i am a HUGE TR fan but i have to say that i was a little disappointed here and there with this game. to be very objective i think this game deserves a 7.5, 7.8 max. though it had many many good things about it, there were a few things which really hurt it. i know a lot of people didn't seem to have a problem with a camera, but i DID have to struggle with it. it wasn't a HUGE deal, but it was noticeable and it was annoying. there were also a number of glitches that really are not expected from a game of this calibre.
anyway, it is in the end, just my opinion, and i absolutely respect everyone else's. i can see why people hated it or loved it. anyway, in increments of 0.5 for XBOX 360.
MUSIC/SFX - 8.0/10. the sound effects had nothing wrong with it, but they weren't spectacular or worthy of the scale of the game. sounded kind of generic. the 'squeels' the spiders make just sounded funny. however the music was awesome, especially in some levels. very beautifully done.
Puzzles - 8.0/10. i will ignore the glitches, but the puzzle design was quite good. however it didn't seem too different from the previous Crystal Design games. personally the right degree of difficulty, with stress on figuring out rather than reflex. rather than have multiple ways to solve a puzzle it seemed more like they could be done in a different order; the actual method from getting through each segment at least seemed fairly more linear than promised (i've just had one playthrough)
Graphics - 8/10. it was the inconsistency that bothered me. some areas were gorgeous whereas some areas (like background) seemed simply pasted on textures. there was obvious stress on areas you were "meant to see up close" whereas others were just left aside. some of the enemies (bats, spiders) looked very backdated.
Environments - 7.5/10. though some of the environments were beautifully rendered and vast (Thailand), a lot of it was actually linear (like the motorcycle areas or the ships) or dead space (the ocean levels). also some were designed just around a single large area with adjacent near-identical side rooms. i understand symmetry, but still. also having to do parts of the ship and manor twice was just...cheap. there were plenty of glitches to go about, and the lighting and shadows could have been better for an end-of-2008 game. also what was up with the needless empty jars? the medikits were almost unnoticeable, whereas it was obvious which jars to break for the gems.
Enemies/Combat - 5.5/10. Horrible - just plain horrible. the AI was very sub par - enemies would just keep trying to run through a solid wall or charge blindly or just stare at you (especially when it came to the humans who would just stand around and take hits). if animals plain charged at you with no concern for themselves, that is understandable, but it really seemed like they just added in human enemies cos they had to. the spiders and bats were more annoying than anything else, whereas the other animals didn't even seem to stumble at being shot and charged straight at you and knocked you down even if you shot it in the face. alternatively the Yeti creatures would just stay rooted to the spot if you kept smashing Thor's hammer. A hammer that can be used to kill gods taking 4-5 hits to kill zombies doesn't make sense. also there was no way to get more ammo, there was no point in choosing a gun at the beginning of each location, the adrenaline shot was pretty useless other than for one enemy at a time, melee attacks were plain stupid (just charge at THEM instead), the pistols were BOTH slow AND weak. i could go on and on. a few semi-hard bosses would have been appreciated - ones that were neither frustrating nor skill-less. the variety was pretty low too. even for a non-action game.
Controls - 8/10. the controls weren't too different from the other Crystal design games, though sometimes Lara felt too floaty and at other times to weighed down. in general, no complaints. if it ain't broke, don't fix it, as they say.
Camera - 6.5/10. there are a lot of people i am sure who insist they had no problem with the camera, but there are plenty of others who did. i am one of them. the camera forced you to make a lot of blind jumps that didn't end up too well, for starters. especially when it came to jumps off walls, etc i had to depend entirely on my estimate to where the next pole, for instance, would be. the camera would often revert back to it's 'chosen' angle which caused Lara to fly past the her objective to her doom, which was just plain irritating.
Story - 7.5/10. It just seemed like they wanted to link the two previous games together somehow and see if they squeeze more out of the "searching for her mother" arc, which seemed to end very abruptly and with little or no explanation. in fact, the whole game just ends very abruptly with a lot left for players to figure out. except for Lara herself, everyone seemed to play pretty much just cameos and i didn't think they brought out much character depth in anyone. Keeley's voice acting was better in previous games as well, IMO. and what happens to .
Replay Value/Life - 6/10. Are you kidding me with the Treasure Hunter mode? and the extras and stuff? really? the only good thing about is that you don't have to face the annoying enemies again.
Presentation - 7/10. I personally didn't like the radial menu and found it quite constricting (especially when it came to save/load) and the fact that you have to press start twice every time you turn it on a little annoying. also the music there was not as memorable as the previous two installments. the loading screens could've been nicer, with new information of journal entries as you progress further. the 2-3 lines of text just seemed like a way to throw in an explainer and save Ms Hawes the trouble.
