Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Interactive Friction: Tomb Raider (2013): Episode 13: Revelations

In this episode, Sam reveals a startling fact that leaves me absolutely stunned.

Not much of note happened in this episode. However, we did discuss a little bit about level design. This section of the game both demonstrates an area of good level design, and of poor level design.

The first it that platforming section at the start of the episode. As Sam points out, there is a very obvious sense of progression as the player ascends. Furthermore, the camera keeps the goal in view, so that it is clear where players are supposed to go. Lastly, it gives us opportunities to take advantage of the new pulley we obtained, by letting us traverse ziplines faster and pull heavy objects toward us.

On the other hand, the arena in the middle of the video does not play to the strengths of Tomb Raider (2013)'s combat. Though it looks like a plausible area, which it should be commended for, it is not terrible fun to play in. Like most cover-based shooter, Tomb Raider's central mechanic is taking cover and avoiding damage in order to recover from injuries. Given that the arena's only form of cover is the staircase in the center, this makes players significantly more vulnerable than they are in other parts of the game. This is doubly confusing since we're now in the portion of the game where Lara is supposed to feel empowered.

The other problem with that arena is that the number of enemies is not really scaled to the size and lack of cover. I felt almost claustrophobic during the ambush, because I could not get away from the fray in order to heal up.

The Tomb Raider Season will be finish this week if all goes according to plan. We already have our next season in mind. As for what that is, you'll have to stay tuned in order to find out.

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