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Minor spoilers for Rise of the Tomb Raider, including the Blood Ties DLC…some details of characters, plot points, etc.


Finished the leftovers!!!!

Celebrated by going to Best Buy to put my hands in a Pro.

Ho. Lee. Shit, Femmy. I mean…..dude. Nothing on the web is doing it justice.

Cmon, Santa.

So I got to the village thingy. Would’ve done more, but the swimming bit took too long. I hate swimming. Hate it.

Good stuff, but, again, they didn’t think through where to put the little load screen tidbits. They do too much with that.

See, I started this session in the room with the big statue. That is, BEFORE I actually got to the village. That said, my load screen said (paraphrasing), “Made it to Jacob’s village, but not before his daughter tried to kill me! But they have accepted me, and now I must help them fight.” To which I said…what? So I swam and died and swam and died and swam and didn’t die, then got a cutscene in which…..the redhead was gonna kill me, Jacob showed up and she was all “Father!” and then they accepted me, told me the baddies were coming, and I told them I’d help them fight.

Which I kinda saw coming. What with the load screen and all. Took away some of the emotional punch. Not to mention the surprise that red head is Jacob’s daughter (He aged well, he did).

Be careful with the load messages, dudes. Better yet, just don’t PUT plot in load screens, period.


Bad game! Bad plot-giveaway load screens!

That sucks. (And yeah, Jacob aged really well. I can’t tell if it’s intentionally unnatural youthfulness because of this Divine Source, or accidentally unnatural youthfulness because of the character design.)

I played a bit. Got to a campsite where Lara reminisced about her dad, and took that as an appropriate segue to the Croft Manor bit, which was low key but fun. It reminded me a lot of Gone Home, actually, just walking around looking at stuff in a big house where things are partially packed up.

Glad to hear the Pro is a real upgrade. We’ll get one eventually! I don’t know when, though…it really sounds as if we won’t get much benefit without a larger TV, and I’m not sure when we’ll get that. In time, surely. In time.


I know! I mean, seriously. Keep shit off of load screens. No good can come of it. Either you’ll give shit away, or you’ll have people missing stuff.

As for Jacob, all I know is I’m 0-2 in terms of picking relationships. I missed the whole sibling thing, and then I thought these two were lovers or siblings, and no. Sigh. Game is vague.

Croft Manor! Ok, sounds good. Did you finish it? Is it long?

Dude, TVs are getting so cheap. I mean, they had a BIG Samsung top of the line one, that was, like 2500 bucks not 18 months ago for 700. And that’s the top of the line one! And they’ll have bundles. They already had a bundle with a Pro and a 55 inch Sony 4K, great TV, for 1000. So that’s 600 bucks for a great TV.

Christmas, man. Christmas.


Croft Manor is not too long. I did it in two sessions. (Had a little extra time.) Spent longer than I had to on it trying to get to 100%, but there are 4 relics and 1 document somewhere in that house that I COULD NOT find. Eventually I got tired of wandering around and around the place and went back to the valley where “I have to help Jacob’s people!”

The ‘natives,’ with their surprisingly good English and white skin.

It’s like, “we don’t want to patronize aboriginal people, so let’s say the prophet’s followers have lived out here in Siberia for hundreds of years without ever intermarrying with local people. Because of their divine cause, you know, protecting the McGuffin. Divine and mysterious causes assigned to peoples’ ancestors many generations ago are totally the best at preventing young folks from sneaking off to make out with the hot neighbor kids. Locks those hormones down like BAM.”

Not that I think they SHOULD have made the prophet’s followers native Siberian people with distant traces of Greek/Roman/European/whatever blood, because yeah, Trinity coming in and massacring a bunch of native people has all kinds of, let’s say historical reverberations, but it’s kind of funny how white they all look.


Oh good. Not long. No zombies and shit? I don’t want zombies and shit.

Re: the Remnant, they also have committed the cardinal sin in this game of giving them different accents. Jacob seems vaguely British, and no one else, yet, has been. Make them either (inexplicably) British or (inexplicably) not British. Don’t mix and match.

And isn’t it just, funny how white they look? The red head especially. No offense.

But it WOULD have been a mine field. I mean, sure, white Christians coming to kill browner people does have its place in history, no doubt. Still does. And I think this game wasn’t going to go out making political statements. I mean, sure, it HAS themes, but not THOSE themes. It’s a personal story. Also, as much as we do love dissecting deep stuff, there is something to be said for a game just being an adventure game. Tombs to raid, jumps to jump, dudes to kill, action packed cutscenes, and JUST enough to think about that it isn’t mindless. The games that fall into the “Assassins raid uncharted tombs” category are all a-ok for that, and good for them.

