Quick Time Events Destroy Tomb Raider, Turn Game Into Wretched Steaming Garbage

I was going to write a review of the new Tomb Raider, talk about AMD's Tress FX system, and discuss the game's merits. Not anymore. Not only is the game utterly destroyed by a reliance on Quick Time Events at every single juncture, the developers decided early on to refuse to tell you which buttons you actually need to push to complete them successfully.

This original screenshot from Kotaku illustrates the problem nicely. First, you have to hit the "Left" and "Right" keys in quick succession. Then you have to press a button.


Which button? I don't know.

And when I say "I don't know," I'm not kidding. This is apparently a PC-only bug. If every QTE used the same button sequence, it wouldn't be a problem -- but they don't.

In the first part of the game, there's a section of forest Lara must traverse to reach her archaeologist friend. You end up walking back and forth between a puzzle (locked gate) and your campsite several times. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore, lots of interesting bits of lore to find, and regular encounters with wolves. The pair of wolves (always a pair) spawns and charges you.

Once they grab you, you have to whack L&R again. Then you quickly hit another button. But since the game won't TELL me which button, I'm left frantically mashing the keyboard trying to find the right choice. I've tried the keys that map to "Interact" and "Melee" (E & F) -- no good. I typically use EDSF for movement instead of WASD, but I switched back to the game's default mapping to make certain this wasn't the problem. Didn't work. Mouse 1 isn't the necessary key. Neither is Mouse 2, Ctrl, or Alt.

Then it turned out that the problem can happen if A&D are hit too rapidly. The game will detect the "struggle" occurring, but then fail to recognize the follow-up input, possibly because the keyboard queue isn't cleared. I did eventually make it past these wolf encounters, but repeated user complaints make it clear that this isn't an isolated problem -- it comes up again and again in the game.

Every time I die, I'm treated to the sound of Lara's neck being snapped by a wolf after some cries of pain and tearing flesh. And the reason this is happening is because a developer couldn't be bothered to implement an actual combat system as opposed to a button-mashing crapfest.



I thought this game looked like fun. The first few bits are fun, despite the total reliance on QTE's for every single action. Need to climb a rocky cliff? QTE. Need to make a challenging jump? QTE. Tussling with an enemy? QTE. I was willing to program my mouse for QTE macros because I thought hey, this might just be worth it.

But no. As the Reddit thread above indicates, the entire system is completely broken. In a number of cases, users with lower-end video cards have to turn settings down in order to perform the QTE's appropriately (low frame rates can apparently de-synch the video from the action sequences).  Watching Lara die is like watching a damn snuff film (I've included a handy YouTube video of one of the sequences below, so you can share the experience.


Now imagine watching that 15 times in a row.

Tress FX: Pretty Nice

In deference to AMD's nifty hair technology, I'll include the following -- Tress FX, the Radeon rendering technology that makes Lara Croft's hair break into strands instead of presenting as a solid mass, is really pretty. It's nicely done. The GPU impact of using it is significant (frame rates on a Radeon 7950 would halve depending on whether or not a scene included Lara's hair or not) but it's really well done.

Too bad the rest of the game isn't.
Via:  Hot Hardware
Comments
RWilliams one year ago

The last game I played with good QTE was Virtual Valerie.

FreeJet one year ago

I could do without "bouncin' and behavin'" hair on Lara Croft...especially at the expense of frame-rates. I haven't bought or played Tomb Raider yet and having read this review about the QTEs, I'm suddenly having flash-backs to that tyrannosaurus-wreck called Jurassic Park: The Game. I can see using that kind of interaction in a Wii game or something, where you're throwing your arms around and jumping on a mat, but not hunting and pecking on a keyboard.

semitope one year ago

The tressFX was NOT well done. The hair has a persistent bug where it floats above her shoulder (as far as I could tell). I compared the effect to the one in Alice madness returns or whatever that game is called and it was similar, well done but less demanding. TressFX needs work. It cannot be used in games well when only the main character can have good hair unless you have a literal supercomputer. A real solution to hair physics would be applicable to more characters in the game and more than just hair (any fiber)

The QTE was fine. It's almost necessary for certain aspects of the game to be in there. It would lose some of its drama otherwise.

Joel H one year ago

The QTE was fine for you. I'm not the only person having problems and it didn't just wreck the game for me -- it mdrove me to quit.

I don't mind a little well-done QTE, but everything in this game is based on it.

semitope one year ago

I used keyboard and mouse to play the game and it was no issue at all. Do you guys mostly play on consoles or something? The QTE was easy to figure out and I don't quite remember it being an issue to adjust to. I have a q9300 at 3ghz, 6gb ddr2 ram not dual channel and a HD5770.

