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Some spoilers for plot points in Rise of the Tomb Raider

Butch:

Happy New Year!

OK, back to what we were doing…see if we remember…

Turned down the difficulty on that fight over/under the ice. It was still kind of tricky. In light of our “fights are mini puzzle” posts, I think I missed a trick. There must’ve been a way to approach that that wasn’t shitty, and I just missed it. Oh, well.

And then all that cutscene.

Ok, so he’s the prophet. Called it.

That was…rushed. Like “Ok, fight over and BOOM all this plot, fast.” I wasn’t even ready! She was just all “Back to Jonah” and I was all “But I want to LOOT!” I was sort of expecting more oomph with the reveal.

But despite the rather rushed nature of it, which could have been done better, I do respect this game for going there on religion. The prospector/fake magic shit here is GOD for God’s sake. “Yeah…there’s a source…but it isn’t divine.” Konstantin has wounds…that are fake. Usually, we have “Ancient mystical hoo ha is really fake and there’s a good explanation.” Here it’s “Ancient mystical hoo ha that millions of people still believe is fake and there’s a good explanation.” Gutsy.

Unless they pooch and it turns out it was divine all along they all find Jesus or something. Which could happen.

Feminina:

I did. I did finish it. But I’m only 92% complete, if that helps. Several documents unfound and challenges uncompleted (including the gourd one, which I don’t know anything about other than that, judging from the list in the info screen for that region, it does exist).

But yeah, you called it on Jacob being the prophet. Nice work. It does explain his youthful appearance. And I also liked the prodding at religious belief, especially in the context of our previous discussion of how the game looks at other forms of belief…it’s all open to question.

Especially since Jacob just flat out admitted it. “Yeah, it’s not really divine and I’m not really a prophet, but it was a convenient lie to get these people to do what I wanted,” essentially.

And it’s an interesting complement, as you noted, to the fact that we know Konstantin is also not really divinely chosen by God, because Ana was faking his stigmata to mess with him and get him to do what she wanted. (Which is…not totally clear, to be honest. I mean, right NOW she wants him to get the Source to save her life, but surely she hasn’t been terminally ill since he was a child, so what was her plan when she first started this whole thing? Maybe she just likes to control peoples’ minds.)

Is all religion, and all unevidenced belief, equally a product of deception, self-delusion, and willing belief in the improbable? Could be, the game says.

Logical explanations exist…although get to the end and see what you think about whether or not logical is exactly the word for it. I don’t know. Still, it’s definitely an intriguing direction for the story to go.

The only real distinction between Ana and Jacob is that Jacob is trying to hide what he sees as a dangerous power so that it won’t be misused, and Ana is trying to find it so she can use it (and probably misuse it, by most peoples’ estimations, although we don’t know exactly what she or Trinity have planned).

Lying for good or lying for evil, it’s all lies in the end when you convince people you or they are the prophets of the divine!

Butch:

Knew it. Even without checking trophies. The universe is in line again.

Jacob did admit it. He’s a faker. A very old faker, so props, but a faker. It’s neat how you have the prophet who knows he’s a faker, but that people blindly believe in, and Konstantin, who is fake but doesn’t know it, and has followers openly doubt him. The faker who believes in himself is doubted more than the guy who KNOWS he’s faking. It’s a weird analysis of belief. Nice job, game.

Yeah, I wondered on that, too. I mean, it does seem a tad random to just decide, one day, to convince your brother he’s God’s chosen just because. I did get that she just gets off on messing with people. I still don’t know how she got involved with Trinity, though, so maybe that has something to do with it. She’s evil, for sure.

How close am I to the end, if I minimize toodle?

As for discussion…THEMES! We minimized the themes, we did.

And we have a completely accidental dovetail! Cuz our next project is “Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture,” yes? Which I have a feeling has religious overtones. Just guessing.

I also have the Last Guardian in the house, which I never thought I’d type. But that’s for Jr.

Feminina:

Good point: is a nice touch that the guy who knows he’s faking is wholeheartedly believed, while the totally sincere guy is doubted by pretty much everyone. You can fool yourself, or you can fool other people, but it’s hard to do both? (I don’t know that this is true, though…surely many cult leaders and the like are quite sincere in their beliefs, although many others are certainly consciously playing it up for the crowds.)

If you minimize toodle, you’re not that far from the end. It’s pretty well paced, I thought. You start off on the Deep Roads–I mean the secret path of the Deathless or whatever–and you do some stuff, and then you get to the City, and you do some stuff, and there you are, final confrontations ahoy. (I mean, ‘some stuff’ is kind of involved and will take time, but it’s fairly contained.)

We have kind of lost track of the themes through much of our discussion of this game. We spent too much time complaining, or something.

Butch:

Not only that, we like the lying son of a bitch better. I mean, ok, sure, he’s up there minding his business and Trinity are trying to kill us, but Jacob is likable and Konstantin is not. Is Jacob only likeable because Trinity is worse? Usually, we are not sympathetic to dudes that have lied and lied and lied, even when they have flawless bad boy haircuts. But Jacob, the liar, is the GOOD guy.

There’s always a deep roads, isn’t there?

We’ve been complaining, toodling, admiring the hair…..

In our defense…..

