I have played and finished the new Tomb Raider. There. I said it.
I was one of those lucky so-and-so’s tasked with writing ‘er up somewhere, and if one thing dawns on you when you yourself go a-Lara’ing, it’ll be this: Hot damn there is a lot of shooting in this game. And brutal shotgun-to-the-face finishing moves. Oh she looks like Bambi now, but she is soon as unlikely a mass murderer as Nate Drake. Those two should just date. More than any other game I’ve played of late, the distinction between Tomb Raider’s modest array of cannons is sharp enough that you work out what you like and what works for you pretty quick. Shotgun to the face.
It got my thinking about how I best like to dispatch digital people and creatures, and how. I don’t usually like shotguns. They’re slow, they have no range (silly shotgun, you are a gun), and they take forever and a few more days to reload when dry. I enjoy speed. Also playing games in a fast way. Heavy weapons have always been the bane of my existence. I like gigantor ‘splosions as much as the next sociopath, but anything that means I can’t be a ninja gets dropped to the wastes quick. Likewise anything that is also slow in execution.
I got to thinking about what my favourite boomstick of all time in any game might be, and I realised that it is fists. By the end of Tomb Raider, I’d maxed that Brawler skill tree so hard. If I can’t go Streets of Rage on ya’ll I will take a Shishkebab. Fire is good too.
Even though I’ve written about my newly discovered CCQ Vorcha love before, I didn’t fully realise how much of a way of gaming life getting up close ‘n too personal is for moi. Silly boss fights, the pointlessness of murdering folk instead of putting them to sleep, the over-emphasis on stealth – none of that bothered me nearly as much about Deus Ex: Human Revolution as not being able to bash people into comas as much as I wanted without having to chew a Powersauce bar every five seconds and master my augmented ass. I subconsciously built my Jensen around the express need to run into a hail of gunfire and brutally KO everyone.
OK, I sort of take something back: when I got to Yelena and she’d obviously been training MMA with The Boss from Snake Eater, I was her rag doll and it was not fun.
It’s a weird thing to be pretty anti-gun IRL and have such a diabolical fascination with FPS games, and this is the result. I want to see more fisting in shooters. The cut ‘n thrust of Skyrim was great. So were the grim punch-ons in the Condemned games. Zeno Clash for the obscure win. Mirror’s Edge 2 (think positive, crew) better let me kick guns out of hands have them discharge into people’s gullets. Most of the time, it’s a bit of an afterthought and kind annoying. You tend to have to gallop at people who already have guns and then wail on them while they’re still shooting you and peddling backwards. Come on, let’s get some more close combat rules up in here.
If I cross a certain distance, you go for the knife and we duel. Hell to the yee-hess.
Editor’s note: If you’re wondering where games.on.net’s Tomb Raider review is, it’s delayed because PC review copies aren’t available yet! All reviews you’ve seen to date have been done on consoles. When we learn more, we’ll let you know.