Coming Soon: Tomb Raider

By Shamus Posted Sunday May 19, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 80 comments

It’s been a long-ish break between seasons of Spoiler Warning, but we’re finally ready to get back on the dead horse and begin beating it again. Or whatever it is we do on the show.

Tomb Raider is a little recent for us, but once again it was a good compromise game where we’re all willing to play it and we all have stuff to say about it. If all goes to plan, the series will begin this coming week. If you want to play along at home, then you’d best get to it.

If you missed it, below is the Errant Signal episode on the game, which might tip Chris’ hand with regards to his thoughts on it. Then again, I’m sure he’s got plenty left to say.

Link (YouTube)

Chris points out all the elements the Tomb Raider borrowed from The Descent. I just watched the movie to look for the shout-outs and borrowed elements. What I didn’t expect was a moment early in the movie – just before the main characters enter the cave where Bad Things will eventually happen – where one of the characters says something like, “I’m a school teacher, not Tomb Raider.” So this is some kind of mutual ouroboros shout-out.

Having seen it, I kind of think The Descent would make for an amazing platforming-based survival horror. Light management, claustrophobic tunnels, drops into darkness, limited or non-existent ability to defend against horrifying creatures, the time pressure of needing to escape before resources run out… it’s got all the right ingredients for something really outlandish and different. I have no idea if it would work, but it’s an interesting idea. Sadly, there’d be no way to fund the game because the concept is a dead-end. Unless you’re going to make an ongoing series of games about a character who keeps getting trapped in caves, then this is a one-game idea.

Pshaw. Nobody wants those anymore.


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80 thoughts on “Coming Soon: Tomb Raider

  1. Duoae says:

    Really looking forward to this series… I was pretty harsh in my criticism of the game – especially the nonsense that the band of writers call a story and game-setting. :)

    1. Ysen says:

      “A character somehow manages to keep getting trapped in caves” isn’t that implausible, given the plot contortions many franchises have gone through to keep a character around. Is it really any worse than being killed off and resurrected so many times their coffin has a revolving door?

  2. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Uuuhh,tomb raider:No tombs edition.I approve.

    1. Eric says:

      There are tombs, but they’re token tombs: there just so they can point at them and say “hey, no, this game has tombs! seriously, we’re true to the game’s roots!”

  3. X2-Eliah says:

    Well, this is unexpected. But good. Looking forward to the season :)

    Also, haven’t played this game nor do I plan to ever play it. There’s something about the whole concept of it that makes me completely unbothered and uninterested in playing TR… (Maybe I’m just lacking any attachment due to never having played any other TR games?)

    1. Sleeping Dragon says:

      I can tell you that I’ve played the first game way back in the days (I think it was primary school? too lazy to check the dates) and I don’t think the series ever managed to really get my interest.

    2. Warrax says:

      I’ve been hesitant to watch the Dishonored series just because it’s a game I know that I want to go and play eventually.

      I don’t have any desire to play Tomb Raider, so I can watch this season as it happens without worrying about spoiling anything for myself later. That’s kind of nice actually.

      1. Warrax says:

        Self-response edit:

        Okay, I just watched the Errant Signal, and it actually made it look like this may be a game worth playing (even if it’s not perfect.)

        I’ll probably watch this season anyway, it doesn’t seem like the sort of game that would be irrevocably spoiled by a little bit of foreknowledge.

  4. Cody says:

    After grabbing the game on steaming and playing most of the way through it I was hoping you guys would be going through it either this season or the next. I also figured it was probably this or biosock 3 after hearing everyone on the diecast talk about both of them so much.

    1. Dragomok says:

      Is Biosock a spiritual successor to System Panties?

    2. Aldowyn says:

      I’m thinking Bioshock Infinite is inevitable at some point, but spoilers ARE kind of a big deal for it so maybe they’re waiting. Or maybe I’m totally wrong.

  5. Thomas says:

    Guess I have to hold off again, Spoiler Warning is beginning to actual dictate my purchasing habits =D

    1. Brandon says:

      Jokes on them, I’ve already paid for and played this game! Bwahahaha!

