Tomb Raider EP1: Lair of the Hobo

By Shamus
on Jun 7, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

204 comments

It’s new new season of Spoiler Warning! Finally! In glorious 1080p! Which is an awful lot of p. It might even be too much p. Those with extreme p sensitivity may want to use caution when viewing this much p at one time.


Link (YouTube)

At the start of the episode I suggested that we track how many times you’re captured in a cutscene. Then later I suggested that maybe the problem wasn’t “capture” but the way the game poofed in guys from just off camera. But these are both problems with a common source: A storyteller who can’t be arsed to sell things properly. Whenever they need to create a setback, an unlimited number of bad guys can walk in from off-frame and gank you. After a while it starts to feel like a movie character being assaulted by the cameraman and boom operator.

This is terribly lazy. It’s not unforgivable here in the early game, and if the trick had been used sparingly they might have gotten away with it. But this is the only play in the writer’s playbook, and pretty soon the contrivances start to grate. I mean, at least have them ambush you in a dark space, or while you’re fiddling with the radio, or have them spring a clever trap. Anything but having them beam down from the Enterprise in the middle of an open field.

But I liked the game. You’ll see.

Enjoyed this post? Please share!

Footnotes:



A Hundred!A Hundred!4204 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?

From the Archives:

  1. RTBones says:

    First. Wait…first? How the h3ll did THAT happen? Must be the time zones.

    ANYWAY

    I’m looking forward to this one. I had originally intended to play the game alongside Josh. Then the season got delayed. Then my inner gamer got impatient. Lots to like about the game. Lots to NOT like about the game as well. All in all, should be fun.

  2. X2-Eliah says:

    But I liked the game. You’ll see.

    Heh. I think you thought you liked Bioshock too :P

  3. Ofermod says:

    And thus the adventures of Reginara Croftbert begin…

  4. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wow,so much p-ness!Its huge.

  5. Humanoid says:

    Real fans watch in the brand-spanking-new state-of-the-art 144p resolution, to simulate the live experience of the co-hosts.

    • Aldowyn says:

      It’s not THAT bad, I don’t think. I think I stream at 360p.

    • Josh says:

      Ironically, with the switch to Twitch.tv, this is no longer true. I stream at (lower quality) 1080p for recording the show as well.

      • Aldowyn says:

        That’s actually really awesome. I’m not sure what I might be able to stream at, I should dive in to the settings and see what my upload speed could support…

      • Disc says:

        How much is your FPS when recording by the way? My eyes just seem to pick up on some very minor lag.

        • utzel says:

          I’m late to the party, just started watchign the season, but I see I am not alone.
          The video doesn’t look fluid and can get really choppy at times, you can see it in all 5 parts so far.

          It is hard to watch actively and makes me dizzy, can you please look into that?
          Maybe it’s too much p for your PC to handle, with recording and streaming and playing at the same time CPU or disk might be overburdened, or maybe it’s just an enconding problem.

  6. Tombsite says:

    I read an interview with Rhianna Pratchet, where in she said that they originally had planed to start with Lara on the ship getting to know her crew mates. Later in development they found it to be too slow of a start and changed it to the cold opening.

    Also I can’t understand why they had to give Lara such a serious wound to start with. That and the bear trap later just do no seem like damage one can shrug of and then do the extreme stunt she has to do right after the injury. Really something that bothered me when I played it.

    • ZoeM says:

      At this point in the game, Lara has all the tetanus in the world.
      Her second and third adventures are cut short when she develops lockjaw and nips off half her tongue.
      Three months later, a subdued and significantly paler Lara re-emerges from the impatient ward and sets off to resume her adventures, only to find that a certain N. Drake has beaten her to literally every one.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I can only hope that Lara was up-to-date on her shots.

      I think Shamus’s idea of giving you small chores on the ship as a way of introducing gameplay would’ve been a great way to mitigate the problem of a slow-start.

      • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

        Surely an archeologist going on a dig in East Asia is up on all her shots. Tetanus in particular.

        I don’t mind the damage she’s taking this early on -game, suspension of disbelief, et cetera -but some indication other than “it’s Tomb Raider” of Lara’s abilities before she starts acting like an Olympic Athlete (plus getting stabbed, strangled, hanged, and whatever else) would have been nice. During that opening narration they could have panned over some track and field trophies or something.

    • Trix2000 says:

      I like to think that injury was to really emphasize the pain Laura’s going through, but honestly she has so much more of an ordeal as it is that I’d agree – the injury is a bit superfluous on that count. The only thing it really added for me, besides that nagging ‘she’s doing THAT with a hole in her side?’, was a brief cringing moment that I would’ve been perfectly happy not seeing.

      I will also agree/say that the beginning is the lowest point of the game, and really isn’t representative of what I had fun with playing it. A bit disappointing in retrospect, but I won’t complain about a game getting better with time played rather than worse.

  7. Wintermood says:

    That is interesting. I played the game till roughly a month/some weeks ago and I had not really the feeling that I as the player is set back by “beaming” enemies.

    My memory might be false, but was it not so that you as the player cannot see if the area before you contains foes? Or that the foes are visible in a cut scene?

    Anyway: I think “sell things properly” is relativly hard and requieres a fine line of balance. You do not want to script too much so that all dangers are visible or detectable by the player but the protagonist has to walk in them regardless. But to let the player move the protagonist freely (completely unscripted) and possible avoid being captured is bad if the story _needs_ the capture to progress (I mean story as in book or movie – you cannot deviate from a given path there).

    What would you do, how would you solve this situation?

    I see Tomb Raider as a (great) linear story that trys to be told while at the same time is aware that the player will not like overly scripted sequences and free roaming. It is hard to balance that I guess.

    • Trix2000 says:

      I think the problem mostly comes with how obviously setup and/or impossible some of the captures were, which breaks immersion when you notice them. In hindsight they do look silly, but I’m a bit glad I didn’t happen to notice at the time.

      Magically teleporting Roth (or whatever the heck happened on the ship) makes me laugh a bit though.

