Minor spoilers for a tomb in Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Ok, not done, but still on schedule. I did manage to finish the last tomb. One last go around with the Skree! Argh! zombie orcs. Good times, good times.
I’m not entirely sure how I feel about these tombs that are so combat heavy. There’s combat in the course of the game (mostly). Tombs, in previous games, were a respite from that. Yes, the whole “Make things explode then jump!” bits were cool, but really, I just DID a lot of fighting. Let me do annoying things like making big spiky things swing just so.
Anyway, did it. And that is a nice perk I got. And now there’s really nothing else to do except go to the endgame. I ain’t wasting time gathering relics. Tombs, yes. I am a tomb raider. But the rest? Fuck it. Endgame ahoy.
But on perks and stuff……
So I basically have every skill. Certainly if I took the time to go do everything else, I WOULD have every skill. As I was thinking on that, I don’t think I like it when that happens in games.
Skill trees are supposed to let you customize your character, right? To decide how you’re going to play the game, what kind of game you’re going to play. I suppose for those people with time, skill trees give you a reason to replay a game, like, “Ok, I did it all combat that time, now I’ll do it all crafty this time” or something. If you end up with everything anyway, that undermines all of that. You’re not playing your way. You’re just walking down the other side of the same street. It doesn’t really affect all that much of anything. If you’re going to have this huge system, then have it matter some.
And what was particularly bizarre in this game was that there were some skills that came at exact points of the story. You got skill points every thirty two seconds, which let you get new skills so often they became white noise. We kept saying we forgot we even got half the skills we got. But still, the game was like “You have fear arrows NOW! NOW DAMMIT!” “You can string dudes up in the trees NOW! NOW DAMMIT!” All this when you’re saying “Dude, I have three combat skills I just got that I haven’t even used yet.”
They didn’t even make sense as narrative gating. We’ve seen games use the “Now you can do this!” trick to gate off parts of the game world for narrative reasons. It’s really “Now you can do this so you can get past that barrier and do the plot and the tougher enemies over there.” These “story” skills were just “Now you can make fear arrows! Isn’t that neato?”
I dunno. In the end, this game imitated itself. Must like one wonders why the ancient peoples built decorated death windmills when a perfectly good wall and spikes would do, one wonders why Eidos put so much work into areas of this game, only to have all that intricacy not matter a whole lot when all was said and done.
That Tree of Life was an interesting tomb. Puzzley and intriguing to look at, but yeah, the fighty bits–I also am unsure how I feel about having to fight in tombs. As you say, tombs are where we go to ponder how to climb walls and make things swing just so, not get into fights!
On the other hand, it keeps those orcs in our minds as things that are around there doing whatever they’re doing, and I guess that’s useful. They went to all the trouble of inventing these people, what are they supposed to do, just drop them?
I’m not playing anything, so I’ve been reading a bunch of books. Because if I’m not playing, what else am I supposed to do in the evening?
Right! This game had some identity issues. Too much in the world wasn’t fighty, the tombs were fighty, then it was all fighty all the time….
Pacing. Game lacked it.
And the orcs…That seems like more of a design thing. Like, “Shit, we did ALL of this. We might as well bring them back for an encore, all that work we did and all….”
This goes back to what I said about skills. If you’ve spent all this time designing something, and then you say “Wait…why’d I do that?” the response should not be “Well, might as well cram more of it in….”
Hmm. I don’t generally read. Sometimes I watch hockey. But mostly I drink, stare into space and wonder a) why I had three kids and b) can I stay awake until I finish my drink?
That seems to be an appropriate way to spend time.
This past WEEKEND man. The dynamic in the house leads to that stare into space bit. We’re in the Mrs. McP death spiral. Generally, the kids are as happy as Mrs. McP is. Happy Mrs. McP: Happy kids. Pissed off, grumpy Mrs. McP: grumpy, crazy kids. So the kids get mad cuz mommy goes to work or whatever the fuck insane reason. They needle Mrs. McP. Mrs. McP gets mad, starts avoiding them. They say “MOMMY IS ALWAYS AVOIDING US!” so they get more up in her shit. She avoids them more, gets madder, etc.
This weekend was like living with three five year olds. And Meatball, who was, by far, the most chill person in my house.
Ok, rant over.
Reading. Look at you, with your intact soul and all that.
Ah, drinking and staring into space. That’s classic too! I mean, what’s reading but staring into imagined space? And I’ve had a glass of wine or two with books, no fear.
Kids do respond to moods, they do. And not with logic or thoughtful care, just with their own moods. “Oh, you’re tired and grumpy? I’ll see your grumpy and raise you MELTDOWN.”
Then before you know it everyone is screaming hysterically about the single stupidest thing they can find to scream about, like a bunch of frazzled loons. “It’s time to get ready for bed? This is THE WORST DAY EVER!!!!” [Brokenhearted uncontrollable sobbing.]
I mean, not that I would KNOW, because my children are uniformly sweet-tempered and also imaginary, but that’s what I’ve HEARD. From other people.
I assumed you had a glass. It’s how you do.
Everyone is screaming, as in your eldest, your middle and your wife. She can raise you MELTDOWN like no one I’ve ever seen. And I have three kids. Meatball and I were looking at the three of them yesterday, and they were all nuts, and Meatball just looks at me, sighs, and says “Want to go watch Peep in your room?” and I just nodded and off we went. Peep and the Big Wide World is very relaxing.
I did warn you, Femmy. I did.