Tomb Raider EP2: Hunger Games

By Shamus Posted Saturday Jun 8, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 138 comments

Link (YouTube)

Adding to my commentary on the beartrap scene: I was confused over where everyone was going, but there’s still this problem where the group decides that Lara will go after Roth and they will go after Sam. Lara says okay to this, but once everyone leaves she goes and takes a nap or whatever. I understand why she needed a sit-down, but I couldn’t help thinking, “If you weren’t up to the job, why did you accept it? Why didn’t you say you needed a rest? There were lots of people left to look for Roth.” It’s just that – to a non-player observer – it would kind of make Lara look a bit like an irresponsible jerk. (Imagine if Reyes said she was going to look for Sam and then jumped in a hammock.)

The funny part is that if the cutscene had ended and left you standing there, I would have immediately turned around and returned to the campfire anyway to check my equipment and see if I leveled up, and I wouldn’t have felt like an irresponsible jerk for doing so. Heh. I mean, I’m sure Roth is a nice guy and he might need my help or whatever but OMG LEVEL UP POINTS.


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138 thoughts on “Tomb Raider EP2: Hunger Games

  1. Collin says:

    There was a lot about the story that didn’t make much sense, but the game was so much fun that I forgave it for a lot.

  2. Duhad says:

    Am I the only guy who spent the minimum amount of time possible in detective mode? Because I went for 100% in both of thous games, yet I almost NEVER used that vision mode!

    Even in the silent predator bits where you more or less HAVE to use it, I tired to limit myself to just to times where I was planing out my rout and the enemy positions, because the normal vision mode is just so much nicer looking. I figured most people where like that, but I have heard so many people talk about how they saw no reason to ever play with Detective Mode OFF that I am starting to think that I was just playing in a supper abnormal way…

    1. Michael says:

      I didn’t like leaving it on either, mainly because it meant I could see walls & floors & whatnot properly. I’d go to divekick someone and instead faceplant into a building.

    2. Naota says:

      I had to make a conscious effort to turn it off whenever possible, just to see the beautiful game environments and their lighting. Detective mode was just too useful to you at all times to ignore – it spotted threats around corners, through walls, and in the dark before you stumbled into them; it marked secret areas, switches, and hidden loot which you would easily have walked right past; it illuminated special symbols like the Riddler puzzles; it even let you check an enemy’s alert state and weaponry in combat.

      Detective mode did everything. The only reason not to use it for every waking moment of Arkham Asylum/City was out of pity for the game’s fantastic environment artists, or as a self-limiting handicap because you thought it made the game too easy.

  3. Colbster94 says:

    You got Roth and Whitman mixed up in your writing. Is that an okay thing to point out?

    1. Shamus says:

      She’s going WITH Whittman, but she’s going AFTER Roth. I suppose it’s ambiguous because Whittman runs ahead.

    2. Bropocalypse says:

      To be fair, it’s very difficult to care about who is who in this game.

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Some days there’s a site need for a general purpose *approve* button on comments… (;

      2. Trix2000 says:

        I dunno, actually. I think I connected well enough with the characters themselves – the issue was that their names weren’t really all that obvious most of the time, so I recognized them by faces and got confused a bit whenever they tried referring to the others by name (ie: let’s go after Roth!…but which one was Roth?).

        Ultimately though I didn’t have much of a problem with it since I have trouble with names anyways… so maybe it’s just me.

      3. Taellosse says:

        I’m with Trix on that one – I was interested in the supporting cast as things went along (though, ironically for the game designers, I cared the least about Sarah, since she’s little more than a classic damsel-in-distress, and is never really developed as a person beyond that role), once they all had a chance to show they were people instead of disposable NPCs. The problem is that doesn’t get a chance to really happen until nearly halfway through the game.

        I agree with the SP crew that an establishing sequence on board the ship, before the crash, where you could at least briefly talk to everyone would have been very helpful for this. It would show you right away that Lara, at least a little bit, knows everyone on board, it would give you a chance to see who they are, give you a couple notes of their basic personalities, that sort of thing. Then they aren’t random people you’re meeting for the first time 20 minutes in.

  4. Brandon says:

    Sounds like Shamus turned the enemies in this game into a factory for Skyrim guards. “I used to be a psycho cultist, but then I took an arrow to the knee”

    Great episode everyone. I’m glad you are playing through a game that you enjoyed, this time around!

    1. tzeneth says:

      I was waiting for this joke and was disappointed. Rutskarn and Spoiler Warning, you have failed me, probably not for the last time ;)

      1. Velkrin says:

        To be fair when the achievement for successful knee based melee assault is named “former adventurer” then there really isn’t a need to make the joke.

  5. Klay F. says:

    So is that tuck-and-roll move the new bunnyhopping? :P

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      Either that, or bunnyhopping is the new bunnyhopping.

      1. rrgg says:

        The bunnyhopping in this game looks amazing Josh, keep it up!

        1. Hitchmeister says:

          I’m pretty sure (as in I never played the game and am just making stuff up for shits and grins) that maximum speed can be obtained by hop rolling. You jump then roll just as you land followed by another hop as you complete the roll and repeat. Of course you have to get the timing just right. Show us how that works, Josh.

    2. Alexander The 1st says:

      It feels more like the Legend of Zelda: Orcarina of Time forward rolling mechanic – you feel like if you spammed it, you’d get to your location faster.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        I’m thinking this. It’s just a placebo. You feel like it’s going faster if you’re DOING something.

        1. Trix2000 says:

          Actually, I think someone somewhere proved that Link’s rolling, in OOT at least, WAS faster. I could be remembering wrong, but I seem to recall a video about it.

          I didn’t end up spamming the dodge move much because alone it felt slower (she kinda stops at the end of the action). Didn’t consider that you could roll following to prevent that bit, which I think is actually a bit faster. Either way, not something I’d do – feels too immersion-breaking.