THE GLITCHES. OMG THE GLITCHES. ridiculous. clipping, floating objects, texture popping, getting stuck in environments, refusing to grab grab-able ledges (cost me quite a while of endless, frustrating searching around in Mexico) bouncing off mountable ledges, thrown objects flying in random directions, picking up objects making Lara step back and forth continuously, sudden camera changes, the list goes on forever.
to me this game really seemed rushed. it was overall an enjoyable game, and i as a long time TR fan enjoyed playing it, but i have to ask myself how much others did/will. i really hope Crystal isn't making the same mistake Core did but churning out half-finished games to meet deadlines. please Eidos, DO NOT do it again.
OVERALL - 7.5/10. i'm sorry that i have to agree with the reviews, but i could see what they were talking about. this game had SO MUCH potential! i WANTED to like this game. maybe that was the problem - i was expecting the second coming, but despite that, in complete objectivity, i've come to expect more from Ms Croft. it's not unenjoyable or bad in any way, it's just not awesome. all that said, it was worth my money, and i played it obsessively and in general i did enjoy it and recommended it to friends. it's good to have Lara around. if definately is. recommended to any fan of Lara's.
hold infinity in the palm of your hand, and eternity in an hour
Last edited by CAARaeed; 11-24-2008 at 11:14 AM.
lol most of the reviews out are 8's and some 9s, yes some 7's too but most are in the 8 percentage
since when did 8's become bad in reviews? people act like it has to be 10/10 for it to be worth playing
Overall score: 6 out of 10
Goodpoints: Better Graphics... That's about it.
Badpoints: Too many... far too many glitches, Texture pop-up, clipping etc. Lack of a good storyline, the fact you cannot restock weapons is a bad point IMO, Again longer than legend but still short, i felt TRA was longer if not a little easier. Lack of decent unlockables, i mean c'mon, all we get is 1 costume and a few pictures (of which i already have in my strategy guide or have seen on the net, you can't even watch the cutscenes back. Treasure hunt mode is absolutely useless, if you have got the relics and treasures first time round like i did. I am not playing this game all again in hard mode just to unlock more pictures! The treasures and relics were far too simple looking, TRL and TRA had far more unique looking ones, even Uncharted did better than this. The controls were not top notch and last but certainly not least... the camera! just awkward and bad, you have to fight with it sometimes! 3 years in the making and errr 3 times more problems than previous TR titles.
Last edited by 4croftsake; 11-24-2008 at 07:18 AM.
So here's my review!
I've just finished the game on my PC and I've enjoyed it very, very much. I give it 8/10. Now for the details.
I've hardly watched any preview material so I think it was more enjoyable for me then for someone who knew most of the story and locations beforehand. I love the graphics, the sounds, the environments... to me it's a great improvement over Legend and Anniversary, I think it's the most "tomb raiderish" TR since TR1! It has got a very similar feeling to it and for this CD I give you my hearty CONGRATULATIONS! I also think it's a great idea for Lara to film and comment her discoveries.
Each and every level was interesting, and I don't think they were short.
Choosing outfits and weapons is a nice touch.
Some people miss Alister and Zip, personally I'm grateful they're out of the game. Lara's on a serious quest and doing incredibly dangerous things, chit-chat and jokes would be out of place.
Ok, enough of praising, now for some complaints
- I don't understand why can't I choose to replay the level while doing it, neither can I exit to the main menu... when I want to go back to the last checkpoint I either have to kill Lara or go to Extras and run one of the movies O_o
- I don't get the Treasure Hunt, why can't I choose the level? And why can't I simply replay the level with all the puzzles etc. untouched? It seems that the only was is to save at the beginning of each level, I wish I had known this earlier It's very strange, especially since I can't recall anyone complaing about the old replay system
- combat is kind of chaotic, also I think the headshots are too difficult, Adrenaline Dodge was a breeze compared to this... overall I like TRL and TRA combat tricks much, much better... fighting the sharks in the Arctic is also kinda strange, I couldn't attack them until they were so close they were already attacking me...
ACTIVE PAUSE would also help a lot.
- I'm a bit disappointed there's no save-at-will, although there's plenty of checkpoints so usually it doesn't hurt... the painful part was getting the last relic, I was furious at Lara jumping over the poles and even simply sliding off the edges when near the "water" (now it comes to me, was it ever explained what this substance is? I didn't see it anywhere and I think it should be)
- why can't we re-watch the cutscenes? Also, some more character-develompent would be nice, most of the characters felt kind of... raw, there could be more story to them
- camera problems - I didn't read many reviews but I'm sure people have told everything about it already
- I think there were too many secrets, TRL and TRA had better proportions. I also wish the Relics had some unique look to them, like in TRA.
- I didn't like those MASSES of enemies, like spiders, bats and the undead guys at the end... getting rid of them was just mindless clicking
- I miss the "usual" Croft Manor, but it's perfectly justified by the story... and I think it was a terrific idea to implement the Manor in the plot
- I wish there was an urban, catsuit level (although the atmosphere of the game would be different, it would be less "tombraiderish", so perhaps it's better this way)
- I wonder what happened to the Rome/Vatican and Mesopotamia levels?
