Rise of the Tomb Raider Playthrough Journal: Part 4
Journal Entry Four: Base Camp Train Yard
Completion: 13% Total Time Played: 8 hrs. 18 mins. Times I Killed Lara: This Level (1) Total (8)
Playthrough (Part 4): To get to the Soviet installation, we have one choice, a zip line, and a prompt teaches me that I can stop zipping at any time and climb back up with the Left Stick. This is a nice addition, so I jump on the line and give it a try. Works well. I spend the next three minutes going up and down the rope simply because I can. And you would do. Once I drop off, there are some bits of Region Summary items to be found before heading down the narrow path ahead. There’s also a few rabbits skipping about and I use my bow to take them out. It’s not a pleasant thing, but a necessary part of survival. Apparently the rabbits understand this as they tend to cluster about my feet as if waiting for an arrow to the head. Interestingly, I encounter the first game glitch where a rabbit literally disappeared as it ran past. Unless I missed a sign back there about a hole leading to Wonderland.
Not far along, Lara spots a dead body on the trail. She comments that it’s too late for him, but as we approach, we an hear a nearby soldier chatting on his radio. I duck into the thicket and wait, which actually works and the enemy is doomed the moment he gets too close. Above him, I see another bird’s nest, and shoot that down for the resources. Lara hates nature. I discover, based on the player menu, that these are part of the Survival Caches in the Region Summary list. Good to know.
Around the next bend, two more guards are engaged in conversation about a killer taking out soldiers in the forests. Hey, that’s me, er, well Lara. Or probably the resistance fighter we saw in the last level. A prompt pops up instructing the use of empty bottles as a way to distract enemies. And wouldn’t you know it, right at Lara’s feet are two of them. I pick one up and give it a toss, sending one of them away while I pick off the first with an arrow. Then it’s over to the other one who bought an extra fifteen seconds of life by being curious. The stealth kills are really satisfying and while the guards have yet to really present any real threat, this is good training. Meanwhile, a very large pack of wolves are howling in the near distance and suggests either I’m about to be dinner or the installation is over run by wild animals. I trend forward lightly.
A transport helicopter flies over head and lands in the compound. Lara accurately comments that more soldiers have arrived. Thanks, Lara. Another tutorial prompt teaches us a new mechanic called “Scramble”, which allows Lara to stay low as she darts from cover to cover. Just in time too, as a group of soldiers arrive and take up positions nearby. Time for more stealthy kills. There are five of them and they go down fast. My sneaky skills are apparently very good. On the second floor of this first rundown building is the second pistol part. Two to go.
From here, there is a short bit of platforming, as the only way to progress is to climb a nearby tower and zip line in. Getting up is fairly easy with a tricky walk along narrow beam over the top. I promptly fall of the tower and Lara splatters on the rocks below. Here’s a tip: don’t change directions while on the beam. You fall. And die. Once down the zip line, Lara is fully in the ruins of the compound and at her feet is a lit kerosene lantern, which can mean only one thing. Something is going to burn. We don’t wait long. The room we are in is blocked by a mass of wooden beams and debris. A gentle toss of the latern makes quick work of that. Poof.
Good news! We find a dead body. Well, not that part. Beside him. We find a pistol. And it’s loaded. Just in time too because just around the corner are some soldiers and they have a hostage with whom they are conducting a little interrogation. They are behind a large, grimy and slightly cracked pane of glass. The soldiers are unhappy with the hostage’s refusal to cooperate and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t talk, all while the music cues crescendos with a hint act quickly or be responsible for the man’s death. Fortunately, I’m a crack shot and it only take two bullets to take down both bad guys. I hop into the room and run to the hostage but it’s too late anyway. He’s beaten so bad he dies, but not before hinting at another person who is imprisoned. Behind him are more Region Summary items and on each side of the room is a door, though one is locked and since I don’t have the lock pick upgrade, I can’t open it even though I have two steel ice axes hanging off my belt. Just saying.
We hop through a window and into another cutscene. A nasty one. A large garage is filled with enemies and in walks Konstantin (the Trinity leader we met in Syria), who is unhappy with how the compound is being run, what with all the explody things and corpses lying about. He has a talking to with the sergeant in charge and offers some tips by gouging out his eyes in front of the men, and then praises their efforts and assures them that if they stick out, they can have a share of the Divine Source, the gift of immortality. No one cheers.
Back to the gameplay, Lara is stuck in this garage with a more than a half dozen armed guards, though one of them is rolling about the floor without any eyeballs. We have some options. The pistol has 18 shots left and the bow has 25 arrows. The room is cramped, but there are lots of barricades so a firefight is feasible if not risky. I spend a few minutes studying the patrol routes of the perimeter guards, including one up on a catwalk above me. With some careful timing, I take out the first guard on the floor and quickly scale the pipes to the catwalk and take down the unsuspecting soldier. Now the fun part. There are three more just below me huddled together trying to make a full generator work. Beside me is a lit kerosene lantern. I think you’re already guessing what comes next. Boom.
Actually, the fire is more than I expected. It not only dispatches the men but ignites the fuel tank and the room explodes into a maelstrom of flame that rocks me back and off the catwalk. The room is filled with fire but I can maneuver about. Meanwhile other soldiers are alerted (should have thought of that) and one comes into the room, but too bad for him, I’ve got an arrow with his name it. Unfortunately, his name must have been something else because that arrow bounced off him and he comes straight for me. Time for a brawl. He’s tough, but with some dodging and properly timed swings of the ice axe, he finally goes down. A second soldier lobs a grenade but it fails to hit me and I take him out with an arrow to the face. This time it does the job. A quick sprint and I’m over the wall and a campfire awaits. Base Camp Four: Train Yard
Impression: This level defiantly ups the action from the previous short level and gives Lara some fighting opportunities. I like the level design and the weather effects (it starts to snow at one point). Having a pistol is good, though the bow is really where I feel comfortable. The enemy A.I. are rather weak though and I’m thinking that it’s time to increase the difficulty. I’ve been playing on the Tomb Raider (normal) setting, but the challenge so fas has not been there. If the next level doesn’t make a difference, I’ll be going to Seasoned Raider (hard) where the menu screen promises better enemy senses and increased enemy health.
Best Moment: A room full of fire.