Tomb Raider

Day 1: Surprise! A Survivor is Born?!?

Hiya babes! I’m Lara Croft, and I’m a highly-qualified archaeologist. Well, almost. I didn’t go to university, but my mummy left me enough money to pay for a trip to the set of Far Cry 3. I managed to convince a whole ship crew to join me by sitting and looking at some old scrolls and saying “I’m really close to something, I just know it!” repeatedly. You’d be shocked at how easy it is to convince people you’re an expert by repeating intellectual-sounding stock phrases, and appalled by the lengths you can convince them to go by pointing at a map and telling them you have a hunch.

Unfortunately it hasn’t been all plain sailing since we set off.  I’ve seen savage things! I’ve had to wipe my bum with dubious-looking leaves and I don’t even have a single Kendal Mint Cake to my name. I may not be a proper archaeologist yet, but I do feel more than qualified to comment on something even more profound: the human condition. And anything at all, in fact. It’s odd but the world around me seems to consist of simple physics puzzles that I feel compelled to mutter to myself about.

I think I may have banged my face on something when we were shipwrecked and got myself all concussed, because I can’t help but mumble the answers to these puzzles. It’s as if I was with a small child that would throw a tantrum if he wasn’t told exactly what I was about to do at any moment. But I digress!

Day 2: I Will Survive II: Still Survivin’

Something really horrid happened. Something so shocking that I just had to write down my innermost thoughts on the matter, right here, on this piece of paper. Then just leave it lying on a table somewhere for some random blowjob to pick up later. That’s normal, right? Brace yourself for a titty-twister of a shock. You see, dear reader: I killed a man! I know! You’re probably being sick everywhere, vomit sputtering from your lips onto the heavy shag of your rustic carpet, at the thought of me, Lara Croft, doing something so vile.

Well get out the baby wipes and call in the maid, because I’m going to tell you about how hard and how awful it was. The weight of a human life is so heavy to bear; it almost crushed me. But in that moment it was kill or be killed, and I made a choice. And then when I realised that you get extra points for headshots, I made six hundred more choices in quick succession, each one more difficult than the last.

Day 3: You Can’t Survive Straight

There’s a lot of blood on my hands but now I can climb really, really well and I’m finding more stuff in crates. It doesn’t make any sense, but neither does anything on this crazy island!  The weather changes at the drop of a hat, and somehow really generic Japanese architecture keeps popping up everywhere like an anime-loving weeaboo wrote a Tomb Raider fanfic. I think my personal motivation is to get to the bottom of what’s going on, but to be honest I’m just not fucking sure why I’m doing anything.

That said, it is a beautiful island. Or at least I think it might be. These massive cardboard cut-out context cues and status updates flash in front of my eyes and it seems like I can’t fart without unlocking another piece of concept art. It’s hard to stay immersed in the beauty of the natural world when you’re being harassed by more pop-ups than on your last xtube crawl.

I don’t know where this island came from but I’m pretty sure whoever designed it has seen an episode or two of Lost. It’s very mysterious and laden with tombs, which I just loathe to raid. What’s even more enigmatic is that I appear to be developing psychic powers. Take last night when I broke into an enemy base: I knew that there were exactly five of the same poster dotted around the walls of the encampment. But the obeisance for my strange new ability was the compulsion to burn them all! Isn’t that strange? My psi-sense seems to pick up a new chore in every area, like flicking ten golden bellends in a dank cave.

Day 4: Survivin’ Ain’t Easy

I don’t know who’s going to read this, but as I sit here in front of the camp fire, silhouetted against a dramatic sky like something from a game called Dark Souls that I hope you haven’t heard about, I can’t help but wonder who you are. I think you’ll be like me, staggering around the deceptively linear paths of this lonely place, shooting anything that moves and using rat bones to upgrade your guns.

Maybe it’ll be you who finds this, generic gruff mentor figure. Or you, sassy East Asian intellectual film-maker. Or perhaps it’ll be you, brusque Scottish sea captain. I once thought of you as clichés, but now I think of you as dear family. And all because you too left your innermost secret thoughts just lying around for me to find.

Let Us Bling Together

When not working at RSTO Ltd, I spend a lot of time these days in front of a cooker or a computer, and not nearly enough in front of a book or a nice game. It’s hard to find either that strikes that fine balance between being worthy and being interesting.

Darksiders was on an irresistible offer on PSN. It ticks a lot of my “interesting” boxes: Ridiculous sci-fi/fantasy melodrama; OTT art design which borders on objectionable; slick (if overcomplicated) controls. If it weren’t so buggy it would be almost perfect. However, it doesn’t get anywhere near being worthy.

Worthy is: Ico. Journey. Limbo. NES Super Mario. Portal. Dark Souls.

Some games are too worthy, and not interesting. Their balance is off. Shadow of the Colossus.

Darksiders is: Pulpy. Buggy. Flabby.

It’s a high-quality trashy novel. It’s A Game of Thrones. It’s fun, but ultimately I don’t feel like I’m progressing as a human being when I indulge in it. I’m not seeing something new. That’s fine. But I feel time moving on and I don’t want to sit still if I’m not going somewhere when I do.