  8. el_b says:

    goddamit josh, you can’t even go 10 minutes without finding bugs anymore :P
    the new higher resolution couldn’t have come at a better time, I just got a new 24 inch monitor last week. My 17 inch CRT lasted me a decade, they don’t make them like that anymore :(.
    The QuickTime sequence reminded me of the resident evil 4 boulder chases. It Literally just made me wonder if you had ever considered doing a spoiler warning run of resident evil four and five? I think it would be pretty interesting to see exactly how much five rips off of four, And what It was exactly that made four such a good game. plus you could actually have a two player spoiler warning for once. Imagine the trolling!

  9. RTBones says:

    Also…am I the only one that is reminded of Jennifer Aniston at times when looking at Laura’s face?

  10. NoneCallMeTim says:

    Wow, I guess this is what they call making games more cinematic. At points I could hardly tell where cutscenes started and the actual game finished. Is it like that all the way through?

    Also; as well as her spike related injury, the amount of sliding around and scrabbling around. She should have no skin left at this point.

    • ydant says:

      I’ve only played about 30 minutes of it, but from what I’ve seen it’s like that while playing. It constantly takes control from you, sometimes for a quick-time, sometimes for a movie, and you never know which it will be. It’s absurdly frustrating.

      • Galad says:

        I know I’ll be ranting about this again in the final episodes, but what really grated my nerves, was Lara climbing this temple to Himiko (iirc), wearing a tanktop, while a full-on blizzard is raging all around her. For crying out loud, have her take a coat from one of the dozens of mercs she kills – that way she’d only have a severe pneumonia. As it is, with her wearing that tanktop we should be getting a cutscene of her dying a few days later from hypothermia.

        That being said, the combat was fun and engaging and all those pretty adjectives

    • bloodsquirrel says:

      It backs off on that as the game goes along. But it replaces it with more combat than the game really needs.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      This game is absolutely gorgeous while playing. It showcases all of technology we’ll have at our disposal in the next generation and I’m glad the PS4/Xbone have a great game to showcase that.

      Oh wait…

    • O.G.N says:

      yes, most games give you some visual clue telling you when you enter and leave a cutscene. Not Tomb Raider. There were at least two occasions where I died because I thought I was still watching a cutscene while the game expected me to dodge.

      • Aldowyn says:

        I kind of like it sometimes too though. I don’t like the idea of ‘okay now it’s time to sit down and watch’, it’s much better to just always feel like I’m playing and if there are QTEs everywhere (full disclosure: I rarely have any trouble with QTEs, Tomb Raider included) it actually does that for me. But that’s me *shrug*.

      • MetalSeagull says:

        I have trouble maintaining focus during cut scenes. They seem to send an cue directly to my motor cortex, “take a break. You won’t be needed for a while.” So I sit back, take my hands off the keys, and relax a bit. Then it suddenly wants me to do something and I’m not prepared. Dodge this guy! Grab that rope! Hug Leonardo!

        • SKD says:

          That is the most aggravating part of cutscene QTEs and I have the same problem even while playing a game which has caused me to expect them. I have to admit that I died to every split-second response QTE-scene. Although I do love games that make the transition between cutscenes and gameplay seamlessly.

        • Fleaman says:

          Hugging Leonardo is the only QTE that has ever mattered.

          Missing it was my greatest failure.

  11. Lovecrafter says:

    Finally, a season of SW about a game I’ve actually played! And of course Josh finds a bug less than 10 minutes in.
    I like this game overall. I would’ve liked it better if they did more with the supporting cast and the tombs, and toned down the combat a bit.
    I tried to go for all the collection quests, but I got tired of them around the beach section. I did play the multiplayer for a bit, but the only part I liked was the submarine dock which you could blow up to end the match prematurely.

    And lastly, I like the end track you used for this season. It kind of reminds me of Shōji Meguro’s more upbeat work.

  12. Usually_Insane says:

    So I haven’t played the game myself, that “hobo” that chases you in the beginning, who was that, and was he really trying to help you?

  13. Ryan says:

    Laura’s resilience and immediate competency in hardcore freeclimbing with a massive injury is harming my ability to see this as a coming-of-age story, since she already seems like a tough-as-nails explorer (who’s already killed somebody!). The campfire cutscene finally shows some weakness, but I feel like it should have happened pretty much immediately after you get loose and have that fall. The massive setpiece-stravanganza between the two feels incredibly out-of-place.

    • Aldowyn says:

      she was already taught how to do most of this stuff by the mentor guy that was in the original cutscene. I forgot his name… And as for ‘already killed somebody’, she didn’t really see it as killing someone. That happens later.

      • Michael says:

        And you could make the case for there being a certain degree of natural aptitude, heightened by adrenaline. (I’m not arguing with anyone nor even making that case: I’m just suggesting it as a possibility.)

        • Aldowyn says:

          Ah, I meant to mention the adrenaline last time. You can actually hear her heavy breathing for pretty much the entire sequence, and you can DEFINITELY tell that her side is hurting pretty badly – she’s holding it, too, if I remember right.

    • Sleeping Dragon says:

      To be fair I remember being at a convention a few years back where some archaeologists were having a “Indiana Jones VS reality” kinda panel, talking about what you actually do as an archaeologist, what they teach you when you study for it and so on and so forth. Apparently when you’re still a student you get to do some digging so some basic stamina sounds good. Also, apparently seriously cutting your leg with a shovel while digging is not an infrequent occurrence. Of course doesn’t explain the feats of strength and agility that Lara performs all the time here… while severely wounded.

      • Akri says:

        It’s amazing what some scientists deal with on a regular basis.

        I’m good friends with a paleontologist, which is a field that has a lot of overlap with archaeology in the type of conditions they have to deal with. In fact, I’m pretty sure he’s done some work alongside archaeologists.

