Super soldier Lara Croft and the genocide island

I’ve been playing the no-longer-so-new Tomb Raider game a bit of late and really enjoying it. It is full of thrills, exploration and puzzle solving with a well written main character. It is also full of bad guys and dead bodies. Lots of dead bodies.

There’s lots to love in the game and a few niggles that I won’t go into in any depth (namely “fancy” UI and not being able to see a bloody thing) but there’s two key issues that I have with the game.

First up, Lara kills a lot of people. I’ve not found any stats but I earned the 200 bodies looted achievement well before finishing the game, so in total I’ve probably killed 300-400 folk. Thats a lot. I rarely went more than five minutes without having to make a kill and at some points your taking out maybe 30-40 bad guys in a section. This of course isn’t crazy high for a computer game but in Tomb Raider we have a character that starts as no killer, however by the end she’s amassed a body count that surpasses anything that Arnie could muster. For a mercenary character, former soldier or someone otherwise described as a killer from the beginning, fair enough. However it doesn’t seem right that she has turned into a killer so quickly. Surely the enemies, armed with weapons including rifles and shotguns, would have the training to beat someone new to combat? At least one of the hundreds?

Similarly Lara’s crew mates, including the ones that seem a bit crap, rack up some kill count. Aside from being a bit daft that newbies to combat are taking on an army, I’m also a bit curious as to why there’s so many people available to kill. We’re on some unknown island and there’s hundreds of soldiers. Where did they all come from?

Its not just those that are killed during that game that raise eyebrows. The island has thousands of skulls and skeletons. I was in a river of blood. Where the hell did all these people come from? I’m all for ignoring reason and logic to some extent to allow a story to be told, however this just seems ridiculously far fetched.

The final point I’ll make is that I felt some of the high body count actually had a negative impact on the game. If you were given more means to sneak past enemies or incapacitate them without killing them, the whole thing would be more believable and I reckon would work a lot better with the storyline and characters.

The game was at its finest when you needed to work out how to scale a cliff face or solving a puzzle to progress. However this usually involved a bow/gun fight before or after the climb. Surely it would have improved the (already pretty damn good) game by having you climb the cliffs and take the tricky paths to avoid combat? That would make any combat more dramatic (not “oh yet another gun fight”) and also more important to the character.

So yeah, in summary this great game is somewhat tainted by a silly body count, which could have been avoided to focus on the strengths of the game.

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