    2. Warrax says:

      I bought DE:HR and FO:NV because of spoiler warning (although I probably would have bought New Vegas eventually anyway, I do loves me them sandbox games.) I wish I’d played Human Revolution first, without spoilers, but it was a fun game anyway.

      On the other hand, I never did play Mass Effect 2 or 3. Not necessarily because of spoiler warning, but watching them sort of verified my choice to not suffer through them.

      1. Thomas says:

        I bought Mass Effect 3/The Walking Dead and am now going to end up buying this , ahead of when I planned to, so that I could watch Spoiler Warning and not have to deal with spoilers. I think I had DX:HR already, but I might have had to delay a week or two of SW to finish it

        1. Starkos says:

          With most of the games they’ve spoilered, I like to play just ahead of them. Exceptions being Mass Effect 3 (stopped playing after a couple hours), The Walking Dead (kept meaning to get it but didn’t), Assassin’s Creed 2 (ragequit during carnevale), and Dishonored (already finished it in December).

        2. Paul Spooner says:

          Or, you could do what I do and never buy or play any of the games covered by Spoiler Warning. No spoilers that way either!

    3. rofltehcat says:

      What? How dare all of you stating that a let’s play video makes you buy games? Nintendo’s recent youtube actions clearly show that they are no good publicity but must instead clearly reduce sales!

      As a side note, me buying games that were also covered in SW is of course purely coincidental *cough cough*

      ok, to be honest… I can still only shake my head at Nintendo’s lack of understanding in the whole matter. I think fan videos have sold me on so many games more than all those trailers… luckily, I already own and completed Tomb Raider.
      I’m looking forward to this season because I think that it is overly scripted interactive movie in some parts but a great game in others.

      1. Thomas says:

        It’s the other way round for me the threat of someone making a Let’s Play alters my purchasing habits =D

        Seriously though, although LPs encourage sales, it’s equally true that they probably take away sales too by fulfilling the desire created when people see trailers hear about a game etc. It’s still a silly move, but maybe or maybe not for that reason. (And I really dislike that they tried to spin it as though other companies were taking down LP’s and they were being generous by just taking all the money for them)

    4. Velkrin says:

      To be fair there isn’t much of a story to spoil, provided you’ve ever seen a Disney movie. I figured out the bones of the plot within the first hour or so of game play.

      The game play was fun though, with the exception of the HARVEST ALL THE ANIMALS! portion in order to upgrade my weapons before the last few end levels. It’s also nice to have a heroine that isn’t sexually idealized.

  6. supflidowg says:

    Since I’ve started watching Spoiler Warning you guys have gotten me to go out and buy three of the games you’ve gone through.(Fallout 3: Fun with glitches, Fallout: New Vegas; Fun with glitches 2 – now with coherent main story!, and Bioshock: The B stands for BEES!) I wonder if by the end of this session I’ll be playing Tomb Raider or pretending that this was just a hallucination brought on from a contact high through Reginald’s habitual drug abuse throughout the series.

  7. AJax says:

    *Insert sad face here because it’s not Metro*

    So that means I have to buy Tomb Raider now to keep up with the conversation. Looking forward to it!

    I still recommend Lone Survivor for at least a one-off special episode. Definitely worth checking out.

    1. Klay F. says:

      Indeed, I was hoping against hope that they’d finally concede and play Metro. I’m sure it would devolve into bile by the end, but then again, the same thing happens at the end of every season.

    2. Astor says:

      yeah, I was thinking about this game too! (given that we just have the sequel out now). If not that, I was hoping for an older(ish) game, so I have a sad face too.

      Ah well, I *was* going to play Neo Tomb Raider eventually… now it’s time to choose, to wait for a STEAM sale or not to wait, that is the question.

  8. Lame Duck says:

    Damn it, looks like I’m going to have to give this season a miss for now. I’m not ready to play Tomb Raider yet, but for some reason I don’t want it spoiled.

  9. Neko says:

    Interesting choice. It’s not the kind of game I’d normally get into, but I’m certain you can find plenty to say about it and that’s the principal reason I tune in to Spoiler Warning, so good.

  10. I’m excited, because I think this is the first time I’ve played a game before it’s started on Spoiler Warning. Well, if you don’t count Team Fortress 2/Half Life 2, I guess.

