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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for Rise of the Tomb Raider

Butch:

Did play, didn’t do much. Started at the valley. The mission was “Explore the Valley,” so explore I did. Talked to a lot of dudes who didn’t tell me much, found a crypt, did the crypt, found a bunch of documents, couple of coins, cut down a rabbit, shot a target, you know how it goes. Spent a great deal of time trying to kill a bear because it was near an optional tomb. Finally did kill the bear, only to find I needed the rebreather (fun. Swimming.) which I do not have, so I had to abandon that. Then heard a pep talk, found another campsite, that was that.

Ok, I like this game, I do. And yet, from our posts, we do harsh on it quite a bit, and I’m gonna do more of that.

Its pacing is weird. It almost reminds me of AC4, where’d there be a whirlwind of plot, followed by 14 hours of sailing around, listening to lowlands away, grabbing shards and sheet music. This game seems to be on that road. PLOT! Now a whole mess of stuff around the logging camp. PLOT! Now a whole mess of stuff in the valley. I mean, I played a good hour last night, and, sure, I found some stuff, listened to some documents, etc. But I didn’t really DO anything, and I feel like I could spend another couple of hours doing more of this in this valley, easy.

I’m not sure I like that.

And I mean, ok, sure, I COULD just ignore it all and charge towards the big column of light, but a) why miss content? and b) I feel like I’ll be underpowered if I don’t level up and all. It’s sort of the curse of giving documents and relics actual in game rewards. Ignore the treasures in UC? You won’t worry you’ll get killed in the next fight. Miss out on all that XP in this? You worry.

Feminina:

Hm…I can see that, but I’m curious what makes it more noticeable here than in other games we’ve played. I mean, the pacing is always a little odd: we love us some optional tombs or mosiac shards or random treasures, but the disconnect of “I’ll take the time to thoroughly explore this place even though I urgently need to help Jacob’s people/close the skyhole/save my brother” is always there.

I usually justify it by saying “it helps us all if I have better skills and equipment!” but of course that really only flies in a metagame sense. Sure, it may make sense in-game to look around the room for spare ammunition, but wandering off to check out an extensive tunnel complex and solve some puzzle to get a crossbow part or whatever? Less plausible.

Why is the suspension of disbelief harder with this game? I wonder.

Butch:

You’re right, we DO suspend disbelief all the time, but I’m really noticing it here. I’m not sure why. Maybe because the areas seem so big? Because there’s SO much shit to do? Crypts, rabbits, coin caches, targets, tombs, documents, relics, one could go on. I mean, the two other games that stood out with these sort of pacing issues, AC4 and DAI, made the same mistakes. SO MUCH. Shards, songs, treasures, contracts, etc. Bottles of wine, skyholes, shards of whatever….all the shit we ignored. I mean, it’s EVERYWHERE. I think, last night, when I shot that target and got a challenge right after cutting a rabbit down, I think I said “Really? AGAIN?” out loud.

Feminina:

That may be it–the proportion of unrelated stuff to do in comparison to the story. Because there is a LOT.

The rabbit thing struck me too, because it’s just so random: wait, what? I have to go around and cut down snared rabbits? WHY?

“I’ll help you, Jacob’s People! Did you know rabbit meat is too lean to allow for long-term survival if that’s all you eat? I’ll just make sure that doesn’t become a problem by taking this carcass myself!”

Butch:

Hey, she just got the knife. Gotta practice.

The proportions are off, yes. Also, the main objectives often lack any sort of gravitas. I mean, yesterday, the objective was “explore the valley.” The game was telling me “There’s really no shit to do right now except the random shit.” Even when we went all SORTS of magpie in other games there was always that main quest active telling you what was going on in the overarching narrative. Now, it’s all “Explore.” “Get ready.” I mean, even when you make it to the objective point, often nothing happens. You walk into the pillar of light, another pillar pops up, you go towards it. No cutscene, no nothing. You get a bigger fanfare for cutting down a rabbit.

We do like this game, right?

Feminina:

I have had to get used to that, the objective points being more like road markers of “there’s something along this way somewhere” than actual important “something happens here” things.

Still, I do like the game. I’m enjoying playing it. I like the puzzles and the climbing. It might be a simple matter of “story is meh, gameplay is good.” Which would be too bad, because good story is better than meh story, but which does still leave us with a game that we have fun playing. Could be worse.

Butch:

It could be worse, yes. And they do get the gameplay right.

And considering the next three games we have planned here (You DID download that game, right?) are story heavy, this is a good palate cleanser.

Feminina:

True, true. And yes, I downloaded Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture and it’s waiting patiently on our system.

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