The themes DID tend to get lost. It would be doing so well, and then it would be a week of challenges and coins. The challenges and coins contained no theme whatsoever. Wasn’t our fault.

Feminina:

There was always the hair to admire. We can’t be faulted for getting distracted from mere themes when that glorious display of high-end processing power was floating before our dazzled eyes.

Jacob is fairly likable, it’s true. He just seems so mild-mannered and pleasant, oddly non-fanatical for a guy who either claimed prophet-hood or allowed others to claim it on his behalf, while Konstantin is so fiercely intent and the definition of a fanatic…he doesn’t seem as if he’d be at all fun to hang out with.

Plus, I mean, there’s the whole putting peoples’ eyes out, trying to kill me thing. Konstantin has been going around acting like a violent jerk from the beginning, while Jacob hasn’t even tried to kill me, and that goes a long way.

Butch:

Dude my new TV is slowing me down, what with the dazzling. The mountains, man. The lighting. If I had this when I played TW3, I’d still be wandering around taking pictures of sunsets.

Jacob hasn’t tried to kill Lara, true, but he seems to have killed, like, a LOT of his army. I sorta got that he, long ago, was the type to put out eyes and all that. I mean, here we go again all judging people based on what we see, even though we’re seeing a small part of the package. He’s not a typical good guy, for sure.

Feminina:

It’s true!

Jacob may be just Konstantin mellowed by age. I mean, he’s really damn old…one must mellow somewhat in a thousand years. You also get the sense that he’s come to regret some of the things he’s done (like that whole Deathless Army thing, maybe?).

Give Konstantin 1,000 years, some introspective time living quietly in the wilderness, and maybe he’d be a lot more chill.

Sadly, Lara is not about to wait around to see how this unfolds.

Butch:

Nope. Lara’s got sequels to make. Tombs to raid. Lifestyles to destroy. Rabbits to cut down.

Feminina:

I never did find the last of those damn rabbits. If I decide not to start Rapturing right away, I may go back and roam around a bit, just to try to complete a few more challenges.

Or I may not. Once the story’s done, the urgency is gone.

Oh, speaking of sequels, I don’t want to ignore a comment of yours a few days…weeks?…holiday blurred time…ago, about how the last one closed on a note saying “Croatoan,” but this one didn’t pick that up at all, so we have no way of knowing if there’s going to be any continuity between this one and the next either.

I agree: I was kind of excited about an exploration of Croatoan! And yet here there is not a Roanoke early settler reference to be seen. And this one closes with a moment which I will obviously not spoil, but something that strongly hints “here’s what the next one will be about!!!!” but I find myself skeptical, having been let down once before.

Although maybe the next one will address Croatoan AND this new thing…tie it all up in a neat bow. I would admire that.

Butch:

Indeed. Probably shouldn’t go back in to look for rabbits. The last one, I decided to trophy hunt because I was between things, and the last memory I have of that game is shooting a wild pig in the butt for XP. Who needs that? Go out on top.

As would I, admire a third game that tied the first two together, but I won’t hold my breath, especially as it’ll have a different developer. Even without that, games haven’t always been very good at picking up teases from previous games. Even greats like Bioware have left us hanging, waiting for awesome teases to be resolved.

But then, Square has referred, in passing, to the “Tomb Raider Trilogy,” implying this was a three game story from day one, so maybe they did have it all storyboarded. But I doubt it.

I never get why/how that happens. I mean, ok, it’s one thing to have a passing reference to some side plot point that you don’t follow up on (which is what we knock bioware for because we hang onto every little bit of everything), but to have the last shot of a game set something up, and then make the next one have exactly nothing to do with that is odd. Leave it open ended if you must. Nathan Drake sailed on a very similar boat into a very similar sunset at the end of his first game, but didn’t set up a damn thing. That’s ok. Better, even. No need to set up if you aren’t committed to it.

Feminina:

Yeah! I mean, there’s nothing wrong with just sailing off, with the implication that you’re headed for adventure but the specific adventure left vague. Why bother to very deliberately tease a very specific future adventure and then just drop it?

I mean, sure, there’s no real narrative impact, so one could argue why not? In story terms, she could totally have investigated Croatoan somewhere in between 1 and 2 and it turned out there was nothing interesting there after all, or it was interesting but not as interesting as the Lost City of Kitezh, and so we just didn’t hear about it. Fine. Whatever.

But…but…if it doesn’t matter, why even bother to mention it in the first place? The fact that it was mentioned can only lead us to assume they INTENDED to do something with it, and then it didn’t pan out, sorry.

Again, fine. That happens with stories and crews and change. But if you know you’re in this kind of volatile situation where you can’t be sure the cool idea you had about Croatoan is actually going to be followed up on…just don’t put it in there. It will only annoy the players who notice it and make them expend many thousands of words complaining about it on the internet.

Hear our cries, developers! Spare everyone from this horrible fate that is our complaining! Don’t tease if you aren’t sure you’re going to deliver!

Butch:

It is a very odd decision, it is. And also odd if you’re planning to do it in a third game or something. I mean, games take a long time to come out. If you’re teasing TWO games from now, no one (but us) will remember.

Feminina:

Although if you do somehow make that work out, at least someone, being us, will notice and applaud you.

So there’s that.

Maybe they’ve just been making a long play for our admiration all along!

Butch:

As they should. As they should.

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