    Anyways, this should be an interesting season. Tomb Raider does some great things with gameplay, setting and atmosphere, but has definite issues with developing characters and hides the more interesting stories in collectibles. At the start, it almost feels like a survival horror game at times, then turns into a complete power fantasy by the end. It’s also just about the right length to give plenty of talking points, but hopefully not wear out its welcome.

    1. prof_goldfish says:

      I think they should do another one off episode of tf2, I really liked the other one. Or they should do something with it idk.

      Anyways I really liked Tomb Raider, a few parts of it were annoying but it did its job well; especially when held up to previous versions of the series and even current games.

      1. The snowking says:

        Could someone link me this episode? I never found the Tf2 oneoff.

        1. Entropy says:

          It was on viddler, so they’d need to reupload it.

  11. Mari says:

    And yet, there’s a sequel to The Descent and word on the street is that a third one may soon be in the works.

    1. Alas, the second Descent ignores the original UK ending, retcons a major plot point of the first film, and ends with a blatant (and nonsensical) sequel hook. It seems intentionally designed to sand off the first film’s interesting edges (such as the all-female cast) precisely to turn it into a direct-to-video franchise.

  12. newdarkcloud says:

    Don’t think of this as complaining because I’m actually really happy you’ve decided to do Tomb Raider, but I’m curious as to why you decided to play this over Bioshock: Infinite, if you don’t mind me asking.

    1. Klay F. says:

      This is just a guess but its probably because they already did that podcast that was basically an hour of talking about nothing but Bioshock. Whereas most of the hosts have only given the vaguest of opinions on Tomb Raider.

      EDIT: Also, if its not too early, I request Metro as the next game for Disclosure Alert. :)

      1. Josh says:


        We feel we explored our opinion on Infinite pretty well in the podcast. Moreover, Chris and I both disliked the game (though for different reasons) and I don’t think Rutskarn even played it. And it has the same flaw that ruined out Bioshock season: the third act is one long padded combat sequence after another. It’d be a mess.

        I won’t say definitively that we won’t ever do a Spoiler Warning of it, but right now it’s not really on the table.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Counterpoint:You all hated mass effect 3,and said quite a bit before you got to it,and there was still more than enough to say about it.

          Though that one is the exception in just how infuriating it is.I doubt you would be able to bitch about infinite for that long.

          1. X2-Eliah says:

            ME3 was probably a must-play scenario given that they had already done ME1 and ME2.

            1. Thomas says:

              Bioshock is in some ways similarly expected at some point though right? Otherwise how will we know if they’re going to say ‘In the original Bioshock’ or ‘In the original System Shock 2’? Science! demands it.

              1. Humanoid says:

                They’ve only tackled Bioshock as far as they tackled, say, AC2, so I wouldn’t call it a trend.

                I’m ambivalent about doing it later: an inoffensive choice of a game I have no personal interest in. However – and I know I’m jumping a bit ahead here – I’d prefer not to have it played back-to-back with Tomb Raider, as I like to see these heavily scripted, linear games be broken up by games with a bit more player agency. Watching Josh welded onto the rails for two straight games tends to get a bit oppressive.

          2. Klay F. says:

            Counter-counter-point: Mass Effect 3 is basically the videogame equivalent of Plan 9 from Outer Space. Enumerating all the ways the game fails takes basically the length of the game.

            1. Daemian Lucifer says:

              Except plan 9 is enjoyably bad.

              1. Raygereio says:

                So was Mass Effect 3…

                After about several bottles of whisky.

              2. Only with a stranded schmuck and his robot pals watching it with you. Kind of like Spoiler Warning, actually, though I’m not quite sure which SW cast member lines up with which MST3K personality…

            2. stratigo says:

              Mass effect 3 was a genuinely enjoyable game for the vast majority of people that botched the ending.

              I loved it til it ended.

        2. Jarenth says:

          I am 90% sure Rutskarn has, in fact, played at least some of Infoshock.

          Because he talked about in Vent, after the Diecast that lead to the special-edition one.

          You were there.

