Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Tomb Raider: Legend

I just recently played all the way through Tomb Raider: Legend on my 360 a week or two ago and really enjoyed the experience. The most impressive aspect of the game's design to me was the flow of the levels and the cues they used to help you along the way in terms of that flow.

Some games are pretty blatant when it comes to showing you the path, while games like Tomb Raider: Legend gently steer you through with neat little visual cues and tricks. For example, the most interesting statue in the room happens to be the one with a pole sticking out of it for swinging purposes.

I was pretty curious to see how Crystal Dynamics would treat the IP, and I think they did the game series justice. I haven't really felt any desire to play the last few TR games, but the nice graphics and slick demo really got me interested. Throughout my experience of playing the game I felt cool and heroic. I never really got the impression that I was going to fail at any given attempt to make a risky move, in fact I was often rewarded with a statue to add to my collection for being curious and bold.

This isn't a Tomb Raider review, however.

After I had beaten the game, I was curious enough to look up how it was doing in terms of ratings, because I felt that I had a really good experience with the game. I was pretty surprised to see that it didn't get that stellar of ratings. No one was really able to pin down exactly what they didn't like about the game, other than it was more of the same, but they did manage to have quite a bit to say about Lara Croft's chest, her hair, her lips, her behind, her clothes, her skin, and her oh so sexy movements.

I don't know why it has annoyed me this much, but I can't help but wonder why the focus? While she was certainly a novelty back in the day with her big polygonal assets, I can't help but think that Lara Croft is typecast in a way. Tomb Raider will always be associated with being a "sexy" game because of the Lara character, while sexy characters are a dime a dozen in video games and hardly the novelty that she was back in the day. Why can't the newest Tomb Raider game be judged purely on the focus of it's design and fun factor instead of what the main character looks like? No one spends the time estimating what Daxter's cup size might be in real life, but they certainly do that to Lara Croft. I find it odd and annoying.

I had a good time with the game personally. A good enough time to want to try and do the time trials and bonus content, which I really don't do very often. I can't say I spent alot of time in the Croft Manor trying on different outfits, but you would think that's what the game was all about based on what I've read.

1 comment:

Kendricke said...

Before every MMOG launch I've ever participated in, there's a huge discussion on...well, size.

Both Everquest 2 and World of Warcraft had hundreds, if not thousands of posts on various message boards dedicated to the analysis of breast size. Seems that the latest indications are that Vanguard will introduce a slider that allows players to adjust their cup size however they want.

Now, this really piqued my interest. Recent polls have indicated that while 85% of all players in Everquest 2 are male, 51% of all characters are female. Yes, I'm aware that females are an increasing demographic of the playerbase, but even so, that's a whole lotta virtual cross-dressing right there.

Obviously, with a market saturated by male players, you have to wonder who's really going to "benefit" from Sigil's chest choices.

I'm suddenly struck by images of 1985's Wierd Science, where a couple of hapless and nerdy outcasts set out to create the perfect woman. Obviously, time was spent deciding the perfect chest size...just as Arnold Schwarzenegger did before his mind trip in 1990's Total Recall. To be fair, none of those protagonists chose the largest size possible on the scales they were presented, but that fact was likely due to casting choices for leading ladies as opposed to actual desires of the characters involved. After all, when designing movies for the masses, you don't want to go too far out of your way to outrage a chunk of your demographic.

So, why is it that gamers are so different in their thinking? The relative anonymous comfort of the internet? Backlash against the political correctness of the late 80's and 90's?

Whatever it is, this focus on "bewbs" will likely make it easier to pick out the real guys. Honestly, I'm going to be inclined to believe that the average busty female character I encounter in games where you can choose chest size are likely to be owned by male players.