Shadow of the Tomb Raider brings Lara Croft full circle

The only game I’ve ever really hate-completed was Far Cry 3. For whatever reason, I’m much more likely to finish (though never 100%) an open world game I don’t particularly like than something more linear/structured. Also, in that instance, there was an element of revelling in the audaciously cringey writing and ridiculous crafting system (skin 3 great white sharks to expand your wallet!).

OMG totally. I get home in the evening, look at the TV with the PS4 sitting underneath it and go, well, what else am I gonna do? Then I fire up SotTR, play for 30 minutes or so, get bored, turn it off, and go to bed early. It’s weird because I actually liked 2013 TR and I liked RotTR even more (even though I can’t articulate why.) I don’t mind being led by the nose all that much if the game is interesting and/or fun; I’ve played and enjoyed all of the Uncharted games. But I just can’t make myself like Shadow. I did turn the difficulty for puzzles and traversal to Hard, but it doesn’t make them all that hard. I kind of wish I bought Spiderman instead, and I’m just biding my time until RDR2 or Hitman 2 gain my attention.

Feature I hate the most: there’s no way to skip through conversations. In Horizon, for instance, you could turn on subtitles and press a button to skip to to the next line when you got done reading it. In Shadows, you can only skip the entire conversation, which is what I’ve started doing because I don’t care about them. Note to game developers: we will never care about characters who stand in one place and talk. We only care about them when they do things; when they’re participants in our adventure. Listening to a static NPC’s life story is like listening to the same from an annoying guy in a doctor’s waiting room when your appointment was 30 minutes ago and you’re already late getting back to work.

Yup. Tomb Raider 2013 had terrible writing and a laughable story (with some interesting tidbits, sure, but not nearly enough to save it) that was often enough in direct conflict with the gameplay - which was in itself too limited. I gave the series a chance by buying Rise of the Tomb Raider and playing it, and while they managed to improve the gameplay there in some ways, the story and the writing got worse by a few orders of magnitude (which I personally found impossible to do).

So yeah. I didn’t even consider buying Shadow, because after TR and Rise, I’m sure I have better things to do with my money and my time. Lesson learned.

Don’t candy-coat it, Tom, tell us how you really feel.

Do not Press X, Do not Mudd, Do not hate the game.

Ha! So true about Lost and TWD! I am starting to feel this way about Star trek: Discovery too, but I am giving it a chance. [Unlike a lot of people, I actually like the plot so far, up to and including the tardigrades. :D]

Disagree; I’ve played games that featured conversation with static characters that were enjoyable, they just had to be well written. Which yeah, isn’t the case in TR games.

I hope by “transformative power of violence” you mean its ability to transform you into a shell of a person. Otherwise it’s just another bullshit power fantasy.

I don’t necessarily disagree. But it’s a fundamental trope in horror. Also the Bible and Shakespeare.


I’m not gonna argue about the Bible and Shakespeare because I’m not sure what you’re talking about, but as far as horror goes, I wonder how far American horror has strayed from its roots. At the end of Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which seems like a pretty foundational text for the genre, Sally looks more like she’s been “transformed” into someone who’s going to be in therapy for the rest of her life than anything else.

Jael and her tent peg, Titus Andronicus, etc.

I suppose it depends on what you mean by roots. It strikes me more as a lot of different periods with unique approaches. Before Texas Chainsaw Massacre, there was Hammer Horror (Brits, but still), 50s creature features, the Universal monsters, and so forth.

Great point, Kolbex. I consider Texas Chainsaw Massacre very much 70s cinema, and a lot of that is because of how it ends. I also consider not very good. Trash, in fact. But in the article I linked – seriously, you guys, there’s been a comments section under it ever since I wrote it! – the sorts of stuff I’m thinking about are slasher movies, The Descent, Alien(s), French new extreme horror, Alexander Aja, that sort of thing. Including every reboot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre since. Aspiring young actresses like Jordana Brewster, Jessica Biehl, and Alexandra Daddario didn’t sign on to play helpless victims!


I actually did read the other article! Not the comment thread, though.

Well, a) you would be wrong because The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a straight up masterpiece. And b) Lara is 100% the reactive slasher victim in that game.

Ok, 99%. She makes one genuine choice, but even then it’s muddled because it’s the bit where she goes after the downed pilot despite Roth urging her not to and their mentor-mentee relationship is not developed enough to make her bucking his advice have any weight, neither as her growing confident enough to stand or her own two feet, nor being foolhardy and having to learn a lesson from it.

It plays as if she’s making a mistake where she needs to learn to sacrifice, but no. It never matters again.

The overall scenario is infinitely more tightly constructed in the first one, but the character writhing is terrible all the way through the rebooted series.

I didn’t think there was any other kind of slasher victim. In fact, isn’t that kind of the point? The character is a victim of violence who then learns to perpetrate it. His or her only real choice is at some point to fight back. One of my favorite recent examples, by the way:

Also 100% reactive. And of a piece with the 2013 Tomb Raider.


Ouch. Had Crystal Dynamics closed the trilogy they started, I wonder if it would have turned out differently.

“On this trip to South American [sic]”

I enjoy the game, but also can’t argue with anything Tom has said. I still haven’t finished it, but I haven’t even really been playing my PS4 much anyway.

I look at these games like the latest series in an action movie. I am not expecting a great story; I just want to solve some puzzles and jump around.

On sale 33% off all week on Steam. It just came out. That doesn’t seem like a great sign, somehow.

Croft edition is 47% off. Its insulting at this point to anyone who bought it day 1.

Game is 1 month old today.

Laura “Ripoff” Croft.


As someone who bought it day one, they should toss us something.