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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for locations in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Butch:

Well, that was weird. You know how we often say “I meant to do the story but magpied?” Well, yesterday I tried to magpie, poke around the city, do that side quest where the person ran off cuz El Dorado, you know…

And somehow got sucked into the main story.

It was like “Oh hey Jonah I was just..dude…wait…no, don’t give me the hint pamphlet…don’t…oh all right.”

It’s backwards day!

I’ll let you ponder how, exactly, everyone missed Lopez’s VERY COMPLICATED CLUES for 400 years. What was extra funny was that I found the cross first, and then, when Jonah said “We have to find a cross….” I said to the screen “What, that one there?”

Best line of the game: “I can’t believe that worked.” -Jonah.

Anyway, I wish I had something substantial to say about the main story, but I don’t. I got stuck. I’m in the rather gory room where the stations of the cross are set up with dead people (eww) and I can’t figure out the damn puzzle. I think I have to get the light to the first station there and hit the lever, then the second, etc., but I can’t figure out how to get the light to that side of the room. How do you get the light to that side of the room?

I will say it’s rather a thing that this game decided to go there on macabre Christian imagery. Games exploit….did I say exploit? I meant to say….are inspired by myths and stories and religions from other cultures all the time, and use them in weird, supernatural ways. I can’t remember a game that went all in on the creepy, supernatural religious thing in an adventure game that was THIS Christian. Even the stuff in Raiders, the ark wasn’t surrounded by shit like this. This is some SHIT, man. Mummies doing the stations of the cross?

Whoa.

Feminina:

That happened to me too! I was looking around trying to solve the mystery of the missing archaeologist, and all of a sudden I’m in the church getting main quest hints. Oh well. You can go back later.

And that also happened to me, that I uncovered the cross before I realized I needed it, and said “maybe that one over there?” when I learned I needed to find one. Heh. We’re back to doing exactly the same thing!

One does wonder how that secret stayed hidden for so long. All those clues cleverly concealed behind that crumbling plaster, no one would ever have noticed and wondered.

Those mummies are really something, huh? I like how Jonah’s all “ewww, man,” and Lara is trying to be culturally sensitive and stuff, saying “it might have been considered a great honor,” or whatever.

It might have been…but I’m with Jonah: eww.

If I recall, you have to bounce the light from one side of the room to the other somehow. Move the little carts around, fiddle with stuff…it worked for me eventually. Remember how many stations you’ve already done, too. I lost count and started at the wrong one. Doesn’t end well.

I do kind of like that the game is addressing Christian ritual, tradition and imagery in the same kind of detached way it addresses Incan, Mayan, etc. Evenhanded, it seemed. And it’s interesting to have her thoughtfully commenting on some depiction of a saint with the same sort of reserved historical interest she has for the God of Corn or whatever. It’s all the same basic thing, isn’t it?

Myths, history, cultural inspirations.

I’m not quite sure what we’re supposed to make of the fact that at least some of the myths are true: I mean, the dagger and the silver box DO apparently have the power to bring on or stave off apocalypse, right? Why is that? What gives them that power?

Presumably it’s not actually true that it’s about literal ancient Mesoamerican deities, and we’re instead meant to assume that their myths express their understanding at that time of some truth that was revealed (one recalls the very interesting treatment of religion in Horizon Zero Dawn, where we as players knew the non-divine origins of certain ‘revealed truths’)…but what? What is the larger explanation?

Aliens? Atlanteans? Some other advanced culture lost so far in the mists of time that a dagger and a silver box are the only relics that remain?

We shall probably never know. That’s not the kind of secret a game necessarily wants to reveal. Kills the mystery and all.

“Well, you see, several billion years ago people built world-destroying nanobots that wiped out everything on earth except for some genetic material that allowed life to redevelop, AND this dagger and this box, which are the two parts of a switch that will unleash the bots again. Should that ever be necessary for any reason. And here we are.”

Or something.

Man, I want some more Horizon. I mean, that’s not a dig at this game, I’m enjoying this game (although our discussion does seem to be pretty light on themes and more focused on mechanics and such). Just, thinking about it for a moment made me remember how much I loved Horizon, and now I miss it.

Butch:

I can go back? Good. Cuz what has me worried is that I haven’t yet found a campsite in this place. I tried! I found a merchant! And some dudes! But no campsite. And if Things Happen I still want to come back and magpie.

Maybe these people had kids. We both have houses with little chips in the plaster, and, what do you tell the kids? “Don’t pick at that! Don’t make that worse!”

“But MOM! There’s some sort of fresco under there that will lead us to a secret treasure!”

“Dammit, I knew I shouldn’t have let you watch me play those video games! That isn’t real!”

“But MOM!”

“DON’T PICK AT THE PLASTER!”

“Yes, mom.”

Who knows what secrets our houses keep?

And yeah, man. Eww. And gutsy to put in a game. Goin’ there. I applaud it. Even if eww.

Oh yeah? Moving the carts is part of it? Maybe fiddling? Thanks, Femmy. Didn’t think of that. What WOULD I do without you?

Is this how you do it at work? Some poor student comes up all “Where can I find authoritative works on renal angiostentonectomyosis?” all earnest, needing help, and you’re all, what, “I dunno, man. Book, maybe. The web? I dunno. You’ll get it eventually.”

Have you finished? Because we did discuss the idea that Trinity diverting rivers and scrubbing sites and shit was what was really going on. That it IS just a box, and pay no attention to the trinity behind the curtain. So if you know something that explicitly contradicts that, don’t spoil.

