Tomb Raider > General Discussions > Topic Details
CriticalComposer Aug 23, 2013 @ 8:18am
Review/Critique of Tomb Raider at GamerJockies
GamerJockies has written a two parter about Tomb Raider. The Review can be found at http://www.gamerjockies.com/?p=643 while the critique can be found at http://www.gamerjockies.com/?p=680 . For those on the fence about the game check out the review while those looking for a more in depth conversation about the ludonarrative aspects of the game.
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Immortally Insane Aug 23, 2013 @ 9:59am 
Good review.
CriticalComposer Aug 23, 2013 @ 11:05am 
Thanks man. We have been operating for just under a year and we are still trying to get our name out there. Glad you liked the review
Supermarine Aug 23, 2013 @ 2:41pm 
Interesting and nice, but try to break the paragraphs into more "digestible" pieces, and use subtitles to highlight relevant/attractive information. Mix in more images and font sizes.

Kudos on general grammar, syntax and vocabulary. Those are scarce resources these days.

Be bolder. Subtitles and highlights are what compels the audience to keep reading. Look at newspapers, magazine covers and popular blogs for ideas on this.

(Sorry if I sound like a school teacher, but in RL I'm in the literary industry and I believe this advice can be helpful if you're starting.)
fenke Aug 23, 2013 @ 3:51pm 
You might want to work on accuracy, getting facts wrong just because it produces stronger sounding sentences. Some of your critique is a bit shallow and originates from insufficient attention more then from actual flaws of the game.

1) From the top of my head there's about a dozen, not 30-50 Solarii between the russion and Roth, that includes the two where she gets the ammo clip.
2) The 'survivor' from the title does not point at a story of survival in the wilderness-hunt-deer-and-pick-berries type, rather it refers to 'survivor' as it is used for survivors of physical and mental trauma's.
3) The ending wih Mathias is strong, for once we're not presented with yet another big mofo boss type, but a fight which illustrates aspects of Matthias' personality.
4) Hunting was introduced for the 'narrative' only, not as a gameplay mechanic, it shows that she did have to hunt, without forcing us to do it repeatedly. If this was a movie, or book, it might have been done in a similar way, shown once, then never again.
5) You don't have to hunt for salvage, let alone grind for it, doing so is your personal MMO twitch and not a quint, of flaw, or whatever of this game.
6) I'd have liked to see more of the cast but I suppose it's enough for the story, actually. It's Lara's story, after all, the supporting cast only needs to have enough of their person seen to explain their actions - and there's enough of that. Picking up all their documents helps getting to know them too.
7) Lara and Sam, it shows more about Lara's personality (loyalty, stubborn, perservering) the their relationship.
8) Lara and friends never had a decent opportunity to kill Matthias, or they failed, like Lara at the fire-ritual. Matthias has the uncanny ability, or luck, to avoid danger and death, afterall, he's been surviving there for 30 years or so
9) Hardened, Specialist ... your association doesn't resonate with me, it must be something personal.
CriticalComposer Aug 23, 2013 @ 3:55pm 
That is incredibly useful information. The organization is something I am still working on. I started with a semi-organized stream of thought...I look back on those posts and cringe.
CriticalComposer Aug 23, 2013 @ 4:15pm 
@fenke Most of the issues you had with my critique are opinions and that is fine, we are all entitled to our own.

1 - You may be correct in this, my memory may have exaggerated it, but the fact remains that Lara was distraught about the first kill and disregarded all of the ones after that, all of which she did without sheding a tear.

2 - I wasn't referring to any sort of descriptive wording of survivor, just that I think the game could have been more engaging with a stronger emphasis on Lara's evolution from innocent Lara to killing maniac Lara. I believe a stronger narrative could have been had if her transformation had taken the entire game rather than how it was rushed at the beginning.

3 - The boss fight was handled quite nicely and I appreciate the decision to opt out of a huge boss fight were Mathias took 100+ bullets. My issue was how Lara's most iconic moment was handled with a QTE.

4 - I understand that hunting was shown once to imply that Lara did it to survive, which would work in a movie or book. Being in control of Lara and seeing every minute of her life for this set period of time means that she only hunts when the player controls her to hunt. I understand this is a general issue with gaming(when do game characters eat/sleep/etc) but it was more apparent in this title since we hunted for food once and then never saw it used that way again.

5 - I didn't grind for salvage until the end of the game when I needed to upgrade all of my weapons. Finding enemies wasn't as fast as heading to a forest and hunting deer. Regardless, hunting should produce pelt and food not metal salvage. Making extended clips and scopes out of pelt and entrails makes no sense.

6 - While the documents definitely add more backstory to the cast it doesn't help their actions during the events of the game. Most of what they do and how they act are only reasons for Lara to take the actions that she does. If Lara and Sam were the only ones on the island, and Sam had still been captured, Lara would have saved her a lot faster. The supporting cast were only around to give Lara missions or give Lara the means to accomplish her own mission(the boat at the end).

7 - Going back to #6, Sam only being around to show more of Lara's qualities is my main concern with the supporting cast.

8 - I'll give you that Mathias has an uncanny ability to avoid death but Lara is a crack shot with the bow and I can't recall onc time that she fired at Mathias prior to the final encounter.

9 - Yup, thats just my personal association with those words. They drive a military image for me.

