Lara and the Village People

Be Warned: Spoilers ahoy!

Writing about Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider pt. 8

Today’s session began less than auspiciously. Lara in an abandoned mine trying to find her way out, me scratching my head as I fail again and again to work out said route.

It took me a clean twenty minutes to find the answer – a climbable wall; a climbable wall that Lara had run past several times without me noticing its significance.

Life got no easier once Lara and ascended the wall. In fact, it got very much shorter as she ran into an armoured Trinity soldier hiding behind his shield in between of clubbing our heroine to death.

My usual way to kill these men is to scramble past them, turn around quickly, and fill them with lead before they and their shield can turn around. Despite my best efforts, however, I just could not manage this today. Not before – BOOM! The armoured soldier lay dead: killed by a grenade thrown by one of his own side. I fear that this is the only time Trinity will help Lara during this game.

I mentioned last week how I kept forgetting to look out for the floor traps. This week, I actually remembered; well, once. Despite that, my reactions were quick enough for Lara to avoid being spiked the rest of the time that I forgot.

After leaving behind the armoured soldier and his useless accomplice who was no doubt happy to by killed by Lara in reparation for blowing up his own man, Lara found her way to another part of the abandoned men and a monumental statue of the Prophet that looked just like one of the statues in Peter Jackson’s film version of The Lord of the Rings.

Part of the Prophet’s story was told in beautifully rendered mosaics at the statue’s base. Rather in the fashion of St Joan of Arc he gathered an army together to fight — well, whoever it was chasing him and his people. The Church probably. Or was it Byzantine Trinity?

I can’t remember. And, to be honest, I don’t much care. Neither in games or real life am I interested in fighting six hundred year old battles. I do care, however, about getting Lara to her objective, and it was good to see a representation of this immortality whatsit in the mosaic. It looked like a box.

After the monumental statue and mosaic came a very irritating subterranean swim where Lara drowned several times before I finally worked out a. how to make her swim fast, and b. where the air pockets were. Has anyone ever written a story in which the character and game player become able to talk to each other? In the case of Tomb Raider, think about the banter that would take place between Lara and her player every time they got her unnecessarily killed. Actually, I expect they wouldn’t speak to one another for the bad blood between them. That would be the case for me, I feel.

Moving swiftly on, Lara emerged from the underground pool and into daylight. The mine sequence was now over and she was in a geothermal valley and, as it turned out, the middle of Jacob’s home village.

Following some afters with the red haired woman who turned out to be Jacob’s daughter, and the man himself who handily appeared just as red haired girl was about to kill Lara, I got to take a look round the village. It was like stepping into Skyrim – blacksmiths, wooden huts for homes, watch towers, cod mediaeval clothing. Having already channelled Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty all we need now is for Rise of the Tomb Raider‘s finale to take place on a space ship so it can leach off Mass Effect.

***

I can’t finish this post without mentioning a bear that Lara confronted after leaving the village. Upon seeing it, I had her shoot it a few times with arrows. But they only made it angry, and it charged her. Dear reader, I am afraid my heart was not in a proper duel – woman vs beast – so out came the AK-47 and I machine gunned the big furry lump to death. I know, I know; there’s no honour in doing it that way, but I am afraid I did the same thing a moment later upon running into some wolves. Come on, they wanted her for dinner. It serves the scowly mutt-relations right. There maybe consequences, though, for I stopped the game with Lara about to enter a cave having run out of AK ammo…

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

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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