Game Diary: Tomb Raider (2013) Week 3

Hello everyone and welcome to our third week of the Tomb Raider (2013) playthrough! This week, I went through the Mountain Base, Base Exterior, and the Cliffside Village. I gained a couple new abilities and a couple new pieces of equipment! So let’s take a look at what all happened.

Mountain Base Recap

After zip-lining into the base, Lara lands in some freezing water going back to what I said in an earlier article about Lara simply having the worst luck of any video game protagonist. You immediately hear voices of different conversations in the building, but don’t immediately see anyone. You have to turn a valve with your axe to turn off some deadly gas blocking your path through a narrow hole in the wall. Upon reaching the other side, you’ll come across the first of several firefights in the base. This first one hosts two enemies surrounding a red barrel and referring to it as fuel which is meant as a hint that the barrel is explosive. As you continue down the hallway, an enemy will suddenly drop from the ceiling in front of you which is something that will become more common later on.

One of the collectibles found in the base

Afterward you come across a room separated into three divisions by glass. The goal is to go through a vent to get to the second division where a gas valve is placed. After turning the gas valve, the room begins to fill with deadly gas, and at the same time a man comes in from the third division attempting to shoot at you through the glass with an automatic rifle. Afterward, you climb through the vent back to the first division, pick up a lantern sitting on the floor, then throw it through the vent to ignite the gas, blowing apart the glass walls and knocking the man back against the wall where he is trapped by rubble. You then acquire a new weapon, the automatic rifle, and then get to make the choice of whether or not to kill the man trapped in the rubble.

Every puzzle should end in a good explosion

Continuing further, you’ll very quickly come upon a dark room. The moment you enter, the door is shut and locked behind you and two spotlights are shined at you as several enemies begin to charge in. You get a brief moment of slow motion to take down as many as you can before ducking for cover and starting the firefight proper. Once you take them all down, you unlock a campfire location, and then continue into the radio communications room. A cutscene shows that Lara finds the communications console broken down and calls Alex over the radio for advice. Unfortunately, his advice is that she will have to climb the radio tower and get directly to the patch panel at the very top. After slowly making her way through a hot maintenance tunnel full of steaming pipes, Lara finally arrives outside of the building to the Base Exterior.

You can’t help but feel bad for Lara

Mountain Base Thoughts

I was very cautious through this portion both because I wanted to find as many collectibles as I could, but also in case of a sudden attack from enemies around each corner. I had my bow equipped for the first fight, so I couldn’t blow up the barrel without switching so instead I opted to just shoot each enemy with the bow. Going on to the room split into divisions, I began exploring the different uses I could find for the lanterns first before giving up to move on to the second division. After turning on the gas, I wasn’t immediately certain of what to do next until I used my survival sense and Lara gave a hint about the glass being structurally weak. As soon as she said that, I picked up a lantern and threw it right through the vent and blew up the glass. Upon getting the rifle, the man under the rubble begged for Lara to end it as he was in a great amount of pain. I chose to kill him as a mercy, but according to Lara it was out of spite.

The final firefight of the area was a lot of fun, though still fairly easy. I started out using the rifle until I ran out of ammo, then switched to using the pistol for the remainder as there were so many enemies to take on. At one point an enemy rushed up behind my cover at which point the game pointed out a new mechanic to me in shoving enemies back which I learned would be a hit or miss tactic. In this case it worked out well, and I got a chance to get a finishing melee ability immediately afterward. Lastly, although the maintenance tunnel seemed dangerous it was all just theatrical as there was no opportunity to take any real damage in the tunnel.

A fun little firefight moment

Base Exterior Recap

Lara steps outside to find the area covered in snow which she states simply isn’t normal as the rest of the island had a much more mild climate. The game immediately gives a campfire to rest at before crossing a broken down bridge. Immediately upon crossing the bridge, Lara is accosted by an enemy and must perform a very short action sequence to kick him off the bridge. You’re then thrown into combat after combat as you fight your way through several dilapidated buildings. At one point, you get another opportunity to shoot an explosive barrel to kill off anyone within one of the buildings. Afterward you’ll come across a building that’s a bit more intact and have to fight off several enemies in the windows and on the roof while some of them attempt to rappel down to your spot to flank you. After you’ve killed them all, a new kind of enemy comes out armed with a machete and a riot shield. To beat him you just have to dodge his attack and then shoot him when he’s open. Afterward, you can enter the building which has a new campfire on the roof and a short rope leading to the tower to begin the long climb.

A great view upon leaving the base

After climbing to the top, you’ll do a short input sequence before contacting a nearby plane over the radio. They say they’ll come to help, but may need visual aid to find you which Lara decides she needs to make a big fire to create a smoke signal. After rappelling down, Lara finds a small building with two large fuel tanks outside. She lets some of the fuel come out and then goes inside to find a tool she can use to create sparks allowing her to light her torch whenever she wants now. She then uses this to light the fuel and blow up the fuel tanks creating the smoke signal she desired. Unfortunately, as the plane comes down, a storm brews from nowhere and tears the plane apart sending both pilots ejecting out of the plane in a hurry. After a short action sequence of sliding down a hill and avoiding the plane crashing down on you, you see one of the pilot’s parachuting off a short distance and calling for help, bringing us to the Cliffside Village.