Thank you for sharing your issues/ideas with my critique. I need people to challenge my writing/thoughts/idea! That is the true art of conversation.
fenke Aug 24, 2013 @ 1:25pm 
Originally posted by CriticalComposer:
@fenke Most of the issues you had with my critique are opinions and that is fine, we are all entitled to our own.

It's not just opinions, some of it is details you missed, or facts that you got wrong, like the amount of Solarii

1 - You may be correct in this, my memory may have exaggerated it, but the fact remains that Lara was distraught about the first kill and disregarded all of the ones after that, all of which she did without sheding a tear.

It would get annoying after while, if she kept on being upset. She also comments about this to Roth while climbing the ladder when she states that what frightens her most is 'how easy it was'. At some occasions, I think, if you wait and let the conversations unfold, she does try to 'reason' with Solarii to not fight and all that. But even then, why would this tranformation seem strange or unrealistic? Only becasue it conflicts with your/our own ideas and those ideas are most likely not based on real experiences.

2 - I wasn't referring to any sort of descriptive wording of survivor, just that I think the game could have been more engaging with a stronger emphasis on Lara's evolution from innocent Lara to killing maniac Lara. I believe a stronger narrative could have been had if her transformation had taken the entire game rather than how it was rushed at the beginning.

Lara is not a killing maniac, that was the transformation Mathias - a former (school?) teacher - choose 30 years ago. Lara's evolution is how to not become like Mathias, to stay true to to her former self and loyal to her friendships (and all that) while still surviving the physical challenges posed by the environment and the Solarii.

3 - The boss fight was handled quite nicely and I appreciate the decision to opt out of a huge boss fight were Mathias took 100+ bullets. My issue was how Lara's most iconic moment was handled with a QTE.
The only thing different was that you had to use both primary and seconday fire to fire the two pistols? QTE's have an important role in telling the story and I suspect it's hard to implement these interactive scenes through regular game mechanics, or to extend mechanics to include the required inter-actions while maintaining control of all the action-paths and outcomes a player could choose.

4 - I understand that hunting was shown once to imply that Lara did it to survive, which would work in a movie or book. .... but it was more apparent in this title since we hunted for food once and then never saw it used that way again.
It's not a survival game, it's not a sim, that hunt was in there because was part of telling the story, repeating it would not have added anything.

5 - I didn't grind for salvage until the end of the game when I needed to upgrade all of my weapons.
You don't need to. Not only is there's enough salvage along the way to upgrade everything, but you don't even need to upgrade everything. The most valuable bow upgrades are basically free, you get a nice pistol, for free, and the shotgun is mostly for opening doors. The only thing I'd strongly recommend upgrading yourself is the assault rifle.

6 - While the documents definitely add more backstory to the cast it doesn't help their actions during the events of the game. Most of what they do and how they act are only reasons for Lara to take the actions that she does. If Lara and Sam were the only ones on the island, and Sam had still been captured, Lara would have saved her a lot faster. The supporting cast were only around to give Lara missions or give Lara the means to accomplish her own mission(the boat at the end).
The documents certainly give a (needed) background to Whitman's schemes and Reyes' attitude towards Lara.

7 - Going back to #6, Sam only being around to show more of Lara's qualities is my main concern with the supporting cast.
Sam is not just there for Lara to rescue, Sam is vital to the plot and all the schemes around it, she's also important in getting the originl expedition moving. But she's not very active while on the Island, that is true.


8 - I'll give you that Mathias has an uncanny ability to avoid death but Lara is a crack shot with the bow and I can't recall onc time that she fired at Mathias prior to the final encounter.
During the fire ritual, just after leaving Shanty Town and shortly before she finds herself in the blood-red apocalypse pool - though she might have been aiming at someone else, either way, she misses or the situation (his luck) keeps Mathias unharmed. The only other time I recollect she is close to him is on a bridge, where it's storming and Mathias holds Sam as shield.

Last edited by fenke; Aug 24, 2013 @ 1:26pm
CriticalComposer Aug 29, 2013 @ 8:28pm 
I guess they best way to put it is that while the aspects of the game did not detract from the gameplay(such as the hunting, how it was used, the QTE's) they did detract from the narrative. I quite enjoyed the game but I feel that it largely is just a game. It had an opperatunity to deliver a message, to tell a strong story about a young girl's adventure into adulthood. It could have been a stronger piece for female protagonists in gaming(it already did a great job thanks to Rihanna Pratchet). It could have been something closer to "games as art" and instead was deliberately held back to "appease a wider audience." The hunting could have been more cruical to gameplay instead of feeling "game-y". Lara could have taken the entire game to become the iconic Lara Croft. They could have taken even more time to develope her and could have ended the game with her only halfway to being the dual wielding treasure hunter. The Sands Trilogy of Prince of Persia did a fantastic job at developing his character across 3 games opposed to Tomb Raider which did it in half a game.

In closing, while the game was solid and fun to play, it could have been so much more. I feel we are at a time where being fun shouldn't be the objective of a developement team. Fun games come out all of the time. And we as gamers are responsible to let developers know that we want more out of our games.
Last edited by CriticalComposer; Aug 29, 2013 @ 8:29pm
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Date Posted: Aug 23, 2013 @ 8:18am
Posts: 8