One point is that you do not need to turn on TressFX. If its messing up the game, get rid of it. Its just hair. Unless you are a rabid hairstylist.

Another one is that the QTEs button requirements are dependent on the action on screen. F pushes, E grabs, left right is struggle. You can learn what each one is easily.

Maybe some of you guys have fancy keyboards screwing things up. I am really surprised that there was such an issue. Some of the complaining seems weak.

Joel H one year ago

I review PC games on PC hardware. Keyboard + mouse.

Joel H one year ago

Using a controller can apparently help, but I don't own one. And it's no excuse. When I buy a game, I expect each control method to be functional. It's true that some games play better than others with different input types, but basic functionality should always work.

It's a real shame, too. This is the first time I've ever just quit a game I planned on reviewing, but all evidence suggests the problem runs straight to the end. I'd rather play Daikatana.

RWilliams one year ago

I'd argue that for games in this perspective, a gamepad is the best control option, even for the PC. I use a gamepad for racing, platformer and over-the-shoulder games like this, and then KB + Mouse for everything else. Some games just feel a lot more natural with a gamepad (namely due to the analog stick).

It does really bug me that they effectively ruined this game, though. I was a little wary to begin with due to the trailers making the game look like a movie, but I didn't realize it'd be quite so prevalent. And here I see some people calling it the GOTY already. I really wish they stuck with the proven formula.

Joel H one year ago

There's a line between "Plays best on controller" and "Plays acceptably on PC." I couldn't get the QT events to work properly, even after I'd figured out what the right button to hit was, apparently due to video / input synchronization issues.

If it had been a less violent ending, like Lara falling off a cliff or a generic death screen, I would've kept at it. One gruesome death is fine. A few gruesome death's is fine. But being forced to watch the same scene over and over, all because a QTE isn't working properly (when QTE's should be used sparingly in the first place?) No.

Just no.

FreeJet one year ago

We need to start a keyboard gamer's movement about this.  Here's the slogan:  "Just Press  N+O against QTEs.  It's the PC thing to do."

RWilliams one year ago

Haha :P

QTEs in -general- need to die a horrible death. Even Sleeping Dogs, a game that tends to stray from tradition a bit from the genre, suffers that flaw. When in fights you have very little time to push the right button to succeed. It's annoying.

PengTuckKwok one year ago

Let me just chime in to say I normally HATE QTE in most games, I have to say this one was actually well done and not at all intrusive.

I did not have missing buttons (I played on a PS3 - Lara on 40 inch screen :D) , the QTEs actually have a slight timing to it, there's a little ding/dong that goes of to tell you when you should start pressing it.

Wait too long or press the wrong button you lose. I found they balanced it pretty well in this game. I got through most of them in 1 or 2 tries at most. Helps if you don't ragequit.

Joel H one year ago

I got through most of them in 1 or 2 tries at most.

Yeah. And if I'd managed that ratio, I'd have been totally ok with it. I fought with them for several hours and attempted multiple workarounds. And yes, part of what killed the game for me was the death scenes. Not because they made me angry, but because they disgusted me.

I don't mind outrageous over-the-top gore -- in fact, I enjoy it. I don't mind a dramatic death scene, either -- Isaac's death scenes in Dead Space 3 were creepy, gory, and in a lot of cases, pretty awesome.

But therein lies the problem. A gory death scene can subtly influence the player not to treat death lightly. But I simply didn't want to keep watching these repeat in quick succession. Run forward, engage wolves, attempt QTE, fail, neck broken.

Run forward, engage wolves, attempt QTE, neck broken.

The last time I quit a game due to disgust was Grand Theft Auto III -- when it was new. I have a parent who works in law enforcement; killing cops who were doing their job just didn't sit right with me. But that was more than 10 years back.

AshleyRedman one year ago

i am a pc user and have been having this issue big time

have only reached wolf in the cave with roth

i have been shot in the eye 3times

i have been eaten by wolves in the forest 5 times

i have fallen off the plane 3 times

some how after crossing the log at the start i mange to shift from the ground to off the log and over the water fall

thankfully its my freinds game so i did not waste my money but youtube videos shows it having a great story and would be great to play if it gets fixed

AshleyRedman one year ago

i am a pc user and have been having this issue big time

have only reached wolf in the cave with roth

i have been shot in the eye 3times

i have been eaten by wolves in the forest 5 times

i have fallen off the plane 3 times

some how after crossing the log at the start i mange to shift from the ground to off the log and over the water fall

thankfully its my freinds game so i did not waste my money but youtube videos shows it having a great story and would be great to play if it gets fixed

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