Loving the Hub in Tomb Raider
Hey look, a post that’s not about Bioshock Infinite… for now. I actually finished Ken Levine’s masterpiece (and yes, that word is appropriate for Infinite) this weekend, and the game certainly lives up to the hype in terms of what a sheer breathtaking experience it is — even if it’s sometimes lacking in the gameplay department.
One thing that I found disappointing about the game, for all its wonders, was the fact that the game was almost completely on rails. Mighty fine rails, mind you, but still, I’m the kind of guy that likes a hub, or a home base of sorts, where I’m free to weigh my options and pursue them at my leisure.
Enter Tomb Raider.
I started Lara Croft’s newest installment last night, and I have to say, the game comes out swinging at you relentlessly, dumping you into Lara’s wet, painful shoes and letting you fend for yourself in the island wilderness.
And even though my time with the game was short as of now, the thing that really impressed me was the game’s campsite, and the way it functions as your hub of activities. From here, you add skills, choose your next destination and much more. After Infinite, this was truly welcome, and it was nice to feel like I had my hands on the reins of the game. Again, don’t get me wrong — the rails in Infinite work — but it is good to be in control of the experience, and have a moment’s respite.
A great hub in a video game isn’t just a safe spot for the character, it’s a safe spot for the player, giving you a chance to decompress, take stock of your skills, your goals and plan out what you want to do next. It’s funny how invaluable something like that is, and how much you don’t know you’re missing it. For me, some of the best hubs that I can remember in recent years would be the Normandy in Mass Effect, Whiterun in Skyrim (sort of a stretch, I know) and command in XCOM.
So, what are some of your favorite gaming hubs? Go!