I’d be more disappointed if they pooched on themes in a more serious game, like TLOU or Fallout or anything by bioware. I’m expecting me some themes in Horizon a) because it seems to be about both the fall of humankind and the power of religion to fix that and b) killing robot dinosaurs, as cool as it sounds, would get old if that’s all there is to do. But Tomb Raider? Meh. It can pooch on a couple themes and I’ll let it slide.


Well, there’s the “Blood Ties” storyline, which is what I did and which does not involve any weirdness or zombies, and then there’s “Lara’s Nightmare,” which I glanced at and which appears to be where the zombies come in.

It’s apparently some sort of actual bad dream of Lara’s where zombies attack Croft Manor, and it involves those cards we talked about before, which feature in some capacity to customize your skills or something. I don’t know if you PLAY the cards during the game or just select them before each round to try to match your skills/equipment with the challenge, or what–I decided not to investigate further at this point. I’ve got an actual game to play, I don’t need to be getting into this weirdness. Perhaps after I’m finished with the main game, but probably not, because…meh. I’ll probably have other things to do at that point, too, and if this add-on is just about combat with no story implications, I’m not that interested.

Very good point about Jacob’s vaguely British accent and everyone else’s non-British (but equally fluent!) accents. Um…he learned his English from a different version of Rosetta Stone?

I also have to wonder whether English is their native language–as it certainly seems to be given their fluency and accents–and if so, WHY. And if not, what IS?
The prophet’s original followers were Byzantine or whatever, right? And then, in Siberia, the Russians eventually showed up, but where did English even COME from?

One would think Lara should be interested in this, but I guess she’s too distracted by her search for the Divine McGuffin to notice how strange this is.


Ah, right. That. Yeah, ok, not really interested.

This game, I think, contains a lot of that multiplayer challenge bullshit. Nice if you like it. I’m not into it.

HA! Rosetta Stone.

“Jacob, dude, you got the wrong version. Exchange it.”
“No way. You know what it costs to ship out here?”
“Dude, you don’t have Prime?”
“Nah. Blew all my coins on that rope climber.”

Never ask about language. Why do all dwarves have Scottish accents, except in Thedas? Why do people from far away kingdoms always seem to be French? Do not ask.

It’s cuz we don’t want to read games. And yet, Life is Strange defaulted to subtitles being on.


“Mock my lonely pseudo-British accent all you like, I’M going to be at the top of this rope first, relaxing with my thoughts.”

The rope ascender is pretty sweet, I won’t lie.

Mr. O’ said there’s zero multiplayer anything in AC Syndicate, which he doesn’t really object to, but finds strange after how they pushed it in Black Flag and Liberation. I of course speculated that women are too hard to animate so it was all they could manage to even have one in the main game, without trying to do a multiplayer component. It’s going to be a long time before they live that down.

It’s true, no one wants to read a game, and we suspend a lot of disbelief around language for the sake of convenience. Just say it’s a Babel fish and have done.


So long as there’s a post to attach to, it is. Saves so very much time. We’d still be doing that Baba Yaga puzzle if not for the rope climber.

Women are too hard to animate, or those games got savaged by reviews and players alike.

Of course, speaking of Ubisoft, so did Watch Dogs. Watch Dogs 2 seems to have learned from its mistakes as well. Came out today. Expect Mr. O’ to get.

Put it down to a slightly drunk Babel fish that can’t get regional accents right. One of these days, all the elves will have Southern accents and the Dwarves will be Jamaican.


That’s going to be awesome! I would kind of dig a game that used US regional accents to differentiate between groups. Or Jamaican either.

Of course, there are also tons of regional variations in British/UK accents besides BBC standard and Scottish, so they could go there too.

Leave France alone, people. Not every foreign country is French!

It’s true, Mr. O’ hated the multiplayer for the last couple of games. He loved it in AC2, but that was a long time ago.


I do give AC4 props for giving Mary Read, who was from Liverpool in real life, a Liverpool accent. That’s the one time I’ve seen that. She wasn’t generically British. All the more reason she wasn’t in the game enough, but I digress.

Sometimes foreigners are Russian. Nilfgaard had Russian accents in two, only to get British ones in three. That was odd. I guess when you hire Charles Dance to be your emperor, you have to have everyone study the British Rosetta Stone. Imperial decree and all.


“I find British accents more euphonious. EVERYONE ACQUIRE THEM.”

It’s good to be emperor.


Even Ciri!

Maybe that was it.

Or maybe there was that controversy thing. I mean, in two, the Russian accents were from the country that was slowly, evilly, encroaching on the world at large. This from a Polish developer. So…..


Yeah, could be. No one takes generic British-ish (Britesque?) accents to be a commentary on the evil imperial designs of the United Kingdom.

Not right now, anyway. I’m sure back in the 19th century it would have played a lot differently. Context!


Yeah. I remember playing those 19th century games. Everyone was Italian.

You came to games late.


I missed out on so much!


They even had Johnson physics down! But the secrets were lost during the Taft administration. To this day, we wonder why.