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Minor spoilers for Rise of the Tomb Raider


Ok. We got distracted yesterday. Where are we?

Played a bunch. Did the whole “fight in the greek fire” bit which was pretty damn awesome. Smoke, lasers, great, great stuff. Then ran and ran, which was ALSO awesome. Got the rebreather (more on that later), and went back to bear tomb to do bear tomb which I’ll do soon.

Two thoughts:

When this game is NOT about toodling, it’s God Damn Awesome in capital letters. It may not be witcher grade story or Gone Home grade themes, but it’s exciting, tense, crisp action that’s just so very well done. When this game IS about toodling….it’s slow. Which begs the question: Is that the game’s fault, or is it innate to toodling? UC didn’t have toodling, and it was able to replace that with writing and themes and stuff (at least 4). We ALWAYS toodle (at least some) and we almost never like it. Maybe we should just not have toodling. The contrast between the awesome bits and the not awesome bits in this game is so jarring, it must mean something.

Thought two: I hate swimming in games. Like, a lot. You know this. And yet….I’m not sure I’m into the idea of the rebreather. After all, the rebreather COMPLETELY removes a gameplay element. When there’s no risk at all from swimming, then swimming becomes just like running down a hall. Just swim. No risk. All that tense stuff you learned about how to go fast and look for places to breathe? Fuck it. No longer. Take your time. It just writes the WHOLE MECHANIC out.

And while that’s a mechanic that I’m happy is gone because I hate swimming, it’s weird to just completely do away with a mechanic at this point of the game. Especially one with some degree of risk. This makes the game, at least in the swimming bits, easier. It’s one less way to die. Usually games ADD ways to die. They get harder. They get MORE tense. They get MORE complex. This is going the other way, and that’s weird, and I’m not sure it should be doing that.

Tangential thought: I’m now at 51%. The load screen plot point is all “Father….we’re finally here….at last!” or something. “Here at last” at least sorta seems to suggest “end game,” or “last act.” Doesn’t it? I’m at 51%. 51% does NOT suggest last act, especially as all that story stuff I did, Cathedral, Anna, greek fire, rebreather, atlas, etc., took me from 46% to 51% (I know this as I use multiple save slots). I mean, I haven’t gotten EVERY little collectible, or even started some of the poster/flag bits, but I’ve gotten a bunch of them, so SOME of my 51% must be that. Do we feel close to the end, here? I didn’t until that load screen……..


I liked the running running running bit too. It was tense and exciting. Not too dangerous, but urgent (I did slip and die once, too, so it was a LITTLE dangerous), and really required you to be on top of the controls.

It’s still so unclear, isn’t it, whether or not the Deathless Ones are actually supernatural, or are just prospectors in sheets?

I…kind of like toodling, man. But I agree, it’s not as intense, nor does it immediately serve the story, hence my participation in regular snide comments about it.


It was very well done. Not really QTE at all. I, too, died once, mostly because I completely forget the “use thingy to get to higher ledges” thing, so if there’s no conveniently placed coil I always die.

I think it remains unclear about the supernatural. Unless there’s something you know I don’t. I mean, “deathless ones” does seem rather magical, but then they were armed with just good ol’ Greek fire and arrows. They weren’t conjuring spirit whirlwinds or anything. They were just all burning oil and arrows.


I have nothing against toodling per se. It has its place. I’m just not sure THIS is the place. Or the WAY. So many of the “challenges” really are just chores. They’re even marked on maps! (Why explorers mark tied up rabbits on secret maps before they die is beyond me.) So it’s “run to circle, shoot easy target, repeat.” So what? Give it some oomph. Like, praise for AC4 here, mark it down, the sheet music. I mean, the sheet music in AC4 was rather pointless and completely inexplicable. But there was some challenge to getting them (they ran…huh? never mind) and some reward (new song!). That’s good toodling.


That’s where I died! I leaped, realized I couldn’t make it without the wire thing, threw the thing–but too late. Really by now I should just be hitting square every time I jump just in case, but no….

