first play-through, if only to contrast with all the differences in subsequent play-throughs).

Now hold on a second here. Despite Drake being over confident to a flaw I wouldn't call him a dick. And he definitely didn't whine or cry or groan as much new Lara does in the new Tom Raider games or have to say 'I have to climb that mountain' or 'I must succeed' or cough and splutter over every obstacle. They have to make up their mind if Lara is a strong fearless woman or we are supposed to feel sorry for her. At least with Drake he takes his hits and lumps and plows through with determination and confidence. Maybe it would be better if they took a page out of Uncharted and take out a bit of the realism. It may have been unrealistic for Drake to survive a car explosion from a few feet away or survive bleeding out in the snow but he took it without excessive panting and wheezing about it.

Tomb Raider used to bring new words in the genre, now it's trying to copy it's follower. And fail at that. Ironic much?

sageoftruth:

Xsjadoblayde:
[...]

That's more or less what I was thinking as well. Writing for a game imposes you with a ton of limitations. I heard her do an interview on writing for Tomb Raider once. I'd love it if she did another one for what it was like writing for this game. How much control did they give her? How badly did she want to even write for a sequel?

Well, that was unexpected. Most interviews with game developers are complete bullshit. I don't bother with them unless I'm looking for something specific. That article[1] was an exception. It shows that she doesn't know how to work with people. But you'd think that after three games she would've either learned how to make do or moved onto smaller projects.

I don't aspire to be a career coach. It's just nice to know how others see these things. We were taught that reviewing each other's code would be a good way to improve, but it's often impossible due to a poor atmosphere. That turned out to be true. I still developed a methodical way of looking at my work.

C117:
I think the entire game would have benefitted a lot if there were no human enemies. I mean, they're stuck on an island in the middle of god knows where, and an angry goddess is keeping them trapped there. So how about making all the enemies wildlife, or magical summons brought forth by the goddess to do her bidding? I mean, tigers are dangerous. They might exist on the island. Or snakes. Or have more of a focus on simple survival, where you need to eat and drink or DIE! Anything would have been better than the cultist.

Because as I've said countless times (or twice or so on the internet), Tomb Raider loses a lot for me because the villains are driven by the same motivation that you are; they want to get off this hellhole, go home, live normal lives. They don't even try to do anything like "they're all terrorists who want to use the weapons they've found to take over the world", as ludicrous as that would have been, they just want to go home! At first they are more ruthless, and actually seem villainous by trying to kill you, but as the game progresses you mow down so many of them that it can't be classified as "self-defense" anymore. You just kill them because they're there. Lara Croft is the bigger villain in Tomb Raider!

The humans go out of their way to try to kill anyone who ends up on the island. It would be worse to kill animals that are just protecting themselves or their territory.

I would love a mix of lightweight survival elements and tomb raiding. But unless the animals are just another bullet sponge, the combat would be reduced to a few random encounters. I don't think that would go down well with most people. I could be wrong though.

DrownedAmmet:

In her defense, I don't think it's all her fault. If the main problem is ludonarrative dissonance, then its not only the writers fault, but also the ones who had to mesh it with the game. There were parts of the 2013 Tomb Raider that I really enjoyed, I thought it was done really well how one moment she is freaking out about killing a deer, then she gets a machinegun and goes all Jon McClane "I have a machinegun now motherfuckers!" But then it all falls apart when she is forced back into "scared little girl box," then back out of it to triumphantly climb a radio tower, then back into it next time she is thrown into a cutscene where she has to hide scared from one dude. Don't know how much you can blame ludonarritive dissonance on one writer

Haven't played the new one yet, but seems kind of shitty if they are still doing that

The problem for me is that the narrative doesn't support the gameplay very well. You effortlessly slaughter 20 armed madmen, only then to have Lara complaining to Roth that she can't do this. What? She's more efficient at killing than Rambo.

Had the game been more stealth based, with combat a very last resort, I think that would have supported the story far better.

Put old Lara in the same story and it would make sense. Same travelling with father's old friends. Same trip with someone she knows from her College days. Stranded on an island, separated from her friends, Lara must use all the skills she's developed over years of adventures to reunite with the crew and stop the rise of the Storm Queen.

I never understood CD's determination to "grow" Lara into something. It's like there's some imaginary "Tomb Raider" gauge they're filling up, but why not the first game? Why not the second game? It's all so arbitrary and artificial.

The original Lara Croft was a complex character trapped in a time of simple games, but she was endlessly interesting. She threw away a life of endless privilege to travel on her own and do what she wanted. Now Lara is an archaeological Scooby Doo, solving mysteries because SHE HAS TO.

I haven't played the new game because the last one was so incredibly stupid. I just recently played Uncharted though, and it's scary how much the Reboot copied from that game. The only thing they didn't copy was the well-written dialog for the cutscenes. In Uncharted, people actually talk about what's going on. In the Reboot, they all talk about Lara, Lara, Lara. Nathan Drake may be a one-note charmer, but at least he doesn't have to be constantly propped up by everyone telling him how awesome or horrible he is. He isn't the story. The adventure is, which was how Tomb Raider used to be.

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