Tomb Raider (2013) Pre-Release Impressions
"Crossroads," the extensive and in-depth E3 trailer for Tomb Raider was finally unveiled and I must say, my faith in the Tomb Raider series has been restored, fully. Although I expressed some paranoia and cynicism in my previous blog on the game, I will admit that while the new footage has undeniably thrilled and excited me, as well as tantalised my appetite, I remain sceptical on certain fronts. I waited, rather impatiently, for the trailer to be shown on Spike TV this morning and I'm glad I didn't miss out. It was revealing, but teasing, and enough to make anyone squirm to the edge of their seats. Hell, I even woke my mother up to come watch it.
Just a brief recap for those who haven't seen it, the footage starts off with Lara dangling a few good feet up in the air in some sort of cocoon following the shipwreck--the scene then cuts to her escaping by setting fire to it after swinging toward a few dozen lit candles and torches. Breaking free and falling on top of a metal spike, Lara screamed bloody murder as it penetrated her stomach, before she ripped it out of her. The scene transitions to her exploring her environment, finding a dead colleague, strung up in a sacrificial manner. Later, she manages to escape and her voice, radioing for help, overlaps footage of her setting up a camp site. It's killing me to write this, as I just want to watch the video over and over again, so I've embedded it to the blog for the benefit of you readers. Trust me, it's well worth watching.
It's revealed in the trailer that there's plenty of survivors of the shipwreck, while some are separated from the others. An unnamed survivor has evidently been lying to a group of them, claiming everyone else wanted to go further inland and that he never saw them after--that is of course until Lara shows up and proves him to be a liar, causing him to take Lara's friend, Sam, hostage with a knife to her throat. Lara tries to intervene, but gets her leg caught in a bear trap and is forced to wait for her mentor Conrad Roth, and their group to rescue her, revealing to them that the man took Sam, a crazed man similar to one who attacked Lara while she was trying to escape from that cave where she was trapped in a cocoon previously.
We're shown Lara and the rest being attacked and captured by a group of male antagonists, intent on killing them all for a reason unbeknownst to us--perhaps a secret on the island? We're shown footage of Lara hunting for food--an interesting scene, as Lara apologises to the deer before shooting it with an arrow. As we've been told, she'll need to hunt for resources to stay alive--I just never imagined they meant literally. I'm quite thrilled about this. Tomb Raider really seems to focus a lot on survival, and not only in that aspect.
As I mentioned previously, during the footage of Lara's capture, we watch as Lara sneaks around the burning camp site where she and the others were captured, trying to avoid being seen. She fails however and is spotted by her captor, who then caresses and fondles her, before she knees him in the crotch and a struggle begins. It's here where Lara grabs his gun and as he's struggling on top of her, she turns the gun and shoots him in the face.
I'll pause here for a moment. We've seen this before, in Tomb Raider Anniversary, where Lara kills someone for the first time and gets all depressed and shocked. However, what this game does right is that Lara doesn't stop. After shooting her captor in the face, she proceeds to take aim at the other antagonists who run for their lives, but Lara mercilessly guns them down before they even get a foot away from her. HALLELUJAH! True, she does drop to her knees afterward for a brief moment, but it isn't to reflect on what she's done...at least not entirely. Lara doesn't go into a depressed state. She instead regains her composure, picks up the gun, and moves on. If I may just briefly reiterate, HALLELUJAH!
The rest of the trailer is just brief action scenes with some epic orchestral music--Lara fighting someone with a climbing axe, ducking as a helicopter whizzes over her, struggling to make it across a violent river--and falling down the waterfall, dodging a large piece of falling debris, kicking a man before crawling into a tunnel, and oh yes, hollering an epic battle cry before leaping over a chasm of sorts and sliding down a dirt hill, trying to avoid an aeroplane engine behind her, its blades spinning wildly out of control.
I have to admit, it's the most exciting trailer for a Tomb Raider game I've ever seen. Hell, it's the most exciting trailer I've ever seen, period. It's suspenseful, it's revealing yet teasing, it gives us more details about the game, gives us a taste of what Lara will have to endure...and quite wonderfully, allows us a sneak peek of what Lara will undoubtedly become by hearing an audio piece between herself and Roth: "You can do it, Lara. After all, you're a Croft." "I don't think I'm that kind of Croft," she remarks. "Sure you are," Roth replies, "You just don't know it yet."
This beautiful piece of cinematic brilliance closes with a scene of Lara in a cavern, commenting, "Ugh, I hate tombs!" before cutting to a scene with her leaping across a chasm, but loosing grip and sliding to the edge and dangling off it, with a single hand holding on. If it wasn't the most bastard-like cliffhanger, I don't know what is. All I can say is that 5 March 2013 cannot arrive quickly enough.
I don't agree with this "Tomb Raider is an Uncharted clone" nonsense. While I cannot deny the similarities between the two, my question remains: Who gives a damn? Games have been borrowing features and aspects from each other since the beginning of time, and there's nothing wrong with that. Tomb Raider does take a few notes from Uncharted, but the game is going in a completely different direction, by way of survival horror, not treasure hunting. Need I even mention that Tomb Raider laid the foundation on which Uncharted was built, as Indiana Jones laid the foundation for Tomb Raider? Tomb Raider has been around since 1996 and Uncharted has been a difference of ten video games over the Uncharted franchise and rightly so. Regardless of whom or what was first, it doesn't matter any longer. Tomb Raider is starting fresh and doing so in the survival genre, which is a completely different extreme than the Uncharted series.
The fact of the matter is, people need to get over their insatiable urge to fight tooth and nail over which "competitive" games are the better of the rest and learn to appreciate every game for what it is, not bitch and moan about what it isn't or what it's similar to. End of discussion.