          1. anaphysik says:

            In OoT, Link actually moves (generally; it’s complicated) fastest when WALKING BACKWARDS (assuming we’re talking by foot – don’t try backwalking with Epona ;D). Watch any speedrun (especially non-tool-assisted (side-hopping can be faster than backwalking in certain circumstances, but mainly only if you time the frames perfectly; also, TAS runs can perform a lot more glitchy things too)) and you’ll see backwalking employed nigh-continuously.

            Rolling /does/ actually make you move faster, but you have to time it PRECISELY right to make it compete with backwalking – ‘live’ speedrunners memorize the areas /anyway/, and TA-speedrunners effectively know the areas perfectly (so being able to see where you’re going isn’t a benefit), so backwalking is still standard.

            EDIT: some data:

            1. Trix2000 says:

              Yeah I remember that, though for some reason I thought it was hopping sideways that ended up being faster. Not something I did a whole lot with myself though, but I do remember hopping sideways was much faster than it had any right to be. :/

    3. newdarkcloud says:

      I have to admit, given their knack from bunny-hoping to hell in… every game, then criticisms regarding the dodge roll seemed a little hollow to me.

      So few games put a limit on how many times you can perform a dodge move (because in combat its a vital maneuver), that limiting it seems pointless.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “I have to admit, given their knack from bunny-hoping to hell in… every game, then criticisms regarding the dodge roll seemed a little hollow to me.”

        But its always just Josh that bunny hops,and the others usually telling him to stop.So its consistent at least.

        It really is ridiculous how gamers are always trying to go as fast as possible in all of the games,and doing something like limiting the sprint time only ends up feeling annoying.

  6. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Oh deer,this was a glitchy episode.Hope you resolve it in your next batch.

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      I have to say, the framerate does have a tendency to buck around at times.

      1. Michael says:


        1. rrgg says:

          Darn, I was never a big fawn of these threads. . .

          1. Zukhramm says:


            Get it? Because it’s a kind of deer.

            1. Zerotime says:

              You need some elk with your punning.

              1. RedSun says:

                It is staggering how often these threads dissolves into puns. Kinda behooves me.

                Well, I better mount an effort anyway; window of opportunity is cloven.

                1. newdarkcloud says:

                  It appears I need to steed myself in preparation for further punning.

                  1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                    I wonder if Shamoose knows of any good deer-related puns.

            2. James says:

              A Moose bit my sister once

  7. anaphysik says:

    I can hardly believe that I’m saying this, but Assassin’s Creed has more realistic platforming that this <_<

    This just looks WAY too stupid to take even remotely seriously as a 'survivalist endurance-challenge origin story.'

    1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      I was just thinking – platforming through the trees, hunting deer, quick-time events to kill wolves…

      It’s ACIII!

      1. 4th Dimension says:

        Except Connor in most cases must actually stalk his prey. Not bunny hop after it. :D

        1. Fleaman says:

          Speak for yourself. It’s not exactly bunny-hopping, but nearly all of my pelting needs were easily met simply by spending any time in the Frontier charging around on foot while constantly flourishing my saber. The majority of animals get away, but every so often one takes too long to turn after noticing you or paths away from a wall in the wrong direction, giving you a small window of time where Connor is briefly close enough to catch it and stab it in the brain.

          I basically never had to do anything but this until achievement-farming forced me to. Also consider the facts that A) three of the highest-selling pelts are worn by animals (elk, wolves, and bears) that do not flee and can be killed using easy and reliable QTEs, and B) beavers have extremely pricey furs and have no ability to escape from a man sprinting at them waving a hatchet over his head, screaming.

          Connor doesn’t actually scream. The screaming was me.

  8. mandrilltiger says:

    I like to add to the to the survival instant.

    One of the big problems with the Uncharted series is that it’s hard to tell exactly whats climbable and whats not so you can get stuck a lot. The solution to this is the game after a couple of minutes of so progress will tell you by flashing hint on the screen. Kind of a brute force way to solve the problem.

    In this game the survival instant I think helps this. It gives the player control on the hints but the hint is ambiguous enough that it doesn’t just give it away. It is virtually the same thing but by giving the player control it feels like you are solving the “puzzle” rather than getting told the answer.

    1. silver Harloe says:

      One of the big problems with the Uncharted series is that it's hard to tell exactly whats climbable and whats not so you can get stuck a lot.

      In this game the survival instant I think helps this.

      Also helpful: someone with too much time on their hands and a large amount of white paint put white stripes on literally every wall you can climb/jump/scramble up.

  9. Crimson Wool says:

    Christ almighty, I forgot how completely all over the map the plot to this game was in the early stages. That certainly isn’t helped by the fact that every character with any actual character winds up a corpse by the end of the game, and the plot more or less jams on every last cliche it can. It really is… not a very well-plotted or written game. Which is a shame, because the premise is pretty good for a game about raiding tombs.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      Is it really a game about raiding tombs? I mean, there is tomb raiding, but it’s quite clearly a side activity. The pulpy-survival story is clearly at the forefront.

      Whether that’s good or bad is up for debate, but “Tomb Raider” feels almost like a misnomer.

      1. People keep saying it’s “not a game about raiding tombs”, but technically the -entire game- is about raiding tombs. You spend inordinate hours going through tombs of all the island’s previous inhabitants, and let’s not forget the massive tomb near endgame.

        Anyway, I’m pretty sure the entire island counts as a tomb considering the vast amount of dead there. (And if you think “Tomb Raider” was always about raiding tombs anyway, you clearly didn’t play those games).

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,Josh,you said that you dislike special visions and have done games that have it(dishonored,batman)without using it.Is the instinct here ok for you because its not an always on thing?Have you used it in your regular playthrough?

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      It’s also worth noting it doesn’t give away everything (Unless you’ve already collected all the GPS caches) – only things you’ve already past by and seen, or waypoints the game or you specify on the map as your next destination.

