Tomb Raider (2013): First Impressions and Fire! Dun Dun DUUUUUNNNN!
I finally was able to pick up a copy of Tomb Raider (2013 not 1996) and my quickie review if you want to stop reading now is:
‘Its good not great you should play it so probably go do that.’
If you are still reading the more elaborate first impression is:
‘It borrows heavily from other AAA titles namely; Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted and Spec Ops. All the elements it takes from these titles (level design, set pieces, and contextualize violence respectively) all work just not as well as in the original titles and that is not a bad comment on the game all these work well except…’
…and it would go on like that for some time. I haven’t finished the game yet though and so a full review would be premature. What I would like to touch on is the symbol of fire in the first half of the game I’ve played so far.
The use of fire is vital to game play: it solves puzzles, is the sight of base camps, is used to unlock collectables, as well as being a vital component for combat in a myriad of ways. It all begins though with a single match left for Lara by Roth (the father figure in the game) in the beginning when she is cold in the storm and it is from this single match comes the base camp, the torches, lighter, flaming arrows, makeshift napalm and grenade launcher. Lara from this one match as her character arc progresses find new (but usually destructive ) ways of using fire. Which fire being the universal symbol for human invention and ingenuity mimics her own change in character, from victim to survivor and then the one who creates victims.
My last point on this symbol is one of the reasons it stood out to me. It was important not just because of its role in the story but because it was vital to game play and was always appearing in the game not just the cut-scenes this gives it a potency that games without a tandem gameplay-narrative connection cannot.