Anonymous of Holland            -A Dutchman in Korea-

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Anon Of Holland Reviews: Tomb Raider [Square-Enix, 2013]

Tomb Raider

Square-Enix has been on a roll lately. Since taking over the ‘Western’ publisher Eidos Interactive they’ve released 3 (Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Sleeping Dogs, Hitman: Absolution) games in a row that have been critical and financial successes, 2 of which I personally loved to play (Sleeping Dogs and Hitman); an impressive record for any publisher, especially considering the deplorable state gaming has been in recently. In fact, even though their new game has released in the beginning of March, it has the dubious honor of being the first non-disappointing game of 2013! Hell, I’d go as far as to say it’s the first great game of 2013.I’m speaking, of course, of Tomb Raider, the…Tomb Raider…reboot developed by Crystal Dynamics.


Some would argue if we really need ANOTHER reboot in a  climate that is full of reboots, remakes and reimaginings, but I think we can all agree that Lara had lost her way a bit the past decade or so. Sure, Tomb Raider Underworld was enjoyable and Anniversary was a great remake, but when put up against her main rival Nathan Drake of Uncharted Lara’s adventures felt more like a retarded sister than a dangerous adversary. Cue Square-Enix, Japanese software giant, who buys up Eidos Interactive and thus gains the rights to the franchise and promptly decides to reboot it.

Square has placed its trust in the original Tomb Raider team, Crystal Dynamics, and their trust has paid off for the full 100%. Where you would expect a Tomb Raider reboot from the same team that did all the previous Tomb Raider games to get stuck in its previous experiences, it’s clear that nothing of the sorts has taken place here. The new Tomb Raider is something you haven’t seen before, and I’m not just talking about Lara’s boobs being smaller than a D-Cup!

First of all, Square decided they’d go with the popular style at the moment, which is making everything ‘realistic’ and ‘gritty’. To their credit it works really well here. What better way to frame the change of a young and naive girl into a badass adventurer than by beating the shit out of her for 20 hours? It’s not like they’re literally beating the shit out of her, but in my play time I’ve seen her get beaten up, impaled, drowned, exploded, shot, set on fire, broken by a huge fall, smacked against rocks, trees, bricks and other assorted materials and TOUCHED BY A CREEPY RUSSIAN GUY WHO LOOKED LIKE A TURK! Because, yeah, even though Lara gets to endure a lot of punishment in this game, they did decide to take the ‘implied rape’ scene out because the US was crying so much about it. It doesn’t take away much from the brutality of this game though; it’s pretty graphic in some areas, such as when Lara is hurtling down a river and gets IMPALED ON A STEEL TUBE THROUGH HER FUCKING MOUTH HOLY SHIT. Or when she takes a plunge into the sea and SMACKS HER HEAD OPEN ON SOME CORAL AND FLOATS UP LIFELESSLY, BLOOD FLOWING FROM HER WOUND. So, yeah, if Guro is your thing, you’ll be plenty served with this game.

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Anyway, as a result of this ‘post 2010’ approach to the game, the story and setting are very realistic, which makes it a much cooler game than the previous Tomb Raider games. No more weird temples with retarded systems of pulleys and rocks and whatnot just to form some puzzles, no more T-Rexes (booo!) and no more mutant enemies. This does have some effect on the gameplay though, unfortunately, as the puzzles are seriously lacking in this new Tomb Raider. In my opinion, it seems like they’re trying to hook a wide audience first, and then return a little more to the classic setting in the next game. There are some puzzles, mostly in the optional tombs, and they are quite clever, but I haven’t been stuck for more than two or three minutes trying to figure something out, and I did kind of miss that element of it. Apart from that though, the gameplay is amazing. Luckily, Crystal Dynamics have worked hard on the controls for Lara, so in my entire playthrough I haven’t once been pissed off at the controls when I fell down somewhere or got killed after a jump. The controls are ‘butt tight’ as we say in the Netherlands, and if every adventure game in the future has the same kind of controls I will be one happy camper. A large part of the game revolves around jumping, shimmying, balancing and climbing, of course, so the great controls definitely make that as enjoying as possible. The other part of the gameplay revolves around shooting bad guys, and surprisingly enough this is done extremely well! Even better than in most third person shooters! Where in most games I’d just sticky-cover my ass down somewhere and keep shooting until the entire room is emptied out, Tomb Raider’s enemies will flush you out with explosives or shoot away your cover around you so you’ll constantly have to move, making the combat so much more dynamic and tactical. The weapons are wonderful and accurate and just like with the platforming parts everything seems to be executed perfectly.

There are more areas of the game where it really shows that Square-Enix is well on its way becoming my favorite publisher by giving their developers ample time to perfect and polish their game. Most importantly perhaps, there are literally no bugs. No weird disappearing stuff, no savegame crappery, no clipping even! It’s a magical day when a video game doesn’t have clipping, my friends, but this game doesn’t have it! The attention to detail just shines through in every part of the game, from the super smooth animations to the great camera effects (I can’t believe I even actually liked those ‘lulz rain iz falling on ur camera’ effects but…they just did it so freaking well!) and things that make you go ‘damn, I can’t believe they thought of that’ such as Lara brushing her hand up against nearby walls or touching the ceiling when a particular cave is getting a little too narrow for comfort. The graphics in general are gorgeous, actually. I’ve always thought the reaches of the Xbox hardware had been reached quite some time ago and now developers are just trying to make us believe what we’re seeing looks better than something we saw a year ago, but Tomb Raider looks simply amazing. Much of this is due to the excellent animations, but a big ‘Holy Shit’ also goes to the incredible draw distance, the amazing detail in the environments and the aforementioned spectacular weather effects. Everything about this game just exhumes pure class.