        In the course of his work said friend has:

        -been stalked by cougars
        -dangled from a cliff by his fingertips
        -waded through croc-infested waters
        -been shot at
        -gotten stranded in the middle of the Mojave

        He was recently the Field Team Lead on a major project, and was incredibly concerned that a bad decision on his part would kill someone. He’s been on jobs where people DID die (not because of him, mind). When he says “I love my job so much I’d die for it” he’s not being the slightest bit hyperbolic.

  14. Kdansky says:

    This is even harder to watch than usual: Low FoV to the point where it feels like zoomed in all the way, plus non-stop camera shaking effects, sometimes to the point of nausea.

    The wound bothered me to no end, I nearly flinched at every single jump. I think most people wouldn’t even be able to walk after having a gaping hole ripped into their abdomen, but Lara jumps and pulls herself up with the muscles that have been hurt, and is only slightly inconvenienced.

    • Humanoid says:

      The frame rate is very low, almost Trainz-low. Not a Youtube artefact as far as I can tell. I thought Josh had a bit of a monster PC these days, but I guess it got ganged up on by all the p.

      • el_b says:

        he probably should lower the graphic settings a little. Chances are it’s probably just the recording of the show that slowing it down rather than his processor.still, it was very noticeable In the more open areas.

        • Josh says:

          Yeah, we’re still working out some of the kinks in our new recording pipeline. I’m hoping to have this fixed by episode 4, which will be the next episode we record.

          • Michael says:

            Stop time-travelling! It makes my head hurt.

            PS I don’t suppose you have any relativisticly-both-past-and-future episodes of the Diecast on your hard drive that you forgot/will have forgotten to post?

    • newdarkcloud says:

      What’s odd is that in another sequence Lara gets a similar injury, but as a result cannot jump without taking damage, jumps only a small bit, and can’t climb up objects.

  15. Raygereio says:

    Erm, Josh: Graphic artificing like that is generally a sign of hardware issues in my experience.

    Regarding QTEs:
    Personally, I can’t wait until the gaming industry finally drops QTEs like the craptastic idea that it is. If you so desperatly want to make a fancy cinematic moment, either just make it a friggin cutscene, or work it into the standard control scheme.
    Random gripe: I don’t know if I had a bug, or if it was patched in, or if I just forgot to set a option properly. But the game didn’t tell me what buttons to press during QTEs. The alternating-arrows-prompt one was easy to guess, but I had no idea what I was supposed to do with the circle-prompt where you had to kick the hobo and ended up dying a dozen times as I just tried out random buttons. Eventually I had to google it.

    • Humanoid says:

      A reasonable chance of it, yes. I also note though that within a month or so of the release, nVidia did get around to fixing their performance issues with the game, to the extent that at one point they were outperforming AMD with TressFX on. Now I assume Josh has fairly recent drivers so I do wonder whether the underperformance and the artefacting are symptoms of the same underlying problem.

      • Josh says:

        The lower performance is a recording-related thing; we tore out the entire old pipeline and we’ve replaced basically every part with something newer and shinier. And, incidentally, more processor intensive. It should get better after I get a chance to tweak it some more.

        Normally I’d agree with you about artifacting being indicative of some other problem, but the circumstances here are pretty clear: I’ve not encountered artifacting in any other application at any point when using this card, but I ran into this bug twice in this game in the same exact segment of the same exact level. This leads me to believe this is something local to the game and not to the card.

        Plus, TressFx still doesn’t work on my GTX 570, so Nvidia definitely hasn’t solved everything.

        • Humanoid says:

          Ah, had it in my mind that you had a 670. Not unpredictably, they’ve only really sought to ‘fix’ it on their current gen (Kepler) I guess.

          • Josh says:

            I rarely buy current-gen cards. The last generation’s cards are almost always within 85% of the performance of equivalent-model current-gen ones at half the price. I think I bought this card for less than $300 when the 670 was over $500, and the performance is nearly the same.

            Of course when they don’t write proper new drivers for the older gen cards it’s kind of annoying but that only rarely impacts things like it did here.

            • SKD says:

              I follow pretty much the same GPU upgrade scheme although I run an SLI setup. The current top gen has never offered enough of a performance increase over the same level of the previous gen to justify me paying the extra $200-$300 per card.

              Also, I ran into that same glitch in my playthrough of the game. But I think it went away when I got to the next scene. I also have that glitch occur occasionally in Skyrim, but I beliece it is a result of one or more of the HighRes texture mods I run in that game.

        • Raygereio says:

          I’ve not encountered artifacting in any other application at any point when using this card, but I ran into this bug twice in this game in the same exact segment of the same exact level. This leads me to believe this is something local to the game and not to the card.

          Yeah, that doesn’t like your card is dying. Probably some sort of issue between the game and your graphics drivers instead.

          • Trix2000 says:

            I actually had the exact same issue crop up for me, but it only happened ONCE and I’ve never seen anything similar happen in another game. One game restart later and I could almost forget it happened at all.

            Probably some obscure bug with the card/game, but honestly I have no clue.

        • Disc says:

          I used to have similar graphic glitches with the same diagonal lines on my old PC’s Nvidia Geforce 8800 GTS whenever it got too dusty, though that was pretty much with any game and it would mess the graphics on the whole system, including the desktop, requiring a complete reboot. So unless you have that as well, I’d wager it’s probably not on your hardware.

  16. Klay F. says:

    I propose we continue the one from ME3: If Lara Cuftburt happens randomly fall for no reason in a cutscene but magically ends up on the singular path she needed to be on anyway, take a drink. Bonus drink if its a fall that would normally break several bones in her body.

  17. Andrew_C says:

    Surely at the end of the video she should be saying “OH MY GOD!!!! Who are these maniacs who build death temples and string people from trees!!!” not “Ooh, I could use that bow!”

    Also from what little I know about exposure she should be dead (or at very least unconscious), considering she hasn’t taken off those wet clothes, attended that wound and ate something.

    • Keldoclock says:

      Actually, she would probably be fine- it takes a pretty significant time to die of exposure, and she was only displaying signs of very early stage hypothermia if that- she didn’t seem to have trouble with fine motor control when she was lighting the fire or using her radio, and once she had the fire lit she could sit around it until she was warm and her clothes were dry- there was a jump-cut between her sitting down and the rain ending, so we can presume she was there for some time.