Last edited by Jezyk; 11-24-2008 at 10:40 AM.
My personal, and I mean personal, not the law, review of the game and my sincere response to the obsessive fans annoying anyone with a different opinion than theirs on this site:
(And this of course, it is solely my obnoxious opinion).
**Puts on Heavily Armored Flame Suit with Extra Health Packages**
What's the point of having an "Official User's reviews" if once anyone expresses their point of view about their experience the mega-fans come to bash you. You know who you are. If you already posted your review, please just leave and let others share their experience as well. Read all responses and take it with a grain of salt and two of sugar.
Learn to respect others as well. The game is NOT the second coming it is just a game; and it has its flaws.
Go around the net and see how many non-tomb raider gaming sites are talking about the game... ummmm, almost no one. Guess why?
There are a few AAA games overshadowing Underworld on features and improvements. There is this thing called "Multiplayer" and this other one named: "Co-op" Who has been around for a while now and it brings VALUE to your $. In a time with so many great games out people will put their money where value is. And the game cost $60.00 just like all others...
Tomb Raider Underworld will be a treat for fans of the series but NOT for the majority of gamers; it wont have the impact that Drake's fortune did, or Gears of War, Fall Out 3, Fable 2 or the Halo series created in the community... as much as we loved to retaliate with the argument of, "It is what it is, it is a Tomb Raider game and you should know" well, guess what, Eidos and CD do NOT and let me clarify this, DO NOT work for your personal feelings about Natla or Lara or Curtis... nope. They are a business company with a pay-roll just like their competitors.
Underworld is to me like that Miss Teen South Carolina girl, beautiful but so lacking substance. From Miss SC: "Personally, I think the US Americans dont know Underworld, because, for the children, Iraq... "
OK, now: The graphics are gorgeous, period. Kudos!
The environments elaborated and grand on scale. Awesome to look at! Beautiful!
the puzzles are varied and interesting but sometimes not very rewarding, really... jump here, climb this ten times, back-track 2 times above and below, now open a door and Voila! you get one tiny life vase. I wish the treasures will mean something not just a bland grey tiny pyramid with a bell... Yaaaay I got another one and that means... ummm... well... I mean I got.... *sighs*
The Sound was good; right on. Music and atmosphere effects all very well-done. Voice-overs as cheesy as any other TR game so not surprise there. Cool stuff.
Enemies=lame, really lame; thank G for the puzzles. Please people, most animals look like they were running on wheels. Lara has 2000 animations and the lizards and spiders, well... ummm, 2? 4? yep. Humans are.. well, not too smart at all and they were all brothers, they all look the same.
Gameplay: Dont get me started, LOL. C'mon CD and Eidos; have you guys played games lately? You guys had such a great opportunity here. You needed a cover system people; you knew you had stiff competition with Uncharted and like it or not it was going to affect gamer's impressions. Gun play has evolved... a lot, actually; so if you dont want to improve, you are better off not including it in game. It is weak and it only enhances the other minor flaws making it look huge. The woman (Lara) can brush off bushes on her path; she can cover her face when running close to flames; but she CANNOT take cover during a gun fight... yeah, that.
The game is still way Linear... what Lara can do? Well, she can follow the yellow brick road... sorry, slightly whiter edges You guys promised free-walls! Freedom! Get creative, find your own path, do it your way with Lara... but DID NOT deliver. Great concept, poor execution; oh well... really sad because some of the environments call for freedom. It would have been awesome to finish the game and go back to goof around the huge levels with Lara's new moves and such...
And let's not talk about the camera, remember? the one we were going to share our awesome pics online? Yeah that... I was trying to figure it out like a monkey trying to open a can of tuna... just to find out, oops! It was not included on the game, last minute. but the camera is a minor item, I am just being bitc** now.
Weapons: For once I am not going to complaint. This is Tomb Raider, when I want weapons I go play Halo, Resistance, Gears or Call of Duty... weapons is not a big deal, gameplay with those weapons is... and there are some cool choices in Underworld.
Controls; need tightening. You know they do; but again, not big deal, I can handle it.
Story: Well, not exactly coherent... more like a noon-Spanish Soap. Maria! Robertoo! Mariiaa!
Camera: ... that.
**All and all, I enjoyed playing Underworld as a Tomb Raider fan. The game is beautiful and it feels good especially for those who've played all iterations. I hope sells enough to give Eidos and CD a reason to make another... but this time, PLEASE PEOPLE, scout around the market for improvements and competition. You guys still have a Golden Goose in your hands.
***Well, I guess I can take off my Heavy Armor Flame Suit and go about my life. ***
I love you too!
Last edited by Unity2012; 11-24-2008 at 09:19 AM.
I've just played TRU through again & encountered no issues at all this time which goes to show the bugs are completely random. I enjoyed it so much more becuase of this & the bug that forced me to restart the game the first time around was in fact the end cutscene failing to activate.