      Whereas Darkvision and Batman’s Detective vision show enemy locations, their orienations, their alertness, what weapons they have, etc. Oh, and unlike Eagle Vision, it doesn’t colour code between teammates and enemies.

      At least, if I had to say why I liked it, that would be it. It’s helping me orient myself towards solutions, not revealing solutions to me.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Although, if you want it to show you everything, you can buy that upgrade at a campsight with a high enough level and you’re close enough to a given object. The best of both worlds.

        1. Aldowyn says:

          there’s also a map collectible that shows you where all the artifacts are.

          And no matter what you do, it won’t show you challenge locations.

    2. Eric says:

      I just don’t like it because it assumes that your players are stupid, or because you have an art style that doesn’t adequately differentiate important objects from background scenery. And it’s just improbable and makes no sense and is basically “videogame shit” of the worst kind that always shows up in games that have the most pretense of realism.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,how did you get no damage from that jump at 8:30?Im pretty sure that I got some damage from dropping from the ladder there.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait…You guys didnt completely hunt out all of the locations once you entered them?That was just me?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I honestly didn’t either. I feel like it would’ve been weird to go “WE MUST SAVE SAM/ROTH NOW… Let’s faff about it the jungle for a bit.”

      Plus, there was the sense of “I can just go back later” which alleviated the impulse.

    2. Aldowyn says:

      I only ever hunted out one area, I think. I regretted this by the end of the game when I had to go back and grind for money to get all the upgrades >.<

  13. Weimer says:

    Isn’t this like a hour into the game? Where are our guns? Where are the necrodemons to shoot? Where is our smartass sideki- oh wait.

    What is up with all the bows appearing in recent games? Are bows cool suddenly somehow? Where are the crossbows? How about the truly practical medieval weapons – polearms? Murdering spacemonsters with a halberd would be absurdly fun.

    I’d hate to thread old mud but the game looks very brown and grey. Is it intentional? Does it visualize the bleak and grim situation Lara has been thrown into?

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      mid-2012/early-2013 was the year of the bow for some reason. Not just with games, but with the referenced Hunger Games, and then movies like Brave, Marvel’s The Avengers, etc.

      I was trying to find a more detailed list, but I found this particular link regarding why they may be popular recently.

      Still does seem a bit odd that all media recently seems to go “Bow and arrow == awesome!”…

      1. Mormegil says:

        With varying levels of realism.

        Brave was very well done (note the arrow flexing on release and the consistent anchor point that Merida uses for each shot).

        Tomb Raider is fairly awful (adding a d-loop does not help you shoot faster, Lara never anchors anywhere consistently in cutscenes, you seem to shoot the same arrows out of a dodgy longbow at the start that you are shooting out of your fully upgraded compound bow at the end, etc).

        But I still used the bow more than anything else because bows are cool.

        1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

          And she’s drawing the bow wrong. You cannot shoot a bow gangsta style. Well, you can, it just doesn’t work well and you’ll hurt yourself.

        2. newdarkcloud says:

          I used the bow because stealth kills. Once I was spotted, I switched to some of my other weapons.

          Then the bow got flaming arrows, and all my other weapons besides the shotgun collected dust.

          1. Trix2000 says:

            I was gonna say ‘but the shotgun gets FIRE PELLETS’ except you mentioned using the shotgun anyways.

            Originally bow/shotgun were my go-tos, but then I found out that the pistol actually did pretty good damage at close/medium range and the carbine/whatever it was did pretty well at taking out almost everything (barring limited ammo even with upgrades). So I did a lot of weapon swapping for variety.

          2. Alexander The 1st says:

            I used the bow not just because of its stealth capabilities, but also because when you choose your upgrade at the camp for the first time, one of the ones you can choose is “Pick arrows you shot at enemies out of their dead bodies.”

            Which basically meant that as long as you never missed, you could *never* run out of arrows. And even if you did missed, there were enough arrow packs around that it didn’t matter for nearly the entire game.

            1. Trix2000 says:

              There tended to be enough ammo packs of everything – both on the ground and on enemies – that running out with anything besides the submachine gun never happened for me (surprising how fast you could run through its 150 shots, fully upgraded).

        3. Aldowyn says:

          hmm let’s make a list of games with bows in the focus… Far Cry 3, Crysis 3, Tomb Raider, Assassin’s Creed 3… that’s a lot of threes. Did I miss anything, i think I did? Far Cry 3 is the only one I’ve played where the bow actually had an arc, I think, and was very much optional.

          1. Fleaman says:

            Warframe is a FTP game currently in open beta. It’s an action game where you’re a parkouring cyborg ninja in space using a katana and an assault rifle. There is a bow.

  14. Nimas says:

    I’m with Shamus, I really missed the lack of anything survival after the first deer kill.

    I also really wish there was a second, short cutscene after you kill a second deer or person. Basically Lara showing little emotion, maybe just going up the deer and pausing for 1 second before cutting it open. Another option would have been to even have her slightly worried with how easy murder comes to her.

    1. Raygereio says:

      I don’t know. I think that unless the game’s narrative is going to actually explore the psychological aspects of murder and adress that the average videogame protagonist is an insane, butchering sociopath, it’s better to ignore it and pay as little attention to that fact as possible.

      Don’t get me wrong: it can be an interesting subject to tackle in a story. But just adding one or two token scenes and then never developing the topic creates a far bigger disconnect, then if your were to never adress it all. After all, it can be rather dumb to watch your character be upset over killing someone or something in a cutscene, and then proceed to cheerfully murder dozens more completely emotionlessly in the actual gameplay.

      1. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

        I don’t get the apology. There are religions which do that, but nothing to indicate Lara is a practitioner (it’s not ritualistic when she does it). The only hunters I’ve ever known to apologize to prey was when they’d botched the shot and mortally wounded and crippled the animal, but not killed it outright. At which point they’d finish it off quickly.

