Be Warned: Spoilers ahoy!
Writing about Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider pt. 9
Well. Today’s session was challenging. And all because of two relatively simple motions that I had such difficulty mastering.
In fact, the first I never really did before finding a way round the problem and the second I definitely haven’t. As I write these words, Lara Croft is hanging off a cliff wall having tried and failed umpteen times to jump across some ivy to the next climbable piece of wall. But, I’ll come to that in a moment.
Today’s game started at the entrance to a cave in the geothermal valley. It lead into an open area called The House of the Afflicted. And sure enough, there was a whole lot of affliction about to happen for Lara and me.
But not because of enemy soldiers. They were absent. The house consisted of a simple puzzle that enabled Lara to get from ground level to a niche on the first floor. All that needed to be done was for her to fire a rope-arrow into a lever situated on the first floor, pull it down, jump onto a platform that rose when the lever was pulled, and from it, race across two still-platforms on the first floor level and then onto another one that was connected to the lever and so would lower itself to the ground level as the lever raised itself again. If you timed Lara’s run correctly, she would have time to jump from the last platform and climb the wall next to it to get to the niche, wherein was a a codex that, once read, increases Lara’s healing ability.
If you timed your Lara’s run correctly…
There’s the rub.
No matter how hard I tried, I just could not get to the final platform before it had lowered itself to the ground. My patience started to waver. Then, I realised I could pull the lever down from the first platform rather than a stage further back that then required Lara to jump onto the platform via two poles.
However, despite this, I still could not get to the last platform in time. What was to be done??
To add to the enigma, there was a rope-barrel on the ground the position of which could be altered. Did that have anything to do with the puzzle? I didn’t know. I still don’t know. I eventually solved the puzzle by accident. It happened when Lara jumped from the first still-platform and past the lever before falling to the ground. Somehow, this had the effect of freezing everything in its place. Lara could now make her way across the platforms and to the codex at her leisure.
After leaving the House of the Afflicted, I took Lara back to the geothermal valley. There, Jacob sent her a message saying she should build trust with his people by going to help them. So, naturally, she set off to another tomb. Along the way she passed a pre-battle (apparently Trinity is very close now) debrief of the soldiers. Who needs to know what is going on anyway.
The second cave/tomb adventure was brought to a premature end by Lara not having the correct equipment to proceed any further than the entrance – the fruit of not exploring everywhere to the nth degree and then upgrading one’s equipment properly – so, back she went to the debrief. Which, most fortunately, began again. It felt just like when Neo saw the cat for the second time in The Matrix.
The debrief was a lot of blah. When the leader (Jacob’s daughter?) said, “We will win by surviving!” I began to have my doubts that she knows how wars are won but that is not really Lara’s concern – she is there, ultimately, for the immortality box thing whatever.
Following the debrief, Jacob called Lara again. He asked her to go and light the beacon tower so that the natives further down the valley would know that trouble was coming.
Lara dutifully set off, and this is where I hit trouble again. Up a wall, across a platform, out comes the pick axe and across the cliff face we go. Except for that bloody ivy. Lara jumped. Again. Again. Again. And Again. Again. Again she fell to her doom. Several times it seemed like she had managed to pierce the rock with her pick-axe, but no, down down down she fell.
And that is where I left the gam, feeling rather frustrated.
I am tempted, so very tempted, to believe that I have found a fundamental fault in Rise of the Tomb Raider that prevents further progress but the truth is my timing is just off. There will be nothing for it but to pick(axe; sorry) myself up again next time and keep trying until Lara finally makes it across.
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