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Old 19-10-19, 06:04   #1
XXIIXX
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Default Tomb Raider Games not as Hard / Easy as People Think?

I've been replaying the classics lately. Up until recently I didn't own any of the five games and had simply played bits and pieces of them with friends over the years so, unlike LAU and the Reboot I'm not 100% familiar with them. Now that I finally get to play them myself without any help from friends who have played them before, I think I've noticed something.

They're not as hard as people make them out to be. It's just that Lara is hard to control (in the first game moreso than any other) and takes her a lot of time to do things like positioning herself in the right spot for a jump.

They are definitely a lot less forgiving than the reboot games or the TRilogy games, for sure, and actually give you little to no hints at all on what you have to do to progress further.

On the other hand, games like Legend or the Reboot Trilogy, which are considered to be a lot less challenging compared to the classics, can be extremely challenging either to people unfamiliar with the series or gaming in general.

I began with Legend and, when I was nine years old, it did feel challenging to me. For example in Bolivia, the very first level, after you fight the two guys talking about a monkey, where you have to swing on the vine and jump across, I never saw the vine until a couple of playthroughs later. I kept getting accross using the gate ruins because I hadn't even noticed that's not the actual way across. By that time I had already played a couple of games of different genres but Legend, the easiest game in the series, posed a challenge to me several times.

But let's just say that was just me being dumb. I've noticed other people struggling to play the "easy" TR games. A friend of mine who's also into gaming couldn't figure out how to climb out of the first section of Bolivia. My cousin, who grew up playing Legend, AoD and Anniversary with me, got lost several times in the Reboot and couldn't even beat it without me helping him out. A friend who has very minimal experience with gaming couldn't figure out Rise's Syria puzzles without my help (I hadn't played the game myself at that point yet I could still figure them out) and Crystal's infamous white ledges didn't seem that obvious to her as I had to point out to her several times where to jump next.

My point is, maybe the older games are not as hard as some remember them to be and simply appeared so because you may have been younger when you first played them. Likewise, someone who was your age when they started gaming and their first experience with TR was either with LAU or the Reboot might find playing these games just as hard as the Classics simply because they're too young or inexperienced. Obviously, the Classics and AoD are a lot more challenging but not necessarily because of their design but because of the controls and saving system and, at times, graphical limitations.

What do you think?

I should also note this is just a theory, I'm not trying to pass it as a fact obviously.
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Old 19-10-19, 06:54   #2
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None of the games are THAT hard once you understand the language of Tomb Raider.

Except Tomb Raider 3 and TLR, TR3 is a **** (I still love it though <3) and TLR (whilst for the most part, very well done), has some BS moments that require unintuitive thinking.
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Old 19-10-19, 08:51   #3
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Easy:

• TR1 is easy as pie, but Lara’s running speed is slow

• TR5 has neat level design with a few hard ones scattered around

• AoD is actually very easy when you learn how to control Lara

• Anniversary is a breeze through...

Hard:

• Legend: Takamoto, Rutland, The Serpents, Amanda/Unknown Entity hybrid = >.<. The Kazakhstan motorcycle section was a pain in the back, but it was worth it

• TR2: Everything after Offshore Rig is a chore to do

• Underworld: Thailand, Xibalba, Jan Mayen Island (the seemingly never ending Thrall [>.<]...
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Old 19-10-19, 10:07   #4
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While I generally think the classics have a "normal" difficulty (except TR3, Last Revelation and Chronicles, but thats mostly fake difficulty.) there do at least trust you, the player, to play them.

The reboot's hand-holding is so blatant it actually comes off as really condesnding, more so in Rise where Lara literally speaks to the player constantly.

The Classics meanwhile put faith in the player to play the game themselves but also had more maze-y levels.

In a sense I guess, the Classics are more like Duke 3D or other old shooters, where levels were somewhat maze-like and the player had to figure out where to go themselves. (Admittingly most old shooters tend to only occasionally have maze-y levels but they existed, which is more than you can say nowadays.)

Redneck Rampage even has one of the most confusing maze-like environments I've ever seen with it's sewer level.
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Old 19-10-19, 11:00   #5
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I think we all agree that with the famously difficult titles of the series (TR3 & TR4) the difficulty doesn't lie in the ingeniousness of the puzzles, they are just downright absurd.