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I’ve seen some reviewers complaining about the story, but I don’t really understand why. In fact, comparing this game to Dead Space 3, a game that also had a ‘large’ set of characters that had to be seperated from the player about 100 times during the game because it would be a drag to have them all tagging along, Tomb Raider does this so much better it’s like a slap in the face of Visceral. Where Dead Space 3 was full of retarded falling to split you up from your companions, Tomb Raider is much more realistic and even though there is a lot of falling, the falling actually makes sense and isn’t ‘oh yeah some thing just randomly exploded duh’. The main story is also very well done I think, starting off with mystery about a weird cult on a Bermuda-Triangle like island and moving into more supernatural territory slowly and believably. The dialogues are written well, and voice acting is acceptable on all levels.

This game was meant as an introduction to the new Lara Croft: a Lara Croft that starts off as a pretty little archeologist but is quickly forced to become the badass chick that we know and love. Even though her transformation isn’t as gradual as I would’ve liked, it’s still very well implemented and aside from doing a great job of serving the player this story, it also manages to be an extremely entertaining game you won’t want to put down until you finish it.

Verdict: 8/10
Great graphics, an interesting story and most importantly incredibly fun to play. The only thing it’s missing is some extra puzzles and hotpants.



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This entry was posted on 1 March 2013 by in Games, Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , .

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Are you hyped for the #WinterOlympics yet?
Because the Korean government would really, really like you to be #hype!

I've never really been into the Olympics, except for that one time when the guy who was born in the same town I lived in (#GianniRomme) was raking in Gold Medals like it was one of those coin pusher games - and even then it was mostly because my school was making a big deal out of it.
As such, I'm not very interested in the Winter Olympics either, even though this is the first time I'd be able to attend the events myself and watch my country's athletes get burried in speed skating medals.

Still, I hope Korea will put on a show - and a performance - to be remembered for years to come.


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Being a Starcraft fan in Korea feels a lot like what I'd imagine being a rich acquaintance of Ronaldo would feel like for a football fan - you get front row seats to all the major games, get to meet legends like Messi, Robben or Buffon (in our case, Byun, SoO or Stats) and get to ask for their signature pretty much whenever you want - all without paying a single penny.

The professional scene has been taking hit after hit since I started getting interested in it, and I'm afraid it'll never be the same as it once was, but I'm glad that in 2018, as well, I'll be able to enjoy some of the best e-Sports the world has to offer.

#WingsOfLiberty down, #HeartOfTheSwarm and #LegacyOfTheVoid to go.


#스타2 #스타크래프트2 #Starcraft2 #Byun #TY #Maru #INnoVation #esports #gaming #progamer #Korean #Korea #e스포츠 #진에어 #진에어그린윙스 #SKT1 #Dark #collection #collector #PC #RTS #변현우 #이신형 #전태양 #조성주 처음 한국에서 @kim.minji.ki204 가 그린 책을 발견할 때부터 (그 #책 읽을 수 없어도, ㅎㅎ) 한 순간엔 큰 #팬 되었고 작년 #서울일러스트레이션페어 에서 직접 만날 수 있어서 너무 즐거웠다.

이제 인스타로 새 책을 받을 수 있는 이벤트가 있어서 당연히 참여해야지~

#kimminji #thejunglebook #정글북 #정글북리그램이벤트 #indigo 한국에서 역사랑 현대 항상 어떤 이상한 발렌스로 공존한다.

In Korea, the past and the present are always living together in some sort of awkward balance.
Traditional norms, values and traditions clash with the influence of a rapidly modernizing and developing society; pride in one's roots compete with a constant need to move forward, and historical buildings vie for room to breathe in the middle of a metropolis.
I hope Korea manages to move forward without forgetting the things that make it unique.


#대한민국 #한국 #절 #불교 #봉은사 #역사 #현대 #발렌스 #서울 #Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Temple #Shrine #Buddhism #Buddha #traditional #Buddhist #history #present #balance #City #koreantemple #development #Metropolis #tranquility #modernization This is such an #unoriginal picture but..doesn't it look just like a #postcard?

#Seoul #Korea #SouthKorea #Namsan #NamsanTower #City #Road #Traffic #Korean #mountain #trees #green #NSeoulTower #Tower #서울 #도시 #남산 #남산탑 #산 #탑 #도로 #엽서 #그림엽서 #남산타워 On some nights, when I'm feeling all beat down by stress and worries about whether or not I'll be able to support myself over here or where my life is heading, and when I'm just drunk enough, when I see the second snow of the year coming down outside my window, I just can't help but go outside, play some music and dance in the snow like an idiot because for some reason it just reminds me of how much I love being in this country.
Fuck you, Korea. I love you.
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