Each time I have had a chance to look at gameplay from Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics Tomb Raider prequel, the girl child in me does "the dance of joy." At the Microsoft Media Briefing this morning, I was treated to another demo of game visuals and gameplay mechanics that solidified my pre-order intentions for the game.
Care to find out why?
I have had a love/hate relationship with the character of Lara Croft for more than a few years now. At times, I love the character because she strong and smart – characteristics not often found in female lead characters in video games – and other times I can't stand her because she is visualized in a hyper sexual way. Each time I see the tight, mid-drift revealing tank top and ridiculously short booty shorts on her – which is usually what ends up on a Tomb Raider box cover, I cringe a bit and sigh. I know Lara has to be viewed as sexy by both male and female players in order for us all to purchase the game, but over the years her form as gone from slightly absurd proportions to normal-ish ones, and back to the land of "there's no way she could scale that wall with boobs that big!" I found that Tomb Raider titles where Lara was more "real world realistic" were the titles I enjoyed more and completed and replayed regularly – like Tomb Raider Legend. It's this emotional roller coaster ride of love/hate that made me hesitant to explore the Tomb Raider reboot. I just knew that Lara would once again be hyper sexualized in order to appeal to the mass market. As it turns out, she's not.
The new Tomb Raider game is a prequel to the existing "known" Tomb Raider universe. We get to know the younger Lara Croft. One who is witty, but lacks some of the world knowledge you get from trolling the ruins of Egypt. One who is sexy, but in a more "innocent" kind of way. This younger Lara has all of the traits most players love about the franchise without sacrificing the pure "bad-assedry" Ms. Croft has become known and loved for. Today I got the chance to watch Lara zip-lining her way through a heavily wooded area, and attempt to survive a failed parachuting event only to be dropped into some raging white water rapids once she dispatched a few bad guys with a bow and arrow. Whether a female lead or male one, that just sounds like a good time action wise to take part in, and that was the moment I was sold on this game. Lara isn't some kind of unstoppable force of nature – she take serious damage which is reflected in her physical being, which I respect – but she's also not a damsel in distress, which is why I'm in love with this Tomb Raider game.
I don't have a street date yet, but when I do, you'll hear about it.