When you play a game for the first time & such a thing happens which makes you have to restart it really effects how you feel about a game naturally. My 2nd play through was so different for not experiencing lots of bugs & that major glitch! If my first play through had gone as smoothly as my 2nd play through I would of had a better first impression.
@Josh Why do you feel the need to reply to everybody's review. Esp if they are critical in some way. You've reviewed it yourself so why not just let others give their honest review whithout their review being reviewed by you.
In comparison to other games, I rate TR:U a 7.
In comparison to the other Tomb Raider games, I give it a 2.
I played it on a PS3.
First, a little back story. The ONLY reason I purchased my PlayStation (both PS2, and PS3) was because of Tomb Raider. I love these style games. I love the adventure, the puzzles, etc.
I find that this type of game is fewer and further between these days with online FPS style games taking over (which I don't care for). When a new Tomb Raider comes out, I get super excited, dust off the controller, and prepare for a week on the couch engulfed in a whole new world.
I'm rarely disappointed. Except for TR:U
Being a very spotty and occasional gamer, a Tomb Raider game usually takes me weeks to finish. I finished this game in about 16 hours. And thats having to start over half way through due to a bug.
What I did like about the game, was the incredible graphics. Stunning actually. As well as the motion... however, I think the developers spent a little too much time making Lara's boobs jiggle just right, and let a lot of bugs slip through the cracks. Such as the camera... it made me motion sick half the time. It was EVERYWHERE. I spent more time moving the camera to try and keep it steady, than I did moving Lara around.
The puzzles were elementary compared to previous versions. Rarely can I finish a Tomb Raider game without some on-line help. This was a breeze.
It was too short!!! When I encountered my bug in the Mexico level, and consigned myself to start over, I figured, "Well, at least I'm not that far through the game" Little did I know the the end was near. Certainly not worth the $60 I paid... I should have just rented the game.
No Croft Manor. After I've finished the last few TR games, it's always nice to have the Croft Manor to run around in and find things. Makes me feel like the game isn't truly over... That is one thing that was missed in this version.
Even simple things like a way to exit the game seemed to be missing.
I don't usually do the whole on-line forum thing, but I was so bummed, I'm hoping that someone with some pull reads this and takes notes for (hopefully) the next TR game.
Don't get me wrong, I do LOVE the work you guys have done in the past, and I am a HUGE fan of the Tomb Raider series... but this is by far, not your best effort. I could have waited longer for a game that was more satisfying, and worth my $60.
Music/SFX - 10
Puzzles - 4
Graphics - 10
Environments - 10
Enemies/Combat - 3
Controls - 2
Camera - 1
hmm there are 3 things that could have easily lengthened the game and it seems really weird as to why they are not in the game .
I don't think it's at all wrong to compare this to the older games. I think its very odd that every single distinguishable feature of previous TR games is completely gone. The long raiding/exploring/traipsing, the boss battles, the crazy puzzles, (especially the physical ones that made you hustle your booty), the unlockables secrets-levels, outfits, the training in Croft manor, etc....
and for the record I'm a grown intelligent individual and I'm not afraid to express my opinion as I see fit and never will be. TRU is gorgeous to look at but lacks substance. I had fun playing it and I really liked it, but I don't feel any need to put it on a pedestal. Sure things change, one usually hopes for the better. TRL was a change for the better, but TRU feels like a serious step back.
If...no, WHEN you step out of line, you'll get it!
Ok I have now finished it.
<!-- This review contains spoilers please do not read it if you don't want spoilers. -->
<!-- spoiler -->
Give the game an overall score.
Tell us what platform you played on.
High end gaming PC
What you liked about the game.
Everything. I really enjoyed it, few glitches aside. Graphics were incredible, gameplay was tomb raider, I enjoyed it much.
What you Disliked about the game.
When getting Lara in a position where she cannot move out of, having her stand and gimp out until I stop trying to move.
No Time Trials.
No unlockables aside pictures?
Certain parts of the game that pretty much require death to figure out.
After getting the belt, trying to get out pretty much requires you die xxx number of times trying to make the swing.
Natlas homing fireballs when your trying to see where to go. - would have been nice to target her without manual targeting.
Feel free to give ratings on anything else like:
8/10 - Music and speech was very good, however the mix when both are on at the same time requires the player to custom tailor sound, so as to be able to hear speech over music - cutscenes.
best music was using the glove to rotate the bridge, it was epic feeling.
Puzzles were good some quite difficult, some quite easy, some I am not sure if I did properly or as designed.
The first major puzzle for me was the block one before Thors first glove. In order to get the blocks out, I stood on the pad, and sticky grenaded the small boxed through the door... was that intended?
Only nitpick is after certain game events, where Lara should be mad, upset, etc due to what has happened to friends etc, the character while playing has this cheery smily look on her face... I mean someone was shot and murdered, and your all cheery?
