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TMS Plays Rise of the Tomb Raider Episode 4.6—”Soviet Installation”

Running, jumping, climbing trees, and shootin’ down the bad guys continues with Lara Croft in our Rise of the Tomb Raider Let’s Play for this week. Last week’s episode got spent on wandering around and leveling up our weaponry, but this week we’re back to advancing to new areas and trying out our aiming chops.

This week’s exploration feels positively Metroid-esque, which is something that I remember observing about the first Tomb Raider reboot game (along with many other people who noticed that similarity). When she’s platforming and using her gear to get from place to place, then getting alerted that she needs a new weapon or unlockable item in order to progress past certain doorways, Rise starts to get well into Metroid territory. This week’s episode reminds Lara that she still needs “rope arrows” in order to progress to some of the places she wants to go, so I guess we’ll have to be circling back to some of these barred-off exploratory areas. If we can remember where they all are, that is …

For the moment, Lara (and our Let’s Player Sam Riedel) wants to focus on completing her mission, which is trying to destroy a series of radio towers in order to take down a brainwashing cult that her father… never mind, the plot seriously isn’t at the forefront of this game. After lots of running around shooting deer and collecting mushrooms and berries and trying to hike up to the elusive radio tower from various angles, Sam (and Lara) finally figures out a way forward: climbing up a rope towards a new area, at minute 12:25. Did you know that you can climb up zip-lines the wrong way? Well, you can, and sometimes that’s the only way to get anywhere, apparently. The game doesn’t exactly signal-post any of this.

Instead of taking Lara to another radio tower, this backwards zip-line trek takes our heroine directly into an enemy encampment. Yikes!? Anyway, it’s back to arrow-shooting and gun-blasting now, because we’ve got a whole bunch of baddies to take down. Probably those cult members that the game’s taken so little time to explain to us! These guys are a very “shoot first, deliver exposition later [or never]” type of group.

After a few tries–and several re-spawns–Sam decides to be sneaky instead of rushing Lara headlong into the hostile encampment. Lara creeps around the edge of the area and gathers some nearby supplies in an effort to, in Sam’s words, “get a better vantage point” in time for next week. We’ll be back with you to take out these dudes then!

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).