TR3 is just like opening a can of what the ****. I just don't like that game.

TR4 tries to do something at least but I believe it was just weighed down by them not fully realizing the ins and outs of the hub system..To me TR4 is like playing a reboot game without any context, story, cutscenes, clear objectives, and I do consider it a con with TR4, because I believe they wanted to go with a style similar to reboot in seamlessly integrating story and gameplay, and it simply wasn't felt because 70% of the time you don't know where is the next story objective. With that being said, I give it a pass. because it was the first time they did it and they did provide an early model for reboot games to follow.

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Old 19-10-19, 11:17   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suli View Post
I think we all agree that with the famously difficult titles of the series (TR3 & TR4) the difficulty doesn't lie in the ingeniousness of the puzzles, they are just downright absurd.

TR3 is just like opening can of what the ****. I just don't like that game.

TR4 tries to do something at least but I believe it was just weighed down by them not fully realizing the ins and outs of the hub system..To me TR4 is like playing a reboot game without any context, story, cutscenes, clear objectives, and I do consider it a con with TR4, because I believe they wanted to go with a style similar to reboot in seamlessly integrating story and gameplay, and it simply wasn't felt because 70% of the time you don't know where is the next story objective. With that being said, I give it a pass. because it was the first time they did it and they did provide an early model for reboot games to follow.
I suppose, I still prefer TR4's though since it at least gets more creative with them, like getting the Boost on the motorbike or finding keys and such instead of "Now you have rope arrows."

Plus you have to actually search for what you need, instead of following the linear path.

The reboot just completely blocks off a path, you go down the only path, you get item, open path.
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Old 19-10-19, 11:37   #7
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Originally Posted by Samz View Post
I suppose, I still prefer TR4's though since it at least gets more creative with them, like getting the Boost on the motorbike or finding keys and such instead of "Now you have rope arrows."

Plus you have to actually search for what you need, instead of following the linear path.

The reboot just completely blocks off a path, you go down the only path, you get item, open path.
I believe there are positives and negatives in each model (TR4 & Reboot).

for example that boost in the motorcycle I honestly can't fathom how someone figured that this is what it was without a walkthrough. Creating a very frustrating experience for people who want to play without any help (like moi).

In Reboot Lara will make sure to remind ever 5 seconds that the motorcycle needs a boost and shows you where it is and everything.


a blend between the two would be perfect.
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Old 19-10-19, 12:19   #8
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Originally Posted by XXIIXX View Post
What do you think?

Talking about strictly the classics, they are difficult to play (except the first title), but for different reasons.

Tomb Raider 2: the difficulty lies in the amount of combat. It can get tiring.
Tomb Raider 3: the difficulty lies in the combat and the level desing. There are levels, that back in the PS1 era was so dark, I couldn't play it. The combat mostly depends on your weapons and their amount of ammo.
Tomb Raider 4: After reaching Alexandria, it becomes a chore to play. Even if Jean can repeat the locations, that won't help you. (Lack of visual direction)
Tomb Raider 5: the only difficulty in this game is the "Red alert!" Especially if it bugs out.
Tomb Raider 6: The difficulty is in Lara's moveset. If you learn it, it's like walk in the park...giving the game won't glitching out. Exception is the Brother Obscura, because of the teleporting painting and the amount of ammo the ghost requires to be stunned. (depends on the type of gun)

LAU games: There's no difficulty in them. Increased damage is compensated with medikits at every corner. (and a straight corridor with the mjolnir...it's way too easy)
Reboot Games: No difficulty. Increased damages compensated with resources all around and capmsites almost at every combat entry.

All in all, Tomb Raider was never hard because of the puzzles (still there are some, that requires the use of the brain), but because of level desing: Too dark, sometimes lack of showing progress (e.g: all you hear, is a door opened somewhere.) etc. Since Crystal took over, those stuff been gone, only to be replaced with narrow paths and scripted events; practically LAU and reboot games push everything in your face. Yet, still there are people who are capable to get lost in a straight corridor.

Last edited by Zsott; 19-10-19 at 12:42.
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Old 19-10-19, 14:33   #9
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TR1 - An obvious and for it's time, relatively easy difficulty curve. A pretty even weight between puzzles, combat and platforming. Save crystals on PS1 added an extra (albeit artificial) challenge.

