Saturday, March 9, 2013

Movies That Should Be Games: Tomb Raider :B

     Okay, okay, I know this is a game, not a movie. However, it feels so much like a movie at some points that I felt justified giving my post this title. Not only that, but the first 30 minutes-ish of the game is minimally interactive compared to the rest of the adventure, which is when the thought first crossed my mind that "this would make a pretty good video game." *cue trollface*

     In all seriousness, I was personally swept into Lara's struggle by the painful first moments of the game, despite the heavy penchant for quicktime. However, watching a friend play, I realized HOW MUCH quicktime there is. I have to say, the implementation of the events isn't bad, but I pretty much always prefer no quicktime to some quicktime. Once that was past, however, the game settles into a comfortable relative openness( I'm not saying the game is truly open, however), caves and pits giving way to forests and cabins. At the same time, the game reveals its leveling system. There's nothing spectacular about it, and I think that's appropriate in a game of its type. After all, this is an action/adventure wrapped in a survival ribbon, and deep leveling isn't required. I'm not saying it wouldn't be interesting, but the game moves at a good clip as is, which actually supports the story and character development. Lara is constantly beset by difficult circumstance, which is at first silly in its abundance but leads into a rich adventure.

     More importantly though, the animation and graphical detail is fantastic in this title. Even on the 360, I was  wowed by the detail, Lara's constantly changing shades of disrepair, the likelike motion of the enviroment, and yes, Lara herself, moves with convincing trepidation. I feel like this game stands as one of the primary examples why motion capture is the best means of animation in games of this type, and her body language speaks volumes about the character. She's scared, but she knows what she has to do.

     Make no mistake-  this story is about Lara, and that's where it shines. Some of the outlying characters, while not poorly written, seem a tad too archetypical for me, particularly Mathias. If he was so creepy from the outset( and he WAS), why did Sam trust him so readily? *shrugs* Just a design choice I didn't care for. I particularly liked Alex as a character, I thought he was the one with the fewest noticable contradictions, and he was second only to Lara herself. :P
     All in all, a solid game, and true to the concept of character growth, Lara became noticably more skilled and it resounded in the gameplay. I'd love to see more of what Crystal Dynamics has to offer in the future, and I'm looking forward to even more ambitious titles with the same sensibilities.

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