Tomb Raider and Lara’s evolution to survive

Contains spoilers?

Nope/ Slightly / Some of them / Get out of here!

From my point of view, Lara Croft was tended to be sexualized a bit much in the films. She appears being just a hot, arrogant chick holding two pistols and shooting to everything that moved around. The first old school games of the saga were pretty amazing by the time they were published, but it was Crystal Dynamics who did a remarkable job making Lara human at last in the 2013 Tomb Raider game: able to hesitate, to feel and not being a hero since the minute one.

In the beginning of the adventure Lara seems like not being in touch with the Croft’s spirit: she’s willing for adventuring in a childish manner, away from the dangers that come with exploring. Not much time after, things get worse incredibly fast. People start dying and Lara’s mind pulls the survivor trigger after her first murdering. She has tried to avoid it by hiding from facing anyone, but seems like wasn’t the best option. We all need our instincts some time.

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Even when gets weapons, she still tries to make enemies flee. But they, bigger in number, obviously refuse to. “Please go away” is one of the first sentences used when having an encounter, where Lara first refuses to kill anymore. However, she discovers little by little how easy is to kill someone by putting a bullet between the eyes. The archaeologist even admits that is dangerously easier than she ever expected a murdering was.

While Lara was suffering from the contradiction of having to kill to save her friends lives, I found interesting one fight in particular where the opponents said “We don’t want to fight” and I stood there without shooting, curious. Despite this apparent peace treaty, they attacked some seconds later. And when I realized, she seems like was enjoying it.

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Tomb Raider is about self-superation and meeting the inner self. The Croft’s spirit is inside the girl, who’s working as a vessel until she’s ready for using it. Every arrow that perforates a skull, every bullet that kills a Himiko’s fanatic, takes Lara one step further into madness, into dragging out what’s required to survive from the Croft’s spirit. We can see how at some point Lara falls into a blood pool, emerging totally covered by red. It’s in that moment when she reaches the maximum state of insanity: where the instincts take over control from the logical thoughts. To emphasize it, the place is filled with skulls and all kinds of desolation metaphors that ironically are also the failed intents of the Father Mathias to find Himiko’s vessel.

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But getting to the gameplay, I have to say that overall I loved it: Lara has her trustful bow, different weapons and a lot of skills to unlock. It felt really comfortable to go jumping around and the combat system is smooth. The only aspect I didn’t enjoy much was the fact that since the half of the game too many enemies appear. With the first few fights we learn how to flow in combats and ambush enemies, but later Tomb Raider becomes a hack and slash where one girl is taking down hundreds and hundreds of armoured, tough men. At some points was funny, but eventually loses its touch.

The world, on the other hand, is incredibly big and has a lot to do: optional tombs, challenges, weapon parts to recollect in order to have further weapon improvements… A tasteful addition for achievement hunters. Despite it, there also achievements for the multiplayer mode, which looks like an Uncharted with more players. Was not cool in my honest opinion to add them to force players to dive in an online mode which doesn’t bring anything new or Tomb Raider characteristic.

Lara has so many ups and downs that sometimes I though “damn game over” but it wasn’t, it was just her falling off a mountain or any other situation while getting hit by everything. That leads to the death scenes point: wow. Sadic players will enjoy a lot them. I ever have one of the best I found captured in a screenshot that happens while failing at the river part (watch at your risk).

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There are two Lara Crofts: the innocent and the one who has become a true Croft. It’s easy to recognize them from what they say, but especially thanks to the clothes condition. While the innocent one has the perfect, beautiful top and adventure trousers, the mature has all of them ripped and without colour because of dirt. That dirt means rolling, jumping, hitting and getting hit. Means fighting for surviving. Even the facial expression changes: she’s not the same.

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That’s Lara Croft as a human

Every friend of Lara is holding a piece of her composure, acting as a pillar. But when Roth, who used to act as her Father, dies, Lara is significantly shattered and close to break entirely down. But the remaining friends are still there, and despite some internal fights and the betrayal of Whitman, they remain as one. Afterall, friendship is important too: being rounded with trustworthy people, with those who will stay until the end…

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Talking about the end, seems like Lara reaches it… Of this only journey. As she points out in the final scene, she’s not going back home. She has so much to understand from her father discoveries the real journey has just begun. I personally love the last sentence we are given in Tomb Raider: a survivor is born. After all the struggling, the adventure helped the Croft’s spirit to arise. The vessel is ready now. For everything. Seems like Himiko wasn’t the only looking for a vessel, was she?

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