I have a chronic fear of endings.
Which is why it took me eight months to finish one playthrough of “Rise of the Tomb Raider.”
While I loved revisiting the world of Lara Croft and watching her grow from island survivor to true badass tomb raider, I had some reservations about this game and how its ending – and my terrible fear of it – shaped my overall experience of the game.
Instead of talking about what I like about the game, or the mechanics of some of the new features, or what the creators could have done better coming off the epic 2013 reboot, I’m going to ask some questions that should have been answered in the game, but never were.
About the Remnant:
- What happened to the Remnant people after the end of the game?
- Did Lara ever reveal the truth about the Source to them? If so, did their opinion of Jacob change?
- Did any of them try to leave the valley?
I understand that Sofia took Jacob’s place after he died, but I still think the game was lacking a comprehensive look at what happened after the final cutscene and the post-credits wrap-up.
About the Source:
- What is it? And if it’s not a part of God’s soul and its actually just some freaky rock, how does it make people immortal? And how does that connect with Queen Himiko and her special brand of immortality?
Safe to say, I did not like Jacob dying at the end. Not only was I distraught that Lara lost yet another father figure, I was confused as to how he arrived in the Chamber of Souls in time and why he let Lara destroy the Source when he knew it would kill him.
- Who exactly are they?
- Who was really pulling the strings behind the Kitzeh operation?
- Who shot Ana and why? The revelation that Trinity had a hand in Lord Croft’s death wasn’t exactly a surprise, so unless she was going to reveal the name of the person in charge, I don’t understand the point of killing her off.
The closest I came to really understanding Trinity’s role as the main antagonist was in a discussion I had with my sister after the game ended. She compared them to the Templars in the AC series, and I have to admit the similarities are striking.
Both are ruthless organizations bent on enslaving/conquering/dominating the world.
Both are tied to a religious group from the time of Knights and Orders and epic religious crusades.
And both wholeheartedly belief in the righteousness of their cause and accept any violence as a simple means to an end.
But Trinity must be different somehow, even if the difference is a mere technicality to avoid legal action from Ubisoft.
I know some of my questions were intentionally left unanswered to build upon in the next games, but Trinity came onto the scene as a cruel, well-funded, organized antagonist on the heels of a cult of scary white guys led by a psychopath who thought sacrificing girls would get him off an island. The leap between the two was hard for me to swallow at the beginning, but I did, assuming I would get an explanation that just never came.
About Ana/Konstantin (not lumping them with Trinity because they both said towards the end that they were working more for themselves than for Trinity):
- What disease did Ana have?
- Why the hell would she poke holes in her brother and tell him it was God’s will? (Seriously, what kind of crazy do you have to be do that to your own brother?)
- And why was Konstantin still loyal to her? If my sister had been manipulating me pretty much my entire life I think I would have gotten just a little bit angrier.
- We know a little about her dad, her (evil) almost-stepmother, and her secondary father figure Roth, but what about her biological mother? What happened to her and why has Lara never mentioned her?
- Where was Sam and who the hell okayed her omission in the first place?
Sam was the most important character for me in “Tomb Raider” and not just because she was the vessel for the undead Queen Himiko to reestablish her reign over the island kingdom of Yamatai.
Sam was Lara’s grounding element, the friend who kept her sane and stable, and the one person who understood and supported her, no matter what happened.
As it turns out, Rhianna Pratchett, lead writer for “Tomb Raider” and its sequel, authored a series of comics that bridge the gap between the first and second game and explain away Sam’s absence. However, I still think she should have made at least a cameo appearance in the game along with Reyes, especially considering Jonah’s role in the narrative.
But that’s an issue for another blog.
Despite my problems with the narrative – which I consider weaker than the first game but overall stronger than comparable sequel titles (I’m looking at you “Assassin’s Creed: Unity”) – I had a few questions from the first game that were ultimately answered by the end of “Rise of the Tomb Raider.”
- How did Lara move on from the trauma of the first game?
- How do she deal with the fact that she killed people to survive?
She killed more people.
- And how did she find the motivation to dive back into danger after everything that happened on the island?
She just kept moving.
I look forward to watching Lara’s character grow in future games and comparing her to the young, scared and yet still kick-ass queen she was in the first game.
Game on, beautiful tomb raiders, and let the power of Lara Croft be with you.