Wel done. No complaints. I really enjoyed the look of the norse statues. Very Marvel,
Checkpoits negate any challenge in combat. If killed a checkpoint is 2 steps back. I frequently grendaded myself to regain full health due to the amount of checkpoints. Checkpoints are good, and a must for most who play, however perhaps an 'extreme' mode without any checkpoints in the next.
I found the controls very good with Laras new abilities. Except when I got stuck, as mentioned.
I also did not have issues with the camera, only slight nuance of having to reposition it when it tried to pan, and I was amidst complex manuvers. -see the artic hammer bridge.
Story was great, however one inconsistency:
Who was Laras mother speaking to in the cutscenes in Legend now that we know where that portal lead to? stones? thralls? the blue goo? There was no one on the other side...
<!-- end spoilers -->
Please next time reinstate time trials
AND PLEASE lengthen the deadlines! this game was obviously rushed to meet a release date. I know everything in your business has to be on time, for cost and costing etc, marketing all that, but please, in this day and age games are crucified when they have bugs. I can wait. Please release them when they are done, not when they have to be, if at all possible. It pretty much avoids all issues.
Till the next one,
Last edited by r00ster; 11-24-2008 at 08:45 PM.
Heres my review:
1.1. You can get stuck in walls, cubes, etc... very annoying
1.2. Dancing lara... well this is killer bug... This is caused by camera so when u press forward lara cant decide where to go to left or right and she stuck on 1 place turning left and right.
1.3. There are some places where lara could jump but she wont coz its programmes that it have invisible wall.. it looks so stupid when she canl jump on low ledge/etc.
1.4. Camera sometimes where ur on ledge, in small place camera starts rotating as it like and ylu cand do anything except go blindly in some direction (usually in that situation lara get stuck).
1.5 teleportation... when on ledge and going around corner camera turns around it and lara teleports in corner.. or in wall...
1.6 same as legend and anniversary had when ur on wallrun/jumping sometimes camera turns and then right can be backwards and so lara jumps in wrong direction... usually she dies or jumps to beginnin of some annoying jumping place and saves checkpoint.
Well thats about bugs... yes there are some other but not so bad.
Few stupid things:
1. Thor was pretty small dude.... At least his hammer was worse tha i thought
2. Why the hell Natla walljumped away when lara released her?????? That was very very stupid...
3. Last boss battle sucked boss was so easy or... oh wait there WASN'T any last boss... or there wasnt ANY boss at all! WTF???? At leas i expected few boss fights i liked Legend bosses and i miss similar bosses from Underworld
4. Unlimited enemies.. ok hammer was fun and powerful weapon, but cmon it wasnt so good that i enjoyed running through unlimited enemies.
5. Treasures... Well that is one way to make players play and play game over and over again same levels... All treasures are same pyramids (ok they dont even look like pyramid but thats what i call them). Some of them are on your way and impossible to miss and some are hard top reach but they are all and same so if u miss even one you cant even think where it can be you heve to play whole level again and search every corner...
6. Checkpoint if you crossed checkpoint old checkpoint starts working so if you are jumping and then mistakely fall down it may that you fall on old checkpoint and game saves so you will have to start from it if you die.....
7. In some places there are checkpoints every 2sec...
8. I used 2 medpacks and only coz i was too lazy to die and start battle again... So if you die you start from checkpoint with full hp... And there is checkpoints in every battle.
9. There are no cheats to have fun... Or at least i dont know where they are
10. WTF????? they wont give us excalibur to play with even when lara reclaims it
11. Story... well i dont really care about stories but this story is lame...
12. Natla... only moment when you can be with her is end of the game and even then the is drunk! OMFG! Why she was drinking before she decided to kill lara with fireballs???? She hit me 2 times in whole game (ok end of last level)!!!!! If war will ever start i hope my enemies willbe as good snipers as Natla is...
13. You need only speargun additionally to pistols and while you select before level what willbe your second weapon you can change it at any moment... Pistols and speargun was only weapons i used... So other weapons were pretty useles (Hammer is different story)
14. Dopelganger... I expected at least 1 puzzle with it or battle but NO!!!! Doppel diedin a cutscene..
13. Well this isnt very bad BUT cmon we all know that it wouldbe much more fun if amanda wouldnt help lara... In the end she is supposed to be bad....
1. Gameplay i excelent
2. After compliting game you gain Treasure hunt mode. In that mode you return to level where you heve missed relics/treasures. What so special about it?? Well that level is completed.. every puzzle is solved every switch is pressed so basically you return to completed level. No enemies no puzzles you can enjoy ur game exploring and finding missed treasures. While there isnt enemies lara still dies when falling.
3. Even when you pick for firs time treasure and die right away it stays with lara so you dont have to get same treasure over and over again.
4. Checkpoints are pretty tight.. Maybe too tight but you wont have problem Doing too long sections... except you wont mistakenly take onl checkpoint.
