Gun Girl

Be Warned: Spoilers ahoy!

Writing about Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider pt. 5

Battling On
Last week, I ended my session in a bit of a spot. Well, under heavy fire from heavily armoured Really Tough Dudes. Despite a few attempts, I got no where in defeating them so stopped the game ten minutes early. This week, it had been my intention to get onto You Tube to see how better players beat them but never got round to it. Thus, as I loaded up the game today (well, put the disc in the XBox) I was full of trepidation as to how well I would get on. I was all prepared to spend half an hour getting Lara killed, quitting, putting on You Tube, and coming back to the game afterwards hopefully better informed.

In the end, however, that wasn’t necessary. Poor Lara took some bad hits but with each life I lasted longer and longer until after 10 or 15 minutes I lasted longer than the last of the Really Tough Dudes. Just in time – my patience was starting to wear thin, particularly with the can-throwing situation. I thought they were explosives but on the occasions when the game let me chuck them, nothing happened. I think they were just there for distraction purposes. Yes, let’s distract RTDs who are looking for Lara with a coke can, that’ll work.

Hands of God
Following on from the gun-fight, Lara found one of Konstantin’s journal entries in which he reveals that he has the stigmata. I can tell you this came as rather a surprise. As far as I am aware, the stigmata usually only happens to Christians. To Catholics. And mostly, to women. Konstantin, I hazard to guess, is none of these things.

When I heard the entry for the first time, I wasn’t totally sure who was speaking so I have just Googled it to make sure that it really was Mr K. This has revealed a possible future plot-point regarding the stigmata. I won’t say anything more until I get to the relevant stage.

Googling Konstantin and the stig brought me to The Learned Fangirl blog. A member of its team is also playing and writing about Rise of the Tomb Raider. I think I will start reading their blog posts as they look better written than this.

Head Start
In some location or other – I can’t remember where – the Lady Croft meets up again with the Bearded Dude from The Last of Us. They sit down for a me and you chat and Lara tells him why she is looking for the Divine Source.

Just before that convo, Lara has a flashback to the moment she discovered her father’s body after his suicide. It is a grim scene. On the floor in front of his desk is a newspaper emblazoned with a headline mocking Lord Croft’s crackpot theories. The man himself is lying face down on his desk, having just shot himself in the head.

I should like very much to know how he ended up in that position. If I was sitting at my desk and shot myself in the head, wouldn’t I either fall sideways or slump backwards and down? In his left hand, which is hanging over the front of the desk, he is still holding his gun, which I find rather unlikely, as his hand would be limp.

The only justification that I can think of for this scene is if Lord Croft was already lying across his desk when he shot himself. That would be an unusual posture for a person about to kill themselves but at least it’s possible. It doesn’t explain, though, how Croft’s left hand came to be hanging over the front of the desk – surely it would be lying on it, behind his head.

Having said that, the flashback is given to us in the form of Lara’s dream. Maybe she is not remembering what happened accurately. The events happened many years ago, after all, and were obviously very traumatic. I think, though, she has changed the scene to make what she saw easier to remember.

Obsession for Croft
Lara’s conversation with Ellie-not-Ellie’s Guardian is very interesting for what it says about her character; namely, that she is a thoroughly self-interested and selfish person. Bearded Dude offers to help her fight Trinity and get her out of the valley. He wants the Divine Source to remain where it is, out of sight and out of mind. The world can’t be trusted with it, as far as he is concerned.

Lara, though, is having none of it, and politely tells him so. She’ll help fight Trinity, alright, but she wants the D.S. O.K.? I need answers, she says, I need to understand. Need, need, need. Of course, she doesn’t need anything of the sort. She wants the Divine Source for her own intellectual curiosity, that’s all. If the game goes down a more supernatural road, she’ll also want it to try and bring back her father; though I don’t yet see how it could do that. Anyway, watching Lara’s self-justification is a useful exercise in rhetoric. Listening to her talk about studying the Divine Source, though, left a bad taste in my mouth when I recalled how the game has her loot coins and use them to buy equipment.

In the Line of Fire
Following the you and me, Lara is chased by a helicopter gun ship. In order to survive, she must jump over ice floes and scale walls. If she falls into the river, she doesn’t drown but is shot by bullets that I am not completely convinced – judging by their angle – come from the helicopter. It’s hard to say as one is never too keen to watch Lara die but I am suspicious.

A Familiar Path
Towards the end of the session, Lara took on a mission to free two native fighters. After completing it, I took Lara through the same location in search of a relic. Much to my surprise, there were the two fighters – two of the natives’ best, apparently – just standing there not looking like they were about to go anywhere fast. What a lazy lot these Remnant are.

Leaving the fighters to loaf, Lara climbed through a window, and… entered a room she had confronted some Trinity soldiers in two or three sessions ago. Hmm. Well, at least it means that next week’s game-time will have a calmer opening than today’s. I hope I don’t have to pass through a lot of empty locations in order to reach the next unexplored part of the installation, though. We’ll have to wait and see.

Playing & Writing about
Rise of the Tomb Raider
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four

Apologies if I have misremembered any of the game’s narrative (feel free to correct me if I have); I write short notes as I play the game but rely on memory for the rest

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