I mean, besides the weird zombie orcs.

And the pistachios.

Uh….moving on.

Yeah. Junior played Horizon through a couple of times (first time on story, cheater) and I did watch it wistfully. He has quite the eye for screen shots (gets that from his ol’ man, I tell ya). I wish they’d just announce the damn PS5 already because I have a feeling that a lot of games everyone wants are going to be saved until we have the option of getting them on a PS5. Everyone knows there’s GOING to be a Horizon 2, but I have a feeling it’ll be something they use to show off the next gen.

Which needs to happen! Not cuz I want a new box, but because I think it’ll lead to a deluge of games. Games we want.

Feminina:

Now that you mention it, I’m almost certain there’s a weird ancient fresco under the wallpaper in the stairwell–but I wouldn’t want to ruin the rustic shabbiness by pulling it up any further to check.

Dude, I was trying not to spoil. Obviously you thought of the carts and the levers. I was just trying to say “you’re on the right track, there’s not a weird additional trick you haven’t noticed.”

If you want actual HELPFUL information: focus the light the way it’s already going first. That’s my tip. Do one of the stations on that side. (Not just any random one! One specific one. The right one. Otherwise it won’t end well.) THEN worry about reflecting it back the other way.

I have not finished. I got to the part where it said “make sure you’ve done all the stuff you want to do before you proceed!” and then I ran off to look for missing mission givers and stuff. So I could be finished soon, probably, although I have no idea how long the endgame is. But first I have to tidy up all my loose ends in the various regions.

You’re probably right that HZD2 is waiting for the PS5. Sigh. I respect that. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome on the 5. I just want it as soon as possible!

Butch:

Well, I still think it’s next Xmas. Sony’s being all weird. Only four games at the last E3, none of them with release dates, all gorgeous things we’d play on a PS5. So if it’s NOT this year, they wasted a whole E3 showing stuff that’s more than a year and a half off? Maybe two? Makes no sense. Especially as there’s, like, NOTHING big coming out this year. Almost like everyone is waiting until Xmas. When there’s gonna be a new console. Usually all the game sites have “The 22 games we’re excited about next year!” around now, and….nothing. Cuz nothing.

And now the news that Sony is skipping E3 ENTIRELY this year, but will proceed with “other ways to engage the community” or some shit, doing their own thing.

I dunno, man. Wishful thinking maybe, but I still think we’re getting a PS5 for Xmas this year. And games. Good games.

Re: wallpaper: Exactly. That would hurt home value. As would finding out there really is an ancient treasure, as that would undoubtedly lead to your house getting destroyed, and the last time I filed a homeowner’s claim for damage from “ancient underground treasure room collapse” HOO boy the paperwork.

Leave it be.

Ah THAT’S the tip I needed. I was certain I had to start with one on the OTHER side, and that was tripping me up.

Will she get her hands caught and then the spikes? Cuz I made that mistake on the last “aim a mirror” one.

Ah! Am I close? Cuz I want to tidy stuff. I can come back to the mission to tidy, yes?

We’re actually gonna finish sorta close to each other? Even though I didn’t play, like, at all over the holiday?

WHAT?

Feminina:

She will definitely get her hands caught and then the spikes. And then the reload screen. At least it reloads quickly in the middle of a puzzle!

Yes, you can go back to the Mission to tidy, although if you just got there and don’t have any campsites, you might have to hike a bit to get there. I’m not sure how that will work, actually, since we got there by cutscene the first time and I had campsites to fast travel to when I went back, but I’m sure there will be some way. There’s a lot of stuff around the Mission! Tombs, crypts, treasures, that sort of thing. Nothing critical in the larger picture, but stuff. Things to hunt, missions to fulfill, challenges to attempt, documents to find. You know.

I think you must run into a campsite at some point in the course of the…stuff you’re on the way to do. In that general area. It’s gonna be great.

And just thinking ahead, there will be a point where you think “no way is it going to be possible to come back here after this!” but trust me, it is. Don’t even worry about it.

Butch:

NOT THE DREADED LOAD SCREEN!!!!!

Ok, I trust you.

There’s gonna be yet more fighting, isn’t there? This game went from weeks of no fighting to a Kevin slaughter, didn’t it? C’mon, game! I just KILLED Kevin! I WANTED to magpie!

Feminina:

Game: TOO BAD! You shouldn’t have been looking around this area if you didn’t want to get sucked into the main quest!

Player: But…I always look around. Looking around is what I do! It’s how I find all the sidequests! Why is this time so different?

Game: SHUT UP, THAT’S WHY.

Butch:

Yeah! And it was nasty of the game! They gave you that side quest right away, and the green circle to go to was on the other side of the main quest! It was like “Go there and GOTCHA!”

I think it was taking revenge. “You….you and Femmy….always blowing off these well constructed narrative pieces…I’ll show you…yes, yes, talk to the quest giver…head towards the circle…you cannot resist the circle…that’s it…getting warmer and GOTCHA HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

It hates us.

Feminina:

Yes, it was kind of mean, putting the main quest RIGHT THERE next to the side quest. Practically on TOP of the side quest. I mean, what were we supposed to do? It was entrapment, really.

Butch:

It so was. SO WAS. It got us both. It knows us well.

Feminina:

It knows us, and was angry with us. We have been appropriately chastised–dumped into an underground mummy passion play without warning. That’ll teach us. (Spoiler: It will not teach us anything.)