Call it Nintendo fanboyism, but I really like it when my video game characters stay the same. Take Mario for example. For the better part of 20-something years, that little dude has consistently stayed a short, pudgy, Italian plumber, and I love him for that. You’re never going to see him suddenly become ripped, double his height, grow a beard, and trade in his fireflower for an AK-47. Not gonna happen. Now. I completely understand the need to change as a result of evolving to become a better self. After all, adaptation is a tool for survival. What I really don’t like seeing is change for the sake of change… which brings us to Lara.
I’m going to assume you’ve already checked out the video above… if you haven’t do so now.
The gameplay preview is short, but boy is it a ride. Our heroine traverses a mountain side, gets shot at by strangers, gets a call from her captured friend, swept into a raging, white-water river, thrown off a mountain, slapped by some tree branches, and thrown from the sky to the ground. In the span of only about four and a half minutes, Lara Croft is understandably not the same person.
With the invincible protagonists of old dying out left and right, we’ve been introduced to this new type of hero, one that is actually human. That being said, heroes that bleed, sweat, bruise, and writhe in pain, are nothing new, but something we have not seen happen in video games (or at least haven’t seen much) occurs in this very trailer… we have a female protagonist get the living crap kicked out of her.
She is battered, beaten, and hoarse from the constant screams of pain. She has been chewed up and spit out by the unforgiving and harsh terrain, probably even further from her ultimate goal. The effect is cringe-worthy. Now, I don’t particularly get off on seeing women get beaten to a pulp, but I do feel seeing a woman endure such punishment surely has more of an effect than if it were a man. It probably shouldn’t, but it does… and the developers know this. They probably bank on the fact that people like me will, more than ever, want to see Lara succeed at a goal more people can relate to; because not everyone is a millionaire who can personally fund private trips to exotic locations for the sake of treasure hunting, but like this new Lara Croft, we would all do amazing things if it meant reuniting with lost loved ones.
With a top notch brand of story telling, Tomb Raider also treads into unfamiliar gaming territory by ingraining mechanics from other genres. Here’s a few of them.
I’m glad to see them integrate the over-the-shoulder view. It will do wonders improving the shooting mechanic problems of the older Tomb Raider games. Also, the bow and arrow craze continues on. Thanks Hunger Games.
A huge part of successful story-telling will be the cutscenes, and how well integrated they are. I have a huge problem with certain RPGs that tend to interrupt long bouts of gameplay with huge cutscenes, leaving the players nothing to do but watch lest they miss something important. Something I love that Tomb Raider does is they have traditional cutscenes that move the story, but also shorter, easy to follow, interactive cutscenes as well. Also, I can’t stress the fact that they are easy to follow… at first. If you check out the parachute scene in the video, you’ll notice Lara’s first parachute fails, probably as a result of botched input from the display prompt. All hope is not lost however, because players get a second, albiet more difficult chance to hit the input for the backup parachute (the timing window for the red input prompt is noticeably shorter) . Check out the screenshots below for examples.
Easy to follow, as well as a nice little break in the action.
As the action escalates, the onscreen prompt becomes increasingly harder to spot.
After the first chute fails (probably as a result of botched input) players get a second chance for the backup chute.
No command prompts this time, instead players are forced to clear debris with a shotgun on the fly.
One final thing that I absolutely love about the new Tomb Raider is the fact they used in-game graphics for the cutscenes. CGI does one thing great, it makes things look pretty. The integration of CGI into gameplay is often clunky and disruptive though, and I hate what it does to the pacing of the game. Every cutscene shown in the preview trailer at E3 was seamless and still very beautiful. Also check out the cool new water effects. Gotta love those Bioshock water effects.
Water will obstruct your view in beautiful fashion.
Also gotta love the ignitible environment seen here.
Shooting this lantern will spray flames onto unsuspecting enemies as well.
A shotgun blast to the support will create an avalanche of barrels to unsuspecting enemies.
