I posted this on my blog, but I figure here should get to see it as well.
"So here I am sitting and trying to figure out a topic to blog about. And I'm surfing various gaming sites, and I come across a video review or two of the new Tomb Raider game. Now the issue isn't the review scores, because frankly I don't care about the rating numbers, I'm more about what they show.
And what the showed was ultra violence. Now before anyone goes off about how I'm ragging on games being the cause of... Yada, yada, I have nothing against it. I love the brutal finisher 'Killmoves' in Skyrim. Sleeping Dogs is pure Hong Kong Blood Opera, and I enjoyed the demo. I love the Wolverine game, the one based on the most recent film, which is better than the actual movie! I have nothing against violence when it's against pixels and fictional depictions of evil monsters, human and otherwise. This is more about ultra violence and Lara Croft, or rather her depiction.
The apparent story here is of Lara's beginnings as an explorer. Which is fine with me, but according to the reviews, the only way to gain experience to level up her abilities and the like is through killing. But the cut scenes, when they aren't brutal depictions of her getting injured -do we really need a death scene of her getting impaled in the throat or stomach, if you screw up on a Quick Time Event?- show her agonizing over killing an animal, or the almost rape scene -which is one of the things that turned me off on the game, rape is not a character builder- she's sobbing over killing her would be tormentor but when she's back under your control, she's this calm collected killer that can perform brutal executions with her bow, arrows, climbing pick and whatever gun she's holding. In fact the executions give you bonus experience if you pull them off. When she goes exploring and raids the actual tombs that the series is famous for, she gets rather lame bits of lore or trivia that don't give her any experience.
Am I the only one seeing the irony here?
My first game for the Playstation console, the first one, was Tomb Raider, and it was a pure action adventure, in the vein of Indiana Jones. It was campy, unrealistic and the only game at the time where you faced off against a T. Rex with a pair of .45s.
Another irony is that the original development team created this new Tomb Raider, Crystal Dynamics, and yet they seemed to have forgotten what Ms. Croft was all about. It makes me sad that the Publishers think that the only way to sell a game is to make it as violent as possible. Fictional Violence has it's place, it's a cathartic release mechanism for a lot of people, including me, but it shouldn't be the only thing a game has going for it.
This is just my opinion, I could be wrong."