      Maybe she did treat the wound? If nothing else, it stopped bleeding. I think we have to conclude that it wasn’t that serious of an injury, and that Lara was just very lucky to have not gotten any of her organs skewered.

      She certainly wouldn’t have needed to eat anything, while it is true that more calories are expended when temperatures are low, this is something that would take weeks to start being important, not minutes or even hours.

      • Syal says:

        and that Lara was just very lucky to have not gotten any of her organs skewered.

        I know; just think what would have happened if she hadn’t donated that kidney already!

        • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

          The kidney is a little higher up. I think she’s more in danger of losing an ovary -which ought to be worth milking some drama with all the rebirth symbolism. Most in danger of perforating the large intestine. Septicemia is a bad way to die.

          They do seem to be trying to indicate that it mostly went through the muscle -that wound is pretty far out on the abdomen. Of course, then she goes and does all these lifts and crunches which will involve the abdominal muscles.

          • SKD says:

            That was pretty much the same impression I got. Although she should have still been practically bleeding out since she never stopped to bind the wound or otherwise apply direct pressure in an attempt to stop the bleeding. Combine the lack of even the most rudimentary wound-dressing with her constant acrobatics and she should have passed out from loss of blood and died on the cliffs.

            But even granting that she survives the island, she would be a walking mass of scar tissue by the time she gets back to civilization based on all the injuries she receives in the game even if you have a zero combat injury playthrough.

            Plus she is apparently related to Ezio Auditore based on her ability to walk away from long falls without breaking bones or tearing connective tissue.

      • tengokujin says:

        You might have noticed the steel rod she fell on glowing orange.

        • decius says:

          Implying that it was red-hot from the fire already, and cauterized it’s own wound? I was wondering how rebar got there anyway…

          • Trix2000 says:

            Then the question becomes how it stayed sticking up in just the position to stab Laura.

            It’s technically plausible, but quite a painful bit of unluckiness I think.

  18. Klay F. says:

    Another game that follows the endurance angle you mentioned: Spec Op:The Line. Though of course that game uses it to very different effect for a VERY different purpose. Also like Tomb Raider, in Spec Ops, it has no effect on gameplay.

  19. Naota says:

    …did Rutskarn just say they had found a “Sixth House cult?”

    I knew there was competition out there!

    Such sloppy work, too. Hobos are absolutely not allowed in the Seventh House without at least two kidnapped sacrifices and a serviceable necktie!

  20. Weimer says:

    Tomb Raider 2013? Ehhh.

    I don’t have any attachment to the Tomb Raider franchise – I remember playing a demo of one of them years ago, and even then I was frustated by the controls and the pointless fanservice and all of the animalmurderings.

    Even when everyone and their dog said that this game is awesomepants, I still can’t gather enough of my interest to even take a look at it’s demo (does is have a demo?). I think the problem is that the game is called Tomb Raider. It’s heritage defiles any message it’s trying to convey.

    I wonder why this is even called Tomb Raider. I mean they could’ve started a brand new line of games right here. You could call it the Adventures of Amazon McSteelguts or something. ANYTHING.

    I suppose brand recognition trumps all.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      As you said, it’s because they already had a brand there. People know who Lara Croft is.

      I wonder how much being an established IP helps. Does anyone have any studies on the matter?

      • Aldowyn says:

        Personally I think this game was just fine as a reboot instead of a new IP, especially since there was SUCH an emphasis on remaking the old CHARACTER who was pretty symbolic of 90s video games’ attitude towards women, especially PCs

        … That was one sentence. Oops.

  21. somebodys_kid says:

    Well done, chaps! I had a sneaking suspicion you’d be doing this game next, so I cleverly started it over two months ago.
    Then not so cleverly stopped playing a few weeks ago (very busy two months).
    I’m still ahead…barely.

  22. bloodsquirrel says:

    What really, really starts getting bad as the game goes along is just how many people you’ve killed, and yet how many keep on coming, plus all of the dead bodies you see lying around.

    How many people can possibly be getting stuck on this island? You’d think people would notice if hundreds of airplanes and ships were disappearing within a short enough time frame for so many survivors to be around.

    • There’s also the river of blood later. Of course, there’s also the Onis, and the body swapping Queen who controls the weather. I don’t think the developers were worried about realism in the setting.

      The game’s story is a bit at odds with itself. Lara’s personal story is brutal and somewhat realistic, at least at first, while the greater story is pulpy and way over-the-top. I enjoyed it overall, but it never seemed to mesh completely.

      • Sleeping Dragon says:

        A disconnect between what the story is trying to say and the gameplay… if only we had a term for that…

      • The Rocketeer says:

        I never really understood if the Oni were supernatural or not, because I’m not sure whether I’m supposed to chalk up the impossibilities of their existence to magic or to artistic license.

    • Alexander The 1st says:

      Considering the main villain appears to have been recruiting for 20 years (IIRC) after being stranded for a bit longer than that themself, the number of people you hit didn’t get to me.

      Maybe the Oni, since it seems to imply they’ve been here *since* “No One [Can Leave]” was implemented, and they don’t have a well-established reason to not sacrifice more people to attempt to solve the problem.

      But IIRC, there’s more than one faction that got stranded on the island used for the recruitment the main villain did, so I can see the stranded numbers being high.

      Though I do wished that you could’ve had someone join you after defecting…they get pretty close at some points in the game.

  23. ehlijen says:

    I’m probably the only one obsessive enough to care, but isn’t that star insignia on the B25’s wing upside down? I thought it was always one point going forward, two back, but here it’s clearly the other way around (the rotors on the engine point downwards, as do two points).

    • RTBones says:

      Actually, its not just you. I’m the same way.

