And so ends our adventure with Lara Croft and the island of misfit mooks. We were hard on the game in spots, but it was good where it really counted and salvageable (as a franchise) everywhere else. The gameplay is solid and the graphics are gorgeous. In an ideal world, the next game would require very little programming, they would finish in two years or less, and they would get this problem with tone nailed down so we know if we’re playing The Descent or Indiana Jones and Island of Shootdudes.
However, the next-gen consoles are coming, and I suppose some dunderhead somewhere in the chain of command will insist on more graphical bling. If I was on the team I wouldn’t mess with the art or rendering pipeline at all. I’d gently relax the polygon and texture budget, tell the artists to use more color, and then try to wow the bosses with technical buzzwords to sell the “new” graphics engine. That might be a bit “Emperor’s New Clothes” of me, but at this point I kind of suspect the people hooting for more graphics are the ones least qualified to tell the difference between graphics and art style.
(Well, I suppose someone needs to crawl down in the guts of the engine and find out what’s causing all this artifacting on the PC port. The good news is that I’ll bet every graphical glitch we saw in this season stems from the same bug. (And if you work at Crystal Dynamics and you’re looking for this bug: IIRC, every polygon explosion originated from Lara’s character model, and was usually triggered by a cutscene transition.))
We’re still haggling over what game we’ll cover next. In the interim we’ll probably cover Walking Dead: 400 Days, or Dishonored: Knife of Dunwall. But nothing is set in stone.
Thanks for watching.