        Lara is supposed to have been trained in the use of a bow (though it doesn’t show). I would have figured she’d have gone hunting at least once before with Roth.

        Buck fever I get, it just doesn’t seem particularly well done here.

        1. newdarkcloud says:

          It’s worth noting that they’re trying to give you the sense that this is a girl who is not at all accustomed to violence against anything other than cardboard targets. She’s never killed a living creature before. As a result, she feels an immense sense of guilt at her very first kill.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Kill one thing: “OH MY GOD HOW COULD I BE SO HORRIBLE?!”
            Kill a second thing: “Welp, might as well just kill everything now!”

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “The only hunters I've ever known to apologize to prey was when they'd botched the shot and mortally wounded and crippled the animal, but not killed it outright.”

          Well that is what Lara did here.The deer was still alive before she finished it off with the other arrow(using an arrow as a knife?Ugh)and gutted it.

      2. Alexander The 1st says:

        A side example of this: that wound that Lara got through her side last video? Or the bear trap from this video?

        Drawing attention to something you want the player to ignore is not the best way of doing things.

        Plus, I hated the hunting cutscenes in Assassin’s Creed 3, where *every* time you skin an animal, you go through the cutscene showing Connor skinning them.

        1. Fleaman says:

          You can skip those (shaves off 2-3 seconds), but it’s still an inconvenience.

    2. newdarkcloud says:

      I’m not too sore about that. I think this is like those shots in movies that are used to establish routines. “Okay, we’ve now established that Lara can hunt animals and feed herself, now we no longer need to show her doing that because you can assume she does that off camera.”

      There are problems with that, because since we play as Lara, she’s never “off camera”, but you get the idea.

    3. She -does- say she’s worried about how easy murder comes to her – after she tells Roth that she killed someone, he says, “I’m sorry… That can’t have been easy,” and she responds, “It’s scary just how easy it was…”

      1. But at the same time, it was also a throw-away line; I thought at least.

  15. arron says:

    I don’t know whether it’s just a phase in the game, but I’m not impressed with the action so far. Lara seem to be able to fall distances (that would kill Gordon Freeman) with no apparent damage and that gaping wound that would no doubt be infected now hasn’t had any medical treatment, she’s now got a leg wound from the trap that she ignores after release from the trap..and yet you’ve got Lara apparently trying to do these critical survival tasks to avoid dying. I know that computer games are not traditionally paragons of realism..but if you’re going to do a Fallout NV level of hardcore survival, then having access to hunting food,water, fixing wounds and not plunging a hundred feet to the ground would be gaming mechanics that should be supported. Also you’d probably have to have the game more open world so you could hunt properly.

    So far the reality of this game is completely incongruent with the scenario in that it’s just a box ticking exercise to collect X deer and live. It’s not even as good as games like Fallout 3/System Shock/Deus Ex/CoC:Dark Corners of the Earth where you have to collect food and can heal/bandage parts of your body. All of these games have a much stronger survival ethic despite not being the victim of a disaster.

    It really is Hollywood gaming at it’s best. If the crashing plane episode in the E3 demo is coming later, it’s just going to get silly on Pythonesque levels. We’ve already had her laugh off a probably fatal injury like the black knight. We’re only 40 minutes in, but Lara seems to give the impression she’s about to die with all the whining about not being able to cope, when she could probably be decapitated with few ill effects with what we’ve seen so far.

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      If there’s one thing I didn’t miss from this game, it was Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater’s healing/eating mechanics, which is what I think of when I think of survival mechanics.

      To me, the big issue seems to be that they brought up the wound, then never dealt with it. At least, for everyone else.

      But having to constantly use survival mechanics would’ve taken the game’s linear structure and just padded out sections where you can grind deer, rabbits, and wolves for healing materials before you enter the important areas.


      Also, the plane crashing scene doesn’t happen for a while – at Josh’s pace, I give it at least 20 episodes or so, if not more.

      1. arron says:

        You could have discarded health kits that are hidden around the place, and having a CoC: Dark Corners of the Earth style mechanic and UI where you treat and bandage wounds that you sustain from your medical supplies. I think that would have been better than what we have here.

        And the food situation could be solved with both hunting, filling a bottle up from water sources and foraging supplies of tinned food left over from previous survivors, so you wouldn’t necessarily need to go to a lot of hassle with killing animals and turning them into items.

        Also there’s no sense of what happens if these things are not dealt with. if your wounds get infected, then your health will be poor, you would have a fever, move slowly and you would struggle to complete QT events. If you don’t have food to eat or potable water to drink at certain points in the game then you could suffer some kind of performance hit in how you can run and shoot accurately. There’s a lot they could have done here.

        I think they way they handled it in this game was pretty bad considering all the effort they put into art assets and physics. I think I could have done without animated hair and ridiculous scripted set pieces if they’d spent the money doing that one on a better survival mechanic.

    2. Eric says:

      I already mentioned this in response to the last video, but I cannot in any way take this game seriously. It is Stupid with a capital S and I have no idea why more people did not completely skewer the game for it. Do audiences just not care about things like consistency of setting, story and play mechanics and systems? Are they so desensitized to this stuff that they they don’t even notice? Or is it just justified by “lol its a vidyagaem”?

      1. SKD says:

        No, they don’t care. At least not to the level you think they should. A good bit of it can probably be attributed to the rule of fun. A super realistic setting is not fun because it gets in the way of doing all the things you want to do, i.e. platforming, shooting, discovering treasure, saving your friends…

        For consistency of setting we would be having problems with weapons breaking from disrepair or constant use(the bow she pulled off the body would likely have snapped its string or the arms when she flexed it after hanging in the environment long enough for that body to reach that stage of decomposition), duds/misfires and incompatible calibers in scavenged ammo (this stuff has been accumulating and laying around since at least WWII), having to carry a sherpa pack to fit all the ammunition and weapons picked up, infection and bleed out for most of the wounds received, and most combat wounds resulting in instant death, incapacitation, or inability to continue for several days or weeks while the character heals and rehabilitates.