      In fact, there are at least two points in the game (one major) that drove me batty for a while when I was playing: the river of blood, and the pilot of the helicopter that crashes later. First, blood is non-Newtonian and in the case of the helicopter pilot, his accent was American, flying a chopper with japanese markings, and the squadron patch on his right shoulder is stylized similar to an RAF patch.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        And worst of all:His mother was french.

        Ah,the red river.Though by that point,its not nearly the most implausible thing here,so I let that one slide due to the narrative.

      • tengokujin says:

        Nothing to say an American wasn’t hired to fly a Japanese chopper.
        Also, I suspect the river is only, at most 1/3 blood, the rest being water, a mostly Newtonian fluid.
        As for the squadron patch? Sunspots. >.>

        • decius says:

          No reason why an American couldn’t have been in the RAF, then been hired to fly a Japanese helicopter.

          • RTBones says:

            This is improbable at best. An American joining the RAF hasn’t really been done since WWII ended.
            Here are current RAF entry requirements.

            On top of that, while being a dual national is certainly possible, it is actually discouraged in the US by the Department of State for a multitude of reasons, not to mention the fact that serving in the armed forces of another state counts as government service for that state.

            Finally, given the helicopter had the Rising Sun roundel similar to this one that would mean it would be owned by the JMSDF and therefore the govt of Japan. An exchange pilot flying alongside a JMSDF pilot and training is one thing, but actually flying a SAR (search and rescue) mission under Japanese colors is a bit of a stretch. This would mean that a very rare exchange tour is being given by the RAF to a foreign national, who is then essentially put into front-line non-combat service for a third nation.

            Its a stretch.

        • RTBones says:

          What you say is, of course, very true. However, the game doesnt play it like that. The game plays it as an RoB, not 1/3 RoB. Regardless of what we all suspect, an RoB is what the devs intended.

  24. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I really dont get why they included generic quick time events in this game.Especially when there are plenty of places where you have quick time events done right(the wolf fight,the parts where you slide down a thing and avoid things),places where you are still using your regular controls,and dont need button prompts in order to continue playing through the cutscene.

  25. Dreadjaws says:

    I liked the game too, but I also have the same gripe with it you have, Shamus. I think there is a trope name for “ambushed by enemies out of nowhere”, but I don’t know what it is.

    This specially jarring in places where the cue for the cutscene is in a specific spot and you can run and climb around the surroundings and find absolutely no one in a half-kilometer radius, including in spots where it’d be impossible for someone to reach without at least half an hour of anticipation or a flying vehicle, yet you step on the cutscene-cue spot and suddenly there are enemies all around you, even though you just were there and it would have been 100% impossible for people to reach those places without you seeing them coming.

    So, I guess Lara must be like Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs, and she can’t see people unless they’re moving. The other, more logical explanation, would be lazy writing.

  26. Brandon says:

    “Rutskarn as Tom Braider”

    Who is Tom Braider? I’ll look that up. To google! ….

    *One Epic Facepalm later*

    Well played Spoiler Warning crew. Well played.

  27. Jeff says:

    “Those with extreme p sensitivity may want to use caution when viewing this much p at one time.”

    It’s good to be cautious, drowning in p is a terrible way to go.

  28. Bropocalypse says:

    We never do find out if that hobo was going to help her.

  29. Annikai says:

    I find it interesting how Square Enix in general is fond of trapping players in cutscenes. I remember the Final Fantasy series being particularly lousy with battles that you are required to win only so that the villain can trap you in the cutscene right after. It always bugged me with some of the harder boss battles where I died before finally winning only to have the “You didn’t actually win” cutscene.

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Hmm, this got me thinking about how many times this happens… I can think of a few times where you fight a villain but fail to kill them off, but that I can mainly accept for narrative reasons. Golbez, X-Death, Kefka, and Edea all get this treatment at some point. VII and X found interesting ways to justify it, with Jenova being defeated bit by bit while acting as Sephiroth’s doppelganger, and Seymour being an incurable plot tumor zombie.

      The only time it really pissed me off, though, was at the end of FFIX’s first disc. They set up the boss as some sort of unstoppable badass, but they make for a really easy fight- until they arbitrarily defeat your entire party. Then they wander away without finishing you off, while the real main villain waddles over, remarks out loud that the main character could be a genuine threat… and then flies away disinterestedly. Perfect way to cap off a disc in which absolutely nothing happens.

  30. klasbo says:

    Now I don’t usually have a problem with following fast action (action meaning anything moving, including the camera). But this is something different. It feels like the game is running everywhere between 10 and 30 fps, and combined with Josh’s… erratic playstyle, it’s actually difficult to watch.

    So my suggestions: 1) Too many p’s. Cut back on 360 of the p’s, and record at 720. 2) Drop that mouse speed down. Force yourself to take larger sweeping motions, partly to make up for the camera shake added in the game, but also to stop adding even more shake (see: the entire Deus Ex: HR season).

    On topic: The entire opening sequence undermines the “coming of age”-type deal. Even if you’ve never touched Tomb Raider before, Lara seems to be a total badass from the start (drowning? No problem. Fall 10 meters down onto rusty rebar? Walk it off!), and she’s totally unfazed by watching a person die (not necessarily by her hand, but at least by her foot). Ludonarrative dissonance is one thing, but this just seems like good ol’ “classic” narrative dissonance.

  31. Hydralysk says:

    So what do you think is a worse contrivance, the ninja zombies from TWD or the ninja hobos in TR?

  32. Brainbosh says:

    Does it bother anyone else how Lara’s first reaction to anything in this game is to set it on fire? People joked about how Lara Croft killed animals in the original games, but now they’ve changed her into a pyro.
    Fire solves everything!

    • newdarkcloud says:

      They game has a very strong fire motif going through the length of it. Fire is very clearly meant to symbolize safety. The mechanics reinforce this through all of fire’s various uses and the base camp system.

      • Brainbosh says:

        I hadn’t thought about it like that. That does make some sense. However, there are several times where fire is definitely a bad thing, with several buildings burning down around her, and some of the enemies throwing molotovs and shooting fire arrows at her. Maybe it shows fire’s double edge?
        But what bothered me in the gameplay is that there are several times in the game where you just light something on fire and hope it solves the puzzle. And how the default for taking down a net of salvage is to burn it, even if it is in arms reach and would surely be easier just to cut it down?