5. Lara looks cool
6. She can do more stunts and is pretty easy to control and little misses doesent matter cos she grabs much easier than in previous games.
7. Hammer is pretty fun.
8. There is a map (although i didnt need it so i dont know is it good or not).
9. There is some kind of helper if you dont know what to do. (didnt use so dunno how good/bad it is)
Well thats about it. Dont get me wrong i love this game for my opinion its best raider ever made but they mus make patch and repair big and annoying bugs.
..::Metal & BMW Forever::..
She does move kinda drunk..but its natla so its all good!
Overall score: 10/10
Liked: all of it
Dislike: camera movement
Puzzles - 6
Environments - 10
Camera - 5
~~ TombRaider lover forever ~~
To start with i love tomb raider, so not surprisingly i pre-ordered it on PS3 to be delivered on the friday it came out. I got it about mid-day and had finished it by sat evening and this was without playing it non stop so i didnt particuarly find it that difficult. Although i did get stuck on a lot more bits than i did in the previous games.
I'll start with the cons list:
-For one the game was not particuarly long and not really that interesting to play through some parts of the levels.
-I found that the camera was the most irritating thing about playing the game, it was constantly getting stuck above lara's head when i got into a corner or too close to walls that had a low ceiling and it would wizz around her head making it especially difficult to move when you have an enemy attacking you. It was also too sensitive, at the slightest touch it would zoom in the other direction which was most annoying when you were on the motorbike.
- The controls for her and the bike were also too fluid and fast. She didnt feel like she was made from flesh or that she actually weighed anything, she moved like she was made of air. Which although i suppose might make the gameplay easier it doesnt make it very realistic, which was something i quite liked from anniversary and legend.
-Too many glitches for a PS3 game, little things that could have been solved before releasing the game. Almost felt like someone hadnt bothered to "proof play" the game. On some parts the walls would dissapear for a few seconds and all i would see is sky and then they would re-apear, parts of her body would dissapear through walls. Or when walking up a slope, whether lara was ment to ride a motorbike up it or actually walk herself, would cause lara to smack on the floor, slide down it and die like she'd just fallen off a cliff. I also had to turn off my PS3 at the wall because the game froze twice and i couldnt even turn it off using the touch switch on the front.
-The enemies wernt that difficult to kill or rather they were more difficult to kill than previous games but there was no boss battle to finish off a level. It felt like the puzzle solving was ment to be the difficult part of the game, when overall it didnt take more than 1 or 2 trys to figure out what to do.
-After completing the game i didnt really want to play it again, unlike the other tomb raider games which i have played numerous times re-loading previous saves as well as starting completely new games. I didnt really have a any desire or want to go searching for all these little artifacts or relics, the rewards for gettin them just wernt interesting enough for me to bother. Although it was sort of good that u could just search the area again without having to re-do all the puzzle work and killing the enemies.
-I disliked that you couldnt pick up dead enemies weapons or ammo, this was a let down.
-I also disliked the fact i couldnt use thor's hammer on the treasure hunting mode on any level i wanted.
-The enemies also got stuck alot of them being able to climb up walls but still not attack me or they would get stuck running around in circles.
-Thor's Hammer was sooo similar to excaliber it wasn't really anything new and exciting getting it unlike when u first get excaliber and just wanna blast it at anything.
-Although it was handy not having to go through the effort of killing all the enemies and solving all the puzzles on the treasure hunt mode, i didnt really like treasure hunt mode and so ment that if i want to play a certain level just for the fun of it i would have to play the whole game again. Something that annoyed me about MGS4 as well. Maybe the option to do one or the other would have been better.
-Also what was the point in putting the doppelganger in it apart from to create a load of hype before the game came out with zip trying to shoot lara in the teaser trailer. I thought she was going to be some really difficult boss. but no.
-The adrenaline mode was pretty crap, annoying to make it work and it would also sometimes switch itself off almost straightaway which was pointless. Never really used it.
OK now for the Pros:
-The environments were amazing, so much more detail than the previous. Realistic like MGS4 but enough so without losing the tomb raider style of artwork.
-The enemies were to an extent more dynamic, that they could attack you on walls by climbing up them was good.
-The envrionment and how you navigated around it wasnt as obvious as previous games, there were bits i got stuck on and you couldnt blatently see that there were ledges in the walls that i could use or areas that i could vault off of.
-The grapple could be used in better and more interesting ways.
-More than one way to solve a puzzle or get through an area, she was much more dynamic. I also liked the way the spiders came out of the bushes when u walked through them.
-The cinematics were much better and less chessy than the previous ones. Although they wernt that bad in the first place.
-All the charecters look alot more human and real than before less angular and cartoon like.
-The story line was quite good, bringing back all the old charecters. but once you've finished the game seemed that all laras effort was about closure and almost a bit too sentimental and pointless for me.
