Be Warned: Spoilers ahoy!
Writing about Playing Rise of the Tomb Raider pt. 10
So, that ivy (see last week’s post – link below). I decided not to wait a week for Lara to try and jump over it. Last Sunday she had another bash. And another. And another. Until I realised that I had been pressing the wrong button all along. DUH. Once I pressed the correct one – that’s right, the one that allows Lara to cross sideways rather than down – she jumped over the ivy no problem and lit the beacon a moment later.
A couple of weeks ago, I thought Lara had reached her lowest point when she machine gunned a bear to death rather than fight it woman-t0-beast. Today, however, she found another ledge on her downward climb. As she sauntered about the geothermal valley, poking into people’s huts and stealing their goods from under their noses, she came across some chickens wandering about. RETURN THE CHICKENS TO THEIR COOP said the command. So Lara picked one up. There was a cliff nearby and a river down below. Oh dear. Why not, thought I, and away the chicken went – down like a Roman traitor from the Tarpeian Rock. Except it was just a chicken. And an innocent one, at that. Mind you, it did bounce off the rock down below in an amusing fashion. Dear oh dear oh dear.
In between of executing innocent chickens, Lara received a few side-missions from the natives (whose proper name, it appears, is the Remnant). I don’t know why I said yes to them as I have no real intention of carrying them out. This is one of the pressures of only playing the game once a week, and writing a blog about it afterwards – I feel I always need to be making progress, good forward movement; if I’m not, the session feels a failure. It’s true, side missions give Lara rewards but in my mind they do not represent progress. I am unfortunately tied to a percentage understanding of what does constitute progress. It’s very annoying.
Upon a moment, Lara arrived at the start of the next chapter of the story: the fight for the valley between the Remnant and Trinity.
In came the helicopters.
In came the missiles.
And loud were the explosions.
In the midst of it all, Lara acquired a pump-action shotgun from Jacob and a new enemy – a flame-thrower. Not for the first time, I discovered how to defeat the enemy by accident. You may recall that the shield-bearers could only be killed by scrambling past them, turning round more quickly than they did and shooting. Lara employed the same tactic with the flame-thrower except that her shots were now aimed at the gas canister on his back rather than at him. After a couple of go’s, she just about managed this, although she was altogether too close when the canister exploded and was lucky not to be incinerated herself. Thank goodness for game logic.
The opening fight for the valley ended in victory for the Remnant. A touching scene in and around the hut-infirmary then followed as Lara spoke to the injured and received much welcome gifts of bullets from them (she had used all of her machine gun rounds earlier on while killing another bear). This did not stop her, however, from also looting the place.
Now, I can’t remember if it happened before or after the above mentioned battle, but there was also a scene between Trinity’s leader, Konstantin and Ana, who now appears to be very ill – thus explaining why she wants to find the secret to immortal life before the main body of Trinity turns up. After their conversation, Konstantin prays before an altar – he wants to know what to do next. But who is he praying to? The altar appeared to be empty (except for candles). No icons. No statues. No God? Konstantin is a man of war. Were the game makers making a theological point about the relationship of God to war? It’s hard to say as Trinity, despite its name, is not a Christian organisation and is barely treated as such, except perhaps by its relationship to Constantinople in the time of the Prophet, and even – barely.
I ended the session with Lara making her way up to the old city where hopefully only Trinity soldiers who can be legitimately killed are waiting and not poor chickens.
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