  33. guy says:

    I burst out laughing when Laura fell fifteen feet, landed on her spine, rolled ten feet, and then stood up and kept running. It was just so incredibly out of place with the attempts at realism.

    • Hydralysk says:

      Wait until she meets up with Roth and starts going “Roth you’re hurt, you need morphine!”, while forgetting the gaping hole in her side that’s been left untended for hours.

    • Kavonde says:

      This is a problem that’s really started to bug me over the last couple of years. Game designers really seem to want to tell serious, realistic stories, and then they undercut them completely by having the player constantly getting into firefights and surviving brutal injuries. Red Dead Redemption, Max Payne 3, any given S.G.W.W. bro-shooter (thanks, Yahtzee), and now this. At some point, someone’s going to have to make an action game where you don’t rack up a body count in the triple digits by the time the credits roll… right?

      • Naota says:

        Here’s the thing, though: we wouldn’t notice nearly as much if they didn’t keep drawing attention to the wounds and means of injury.

        Lara absorbing what should be lethal punishment time and again is something we accept in gameplay because it’s often a necessary factor in making the game enjoyable to play. When this happens in a cutscene, however, it feels as if the developers are legitimizing the injury in absolute terms.

        She definitely took a big stabby-spike straight through the kidney, then stood up and pulled it violently out of her abdomen at the beginning of the game. It’s not something we can conveniently ignore in the context of gameplay space – it’s a detail the writers went out of their way to show us, then completely ignored in a preposterous and unbelievable way.

  34. Tse says:

    I propose we make a new drinking game: drink every time Lara gets hurt, drink twice if it would incapacitate her, thrice if it would kill her. So, we have:
    1:33- hit in the head- 1 drink
    1:58- almost drowned- 1 drink
    3:35- got hit in the head hard enough to lose consciousness- 2 drinks
    5:21- got half her torso burned- 2 drinks
    5:28- impaled in the kidney- 2 drinks
    5:40- pulling the rebar out- 3 drinks
    10:43- absorbing the shock wave from an underwater explosion- 2 drinks
    11:02- getting her back torn by friction- 1 drink
    15:28- falling from a height equivalent to two floors- 1 drink
    16:40- falling and rolling- 1 drink
    Of course, all of these could kill or incapacitate Lara, but only some are certain to do so.
    P.S. All in all, that would be 16 drinks.

  35. Spammy says:

    “Shamus Young: The Reboot” …?

    So, are we rebooting Twenty Sided? Or Shamus’s life in general? Does that mean we’re going to drop Spoiler Warning and have Shamus go back to the start and make screencap webcomics and talk about tabletop RPGs? Except now it’d be like about Game of Thrones and other dark and edgy stuff because we’re rebooting it?

  36. Flex says:

    “you’re capture in a cutscene”

    It should be “captured”, I guess?

  37. Christhegamer says:

    Am I the only one who gets kind of uncomfortable from watching this? I mean the constant punishment she has to endure, the moans, the screams…

    It seems that I am one of the few people that really enjoyed Tomb Raider Legend and Underworld, so watching the pulpy, over the top and larger than life adventures of the previous games get twisted into this really grim cavalcade of injuries is kind of disheartening.

    • Brainbosh says:

      Your definitely not the only one. Although I could take most of the in-game punishment she had, what really bothered me was the death animations. Someone put way too much work into them.
      It did encourage me to never die, so I would never have to see them.

      • newdarkcloud says:

        Yeah. Those death animations bothered me for a similar reason. Maybe it’s due to theme of “survival against seemingly impossible odds”, but the way it seemed like every little thing on the island was out to kill Lara, complete with gruesome, gory death animations felt unnerving after a while.

        I don’t even know if that can be considered a problem, but it’s an observation worth making.

        • Klay F. says:

          Well those death scenes are another (retarded) hold-over from the original games, so….yeah.

        • Yeah… the over-the-top punishment and death scenes make me really uncomfortable. I’m not sure what the devs were trying to accomplish here.

        • Brandon says:

          I figured out why, for me anyways, the death animations were so unnerving.

          It’s because for many, many of them, they set it up in such a way that she is looking straight into the camera while she’s being murdered, forcing you to look her in the eye while she dies.

          • Trix2000 says:

            It did have the advantage of making me REALLY not want her to die.

            Aside from the second falling boulder bit at the beginning (screw that circle QTE) I don’t think I ever died more than once from any one section, if at all.

    • newdarkcloud says:

      I’m glad someone enjoyed Underworld, because I couldn’t. It remains the only game that I can truly say I regret buying. And this is someone who enjoys the hell out of Uncharted.

      I don’t know what it is, but Lara Croft, until this reboot, always came across to me as a bit of a cold, ruthless bitch. I don’t know why I hate her yet love the likes of Nathan Drake and his supporting cast.

      • Christhegamer says:

        That’s interesting, because I honestly didn’t enjoy Uncharted. (Although I only played half of the first one)
        I like Legend-Lara more than Drake. He is just this uninspired treasure-seeking thirty-something with short brown hair, and God knows we have enough of those. It’s seems all his knowledge of archeology is just what he needs to know in order to find the next treasure. Of course, that might have changed in the last three games or so, but that was just the vibe that I got from the first one.

        But Lara is a competent archeologist, just like her father, has probably no use for the financial aspect of adventure archeology because she is already filthy rich, and while she might be a bit cold, she has a small supporting group which she jokes with over her intercom. The banter during the missions helped to humanize her in my eyes.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Well, not only that, but in 15 minutes I’ve been persuaded I was right not to buy the game. I’ll keep watching, but I don’t think this game is for me.

    • Chris says:

      It’s a problem that plagues the whole game, but it does get better. It never goes away, and you can never really tell how much of the pain is necessary to forge Lara into being who she becomes and how much is the developers getting their rocks off, but it does drop off in frequency once we’re out of the first hour or so.

