The First Few Hours: Rise of The Tomb Raider

There’s something about November, man.  Last year around this same time – in fact, if Facebook’s memory feature is correct, it’s almost to the day – I was beginning work on a NaNoWriMo memoir and took a deep dive into my college diary for some research, and emerged into a huge whirlpool of regret and depression, and I spent the next few weeks/months under a haze of the sort of wistful, melancholic nostalgia that is, for me, very difficult to shake off.  And now here we are, a full year later, and I’m finally getting back to work on the album that evolved from that failed memoir experience, and because I’m trying to write lyrics – and because I’ve had to forcibly remove myself from friendships that have proven very difficult to handle, emotionally, I’m once again drowning, aching, feeling bad.  I’m writing good music again, but most of my waking hours are spent under that haze of sadness and regret and I can feel myself withdrawing from everyone and the whole thing just sucks.

Yesterday was ridiculous.  These two things showed up at the same time.

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I kept Fallout 4 running just long enough to make sure that my PipBoy app was connected to my PS4; I didn’t start creating a character or anything else.  I think I said this the other day, but in any event I’ll repeat myself:  until the first wave of patches starts coming in, I’m going to concentrate on other things.

As for the Steam Link and Controller; I have mixed results.  I hooked up the Link to my gaming TV in my basement, which is on the opposite side of the room from my PC, both of which are one floor below my wi-fi router.  The streaming reception isn’t all that great, unfortunately, and I’m not sure how to fix it easily without using hundred-foot-long wires.  The controller is… interesting.  The ABXY buttons aren’t located where my right thumb wants them to be, which can be confusing.  I only used the controller to move around the menu screens, and so I haven’t yet put them through any sort of gaming duress, but even just moving around the Big Picture menu took a tiny bit of adjustment.  I still have a rather ridiculous Steam backlog to get caught up on; I suppose I’ll be going back to my PC for that, until I can get the Link interference issue straightened out.

This is all moot, anyway, since my primary gaming focus for the foreseeable future will be with Rise of the Tomb Raider.  I played for about 2 and a half hours last night; I put it down when I got to the second campsite.

My initial gut reaction is very positive indeed.   For starters, it looks terrific – the ice walls that Lara climbs in the beginning sections look particularly stunning.  (I already know I’m going to play this again when it eventually comes out on the PS4, though; I can’t help but feel that the PS4 version will look even better.)

It’s also taken the crafting and hunting and resource gathering of the first game and multiplied it by an exponential amount; but instead of being annoying or anxiety-inducing, the way that hidden collectibles in Assassin’s Creed games can be, everything you find here is useful in some way, which also adds the bonus of making sure you cover every available inch of the map – there’s tons of hidden stuff, and it’s all super-fun to find and use.

I’ve still only seen a tiny fraction of what’s on offer, but even at this early stage I can confidently say that it basically feels like a bigger, better version of the last game, and that’s exactly the kind of thing I want to be playing right now.  And so I shall.

Author: Jeremy Voss

Musician, wanna-be writer, suburban husband and father. I'll occasionally tweet from @couchshouts. You can find me on XBL, PSN and Steam as JervoNYC.

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