In closing, yes this is only a preview of what the real, finished product will eventually be. The amount of emotion this short 4 minute video was able to capture is astounding, and it really makes one wonder how engrossing an entire game’s worth of this type of material could be. I’ve always enjoyed Tomb Raider games, but this one could be special. I can’t wait.
Please excuse the deceptive headline, but now that I got your attention…
There’s an elephant in the room and it’s making a lot of noise. It’s time to take a moment and ponder the consequences of ignoring SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and its lesser known sister bill PIPA (Protect I.P. Act). If this unwanted pregnancy of legislation passes, then you can kiss 90% of the internet goodbye. SOPA will make it illegal for sites like Gamevain to host and link to gaming news from all your favorite companies.
Do you like having choices and keeping up to date with video games? Do you like watching game streams? Do you like discovering music from random blogs? Do you like watching porno?
If you gave an emphatic yes to any of those questions, then now you know what liberties are at stake here. Both SOPA and PIPA will decimate the way you surf the web. Besides the termination of game streams, re hosted music, and porno; SOPA will set back online innovation for generations. It’s bad enough that our infrastructure and internet speed is way behind Japan’s internet, but if these bills were to pass we would be light years behind.
I’m sure most of you have heard something about GoDaddy and their senseless support for SOPA around the web. To condemn this reckless philosophy, Major League Gaming has transferred their entire network away from GoDaddy to Namecheap. Thanks to social websites like Reddit, a mass exodus from GoDaddy has been implemented. Everybody is making noise to ensure their livelihood, their freedom of speech, and their right to a free and neutral internet.
If they aren’t big enough to rattle your cage, consider that Wikipedia is in the process of transferring their domain from GoDaddy as well. Fucking Wikipedia! You know something is wrong when the site you have used in the past to do your homework (and the sixth most visited site on the web) is preparing to make the move out of protest towards GoDaddy’s absurd opinion.
So if SOPA/PIPA passes January 18 and I post a pic of Chun Li’s rocking thighs, Capcom can easily have it ordered to be taken down and press charges on us without much of an investigation or any wrongdoing. We always give credit to our sources. SOPA and PIPA are pieces of corporate sponsored trash that should be aborted ASAP!
Everyone should grab their fucking pitchforks and shove it up the governments snatch. Free speech and the Freedom of the Internet are at stake here.
Thanks for reading. I apologize again for the headline and I would hate to leave you guys empty handed, so here are a few inside peeks for the upcoming games: Tomb Raider, Mass Effect 3, and Far Cry 3…
in a post sopa/pipa world…
As of today, SOPA has been subdued for the time being. Its sister-bill PIPA is alive and just as dangerous. Make your voices heard! Sign petitions, write your congressmen, tell your friends, read about it, do something! The Patriot Act was also subdued before it became a law.
SOPA is back on the road. Time is running out. The Senate will vote on the 24th of January, not the 18th. The protest is still on, a few popular websites will go dark on the 18th. Read this and have a good night.
Chanel Preston, pictured above, has been cast as Lara Croft in the upcoming Tomb Raider XXX: An Exquisite Films Parody. For those who are fans of Ms. Preston and her work in Rezervoir dogs and Justice League of Pornstar Superheroes, as Wonder Woman, will not want to miss this! Lara Croft is undoubtably one of the most fantasized about main character in history, next to Tifa of course. Here is what Ms. Preston said about her role as Lara Croft.
“Lara Croft is the ultimate action role. With all the buzz surrounding the part, I’m honored Exquisite Films chose me. Croft is a strong, iconic character within the gaming community made even more popular by Angelina Jolie, who I love. I’m excited to portray the same combination of sexy and badass.”
All the Tomb Raider games that come in the Trilogy will be HD remastered and for $39.99 you will get Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and the final game Tomb Raider: Underworld. The game comes out March 22nd so check this shit out.