      I don’t know. It’s probably going to be a recurring theme this season, at least when it becomes painfully visible/obvious that they’re just beating up on their protagonist. And the line is really, really fuzzy. I think Shamus is right – I think it is a story about Lara’s growth as a character and the pain she endures is symbolic of that change. But I also think in an environment and gaming culture like we have right now, it’s hard to look at some of this footage – especially some of the death scenes coming up in the next few episodes where Josh dies – and not be a little put off by it.

      Given how much effort they clearly put into making Lara empathetic – and later, a strong and vengeful force – I’m willing to give Crystal Dynamics the benefit of the doubt. But I also totally understand anyone who wouldn’t. It’s problematic imagery – maybe not because of the context of the game itself, but because of the context outside of it.

    • Phantos says:

      On the one hand, it’s probably a double-standard that seeing Lara Croft die horribly upsets me, but I’m unphased if it happens to Nathan Drake.

      On the other hand, a gruesome death is less cruel when it happens to an annoying character.

      Seriously though, the problem is one I’ve seen mentioned here before: The idea that a strong female character is only strong if she endures a lot of punishment. Without meaning to, her deaths and torment come off feeling fetishized here.

      I don’t think it was intentional, it’s just an unfortunate consequence of the direction they took and the current social landscape. That alone kept me from checking this game out. It was just too unintentionally creepy for me.

  38. Rosseloh says:

    Pointless fact – the laptop they’re using in the video playback portion is a Panasonic Toughbook. I don’t think they actually come in gold edging, though. Oh, and the logo on the top is changed.

  39. Paul Spooner says:

    Listening to Laura’s dialog is kind of creepy because we have a neighbor with nearly identical English accent, inflection, pitch, and cadence. So, they certainly did a good job picking the voice talent! Sounds just like a regular person.

  40. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    I wonder if the game would have worked better with a flashback rather than the cutscene. Part of the complaint with cutscenes is that I would like to play, but if I have the opportunity to actually be involved in the flashback, it might not be so big a deal. Shorten the prologue -or put it substantially later in the game (I’m playing Metro 2033 right now, and their prologue appears to take place near the end of the game -it works pretty well) and then jump back to the beginning.

    That would get you the exciting opening, but not be confusing.

    As it is, I’m overwhelmed by the sensation of “what on earth did I just watch?” And I’d like some context, pronto.

    • Aldowyn says:

      I dunno, they used that camcorder thing pretty well throughout the game, I thought.

      As for what you need to know.. we’re looking for a lost japanese kingdom in the japanese bermuda triangle and we crashed. You can figure out the rest later.

  41. Yay! I’m not the only one who hated most of Tomb Raider’s QTEs. It took The Walking Dead to change my mind about QTE’s but I don’t think Tomb Raider is quite there yet. One of the ones that really frustrated me was that shrinking ring thing. It took me forever to (sort of) figure it out. Do I press the button just as it reaches the central circle? Fail? Okay, a few seconds of a grizzly death, a reload screen… maybe I wasn’t quick enough. Fail again. Okay wait. It’s not that outer circle is it? It can’t be. No it’s not. Wait. Okay, I’m a little frustrated. Mash the button. Fail. WHAT AM I MISSING HERE??? Waiting AGAIN….

    … And as best as I can tell I have to tap the button a couple of times when the ring enters between the inner and outer circles, and that SEEMS to work. I’ve seen one too many games use QTEs (and similar ones) differently to really intuit any of them. I think devs should probably be more uniform about this kind of system.

  42. Disc says:

    1. The first Tomb Raider seems to be now called “Tomb Raider 1” at least according to my Steam library.

    2. QTEs. Yeah, not much fun. I actually died a number of times in the kicking-hobo-in-the-face scene because I couldn’t intuit how to exactly do it. Game is telling me to press F, just not to pay attention to the stupid action circle.

    3. The campfire scene: I really disliked the camera jitter. It just made scene feel like some dude with the Parkinson’s disease was actually filming her and I’m watching somekind of movie.

  43. Astor says:

    Whoa! I had assumed the Yamatai stuff was completely made-up. I must say, though, that I did appreciate while playing that many of the archaeological collectables seemed to be stuff the devs actually made some research on. I’m not talking about the small description the objects have, but it wasn’t just “Oh, here’s samurai sword number one, there are 10 others for you to get!”, many objects were things I had no idea had ever existed.

    Also, thanks to some GMG sale I got to play the game before the season started. Yay.

    • I was actually sitting there playing, wondering : “Hm, I wonder if this is based off an actual legend? It would surprise me.” It’s so cool to see that it is! :D

    • The Rocketeer says:

      Same here; I had assumed it was all just the writers’ invention. It doesn’t really matter to the game either way, I guess, but I give them a pat on the back for it anyway.

      I liked the unique artifacts, too; it made me want to find them, just to see what I’d get.

  44. rayen says:

    To the whole start conversation, Tomb Raider; Alien Revolution?

  45. Hieronymus says:

    YouTube has been really terrible, lately.

    I don’t suppose you guys have considered supplementing this with an alternative host?

    • Chris says:

      There really isn’t a viable alternative for Let’s Plays. Vimeo doesn’t allow them outright, Blip.tv has all sorts of weird standards for getting your show approved for distribution these days (though, hey, the forced monetization might earn Shamus some money), and other places have finnicky rules and never seem to work out (like Viddler).

      YouTube, as terrible as it is, remains the bastion of Let’s Plays because of the giant bucket of bandwidth Google has allotted to the service along with the giant bucket apathy with regard to the sort of content people are putting out. That does seem to be slowly changing (see their attempts to lure Notch/Mojang into monetizing all Minecraft videos) but for now it’s functionally the only game in town.

      • I’ve been watching some British comedy quiz shows on Dailymotion lately. It’s not too bad, though occasionally the ads in the upper-right corner start autoplaying with audio all throughout what I’m trying to actually watch in the main part of the page.

