#1 With 'Rise of the Tomb Raider,' The Complete De-Objectification Of Lara Croft Is Complete by Cincinnatus 09.11.2015 15:11


Let me first admit I have never played this or any other video game and have also never seen any of the Lara Croft movies. So I have no level of personal concern in this issue but I do see this story as a part of the culture wars.

I’ll save thoughts on gameplay for another time, but I really was struck by how with Rise of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft has now fully transformed from the comically proportioned sexpot of the video game world to possible one of its most progressive, feminist icons. In this new game, Crystal Dynamics have effectively done away with objectifying Lara Croft at all.


There was progress made in the last game, the original reboot that had a teenaged Lara wearing pants and let her keep her athletic build, but shrunk her chest down a few cup sizes from past installments. And yet, most of the game did have her soaking wet in a tank top, and put her in situations where the camera seemed trained on her rear end. The game also had an almost weird obsession with seeing Croft die in horribly graphic ways after failing gameplay segments or quicktime events. That wasn’t explicitly sexual, but it was a bit creepy all the same.

In Rise of the Tomb Raider, pretty much all remnants of the past objectification of Lara have been banished. Out of about ten different outfits I unlocked for Croft over the course of the game, only one was her classic tank top (which manages to be less revealing than ever), and the vast majority of choices were bulky jackets that were more than weather appropriate given that the game mostly takes place in Siberia. And the outfits that actually gave you bonus perks like faster health regen were ones that put Lara in full military camo like Solid Snake. While a completionist “reward outfit” for someone like Croft in other games probably would have been a bikini, when you clear all the game’s tombs to unlock one final ensemble, you’re given what’s essentially a full suit of medieval plate armor.

Gone are the butt-focused camera shots, and there are only a couple of graphic deaths as opposed to the dozens that were present in the last game. Though the game also features male characters, Croft isn’t forced into a love story, focusing on the mission at hand of, you know, not dying. Nor is she ever made a damsel, as at different points in the game she rescues each of the two main guys in the story.

It’s not that Lara Croft is no longer attractive. She still is, at least by CG-animated beauty standards. But her appearance is not relevant to the narrative, nor is it spotlighted as eye-candy for the player. Lara Croft used to be the literal pin-up girl for “video game vixens,” but now she’s just a badass, not meant to titillate in the least.

Furthermore, in the opinion of the reviewer: Has

the series lost anything because of this transformation? No, and Tomb Raider is now actually better than it’s ever been, both in terms of narrative and gameplay. It’s not without its lingering issues, but whatever the problems are, they have nothing to do with whether or not Croft is sexualized for the player.


Ok, Lara is sanitized, feminist criteria is fulfilled, but will young men and teen age boys, the market for video games, play this without a sexy Lara?

#2 RE: With 'Rise of the Tomb Raider,' The Complete De-Objectification Of Lara Croft Is Complete by algernonpj 09.11.2015 15:51


How Lara Croft Has Changed Over The Last 18 Years


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