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Journal Entry Three: Base Camp Installation Vista
Completion: 11% Total Play Time: 7 hrs. 15 mins. Times I Killed Lara: This Level (1), Total (8)
Playthrough (Part 3): I love Lara’s hair. It’s becoming an obsession that I’m only now becoming comfortable to talk about. For example, after leaving the camp, we make a little jump into the next part of the glacial cave and I stop at the edge of massive drop and Lara whips her head around so that her flowing hair drops around her parka padded shoulders. It’s really rather remarkable how much detail the animators put into this part of the character. It drapes and falls so naturally as she moves, I find myself just flicking her head back and forth just to watch it fall off her shoulders. Oh hey, I actually typed that. I thought that was just internal monologue. Moving on.
A prompt on screen explains that a Challenge Tomb is nearby but can only found through exploration. This gives me a tingle as it’s these parts that really make the series shine. We make a tricky jump and turn a corner to see the very reason I had wrote about earlier concerning my Want To Play It Now Moment. There, deep in the ice cave is a Byzantine ship frozen in the glacier. it looks so odd and yet so inviting on the crest of this icy wave. Oh and hey! We can climb it. Hands sweaty with anticipation, we scurry up the path to find out how. It turns out that the ship is the Challenge Tomb, which really had me questioning the meaning of “challenge.” I mean, it was right there. Exploration amounted to looking straight ahead. Hopefully these Challenge Tombs will present something a bit more demanding as we progress.
Either way, we scamper up and into the vertical boat and go exploring. That’s the tricky part and why these side missions are so satisfying. It’s all about puzzle-solving and harkens back to the old days of Lara in tight shorts shifting boxes and pulling levers. Here, we first make a jump the to the main mast, which is horizontal, and run along the edge until we can jump on a platform. The way up is blocked by ice too jagged to climb so we need to figure out how to break it to continue. Hanging above us is a net with a bit of hanging cargo, which looks perfect for the job. A jiggle of the winch with the ice axe lowers it and all we need to do is climb up to a mast and leap onto the cargo. This sends it forward with enough force to smash the ice and give Lara some handholds. She shimmies up the side a bit and then it’s another crank that lowers a second net of cargo. This time though, it’s about the timing as the winch is unstable, forcing the cargo to rise up again. It requires spinning the winch and then running a long a narrow bit of mast and then jumping on before the net . . . oh hey, turns out to be far simpler than it looks. Got it on first try. I make the jump and smash the second bit of icefall in one go. Time to climb.
At the top, Lara discovers a cache of gold and other treasures lost to time. Also, there’s a codex book that Lara finds and presto, our archery skills have increased. Hooray! The power of reading. We also find a new map that details where many of the Region Summary items are, but despite my Tomb Raider moniker, we do no raiding and leave the glittery gold behind.
A quick zip line later and we’re back on the path through the ice cave where we have some underwater swimming next. I dive in and drown straight away. The explorer in me wanted a bit of looking around when I really should have been paying attention to the prompt directing me to tap “B” to swim fast. Lesson learned. Once on the other side we emerge from the caves into bright sunlight and are at a cliff over-looking the soviet installation. No time to enjoy the view though. A cutscene starts with the woman from the previous level who escaped the chasing soldiers. She has an arrow pointed at Lara’s head and is none-to-happy with everything happening in her neck of the woods and doesn’t believe Lara when she says she not here to harm anyone. The woman threatens to kill her the next time they meet but then an explosion down in the compound below distracts Lara. When Lara spins back around, the mysterious figure is gone. Out of immediate danger, a few steps later is Base Camp Three: Installation Vista.
Impressions: A very, very short chapter, there is nothing much to do aside from explore the small Challenge Tomb, which is the Mongolian ship in the Glacier caves. The upgrade in archery is nice, but there is no chance to use it here as this is simply a short section to get from the woods to the military compound. Still, the glacial cave was unique and looks great. I’m getting really comfortable with controlling Lara and looking forward to more action.
Best Moment: Challenge Tomb Puzzle