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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for the beginning of Rise of the Tomb Raider, vague mentions of various plot points in Uncharted 1 and 4

Butch:

Ok! Played!

Did the mountain bit (I like her with short hair), did the apartment cutscene, did the getting shot at by a helicopter cutscene, now I’m in Syria.

So yeah, early, but first impressions:

DAMN this game is pretty. Maybe it’s cuz I’m used to Life is Strange, but DAMN this game is pretty. The light alone. But the details like chipped paint on the window sill, the amount of detail in the apartment, DAMN.

Sure does play like Uncharted, don’t it? Yup, that’s a ledge, yup. Got my eyes and hands in right quick.

Plot wise, I’m hooked. Sure, it’s a bit…done….I mean, fountain of youth? Didn’t a hot Brit already help Nathan Drake find Shambala? If Lara finds it and Chloe (Fisher, not Price) is still there will there be some BEBHBB wormhole in the universe? I’d like to find out. But that’s beside the point.

So the wall of clips, the fountain of youth, kinda been there done that.

But I DO like that she seems kinda nuts. I mean, we’ve talked about the motivation of heroes before: glory, fame, money, etc. Nathan was greedy. Geralt needed a job. But “batshit” isn’t a motivation that we’ve seen, and, really, it’s one we SHOULD see. All these heroes are crazy! Climbing dangerous peaks, getting into gunfights, jumping out of helicopters, choosing Elena over Chloe….. It’s cool to see a game embrace that.

It’s so nice to be back to the AAA space. I liked these last two games, but there’s something to just getting wowed by action and spectacle from time to time. Especially if it still gives good bloggage.

Feminina:

Yes! That’s exactly how much I played the first time.

Last night I played for about another 5 minutes but had to stop when the baby woke up crying and wouldn’t sleep. He has a cold, so we try to cut him some slack, but dude…I was climbing on a ledge!

Yes to how pretty it is, and all the detail. I also noticed the chipped paint on the window! It’s just a fantastic level of lived-in looking world design.

Not to mention the hair. (Which does actually look pretty good in the playable scenes later…not QUITE as awesome as in the cutscene, but still very fluid.)

I agree that her slightly insane motivation is interesting–Ana’s sort of pitying/worried expression was great, like “oh no, not you too.” Ana’s got a point, you know…

I also like the way they’re hinting that there may be some carry-over of the supernatural weirdness from the first game, at least in its having an impact on Lara’s thinking: she’s convinced that there could BE a fountain of youth or a prophet’s tomb with proof of the immortal soul, because she saw really weird stuff on that island, and therefore believes there could be other really weird stuff out there.

I liked that Uncharted acknowledged that a tiny bit at first, although by number 4 they had pretty much gone with the “it was all just prospectors in sheets” explanation. I’d like to see a game actually address the weird stuff and notice that it’s weird and carry that knowledge forward into sequels, so I liked that there was at least a reference to it here (although that may well be all we ever get on the topic).

So yeah, there should be some good bloggage here. I’m into it.

Butch:

Silly kids! Always messing up games.

I was very sad when the game started and she was wearing a hat. Don’t hide the hair!

Oh I inwardly cheered when she said “I’ve SEEN things!” Heroes never say that! You might get some nostalgic closet of souvenirs, but never a “look, person who the player thought was my sister but I guess isn’t, I’ve. Seen. Some. Shit. And DONE some shit, so back off”.

Which, really, one would say.

The public reaction was good, too. Another crazy croft. Nice counterpoint to the end of UC 4, where the public thought they were so cool.

Feminina:

Yeah, they’re really highlighting the “this obsession with exploring weird places/trying to prove weird legends/raiding weird tombs is not entirely normal or healthy” angle.

Which is a totally legitimate angle! It’s interesting to see the game recognize that this career choice of hers is a strange and not completely socially acceptable thing for someone to do, rather than just being all “wow, this is so cool, who WOULDN’T want to raid tombs?”

You see this point raised every now and then with Batman (dude’s got issues, that’s kind of his thing), but not so often with the basic Adventurer character type. I mean, the player/reader/viewer can easily see that murdering hundreds of dudes while searching for El Dorado is not a normal person activity (we talked about it plenty with Drake), but within the story itself you don’t usually get a lot of introspection (I think we read more of it into the story than was ever explicit in Uncharted).

It’s interesting that they’re doing that more explicitly here…although, as with the mention of supernatural weirdness, it may be that what we’ve seen is the token nod in that direction, and we’ll never hear anything else about it.

It IS kind of premature to speculate about themes based on the 20-minute intro we’ve played so far. Not that this should stop us. Speculation is what we do!

Butch:

And we do it well.

Another interesting twist in all this is she never asked for this. In UC 1, the first time we meet Drake, he’s hunting treasure. He’s there already. He made his choice to become what he is way back with the old lady.

Lara didn’t ask for this. She was just a silly young woman bankrolling a reality show. She stumbled onto all this weird and traumatic shit, and now she can’t get it out of her head.

Which may also be a theme. Finding the fountain of youth not to reclaim looks or strength, which she already has, but the innocence she lost in the last game?

Feminina:

Well, and on that, she’s already rich–she doesn’t NEED to treasure hunt because she can already afford to do whatever she wants, so her decision to roam the world seeking whatever is not driven by any sense of personal privation, it’s all based on…proving her father right? Showing the doubters that she’s not crazy? Recapturing innocence, as you say?

I’d suggest that simple thrill-seeking could be pretty high up there for a rich kid, but she is really not presented that way…she seems way more tormented/driven than having fun (although she does seem to enjoy the challenge and the magnificent views in the mountains and so forth).

Butch:

Yeah she’s not enjoying this. She’s paranoid, driven and haunted. She even comes across as guilty that she’s dragged her friend into it.

Feminina:

As well she might be. He’s totally going to die. [Ominous voice here.]

Did we know Jonah in the first one? …[internet internet]…ah, yes, of course we did. He looks a bit different from my PS3 version of that game, but I knew he was familiar. That guy!

Butch:

Yeah, dude, you didn’t catch that? He was cool. He looks different in mine, too. I think they aged the characters some. Within reason. They’re not old, but Lara looks more grown up. World weary. Nice touch.

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