Wet Work

Be Warned: Spoilers ahoy!

Writing about Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider pt. 7

This weekend’s Rise of the Tomb Raider session went very well. Although I only advanced out of the Soviet installation where I started the 90 minutes at the end of the session, in that time I managed to explore a couple of interesting tombs.

One of them was a fairly small run-of-the-mill effort that yielded only a little treasure. I enjoyed whizzing down the tunnel zip-line, though.

The other was a large tomb at the centre of which was an ancient cistern. And at the top of the cistern was a sacred book. Reaching it gave Lara a skill of some kind or other. I’m afraid paying attention to these and using my acquired skill points wisely is still a bit of an issue for me.

In order to reach the sacred book, I had to work out how to open various ducts situated throughout the tomb, which then emptied water into the cavern, raising the water level level. This ultimately allowed Lara to access the top of the cistern, read the book and win her skill points.

It took a little time to get to the book. Fortunately, however, I managed to reach it before the game started to get tedious. It’s true, I lucked in to certain solutions along the way but when I reached the book I allowed myself a little “Yes!” moment.

The whole cistern experience is, I suppose, what Tomb Raider is all about. I have to admit, though, that while I was happy to get the book as I look back on the experience now I am a bit ambivalent about it.

I have to face facts: I prefer stories where characterisation, not action, is at the forefront of the story. That’s why my favourite moment of the session was at the end when Lara got in touch with Jacob again. She could finally stop being a means to a tomb raiding end and be a person again.

Speaking of tomb raiding, ever since I started playing Rise I have failed to shake off the feeling that Square Enix should abandon the Tomb Raider name. Half the tombs in this game seem to be optional and there is far too much action away from tombs for the name to deserve its prominence. At the very least, the game should have been called Lara Croft [subtitle:] Rise of the Tomb Raider. I know that won’t/can’t happen, though, as the Lara Croft title has been go-opted for the mobile phone games but it is evident that the rebooted Lara Croft is an adventurer more than anything else.

Anyway, back to character. I have a strong feeling that when I finish Rise of the Tomb Raider I will come away thinking ‘If only Jacob/Jonah’ featured in it more prominently’, ‘If only Sam was in it at all’ (It is only through Twitter friends that I know what has happened to her. It is very poor form on Square Enix’s part to make her such an important character in Tomb Raider 2013 then not even have her referred to in this game) and so on. For me, the attainment of an object(ive) just doesn’t cut it.

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

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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