Game Informer 1997 issue 053
I’m a big fan of Gametrailers.com reviews and podcasts but for the release of the Tomb Raider game I’ve noticed a trend when it comes to their coverage of it.
They give the game a great score of 8.5 but a large portion of the review is dedicated to the fact that its very violent and that this retracts from the story. that’s fine really, an interesting point to note but then you have to wonder why the reviewer mentioned it in this regard and not in any other. Simple, its because Lara is a woman and women being violent in a realist manner is something we aren’t used to seeing.
i find it interesting that reviewer and journalists are singling out this game. March is a big month for games. we have Bioshock: Infinite, Gears of War: Judgment and God of War Ascension. the killing in these games wont be up for discussion because the protagonists are male and its what we expect.
The violence depicted in the Tomb Raider trailers is nothing out of the ordinary for any of the above titles. there are head shots, cinematic finishing styles moves as well as limb specific damage. this has all been available to gamers before and most of it is standard gameplay for a third person adventure title. the new ‘slice’ mechanic in the recent Metal Gear Rising (letting players slow down action and position the line of the blade precisely allowing Raiden the ability to collect energy from his enemies spinal cords) didn’t prompt the discussion of hyper violence in games or how it can distracted from a story either.
Today i was listening to the fantastic podcast “epic battle cry” and DK (Daniel Kayser) brings up how the excessive violence shown in the trailers for Tomb Raider has put him off the game. He later goes on to say how he was fine with the violence in the game Dishonored because you knew going in that it was a revenge story and thus it suited the story.
i find this an extremely weak argument because the very same media that put DK off the game shows its a SURVIVAL game. Laura is ship wrecked and kidnapped. she is forced to go through physical and mental duress at the hands of her captures. is this not a situation where violence is justified?
DK then takes issues with a scene that’s been in most of the trailers for the game. It shows Lara having to kill a deer for the first time in order to eat and survive she hesitates in letting the arrow fly and when she does kill the deer she says sorry to its corpse. he found her reluctance at killing a deer to be completely at odds wit her killing humans later on.
Killing a deer for food is quite different from killing someone you feel is a threat to your safety. particularly in a game setting. we’ve been killing people in games for years but ‘hunting’ is still a rather new experience.
Presumably Lara is killing these men because they are hunting her. They have kidnapped her friends, tortured her mentally and physically and possibly sexually the killing of the deer is completely different. shes not trying to defend herself. shes killing something that hasn’t wronged her but just for her personal survival.
we (DK and myself as of writing this) havent played the game so we don’t know when these events take place. it is possible that the deer scene happens first. maybe there is a scene where she deals with killing a human for the first time.
There is a similar thing in Assassins creed 3 where Connor gives his apologies and thanks to the animals when he kills them for food and pelts but then has no such feelings of remorse when killing hundreds of people that he feels are a threat. i have never seen this pointed out as a reason why the violence in AC3 is excessive.
i believe DK is right about games in general being too violent. but the reason Tomb Raider is being singled out from the rest of excessively violent games is because it has a female protagonist and as we all know boys don’t make passes at girls who try blow up the masses