Why the new Tomb Raider trailer didn’t work for me

I am still halfway through the latest Tomb Raider, so I don’t know if there’s going to be a big reveal at the end that will turn everything upside down. Based on what I’ve seen so far, and the trailer they showed at E3, I feel something is off.

My main question is why Lara is shown in some therapy session, and we are told she attends those because she wants to recover from the experiences she had. However, I need to ask myself what experience is exactly the one they talk about (again, maybe the answer will come when I finish the game). What comes next is mostly based on what I know about the first game.

Based on the trailer, I would assume the “shocking experience” is being on the island and fighting for survival. So far so good, and I can actually see the point (The Lord of the Flies comes to mind). The problem comes when you take into consideration what you do in the game, which is pretty much what Lara does, since you are Lara in the game, so I have to ask again, what shocking experience are we talking about?

When Lara kills his first couple of dudes, we get this line about her being surprised “how easy it was” to kill them. However, as the game goes on, she becomes a very efficient killing machine. By the time I’m killing the 236th guy I think to myself “well, for someone who had problems killing, she doesn’t seem to care much anymore.”

From a purely storytelling point of view, if you’re a pacifist and you find yourself killing a person, or find yourself in the middle of two teams killing each other, it makes sense to throw in the “it was a shocking experience” thing (again, The Lord of the Flies). But how am I supposed to believe she found the experience “traumatic” if she not just killed a person either in self defense or by accident, but a gazillion?

And in case you say “well, it was a kill or be killed situation!!!” let me say that the “kill or be killed” excuse no longer works when it’s thrown at you 236 times…

Maybe there’s something in the game that makes me change my perspective (and if that’s the case, I will come back to this blog and write a second impression).

In the meantime, I will continue asking myself “what’s the traumatic experience?” considering that, near the end of the trailer, Lara walks in and headshots a dude with an arrow like it’s nothing, and then says “… they become what they are meant to be.”

So, you’re meant to be what, exactly? A relentless killing machine?

I really like Lara Croft and I like the Tomb Raider series. However, if you ask me if I want to play a game where I just look for treasures and get a lot of mythological mumbo-jumbo, or a game where you shoot dudes left and right while going into tombs every now and then, I pick the first one.

Oh, Lara also kills dudes in the previous Tomb Raiders, but the difference there is that we’re never tried to be sold the idea that she finds traumatic to headshot a gazillion dudes. In the previous games, she evidently doesn’t care. That’s far more believable than “oh, no! I killed this man in self defense… and then I killed 659 more because I wanted loot…”

~ by nemirc on June 25, 2014.

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