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Most discussions of Tomb Raider, released earlier this month, return doggedly to a supposed disconnect between Lara’s initial squeamishness re: violence and, later on, the frequent, creative acts of murder you commit as her.

They argue the extremity of violence takes away from her character development. She should retain her respect for humanity and whisper a heartfelt, “oh god i’m so sorry” into the ear of every man she bludgeons, I guess? Even as dozens of cultists bum rush her, she’s supposed to maintain a veneer of delicacy, maybe?

Rubbish.

Lara’s skill development perfectly parallels her attitude toward violence/murder over the course of the game. Initially, she’s incapable. She has no answer for up-close physical force. You’re forced to rely on distance, on inefficient killing.

As she moves deeper into the game’s story line, hardened against a persistently hostile environment, doesn’t it make sense her hesitancy disappears? She learns to kill, even if it still leaves a bad taste in her mouth. And if she retains an aversion to violence, wouldn’t she want to finish off her attackers as quickly and efficiently as possible? It’s more humane.

In a place like that, she would be forced to adapt. She would change quickly. If she didn’t, the game would be over after two hours when she hesitated with her finger on the trigger.

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