      2. Daemian Lucifer says:

        There are no 100% consistent stories.Be it in videogame,movie or book format.But,if the story is presented well,some of those inconsistencies will be overlooked.The better the story is presented,the more people are willing to let slide.

    3. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      Well, we can invoke our favorite catch-phrase.

      I could let the spike thing go. I could let the falling go. Zelda-rolling and bunny-hopping around the map are breaking my immersion, but that’s Josh’s doing, not the game’s.

      But that beartrap should have shattered her leg -it is the point of such things (they make special traps now so that they don’t break the bone). If they’re going to make a big deal of beating up Lara and going for “realism” the arbitrary deviations from realism are going to become funny, quick.

      1. Torsten says:

        Maybe she is wearing safety boots. If you look closely, the trap catches her from the boot leg, not from her bear leg.

        1. Syal says:

          I saw that, but do safety boots really make you stronger than a bear?

        2. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

          I thought that too -but it isn’t the individual events that is the problem -it is the cascade of all of them. I cannot take the brutalizing of Lara seriously if she is then going to stand up and bunny-hop off a collapsed bridge. Repeated inflictions of pain become funny, not dramatic in those circumstance.

          No one ever cringes when Wile E. Coyote steps in a beartrap.

    4. newdarkcloud says:

      I think you’re making the mistake of assuming it’s a “Survival Game” in the sense that you need to manage resources and last as long as possible. It’s more of, as Shamus and Chris said, a combination of a coming-of-age story and pulpy action.

      The writers of this came came in to reboot the franchise by thinking “What would turn a person of Lara Croft’s wealthy upbringing into someone like she was in the games?” and then built an entire new continuity around that premise.

  16. Rtbones says:

    I agree that the archaeology collectibles were fun – especially the ones that you find where Laura acts like, you know, an archaeologist. Laura demonstrates knowledge with them, and you find out things about the artifacts the same way she would – by looking at them and turning them over in your hands. I was happy that seemed to be the turn the game was taking early – Laura being more academic than SuperChickHeroOfAwesomeness. Then Laura turned (in our case, will turn) into her bad-ass self of yore, which made me a little sad. It wasnt far past the antenna that I quit trying to find the GPS caches, eggs, flowers, and other goofy collectibles. But if I thought there was an archaeological treasure out and about on a level, I went for it.

    I did get all of the secret tombs, but was very disappointed in them – for reasons I am sure we’ll discuss when we get to the first one.

    I also hardly ever used the Survivor Vision during my playthrough.

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      I agree. Rotating the collectibles added such a nice little touch that gave me the impression Lara actually knew archaeology and history. I wrote a little something a while back about how much I liked this game’s collectibles.

  17. allfreightoncanals says:

    Survivor Vision was in some ways more annoying than Batman’s Detective Mode. Once you get the Orienteering skill (Survivor Vision adds nearby items to your map).

    Since I’m broken and can’t stand the idea of missing out on a collectable this resulted in me repeatedly pressing the Survivor button while running to “scan” the area for goodies. The transition animation and sound start to get annoying.

  18. Disc says:

    I really do hope you can fix whatever was up with recording. Only six minutes in, the skipping framerate combined with the spinning camera is really making my eyes feel funny, if not a little dizzy.

  19. Armstrong says:

    You know, wolfs are actually extinct in Japan. So Lara is probably shooting the last remainder of the Hokkaido Wolf subspecies.

    1. tengokujin says:

      Continuing the long Croft tradition of killing endangered animals because they’re trying to kill you.

  20. Eric says:

    Wait, what? So first Lara steps on a bear trap, which probably would have snapped her foot clean off, and she’s still able to limp around, then walk shortly after no problem? This is after she should be dead from falling on that long, red-hot nail from earlier, either from trauma, blood loss or infection?

    And of course, now that she got a breather she’s back to fighting wolves, doing crazy, insane acrobatics that even the most experienced parkour experts would hesitate to perform, and taking those falls from 30 feet like a champ.

    Wait, hold on. We have established the jungle is a dangerous place – they decide to split up into groups to explore an unfamiliar and hostile location, in a thunderstorm, with hungry angry wolves running around, to find one person and “that one guy no one has ever heard of before”?

    Is everybody in this game a moron? Is this going to be one of those stories where it only works because everyone has been equipped with their own personal Idiot Ball? And let me guess – in a game called Tomb Raider and featuring archaeological collectables, this theme is going to end up having absolutely no consequence or importance to the plot whatsoever, right?

    We’re 2 episodes in and this game is making me rage at its sheer stupidity already. And this is a dumb-dumb Hollywood action game for dumb-dumbs, not some “proper RPG” or “high art” indie game – I should be able to ignore this as a matter of genre and audience, yet I can’t. Good sign.

    And I’m still wondering who the heck that magical teleporting hobo who got crushed by the boulder was.

    1. “And this is a dumb-dumb Hollywood action game for dumb-dumbs”

      I get that you really don’t like this game for a lot of reasons, but please don’t insult those of us who still enjoyed it. The game may be the equivalent of a blockbuster action film, but it doesn’t mean I’m a moron for liking it despite its flaws.

      1. Eric says:

        My use of “dumb-dumb” was not intended to offend anyone. It was my way of simply saying “this is a big mainstream production with tons of money behind it and aimed at mass audiences.” Apologies if you took offense.

    2. Shamus says:

      As Gabriele Nichols said above, be careful to criticize the work and not the fans or you’ll just be starting a big dumb flamewar for no reason.

      All of the things you mentioned are problems, and I think they’re problems with a common cause: The game whiffed it on tone. We don’t fuss too much over injuries in action adventure. Fall distances? Jump height? Recovery from “flesh wounds”? Questionable decisions? We let the writers bend the rules quite a bit if it’s fun and keeps the story moving. We have higher standards of plausibility for the characters in Argo or Black Hawk Down than for James Bond and Indiana Jones.

