Friday, February 22, 2013

A Look Ahead - Tomb Raider

While it might not be that far ahead, tonight marks the first appreciable time that I've actually sat down to try and absorb the new look and the new direction of the Tomb Raider reboot.  I've read a little bit about it, I've seen bits and pieces here, but I've not really invested much into it - until this week, I was prepared to let it skip over me as I do with so many other games.  Yet, I've had this kind of nagging feeling for a while now, telling me "Hey, look into Tomb Raider"  "C'mon, it might be good", and finally when I was at GameStop to pick up REVENGEANCE with a list of other things to pre-order, I saw something that made me give in.  It's a silly thing, or rather, beyond a silly thing, but it was enough to let me give into that persistent nagging that I might give it a shot and see what Tomb Raider offers.

That little thing that pushed me into telling the clerk "Yeah, I'll put $5 down on Tomb Raider" is the fact that it releases on March 5th - my birthday.

It's silly at best, self-important at worst, and given that I haven't really taken the time to absorb that which is the reboot, it could have very well been a poor choice on my part.  Yet, I like to think that I'm not the only person who at least -tries- to do something to make their own birthday stand out from the other days of a given week, since any cause to celebrate is a good one.  After all, we're given plenty enough reasons to get upset or be angry or whatever about things without even looking for them - why not try to combat that scale a little bit?  A fun story like "I just got this game on a whim because it was my birthday, and it turned out to be really great" is just that - a fun story and something I'd like to think we all sort of shoot for.  Perhaps not this specific example, but you know what I'm getting at.

So as I've said, I've heard the outskirts of conversations, of discussion about the game, and I've read a little here or there, but nothing committed.  I've seen how one simple thing such as a picture of a female protagonist can reveal the worst about some of the folks out there that claim to share our hobby, people who we want to dissociate ourselves from.  Hell, I've heard the grumblings of folks who say the game is a little too over-the-top gruesome in terms of the inherent danger to Lara Croft as if this is some brand-new thing.  I guess it's just because Lara's a girl or something?  Real progressive thinking, folks.  Doing a service to us all, truly.

Regardless of all the negativity surrounding it, one thing that I've gleaned from everything is some things that aren't that bad and are in fact, good.  Tonight I spent about an hour looking at trailers, developer diary type things and the like and what I saw was a rather gorgeous game that looks like Uncharted and Far Cry 3 had a glorious baby.  I'm obviously not the first person to make that comparison, nor will I likely be the last, but it is honestly one of the highest forms of praise that I can give it.  In many ways, it's a return to form for the series since, well, it came -before- Uncharted and Uncharted was clearly at least a little inspired by it.  You know, just a tiny bit.  With Tomb Raider's popularity having waned in previous years due in no small part to a series of lack-luster titles (or ones that were perceived as much, at least) wherein Uncharted became a mega-hit, it's easy to say that the game that took the root formula from what Tomb Raider was and grew it is the one to take notes on, which they obviously did.  And from what gameplay I've seen, it shines all the brighter for it.

Even though I have investigated a lot, I still don't know quite a bit about this reboot, but you know what?  I'm fine with that.  I've reassured myself enough that it will be a game that I enjoy, and I know the basics of it - a formative story from which they likely hope to build a new iteration of the franchise off of.  That is most likely something that I would be a fan of seeing, from what little of the game that I've experienced.  With any luck, Lara's will be a tale that I look on with the same fondness as Nathan Drake's many stories, or, depending on the narrative, the same appreciation that I held towards the first half of Far Cry 3.  There's a lot there and it all promises to be very powerful, so when March is upon us, we'll just see what it delivers on.  I know I'm looking forward to it.

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