  46. Torches and candles mostly bug me in games/movies now. Just keeping one room lit with those candles should be an all-day job for someone, not to mention requiring vaults of replacement tapers.

    It reminds me of the immortal MST3K “Cave Dwellers” where some of the protagonists enter a doom fortress through a secret entrance, and the halls are torch-lit.

    Crow: If this is a secret entrance, why are there torches?
    Joel: Because it’s a super-secret double-dog dare entrance.
    Crow: Ohhhhh…

  47. Syal says:

    Ooh! Typo!

    “It’s new new season of Spoiler Warning!”

    I think you meant to say “It’s the new new season of Spoiler Warning!”

  48. Trithne says:

    Personally, I think the drinking game entry should be: Every time Lara falls down in a cutscene. Because it happens ALL THE TIME.

  49. Eric says:

    So… where did all those skulls and skeletons come from? There’s like, at least 100 corpses in each room. How can such a tiny and isolated island sustain such a massive human sacrifice industry?

    Also, why is this ancient cult cave full of explosive barrels? Where did these barrels come from? Who left them out so irresponsibly? Who created these odd machines which seem specifically built to distribute flaming debris to the explosive barrels?

    • Just wait until we get to the river of blood.

      • Eric says:

        This is hack storytelling at its worst, and speaks to the inexperience of the game designers and writers on board. The audience can’t engage themselves in what’s happening if there is such a fundamental conflict between theme, presentation and verisimilitude. This is stuff you should pick up on if you have taken English literature 101, much less a high school literature class.

        It means your entire game is broken and shows you did not think hard enough about basic issues that would occur to any logical human being. It also shows you do not respect the intelligence of your audience, that you either expect people to not notice or that you don’t feel it’s necessary to address these problems.

        I can’t play (big-budget, mainstream) videogames anymore. Stuff like this bothers me too much and it’s clear the people making them do not care about these things. The worst part? I tend to value play mechanics above all else, and will play games with weak or even bad stories if the mechanics and systems design is good; when gameplay and story are so disconnected that the most basic elements and actions of play cannot be reconciled, that is as much a mechanics and design deficiency as it is a narrative one.

  50. slipshod says:

    06:14 “You okay, buddy?” — always makes my day.

  51. harborpirate says:

    So many years making games, so little progress…

    This game starts with the classic Evil Game Lair. You know, the kind that is a complete and total deathtrap at every turn. Why would anyone continue to use this cave if one little spark blows it up like a tinderbox, or one little bump caves it in on you?

    • It’s thanks to their complete lack of regard for workplace safety and guidelines that we aren’t up to our armpits in death cults. Eventually, someone knocks over a candle-covered shrine or stores a still-hot incense pot in the same room with the gunpowder and there’s suddenly one less group with blood sacrifice as a hobby.

      • The Rocketeer says:

        You’d think some of these groups would actually summon whatever it is they’re trying to through sheer mishap alone, though; do unspeakable deities honor unintentional sacrifice?

        • You’d think so, since so many horror movies start out with someone unwittingly letting loose the unspeakable evil (like Evil Dead II). Maybe in those cases, the Big Bad comes out because it’s got unwitting victims to devour, whereas in others, it’s ashamed to have to admit how it came to Earth if it eventually conquers it. “Yeah, this one guy tripped over a brazier and basically set the whole temple on fire. Look, it wasn’t like people with above-room-temperature IQs were going to worship me, okay? And I never ordered them to soak the foundation in gasoline, that was their own idea.”

      • MetalSeagull says:

        Someone must devote a significant amount of time to maintaining those candles. You’d have to light them from back to front to avoid burning yourself, watching your step the whole time. They would probably burn out in 12 hours or less. So we have someone with a vast supply of candles, artfully arranging and lighting them twice a day. It’s a striking and fetishistic tableau, but if you need that much candlelight in a room, wall sconces are the way to go.

  52. MetalSeagull says:

    I’m a couple of days late with this, but in regards to the subtitles, I like them and hope they stay. I don’t think I’ll end up playing this game, and I doubt I watch another Lets Play of it. But with the subtitles I can keep up with the storyline even when you guys are talking over the audio.

  53. Artur CalDazar says:

    I’m sure playing it, or at least watching without commentary, is better but this intro seemed insanely rushed. To the point that if I relied solely on knowledge gained from watching I couldn’t tell you who anyone was, where they were or what anybody was doing at any point.
    It might be because you are moving so swiftly through, but I’ve seen people doing speed runs of games I haven’t played and picked up more than I am here. It is disorientating.

    I was just thinking “wait, wasn’t she just impaled on a bloody bit of rusted rebar?” when Chris pointed it out. Thats not something you walk away from, unless you’re a Far Cry protagonist I suppose, then you get them from falling over and just walk it off.

  54. TSi says:

    The boat sinking level in TR-Underworld would have been a good start for this game.

    I played Uncharted 2 (which is an awesome game) a few times so the airplane climbing sequence felt unoriginal and the QTE’s made it worse. Drake and Lara are even injured at the exact same spot !

    Anyway, I wonder how many times you guys will restart the wolf cave QTE…

  55. Lachlan the Mad says:

    I caught the first Tomb Raider movie on TV a couple of nights ago, and while my girlfriend and her roommates were obsessing over Angelina Jolie, I was obsessing over Rimmer. So I guess this episode was prophetic or something.

Leave a Reply

Comments are moderated and may not be posted immediately. Required fields are marked *

*
*

Thanks for joining the discussion. Be nice, don't post angry, and enjoy yourself. This is supposed to be fun.

You can enclose spoilers in <strike> tags like so:
<strike>Darth Vader is Luke's father!</strike>

You can make things italics like this:
Can you imagine having Darth Vader as your <i>father</i>?

You can make things bold like this:
I'm <b>very</b> glad Darth Vader isn't my father.

You can make links like this:
I'm reading about <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darth_Vader">Darth Vader</a> on Wikipedia!

You can quote someone like this:
Darth Vader said <blockquote>Luke, I am your father.</blockquote>