Mid-week F.A.P.: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

After seeing Pacific Rim over the weekend I ended up having a conversation with a friend about the dialogue in the film. It was agreed that the dialogue was so terrible that the only way it could have been absorbed without being greeted with laughter and disgust is if Patrick Stewart – the only man able to deliver cheesy lines in Star Trek and X-Men and still be taken seriously – had spoken all the lines.

This lead to an idea for a new film called Patrick Rim, in which Patrick Stewart played all of the roles in the film (including the robots). It was punctuated by my describing a scene in which Patrick Stewart, donning a black and blue wig, would gaze disbelievingly and longingly at a muscular version of Patrick Stewart through an eye hole in a door.

Now that is a film that I would go and see.

This week’s F.A.P.: Crystal Dynamic’s second reboot of Tomb Raider.

This instalment is my favourite of the Uncharted franchise. The combat has vastly improved, with the aiming feeling correct with all the weapons. The platforming, what little of it there is, feels more responsive. The shoddy ‘push forward and press a button’ moments are still there and still utterly dull but at least the horrifically linear outings in Nathan Drake’s previous games have now been replaced by some allusions towards exploration with open areas and the ability to go back and explore any previous level like a Metroid game.

The story is still a bit piss-poor in places; think of  it as The Next Karate Kid to the original Karate Kid movies but with less Hilary Swank and you should get along with it fine.

The camera feels more restrictive; it is as if the developer was trying to mimic the original Resident Evil games in forcing you to look at what the developer wanted you to see and not allowing you to discover it for yourself. This limits some of the experience as the already-limited player agency is reduced almost to zero in some areas.

My main disappointment is that the already overly easy puzzles in Uncharted have been neutered to the point of non-existence. The only real puzzles are consigned to optional caves and only take about five minutes to complete.

Still, a new Tomb Raider has been announced. I am hoping that might show Naughty Dog how tired, broken and tedious this formula has become and, if TR is popular enough, the next Uncharted might swing in a new, fun direction.

Fingers crossed.