      But this game began with this dark, gritty which hampers things when they want to switch back to fun adventure mode. The “stupidity” you’re talking about is perfectly in line with adventure stories.

      Except for the fact that we’re splitting up so ???? can look for ???? and Lara can look for ?????. That whole thing is a mess and isn’t really ever going to get fixed.

      1. Eric says:

        I don’t mind the Indiana Jones-esque action-adventure nonsense. It’s fun and entertaining… in a context where you don’t make a point of subjecting the main character to horrifying, extremely painful and graphic injuries.

        It’s like if Indiana Jones, in the first scene of Temple of Doom, got his hand sucked into a meat grinder, with the director taking express interest in his screams and depicting the injury in detail, but he pulled it out and the bloody stump left over just grew back. It’d mess up the tone for the whole rest of the movie.

        1. Naota says:

          Indeed, it’s the specific focus on Lara being repeatedly injured in a brutal and realistic fashion that ruins things so badly. It feels as if somewhere along the line, a designer decided that watching her be tortured would make her sympathetic to us, completely missing that we would also expect this to have some lasting effect on her along with it.

          Pulpy action-adventure protagonist invulnerability doesn’t go well with visceral depictions of maiming; if you show us a debilitating injury in unrelenting detail, we expect it to be injurious. As you said, there’s a reason that Indiana Jones just gets up winded from a big dust cloud after a long fall, rather than a slow motion close-up of his ankle snapping in half followed by a chase scene where he screams in pain, hobbles for two seconds, then completely ignores it for the rest of the feature.

          See also: the game’s grasping at wilderness survival elements. Action-adventurers don’t scrounge after a meager living out in the wild – they subsist on a diet of their own quips and pocket lint. Lighting fires for warmth, stalking deer for sustenance, and fighting off wolves is the territory of stark realism. When you draw attention to all this stuff being required for Lara to survive the night, you don’t get to be surprised when we wonder why she can shrug off a punctured kidney without even bandaging it up.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Tarantino does it constantly,and I dont see his movies being labeled as low art movies for as wide audience as possible.Yes,sometimes the tone is just ridiculously jarring(like in from dusk till dawn),but even for those few movies,which I dont like precisely because of that,I still have to say that they are well crafted ones.

            Why cannot we have such a mesh for games?Sure,not every game can pull it off,but its not impossible.Does tomb raider succeed in doing it?I think for the most part it does.

            1. Syal says:

              Off the top of my head, I don’t remember any Tarantino movies where someone shrugs off an injury. He deals them out liberally but they all stick.

              (Well, possibly The Bride but that’s a part of the character.)

            2. Naota says:

              I never said this consigned a movie or game to being low art – I just said the reason we’re constantly questioning Lara’s capability to do what she does is that the game can’t decide what tone to go for. It wants us to treat her injuries as serious threats to her life and remember them, and it also wants us to brush them aside so she can do death-defying stunts unimpeded.

              Tarantino’s movies are pulp through and through, start to finish. When a man’s head explodes into a ludicrous amount of gore in Django, or a totally untrained slave has impeccable accuracy with a complicated cap and ball revolver, nobody seriously questions it. They’re not realistic in their violence. If a Tarantino character takes a should-be fatal wound in stride, it doesn’t jar because that’s consistent with the ridiculous nature of the movie.

              Tomb Raider doesn’t always want to be pulpy, over-the-top, and fun though – it often changes gears into stark realism, where a simple fall can break a bone or puncture an organ with no higher narrative reason than the arbitrary cruelty of life, then a minute later it throws the same battered character into inhuman high adventure shenanigans without any forethought.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                I wasnt saying that Tarantino has the exact same shtick as tomb raider,but that the mesh between unrealistic and realistic is always there.

                What about the “mandingo” fight in django?That one wasnt unrealistic,and wasnt played over the top.Or the whole first half of from dusk till dawn?Or the fourth room in 4 rooms and the lighter scene(granted,technically Tarantino was doing just the fourth room,but it still meshes with the rest of the movie)?Theres pleny of realism in his movies,but it doesnt clash with over the top parts(most of the time).

                In tomb raider realism doesnt clash with over the top because these two cant work together,but because they connected them badly(sometimes,because sometimes it does work).

    3. SKD says:

      Actually, the collectibles serve to illustrate the history of the island as a terrestrial black hole where nothing that enters is allowed to leave. From the ancient Japanese and Chinese artifacts to the WWII soldier’s personal items and journals they show that people have been getting stuck on the island throughout the centuries.

      As for the bear trap, it would have most likely crushed the bone and possibly broken the skin (assuming it is one meant for bears and not smaller/lighter game) but the likelihood of it completely severing her foot is slim considering the type.

      And to echo Shamus and Gabriele, there is no need to insult the people who enjoyed the game. Pick on the failings of the work itself, not those who looked past them.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “As for the bear trap, it would have most likely crushed the bone and possibly broken the skin (assuming it is one meant for bears and not smaller/lighter game) but the likelihood of it completely severing her foot is slim considering the type.”

        Lara is not barefoot there.She has tough boots.You know,boots that are supposed to help you in situations you get your foot stuck by rocks.So the only thing a bear trap should do is some crushing injury(bone fracture is a possibility),but not cutting one.

  21. RedSun says:

    On the subject of unrealistic wildlife, I found the deer to be just as annoying as those wolves. I know it isn’t something most people would be bothered by, but I really hate it when deer are portrayed as this innocent little prey just prancing about, unaware of danger.

    Deer aren’t stupid; if you get close to them, they will either dash off, very quickly, or they will sense danger and try to stare you down. To be fair, neither of those options are particularly conducive to that mini-game, but it still bugs me.

    1. Syal says:

      Just assume the bad guys have been hand-feeding the deer for twenty years and that problem melts away.