The long climb up was scary, but the climb down would probably be worse

Base Exterior Thoughts

At the first campfire I used a skillpoint to get Bone Collector which gives salvage for hunting animals. At this point salvage and exp are the biggest things I want more of as I haven’t really had any troubles with ammunition. As for the series of firefights, I thought they were a lot of fun and some of my favorite moments of the game. I do like the exploration side of the game so far, but it seems like a long lull between some of the longer action points. You’ll see in the highlight below that I attempted to give the shove mechanic a try against one of the enemies several times to no real affect unfortunately.

The shove may not have worked, but I did get the chance to use the exploding barrel

Then came the fight in front of the large building which was probably my favorite of the battle scenarios so far. I got the chance again to use the shove mechanic to knock people off of the ledge I was on, and this time it worked successfully. Coupled with needing to watch out for people zip-lining down and the riot shield fight, it seems the game is slowly trying to increase the complexity of the fights, but still not to an incredibly large degree.

A really fun fight, though the shield guy was a bit easy

I wasn’t too surprised by the plane being taken down by a storm. After all, we still have 5 weeks left of gameplay and I don’t see how much more they could give while also giving characters access to leave. I did, however, expect the pilots to have some part of the story.

Lara’s bad luck continues, or maybe this is the pilot’s bad luck. Maybe both.

Cliffside Village Recap

After your first jump into a nearby building, the whole thing starts to fall apart leading to an escape sequence jumping from one building to the next. At the end of the sequence you find the pilot is under attack from a person with a riot shield and before you can do anything about it, the pilot is stabbed and killed. After killing the man with the shield, you’ll speak with Roth over the radio who also saw the plane crash from where he was. He tells you that for now, just regroup with him and you’ll come up with something else. Lara then steps in a rope trap that pulls her upside down. You get a short moment of shooting the oncoming enemies while upside down before you shoot the trap and free yourself. Lara takes cover and picks up some rope giving her a new ability to shoot arrows with ropes on them. The first immediate use is to shoot it at the foundation of a building some enemies are in, and pull the building down and dump out the enemies. After fighting off the remaining enemies, you come across a pole near a gap which teaches you that you can also use the rope to create rope ways to crawl across. After using the rope arrows one more time to pull a door down on the path, you end up back in the Mountain Village, but in another portion of it.

A little mini escape sequence with an unhappy ending

You meet Roth at the entrance and he attempts to consul Lara that the pilot’s death was not her fault when Lara receives a radio transmission from the other pilot who has set off a smoke signal where he landed. Roth attempts to talk Lara out of going stating that she needs to learn to make sacrifices and stating that she only knows about loss and not sacrifice.

I feel like “Looking after your own people” is what the enemies are doing

Lara heads out anyway and goes on to a series of pillars of rock that she traverses between using the rope arrows. Towards the end is a hidden tomb called the Hall of Ascension which features a short wind based puzzle leading you to a chest that grants you a skill point, a handgun upgrade piece, and a map to all of the GPS collectibles in the area. After leaving the tomb and moving on, Lara will find a small dark cavern leading into the Mountain Pass where I ended.

All of the question marks are GPS caches I can now find

Cliffside Village Thoughts

I did die a couple of times in this portion. The first time was during the escape sequence when I made a bad jump and fell. The second time was after getting the rope I was too focused on using my new toy and not paying attention to my surroundings so the enemies ended up killing me.

The rope arrows are pretty satisfying in these situations

The tomb took me a moment to figure out, but survival sense definitely helped me in highlighting the mechanisms required for it. Although I did get the map for the GPS pieces, I didn’t take the time to collect all of them at this moment, but the map will help if I decide to go back to get everything.

Wind based puzzles just make me think of Wind Waker

Final Thoughts

Although we are a good ways into the game, it’s still introducing new concepts to us and I’m really excited about what we’ll find next. I’m also hoping that the difficulty will spike more as it goes on, or I may end up turning the difficulty up. Next week I’ll be taking on the Mountain Pass, Chasm Monastery, and the Shanty Town. If you’re interested in playing along, you can buy the game here on Humble Bundle (On sale for just over $2 for the next couple days) where a portion of your payment goes to charity and another portion helps support me. If you have a suggestion for another game you’d like to see done in the Game Diary, please comment your suggestions below. I may or may not accept all requests, but the game you suggest could be my next. The general rules are as follows:

  • The game cannot be too long
  • The game must have a clear ending
  • The game must have intrigue beyond gameplay (i.e. Match 3 games won’t work out)
  • It must be a game I’ve never played before (No real way to tell without suggesting it first though!)

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