      2. anaphysik says:

        I might be the only one of the Disclosure Alert crew who even /has/ Metro 2033. (EDIT: Actually, I see that Aldowyn has played 1 hour of it.) And I haven’t even played it. And it seems like the kind of game that I would hate /playing/; I am not a horror fan (well, actually I do like horror, but I hate terror, and although I can artistically appreciate dread, I usually get enough dread triggers during normal everyday life, thank you very much <_<), and I hate the highly mechanical, non-adaptive aspects of 'survival' video games.

        That being said, I could probably /comment/ on a season of it, going in blind as far as gameplay concerns, but having wikidived the heck out of lore, tech, setting, etc.

        1. Daemian Lucifer says:

          “I might be the only one of the Disclosure Alert crew who even /has/ Metro 2033.”

          But by the time you finish with alpha protocol all of you will sure have played it.And the next two sequels.

          1. Aldowyn says:

            Something came up this week, they were supposed to be out by now >.> It’s coming..

            Also, I sucked at 2033. I’ll try it again eventually.

        2. Klay F. says:

          Actually, I think 2033 DOES use some adaptive mechanics regarding resources, at least for gas mask filters. Well, its either adaptive or its randomized. That said if you are even slightly OCD about exploring you’ll pretty much never want for resources.

          That being said, I’d totally understand why you might not like it.

    2. stupiddice says:

      Also I don’t think they want to risk a repeat of the Bioshock season.

  13. rayen says:

    a one game idea? Shamus i think you seriously underestimate how much publishers will push a sequel if the first one made enough money.

    1. The Rocketeer says:

      I’m not sure whether you missed the sarcasm, or if you’re being super sarcastic in response…

  14. Jokerman says:

    Looks like im gonna have to go buy it in time for the new season then….

  15. Lovecrafter says:

    So, can we expect this to become “Spoiler Warning presents: Safari Genocide, starring Lara Croftbert”?

    1. Surprisingly enough, there isn’t really any exotic animal killing in the new Tomb Raider. You hunt some typical forest animals along the way, like small birds and deer, and you are attacked by wolf packs a few times. Otherwise, there’s no killing of endangered species or one-of-a-kind creatures.

      1. Lovecrafter says:

        I know, I own the game. But “Safari Genocide” sounds catchier than “Typical Forest Animal Genocide”, so I went with that.

        1. Sagretti says:

          Ah, yes, I do expect Josh will slaughter every cute bunny that dares cross his path. I will also be disappointed if he doesn’t waste half an episode chasing the wild pigs that won’t stay still.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Well maybe theyll jump into far cry 3 after and really slaughter some endangered species.

  16. Irridium says:

    A bit sad you’re doing more newer games instead of older ones. Since I haven’t played this due to money constraints.

    Ah well, I’ll live. And I hope the one after this is a bit older.

    1. Thomas says:

      It’s been quite a streak of new games in recent times. Have they run out of old games that will work for Spoiler Warning or are the new games just interesting enough to distract or is it a co-incidence? Time will tell

      1. Bubble181 says:

        I’m guessing technical problems. Also, older games are longer – even if Baldur’s Gate is beyond awesome, how many hundres of episodes do you need to get through? :p

      2. Humanoid says:

        It’s not like they haven’t been considered, we’ve heard of Alpha Protocol, Skyrim, and er, Daikatana all being seriously considered, and also heard the counterarguments on why they’re not doing them now.

        1. Thomas says:

          But they were considered and found lacking for LP purposes compared to the newer games.

          If they take 2-4 months per season then theoretically we either need interesting games to be made at a rate of at least 3-6 a year or we might see a drop in quality of the games chosen!! (Unless some of the reasons for not doing other games right now is situational) Won’t someone think of the children?

    2. Bearded Dork says:

      I would also like to see a return to slightly older games.

  17. Gabriel Mobius says:

    Really looking forward to this, I’ve heard some of Shamus’ and Chris’ thoughts, but I’d love to hear what Josh and Rutskarn have to say about a lot of the characterisation and development.

    I’d give the script writers a big silver ‘You Tried’ star because they really did. Lara’s character arc and some of the interactions with the rest of the crew are really excellent. But it just seems like they dropped the ball a couple of times, and by the end of the game had just lost it completely.

  18. Wedge says:

    Ha, I actually just finished this yesterday. I enjoyed it, but I think all of Campster’s criticism in Errant Signal are spot-on. Can’t wait for some more in-depth analysis from you guys.