    2. Aitch says:

      And with all these dopey deer around, seemingly with the tendency to spawn right next to a predator before slowly loping off into a dead end, I have an incredibly difficult time believing that all these wolves would find themselves hungry enough to attack a human. Especially one at a time like that.

      These mini-games seem less like actual games and more like the bare minimum to allow a person to convince themselves that they accomplished something before being led to the next cutscene. Hollywood can’t imagine how it could be any fun having to skillfully stalk a deer though the woods instead of having an instant win point and click pat on the head. All that playing-a-game would get in the way of their movie.

  22. krellen says:

    I am leaving a comment so Josh doesn’t bug me about not leaving comments.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Snide response to esoteric reply.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Misplaced comment meant to be part of a pun chain, because I scrolled down tomb-any times.

  23. James says:

    Thinking of the PC ports having off icons for QTE’s like Assassins Creed and this game, i’ve been playing Remember Me lately that does the same thing, but thankfully its a little better because all the QTE keys are used in normal gameplay.


    Hand : Right Click (because right click is a fist based attack)
    Foot : Left Click (because its a foot based attack)
    Roll/Dodge : Space (doges are for dodging)

    and E is almost always interact, sometimes precursored with Shift for aiming ranged based interactions like Syncing and The Spammer(MILD SPOILER THERE)

    1. tengokujin says:

      I complained about this on my playthrough on twitter, but yeah, I did not realize what key I had to jam to get through the upcoming QTEs and had to escape out to the keybinds menu to figure out what button I needed to press.

  24. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

    Regarding the history of the island, I’m having some difficulty believing that there were Imperial Japanese Soldiers on this island, that it was bombed by American B-24s, that there are so many wrecks around it, and yet no one knew it was here.

    Regarding Himito’s Legions of Samurai -in defense of the myth, the people who fought the Trojan War probably didn’t have iron-tipped spears and bronze armor, and they probably didn’t ride horses either (though they may have used chariots and carts). We don’t ding the Illiad for that, so I’ll let the samurai thing go.

    And for Geneology, I’ve got a friend whose family line supposedly traces back to Aeneas, making him the 47th great grandson of Venus. I supposedly descend from one of Charlemagne’s knights, if not from Charlemagne himself. These types of things are in family lore, and even if not true can still inspire individuals to learn about the ostensive ancestors.

    1. TechDan says:

      Huh? The Iliad and the Aeneid both took place well into the Iron Age.

      Bronze armor and iron tipped spears were commonplace.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    That thing Shamoose said about wolves is interesting:Why are wolves usually considered to be evil,while other much more dangerous animals(like tigers and bears)considered to be just animals with no alignment?

    1. Shamus says:

      I think there are several things that lead to us accepting her killing of wolves while disliking her “hunting” in earlier games.

      * In the old games, often the only reason the animals were attacking Lara was because she was invading their den. She does eventually go into a den in this game, but only to retrieve equipment that the wolves stole (WTF!??) from Roth. The idea being that in the old games animals were defending their homes from an invader, and in this game the animals are aggressors.
      * Wolves are not generally considered interesting, exotic, or beautiful. I mean, I’ve never heard of a wolf exhibit at a zoo.
      * Leopards and tigers exotic, rate, and endangered. Wolves are seen as big mean dogs and we’ve got tons of those.
      * In the old games, Lara was killing animals because they were between her and the treasure. In this one, she’s killing to survive. Killing for survival is understandable, while killing animals for thrills or money is usually a villain trait.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        Not trying to correct you, but wolf exhibits are actually quite common (for a given value of “common”) in Europe. There is quite a big movement here to let wolves come back and repopulate.

        1. Not uncommon in the United States, either. The nearest decent sized zoo, located in Tampa, has a few wolves, and I’ve seen them exhibited at some of the other zoological parks I’ve visited. Since they’re native animals to North America, wolves are often missing when a zoo focuses on foreign fauna. As more and more people avoid the outdoors like the plague, I see a lot of zoos adding areas devoted to North American wilderness.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        Funnily enough, wolves are on a few endanger species lists and their is a massive movement to keep it that way. (I know because I get e-mails from them all the time after I accidentally signed the wrong petition.)

        A number of individuals are out there who do consider them on be “interesting, exotic, or beautiful”.

        Wolves may have at one point been seen as purely villainous creatures by people from an age where they were fierce predators who preyed on livestock, but nowadays I am not so sure that stigma is so prominent.

        Still, you’ve got me on your other points, and this is generally more acceptable that slaughtering tigers en masse because lulz.

        1. Syal says:

          and there is a massive movement to keep it that way.

          I can’t help but read that as “and people are trying really hard to stop them from repopulating.”

          1. anaphysik says:

            Same. I understood the meaning, but only after a double-take. It’s funny how both interpretations work XD

      3. Trix2000 says:

        I don’t recall specifically, but I want to say that the wolves took his supplies because there might’ve been food in them? I don’t remember if that was plausible or not since it’s early in the game.

      4. Disc says:

        Is there actually a game (other than this one) where Lara kills animals in their natural habitat vs. just killing the abominations that have lived and multiplied in places where they had no real means to survive naturally?

        1. Taellosse says:

          The original Tomb Raider featured more animals-as-enemies than humans, actually. The only people you fight in the first game are boss enemies, while you take on several dozen wolves, bears, tigers, and even dinosaurs in one area. Counting the final boss, you fight and kill, if I remember right, 4 people. Everything else you shoot in the game is either an animal or a horrific monster (those are mostly in the late-game). But overall, the density of combat was low in the original game, even lower than it is in this one. It was primarily a platformer/puzzle-solving/adventure game, rather than a 3rd-person action shooter.

          The second game, and most of the other titles in the series, inverted the ratio of combat to everything-else, and populated the enemy list with a LOT more human enemies, and much fewer creatures.