-The little hints were a good idea if you got really stuck as they didnt give the whole game away like a walkthrough might.
-Situational Adrenaline mode was really good, i liked the idea of having to figure out how to avoid dying rather than being told what to do.
-The music like the previous 2 was also really good and worked with the environements they reflected.
-Was good that she could interact with her environment more, like brush bushes out of her way, shield herself from fire etc and that she could slip and didnt always land from a jump perfectly but not mind blowing stuff rele.
-So much better now that she can once again fire her guns while clinging to a wall.
Overall i felt, like others, that the game lacked substance. It was far too easy to complete and the game was so short. It felt longer when i played it the first time but when i played it through on treasure hunt mode i realised just how short some of the levels were. I also don't feel i want to play it again. Theres not alot drawing me to it. There were just too many glitches for a PS3 game, i rarely find any PS3 games that have the problems that tomb raider had, good ones at least. The artwork, graphics, cinematics and environments were amazing and generally how she interacted was good as well but It was just a bit of a let down, and i think that i would want to play anniversary again much more than i would want to re-play underworld.
Last edited by Shipface!!; 11-25-2008 at 06:38 PM.
storyline:it started well(with legend) but it left so many holes....wheres tihocan,why an ancient civilization made a place that could destroy the world and made portals to have acces to it??,what about pr edington and the whole amelia thing was nor a cliffhanger nor a surprise to me it was a stupid way to avoid paying the voice actress(for further info go to jures thread i so totally agree with him) so 3/10
gameplay:i wont start counting the bugs but there were many..the moves looked i dont know a bit wierd,the puzzles were ridiculously anti-epicly easy and the camera was.....(no comments)so here the game takes a generous 1.5/10
graphics:very good,loved the locations 9/10
Overall:CDs worst game so far 4.5/10
When Lara was missing presumed dead after trying to escape from the Great Pyramid in Egypt at the end of The Last Revelation, it did indeed look as if Tomb Raider was over. Core lost the plot completely and Angel of Darkness was about some tart called Betty Buttons who was looking to get laid by a dork called Kurtis Trout while chatting to prostitutes in Paris along the way. Raiders worldwide held their memorial services and raised their glasses in tribute. Miss Croft was indeed presumed dead.
Then Crystal Dynamics came along. We raised our eyebrows and watched with interest. Don't get me wrong, Crystal Dynamics were good! It's just that Tomb Raider wasn't about special effects, brilliant storylines, fancy objects and 'cutting edge' technology, it was about Tomb Raider.
Legend and Anniversary had a sort of Tomb Raiderish feel about them and although enjoyable, they didn't really qualify as Tomb Raider to me, they still lacked the true essence or Raiding. Tomb Raider never was about spending hours fighting ridiculously hard Bosses, for example. But we were happy, at least we were Raiding again of sorts.
Then, just two days ago, Tomb Raider Underworld was released in the UK. Crystal Dynamics have done it. Lara Croft has returned. This is Tomb Raider. It's all back. Lara did get out of that Pyramid in Egypt. She's back!
Played on PC
Music/SFX - 10/10
Puzzles - 10/10
Graphics - 10/10
Environments - 10/10
Enemies/Combat - 10/10
Controls - 9/10
Camera - 8/10
My Review/ Thoughts and Feelings
First of all i would like to thank Crystal Dynamics for an Awesum game.
Overall i would give the game 9 1/2 out o 10.
Platform: Playstation 3
Enemies/Combat: 20/10 lol
To elaberate on the above subjects:
Really good music scared me in some places lol i was like i dont want to go down there when the music comes on sudanly lol. I think the music really helps set the pace for the environment your in specially in the last level.
The puzzles were really good and imaginative. I liked how most of the puzzles were under your nose so to speak you had to use the environment a lot. Theres only one thing i would change and that is to make them a bit harder make you think more.
The graphics were really good! I cant believe how real everything looks and Lara wow she looks so real. I like how Lara gets dirty and how real the water looks. I love everything about it wow.
Wow there are some gorgeous environments and landscapes. They look as if you can touch them. I specially like that they are more interactive and Lara cant use sticks to help her get further. The way she moves shrubs and things out of her way when shes going past is realistic.
OMG is what i would say when enamies come at me. They put up a good fight and love how you can kick them. I like the adrenalin mode aswell it helps when your suronded. I think the rapid response mode is excellant. I think maby if Lara could do a bit more hand to hand combat would make it more exciting.
The controls were good and the only thing i would change is to have the aim and fire butons as L1: Aim and R1: Fire.
The camera was ok. I had a few issues with camera angals when climing but very minor and rest of it make up for it by far.
The storyline was excellant and really drew me in. The game was to short for my liking but i loved it.
Overall this game is excellant and its definaly worth the money.
Thank you again Crystal Dynamics for a World Class game and i hope there many more Lara Croft Adventures to come.
Can anyone confirm if theres going to be another Tomraider?
