Square Enix’s decision to turn Lara Croft from She-Hulk into brunette Barbie in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider still irks me.

Downgrades are nothing new, especially with the mind-numbingly boring Anthem being the most recent high-profile subject of a comparison video that shows why E3 demos shouldn’t be trusted. Next to Anthem, the most famous and controversial culprit found guilty of being downgraded is probably Ubisoft’s disappointing failure, Watch Dogs. However, not all downgrades are merely about an earlier build of a game having better lighting and weather effects. As with Square Enix’s Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, one of the more vocal complaints online was about Lara Croft’s face supposedly having been whacked by the ugly stick. But, while Lara’s face was undeniably less detailed than her Rise Of The Tomb Raider counterpart, I was and still am more disappointed by the noticeable downgrade in her arms. Yes, I’m that petty.

As pointed out again by numerous forums (seriously, just search “Shadow Of The Tomb Raider lara’s muscles changed”), Lara Croft’s arms in the retail version of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider are much skinnier than her toned biceps in the E3 2018 demo. As for why the developers kept some muscle but changed her arms to be slimmer, I do not know. However, as someone who could be ridiculed as being an “arm man”, the change still slightly disappoints me whenever I torment myself by looking at the differences.

Now, my gripe is admittedly as petty as the complaints in the darker recesses of the internet about Lara Croft no longer being an ample breasted sex symbol with mythical nude cheats, but it’s something I still wish to briefly ramble on about. No, Lara having spaghetti arms doesn’t make Shadow Of The Tomb Raider a bad game (especially seeing as I praised it as one of 2018’s best titles), yet there’s no dissuading me from the opinion that she looked more of a badass in the E3 demo.

Alicia Vikander’s portrayal of Lara Croft in Hollywood’s latest go at doing Tomb Raider right was a shining spark in an otherwise mixed bag of recycled storylines, stereotypical baddies, and god awful music that makes me hate anything that isn’t rock or heavy metal. One of the best aspects of Vikander’s performance was her sheer dedication to beefing herself up for the role so she realistically resembled a tough female, rather than an innocent and sweet girl whose only power is her daddy’s money. But, while Vikander was lifting weights and doing other stuff at the gym far too physical for me to ever consider, the actual Lara Croft’s triceps and muscles were being toned down.

Some could say she looked too muscular or cartoony in the E3 demo, but instead she looked like an actual threat capable of doing all the stunts and rock climbing she pulls off with grace and ease. Her earlier build wasn’t over-the-top or unrealistic, and she appeared capable of genuinely being able to snap a soldier’s neck. When you look at the muscles on Naughty Dog’s newest female character in The Last Of Us Part 2 (as seen in the “overly violent” trailer below), Square Enix and Eidos Montreal’s decision to make Lara’s arms slimmer feels like even more of a step backwards (as an over-exaggeration, they essentially turned her from She-Hulk into brunette Barbie). 

In news pertaining to Square Enix, the director of Final Fantasy 14 has said he wants the 16th instalment to take the series back to its roots, and Tetsuya Nomura has explained Final Fantasy’s absence in Kingdom Hearts 3, as well as suggested there’ll be another spin-off before Kingdom Hearts 4. Nomura also explained why Star Wars and The Avengers weren’t in the third instalment (which they never should be).

As for Tomb Raider, Square Enix has recently discussed Shadow Of The Tomb Raider’s sales, and – if you’re not mad at me for blabbering on about Lara’s slightly less toned and slimmer arms – then you can read about how Square Enix failed Lara by clicking here (her arms aren’t mentioned).