          ETA: Wow, another comment stuck in moderation. I don’t know what it is, but there’s clearly SOMETHING I do a lot that the filters don’t like…

    2. RedSun says:

      If I might pontificate(god, I love that word) on the subject:

      A) They’re intelligent, and they show they’re intelligence in a predatory manner that’s easy to demonize and easily associated with the kind of monstrous behavior that the worst of us exhibit.

      B) They hunt in packs. This is another point towards the intelligence=evil scale, and it means you can sensibly have several attackers on the hero. Five bears? Nonsense! Five crocodiles? Probably not. Five wolves? Inconcei-I mean, totally plausible.

      C) Threat level. They hit the mook sweet spot: they’re tough enough to be considered a threat, but they’re squishy enough that you could imagine just about anyone killing one, with enough luck and again, they attack in numbers, meaning they can suffer from Conservation of Ninjutsu.

      D) Familiarity. Not everyone knows what a bull sounds like. Not everyone has seen a tiger. Not everyone knows how badass deers can be. The point is, just about everyone has been around an angry dog; they’ve heard them bark, they know how they move, they know when to be afraid, and wolves are essentially just bigger dogs.

      E) Territory. Forests=wolves. Even in Japan, apparently.

      1. anaphysik says:

        “Forests=wolves. Even in Japan, apparently.”

        Well, only in the past, not anymore:

        Lara has graduated from killing endangered species to killing (sub)species so highly endangered that they’re extinct!

        (To be fair, the subspecies were killed off by intentional human action and rabies, respectively, and so they could certainly still be around on this island. Still, point stands that she’s probably killing assumed-extinct animals)

    3. Mersadeon says:

      A lot of it comes from our general fear and hostility towards wolfs, coming right out of European Culture. See, back in the day, attacks from wolfs were vastly dramatized, to the point where people thought that whole villages had been wiped out by wolf attacks. Then, we wiped out most of the wolves, so the more “enlightened” people later couldn’t really look at wolves and dispel the myth of the violent baby-eater until a lot later. It also led to wolves being the bad guys in fairy tales.

      Nowerdays, this still influences our portrayal of wolves, especially since the green movements across the globe are becoming more important. You see advertisements for wildlife funds every day – and often it is for saving tigers and stuff like that. Wolves, on the other hand, are slowly coming back from being hunted to extinction in many parts of Europe – mostly without the help of Animal Rights Groups.

      So we have an animal which has “terrified” people since the middle-ages, that never really got its reputation cleaned up like the “man-eating tigers”, and aren’t featured in media as being endangered (even if they are).

      Add to that that they come in packs (convenient in videogames, so that you can have animal-mooks), look menacing when they go at you and boom, instant videogame enemy.

    4. Aldowyn says:

      I’m actually MORE used to wolves as symbolic of the good guys. The direwolves as the Stark sigil in Game of Thrones, the wolfbrothers in Wheel of Time, among others.

  26. Kendall says:

    Um, hi.

    This has nothing to do with the video. I tried to contact you directly Shamus, but your computer wouldn’t recognize the Captcha code.

    Anyways, I don’t know if you’ve noticed this, but all the screencaps for DM of the Rings have suddenly gone missing. I hope you can restore them, because I really enjoy re-reading them from time to time.

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      I just went back and opened a few random ones,and theyre all there.Any specific one that doesnt show for you to see if its localized or not?

      1. Kendall says:

        I just re-checked and as far as I can tell they’re still all gone. If you can see it, it suggests that it’s more a problem with my computer. I got a new one just a few weeks ago, Windows 7 and I still use IE. I’m not sure if that would make a difference since it didn’t on my old computer (XP). I can still read Darths&Droids just fine so maybe there’s something wrong with my computer when it comes to this site?

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Just loaded them up in IE,and I can confirm that it wont show them.So thats where the problem is.One of their recent updates must have messed up the works.

  27. Keleim says:

    Er, Roth? You do know that Snowdon is only a mile high, has a fairly gentle five mile path all the way up, and has a bloody visitors centre with a cafe at the top, right?

    1. McNutcase says:

      According to the subtitles, it was Snowden, which is presumably far more of a challenge, what with being in Alaska. It’s a bit more than a mile high, out in the middle of nowhere, and nobody’s heard of it. There are no people near it. Why anyone would go to Alaska and climb a pathetic little peak (by Alaskan standards, anyway) like that is a bit of a mystery, to be honest.

      Note: I had to Google it. And tell Google yes, I really did mean Snowden, not Snowdon, kindly stop helping me.

      1. Sec says:

        And since yesterday we all know that Snowden is actually in Hongkong :-)

  28. Chamomile says:

    I didn’t get the feeling that the need to meet up with Roth was extremely urgent. Roth is the guy who actually taught Lara how to do all of this stuff, so he can probably take care of himself for a day or two. The thing people were primarily concerned about was looking for Sam, and that wasn’t Lara’s job. Sure, Lara’s in a rush to go after Sam immediately after taking an apparently debilitating injury, but that doesn’t mean it’s actually a good idea. I mean, when they’re talking about going after Sam, the one black girl is all “one of us should go back with Lara while the rest fan out and look for Sam,” and the implication I’m getting there is that the others are entirely aware that Lara is in no condition to be on the search team.

  29. Trevel says:

    There’s another bit like that a bit later — you’re climbing a mountain for Reasons and you find a campsite part way up — and so you decide to stop and watch your video camera for a while.

    Nothing about needing to kill some time to wait until dark. Just, hey, there’s a fire, guess I should watch my video some more.

    On the other hand, if it had said “You have unlocked more video!” I probably would have stopped to watch it, too. (Except I wouldn’t because those videos aren’t that interesting.)

  30. Zak McKracken says:

    if you like the game, could you at least not completely ruin the story by mass-saughtering deer and bunnyhopping?

    …also why the hell, at 8:20, does she not at least try to open the door? Apparently she knows the trope …

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