The challenges aren’t EXACTLY on the map, though, are they? I mean, it gives you a little marker, but I think that’s where you first picked up the challenge, rather than where you have to go to finish it. At least, whenever I’ve gone to the location on the map to try to pursue a challenge, it’s always just somewhere I’ve already been, not something that’s useful to me in the present. Anyway, I do get what you’re saying. The toodling is always a distraction from the main game, but sometimes it works better than others, and sometimes it doesn’t really work well at all.

I dunno, I’m not as annoyed with it here as you are, but history has shown I have a higher tolerance for junk-collecting than you do, so that’s probably all it is, rather than me seeing some special narrative value in it that you don’t.


I guess I don’t like having to toodle. The “Explore the Valley” stuff. Don’t tell me to toodle! I’ll toodle when, where and how I want!


Ha! That’s true. “I’ll toodle if I feel like it…don’t you be telling me it’s part of my job!”

It’s true that anything you HAVE to do is naturally held to a higher standard of fun/relevance than random junk you’re allowed to do or not as the whimsy takes you.


Exactly! Because the ability to say “Ok, fuck this, I feel like story today” should always be an option, and there are times in this game where it isn’t.

If I recall, AC4 was like that, too. There were times you pretty much had to grind, taking sugar off ships and finding chests, to get enough cash to progress in any relevant way.

I think that the reward of toodling should always be something that makes the main story easier/better, like more XP, documents that FILL IN and not tell, shanties, gear, etc., but there should always be enough gear/resources/etc on the course of the main story to get you through, if you just want to bull through. Here? AC? No.


Ah, AC4–how quickly a moment of praise becomes a moment of condemnation. Which is honestly more what we’re comfortable with here.

However, and to argue in our current game’s defense for a moment, remember that I actually did pursue the main story by accident before I was really even done toodling. So I’m not sure that the amount of toodling that’s REQUIRED was actually as significant as maybe it felt that it was, when you first come out into the valley with orders to explore it.

It seems like that could take forever, but in my memory, at least, it actually wasn’t that long before I had another objective marker. I dunno, though, you played that section more recently than I did, so I may be generously cutting it some slack. As I am wont to do in all things except the absence of male nudity. (Had to bring that back in!)


It’s true, it isn’t necessary per se. But they really want us to. I mean, that spire was WAY on the other side of the valley.

AC4 did that, too. “Hey…there’s an objective. Go ahead and follow it. It’s on the other side of the map. There’s only 97 treasures, 9 forts, a few whales and 493724739825 shards between you and it. But go ahead. Go right there if you want…..”


Oh, well, they can WANT whatever. That doesn’t mean they’re gonna get it.

Although usually they will because I can’t resist a shard, damn it.


Who can? Even I got a bunch of those.

Of course, I was new to AC and thought I would need them to make something. I mean, I played Zelda back in the day. Shards go together to make something awesome. Usually.


In one of the ACs, you could at least collect fragments and use them to unlock additional memories about a tragic love story…that wasn’t so bad. I mean, let me work toward SOMETHING.


Yeah! See? GOOD toodling!

I’m tired. It’s been a long week and it’s only Tuesday and I’m tired.

I want my new TV.

Andromeda’s gonna look amazing in 4K.


I have tech lust. We’re going to want a new TV.


You already want a new TV. You’re just waffling.

I tell ya, man. This was a shitty, depressing year. You have to do something good for yourself. And dude, both you and your spouse will dig it. It’s a two fer.

Imagine: seeing every scale on your Krogan lover…..

And hey, check it: By recording our thoughts, we are making history.

Why Some Video Games Are In Danger of Disappearing Forever – kotaku.com

Someday, like a time capsule, someone will read our thoughts and it will be a window to a past lost wisdom.

We better get some potentially magical but probably not things to guard the blog.


I feel valuable!

Also, sold. My krogan lover’s gleaming scales must not go unappreciated.

Working on the extraordinarily complicated, lethal, one-time-and-it’s-broken puzzles that will guard my keyboard…


How big is your screen now?


It’s…um…like 28 or something. It’s not very big. We’re essentially dwelling in the dark ages.


So 40 will look huge!

Christmas, man.


It’s going to be overpowering. The intricately detailed beauty of every glance from my krogan lover’s eyes will be so intense I will surely weep with joy.

Damn it, there better be a krogan love interest now.