The New Lara Isn’t All That Cosmetically New
The reboot of Tomb Raider has certainly impressed me. It’s a fantastic combination of a number concepts brought forward by various other games such as Batman Arkham City, Uncharted and even Dead Space. There is one part of Tomb Raider that I feel is a bit of a lie. Maybe ‘lie’ is a bit too strong of a word, perhaps exaggerated is more fitting. What I am referring to is the ‘new look’ Lara Croft.
Old Lara was known for her short shorts, tank tops and generous curves. While the games didn’t really play on her sex appeal all that much, outside of the games things were different. I recall a number of promotional shots of Lara posed in a rather provocative manner, which was odd for a number of reasons. Firstly because ‘she’ is made of pixels and secondly because it was alien from the actual video games. ‘Sexy’ Lara had become her own entity detached from the games.
Sure changes did happen to Lara as time went on, but these were only slight. New hair colours, slight changes to her outfits, but the short shorts, tank top and curves were still intact. This leads us to the reformed 2013 version of Lara Croft. She’s supposed to be more realistic, more grounded, more like a normal women. There was various times in which Lara’s new look was discussed , her look was supposed to reflect the notion of a everyday women in a extraordinary situation. The sex appeal Lara was once famed for was seemingly coming to an end…but to be honest she’s barely changed cosmetically.
The main cosmetic change Lara has been subjected to is merely putting on some pants. Her model figure and good looks are still all present, which does take the shine away from the idea of Lara being more grounded in reality. It’s hard to take all the PR spiel seriously when they bash on about Lara being more normal and more real when she still looks like a model you’d see in any given magazine. During the quieter times in Tomb Raider you can almost pretend Lara is in the middle of a modelling shoot. It really does feel like a miss opportunity to craft Lara in a much more relate-able and realistic mold.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire the effort they’ve gone to when it comes to fleshing Lara out as a character, but at the end of the day they still couldn’t depart from the ‘pretty girl’ image. Sure she gets covered in mud, she takes plenty of bumps and bruises, but that doesn’t make her what she was touted to be. It’s not a major issue, nor does it detract from the games quality, but if this is what developers (and ‘gamers’) see as a average women then things will never change. It’s just a shame Tomb Raider (more accurately Lara) was sold to people in the wrong pretense.
This isn’t a pop at how women are betrayed in video games, after all both sexes tend to be less than realistically portrayed. This is merely a little venting of frustration at a missed opportunity to really ground a gritty Tomb Raider game with a realistic, grounded, Lara. This is however is never the less a tiny step in the right direction.