  19. Robyrt says:

    Ah, Tomb Raider. I liked it, but I think there is ample room for the Spoiler Warning crew to really tear into it.

    Some of the highlights:

    How many skulls, decomposing bodies and pools of blood can there really be on this island? Where is this guy getting all his cultists? You’d need a regular cruise ship line full of castaways to sustain this level of butchery. It’s even more implausible than the standard “evil ninja clan” because there don’t appear to be any women, and they all appear to be Russian first-generation exiles rather than the descendants of the WWII inhabitants. Don’t they ever clean up after themselves?

    There’s an awful lot of bottomless pits, collapsing wooden structures, etc. around here. If the place is so windy, how has everything stood here for so long? You’d think worshippers of a storm goddess would be used to strong winds and batten down the hatches a little bit, instead of living in rickety shantytowns that can be destroyed by their own napalm arrows.

    How many tragic deaths does Lara really need?

    1. whitehelm says:

      I haven’t played the game yet, but those types of “tragic deaths” have been a Tomb Raider staple since the series began, and I would’ve been disappointed if those disappeared.

    2. Alexander The 1st says:

      If you notice on the journals, Mathias had ~20 years to recruit people IIRC, and although they all seem to be first gen Russians, it’s entirely possible that more came over time. Perhaps instigated by triggers for help, or as a rescue team, then indoctrinated as the rest.

      I mean, in the couple of days the game takes itself, at least 10 people landed on the island (Not including the endgame pickup crew), and other groups are mentioned – namely, testing the whole Himiko thing with other women in the past.

      The ninja clan seems to be more out of place for me, considering that they don’t appear to have a way of building up their army.

  20. Jamas Enright says:

    Damn. I don’t intend to play this until I can get a cheap GOTY edition (so yes, a while away yet). Here’s to the next season of SW then! And, once I have played it, I’ll be able to watch this entire season in one go (more or less… certainly less if there’s a drinking game attached…).

    1. Jamas Enright says:

      Right, and now, 21 game hours later, I’m ready for you to ruin the game with your insightful commentary!

  21. Deadyawn says:

    As much as I would like to use this as an excuse to buy and complete tomb raider I just don’t have the time now. So screw it, bring on the spoilers.

  22. Otters34 says:

    Aw, I was hoping it’d be Spoiler Warning: Descent: Freespace: The Great War.

    More seriously, looking forward to what you guys have to say about the game. It’s not the kind of thing I’d ever play myself(which goes for most of the seasons admittedly), so should be fun to watch!

  23. Phrozenflame500 says:

    I haven’t played Tomb Raider yet, and I’ve never intended to look it up until this moment so I have no clue what to expect this season. Maybe if I like what I see I’ll pick it up.

  24. Entropy says:

    Hmm. Tomb Raider will be ok, I guess. Always struck me as sort of mediocre.

    How about System Shock 2 next time, since we have the big re-release on steam?

  25. RTBones says:

    This is actually good news for me. I had a hard disk crash, which ended up taking my Tomb Raider saves with it – fortunately, I wasn’t terribly far into the game, so now I get to play alongside the SW crew.

    I will say, though – I got far enough into the game to get really tired of quick time events.

    This should be fun.

  26. Kian says:

    I got it on a Steam sale a couple weeks ago, looking forward to hear what they have to say about it. What really surprised me about the game was the body count, to be honest. I only ever played the original TR, TR2, TR Anniversary (which is a remake of the original) and this one. In the previous games, the real difficulty lay in navigating the rooms and some violent, misplaced wild animals. And dinosaurs. In Anniversary, you kill a grand total of four people, and the first one is a traumatic event for Lara. Lara chooses to kill a guy that was in the way, not actually threatening her but preventing her from making progress, and had already kidnapped her before. It’s justifiable as she’s trying to stop the apocalypse though. Here, you go through a small army in your efforts to survive. Wildlife is hardly ever a danger outside of a few scripted events, and the environment is more of a maze and less of a puzzle.

    1. Aldowyn says:

      They tried to go mainstream with it, so they ended up following the Uncharted model (reasonably well). Of course, it borrowed a bunch of its shortcomings, too…

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