On Monday I took writer Adi Tantimedh to task over his comments on the new Tomb Raider game before either of us had played it.
The game is very violent. much more so than any other Tomb Raider game has been. I do not, however, feel that it crosses over into "torture porn," as Mr. Tantimedh inferred. It's more violent than I'd like, but it's also not so violent that I'm sickened. Laura is attacked by men, yes, who clearly have bad designs on her, but it's not overt, so far. She is also not "tortured," though she does sustain a lot of damage from the environment. There are realistic gunshot wounds and mauling by wild animals. It's pretty standard action-adventure gaming tropes, from where I'm sitting. I wouldn't call it a "horror" title, as Adi did, but it's not for kids, as the "M" rating would indicate.
Laura Croft is younger, but still as capable and resourceful protagonist. The story is, essentially, the "origin" of Laura Croft, and, even just a few hours in, I see her confidence and self-reliance growing. That, really, is what's smashing about this game, it very skillfully depicts someone becoming a hero, or "survivor," as the marketing reads. It's pretty masterful at evoking mood and ambiance, as well as letting you get inside Laura's head.
So, while my opinion may change as the game progresses, I don't feel Mr. Tantimedh was really giving it a fair shake in his comments. It's a solid gaming experience, and while some people may want to ogle our digital heroine, or find her getting slathered in blood and gore sexy, it's pretty clear that Crystal Dynamics simply set out to create a intense action-adventure experience for gamers. It seems, so far, they have succeeded.