TR2 - Saving anywhere helps. However, the difficulty curve is all over the place and stays pretty much at the same level of difficulty throughout the game until you reach Temple of Xian where things go up a notch. Combat is almost constant. Some elements are tricky to master like the spring boards which cause instant death if not used correctly. Some traps appear out of nowhere but only occasionally. Puzzles are often quite simple.

TR3 - Save crystals on the PS1 are even more difficult to deal with than the TR1 saving checkpoints. They are hard to come by, often in difficult to access places and there is no clear hint as to when they should be used. Traps often appear out of nowhere with only a split second warning. Most levels are sandbox in nature with multiple routes available from the beginning potentially resulting in a lot of backtracking. Puzzles sometimes offer a unique challenge like looking at the valve pressure gauges and fire map in Antarctica and the robot cleaner in London. Otherwise, a lot of puzzles boil down to fetch quests as a means for exploration. Platforming is sometimes ridiculously difficult, with pixel perfect jumps demanded in levels like Madubu Gorge and lots of trial error in levels like Lud's Gate, especially where the underwater vehicle is concerned. The bosses and range of enemies are its greatest strength with genuinely interesting AI offering a more tactical approach to combat.

TR4 - Saving anywhere returns. The game begins with more linear styled levels, before hitting Alexandria and Cairo where things open out more with more success at it in the former rather than the latter. Still some challenges are a bit esoteric with vague hints as to what purpose an item serves until trial and error eventually directs the player to the right place in which to use it. The ninja enemies are possibly one of the intelligent of the classic baddies but the game overall lacks the intelligence or variety of the TR3 AI rendering combat a pretty straightforward affair while bosses in later stages are immortal rendering them to be obstacles and puzzles rather than something to be actively fought with weaponry. Puzzles are at their most logic-based and while some puzzle items are awkward in its use, the self-contained puzzle rooms show TR4 at it's most rewarding in terms of a decent and fair challenge/difficulty.

TR5 - It's been a while since I played it all the way through. But this is probably on the same difficulty level as TR1. Again a lot of challenges are unique and force players to use their intuition rather than rely on what's expected such as in TR2/3. As in TR4, the crowbar and torch items add diversity to puzzles and the range of interaction possibilities with the environment. Levels are mostly self-contained and more linear which isn't a bad thing but it does make the experience easier overall. Some moments are difficult. The bosses are genuinely entertaining with the fire hydras, the laser beam head, the roman statue, the VCI terminator. The enemies on that front are on par with the range and difficulty of TR3. Platforming is at times really challenging, especially the electrified water in Sinking Submarine and the collapsing tower in Red Alert (let's not mention bugs! xD)

Overall, the classic TR games were challenging. The thing which unites them all in that is the control system which was effectively a real life movement simulator requiring a lot more time than the average game to manoeuvre around the environment efficiently and without getting killed by falling off ledges. A lot of players didn't and still don't have the patience to deal with tank controls which are actually so much more fluid and reliable than modern controls if one is willing to invest time in mastering it. The nature of the challenge on offer actually varies a lot between each TR instalment so there's not really a broad brush which captures it and that's probably why every fan of the series ranks the classics differently.
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Old 19-10-19, 15:38   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaeldt View Post
None of the games are THAT hard once you understand the language of Tomb Raider.

Except Tomb Raider 3 and TLR, TR3 is a **** (I still love it though <3) and TLR (whilst for the most part, very well done), has some BS moments that require unintuitive thinking.
I agree. TR3 and 4 are the only titles that I consider to be genuinely difficult. Especially TR3. Assuming we're talking about the PS version, you can know exactly what you have to do, and still have a hard time.

TR2 is the only other title that I might consider a contender, but I think that games more annoying than it is hard, with it's almost infinite amount of enemies. Thing is, its not like the enemies require strategy to kill though, so I don't know if I would consider the game to be difficult. TR3 and 4 are hard because of the level design, platforming and puzzles.

Post classics, I would say the only title that could be considered hard is Shadow, and even then, I wouldn't say its consistent with it's difficulty. Some of the puzzles can take forever to solve (Looking at you, Temple of the Sun) and playing without white paint can make spotting where you have to climb, difficult at times.
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