You say "Shadowheart," but all I hear is "Lara Croft." | GAME3A

You say "Shadowheart," but all I hear is "Lara Croft."

As someone who eagerly awaited the release of Baldur's Gate 3 on console, it has been a peculiar experience to witness everyone else being so consumed...

Levi Winslow Sept 09, 2023
You say "Shadowheart," but all I hear is "Lara Croft."

As someone who eagerly awaited the release of Baldur's Gate 3 on console, it has been a peculiar experience to witness everyone else being so consumed by the game in recent months. On one hand, I desire to explore things on my own, but on the other hand, I wish to ensure that I don't miss out on anything (especially when it comes to encountering an empowered Tiefling woman with a broken horn). It feels somewhat akin to that initial meeting with your girlfriend's family – we've never met, yet I know who's who, I've heard the stories, I know people's preferences, the topics to avoid discussing, who to have a drink with, who never to be alone with, and who holds racist tendencies (in Baldur's Gate 3, I discovered that to be "most people" when playing as a Drow). However, I have been thoroughly misled in regards to Shadowheart.

Perhaps it is less a case of being "misled" and more a case of being "uninformed." When I encountered Shadowheart in the game, I recognized her from various artworks or screenshots of Baldur's Gate 3, but I hadn't heard much about her. It was a surprise when, after a brief encounter with Lae'zel in the prologue, Shadowheart was the first companion I met and could engage in conversation with. I had assumed she might appear later to spice things up, but it became evident that I had no idea who she truly was.

I had expected a Gothic personality clad in leather with long, flowing hair—a person with moral ambivalence, someone flirtatious and impressive. I was anticipating Astarion. Instead, she possesses a piercing, refined demeanor, a tight ponytail, a stiff upper lip, and an unwavering determination. She is a cleric who seeks the good in the world around her, yet she is acutely aware of the naivety in expecting it to be present.

You Say ‘Shadowheart’, But All I Hear Is ‘Lara Croft’

Perhaps it was the pronounced British accent. Perhaps it was the ponytail. Perhaps it was the heart of gold and the bloody fists. Perhaps it was the fact that she carries a peculiar artifact, possibly collected from a plundered tomb. Whatever it was, she immediately reminded me of Lara Croft, and now I can no longer ignore it (or overlook it).

Tomb Raider is one of my all-time favorite game series, vying for second place alongside Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and Crash Bandicoot, while Pokémon reigns supreme above them all. Therefore, I hold a deep affection for Lara Croft, and there's certainly a possibility that I seek her influence. A sophisticated British lady? It must be Lara Croft! But it feels like there's something more to it. Even if it's merely a coincidence, having a character in the group who reminds me of Lara serves as a shortcut to emotionally invest myself in her adventures. It also enhances the sense of being more connected to the tabletop version of the game, bridging both the spirit and the dice rolls.

You Say ‘Shadowheart’, But All I Hear Is ‘Lara

That is indeed part of the joy of playing Dungeons & Dragons. I have an idea for a Queen Elsa wizard focused on elemental damage and the ability of "Elemental Mastery" that I am eagerly waiting to unleash in a perfect adventure. On TheGamer, we have guides on creating Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and DC characters in D&D. There are also official guides on building the characters from "Honor Among Thieves" in the game. People love taking their favorite characters and reimagining them in the world of Dungeons & Dragons. Therefore, encountering a character similar to Lara Croft doesn't bother me; instead, it draws me further into the game.

As I lag behind in the game's progress, many of you already know where Shadowheart's story leads. Perhaps this is a complete misjudgment of the situation, and Shadowheart betrays me or succumbs to her darker desires (by the way, you all pronounced "The Dark Longing" like a quest and not like a guy). Or maybe, as the story unfolds, she becomes more and more like Lara, and for me, everything aligns early on. If she turns out to be evil, please refrain from sending angry messages, Tomb Raider fans. I still remember how upset you were when I said that the games need to evolve beyond mere tomb raiding and focus on building the world around them.

The family gathering has just begun, and I'm engaging in small talk with these characters whom I will get to know intimately over the next 50 to 100 hours. I know they have stories to tell, and I can't wait to hear them. But why didn't you tell me that your aunt, Shadowheart, looks just like Lara Croft?