Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tomb Raider Controversy

I've mentioned before that I was thinking of getting the new Tomb Raider reboot game (unhelpfully entitled just Tomb Raider), which has now been pushed back to March 2013. The game has recently hit the headlines for the wrong reasons, however.

Below there are some general spoilers.

There's been some controversy over a scene that has sometimes been described as an 'attempted rape'. I'm pretty sure it's included in the video linked to below (around 2:22), though I think 'attempted rape' overstates what happens significantly. However, the suggestion of what might have happened is quite apparent.

The game takes place with a younger, very inexperienced Lara Croft who doesn't really know her arse from her elbow when it comes to tomb raiding (initially, at least). However, (and it might be exaggerated due to the necessarily condensed and exciting nature of trailers) it does look like the game's gone overboard in making her weak and vulnerable, and I felt a bit uneasy watching much of it.

She gets, at least, groped, attacked by a dog, bound several times, wounded and the voice actress (who does a very good job) makes her seem extremely vulnerable. As the game progresses she will become more proficient and tougher, but some have already said they won't buy the game on the basis of the way she's presented (because the 'attempted rape' scene feels wrong, largely).

But would there be this reaction if she were a he? Naked Snake got electrocuted, tortured, lost control of his bladder, almost had his eyes stabbed out and did lose an eye to a gunshot. He was, of course, a skilled soldier so the two situations aren't directly comparable but it's the closest equivalent that jumps to mind.

There's a very interesting take on it by Susan Arendt, over at the Escapist, which is well worth a read for those thinking of buying the game.

I slightly disagree with her regarding the portrayal of women in the media (almost every advert seems to have a moronic man failing and a wonderful woman succeeding) but generally I think it's accurate.

I don't know whether I'll end up buying the game, at this stage.


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