Platform : PS3 (Of Course)
Although i still haven't finished the whole game but ...
I just love Lara Croft, and this adventure was awesome, all the levels, the locations, the graphics, the actions and the most important thing (the dialogue and performance), the only thing i consider as Low Rated is the programing of course (countless bugs even though most of em' are simple) and one thing to wonder about is that why there are so many water / snow levels why not replace them with a city and a caves level or somethin' like that ? but that's Arright since Lara is there it's amazing of course
after all i wanna post the percentages of each category :
Storyline - 9.5/10
Graphics - 10/10
Performance - 10/10
Characters - 9.5/10
Programming - 5/10
Outfits - 10/10
Lara Croft - 20/10
Overall Rating - 95% ------> 9.5/10
Just finished the game. And i thought of adding my opinion to all this.
Firstly let me say that i am a big fan of Tomb Raider. I played all the games and have been a fan from the first one.
Before i say anything i would also like to say that i never rush the game, play one stage at a time, take my time with the scenery and everything else.
Ok. Now my review.
My platform as always is PC with a descent GFX card DX 10.
As an overall score compared to all other games i would say 6 - 7. And i will explain Why.
The storyline is nice (as in all the previus ones) Nothing to say here.
Music is better than ever. 10/10
Now here we have a problem guys. It seems that every game that comes out the puzzles become more and more easy to solve. Honestly i would say that i didn't actually notice any puzzles.
It was almost all just Find the rock and place it in the hole specified with a big Red Sign.
Atleast in the games before you would actually sit and think on the puzzle. Get clues from walls. From artifacts and do whatever is nessesary. But here i didn't find the puzzles challenging at all.
You gave Lara the Camera. That's a nice addition. But don't just make it for the cut scenes. Make it take snapshots. Or video (i know this can be done programming wise and not overload the game)
in general i would say puzzles for this game get a solid 5/10 maybe 4.
The controls are nice, but i expected more. some new moves have been added but in overal nothing impressive. I understand that most were done ether to be able to interact with new scenery (like standing on the pole, or climbing) or the other way around.
The Grapple is nice but it's not what i expected based on the Videos i have seen advertising the game. Sure she can now walk on walls, repell down and up, but i mean if the only thing that the grapple can hook on to is that damn Golden ring then it kinda looses it's magic.
i would say 8/10
The camera was a bit weird. It's (i think) too close to Lara, previus games had the aspect of the camera a bit larger and the camera was also a bit farther. It just hurts the eyes (in my opinion as always)
Enemies are nice, a bit dumb but nice. I know it's hard to work with Path Finding and AI.
Game in General.
In general i was disappointed. I know that you have to make the compromise of Quality versus richness of the game but come on guys. This was even shorter than the previous one. (and i thought that's as short as you can make a game). Maybe it's because i played all of them and it's easier for me. I don't know.
I always have imagined Tomb Raider as a puzzle and adventure game, especially puzzles. Loved them before. But now i'm really thinking if i just have to do some simple things to finish the entire game then it might be not worth it anymore.
Any ways. This are just my thoughts. I really hope if there is going to be another Tomb Raider (When there is going to be ) then some of this things could be made a reality.
The game felt like classic Tomb Raider far more than either Legend or Anniversary, and the story was solid. I have very few nitpicks about the plot, story, etc. My main problem is that I think CD misplaced their priorities in terms of what to include.
When I read the articles when they first began developing TRU, all they said was, "Oh, she's going to look great, the surroundings will be fantastic, the game will be more challenging, the levels will be beautiful, etc." That much is true. Even with my video card (which the system requirements misled me to believe would play the game fine) requiring me to turn everything down to minimums, it was a nice environment and Lara looked fine.
But even in the rainy levels, I slipped less in that than I did in Legend! The environment wasn't Lara's enemy, unless you count not being able to jump where it looks like you should. So I thought that the whole 'dynamic environment will be a challenge' thing was way overrated.
Another thing: Lara gets dirty when she rolls around in the dirt. Okay, fine. That irritates me, but fine, if it makes people happy, go for it. I felt that it added nothing to the game except for yet more flash. I would trade it away, however, for a decent treasure system, new outfits for Lara, the ability to rewatch cutscenes, and time trials.
As it is, I don't feel compelled to go back and play through the levels to find the treasure, knowing that they're just going to unlock things that, frankly, I don't care that much about. But even more, there's no mystery about it--it's just breaking vases and finding nondescript trinkets. The relics are slightly more engaging, but only slightly because they pose an actual challenge to find.
But as far as the rest goes, I just feel like when you take away features that previous installments had without adding anything substantive in their place, that's a step backward. Yes, the game was pretty. Legend and Anniversary were pretty too, and I understand the need for progress. But to simply improve the graphics of the game would have been akin to CD taking TR1, updating the textures and polygons, and releasing it without any other updates and then wondering why it didn't sell as well as they'd like.
Taking away the time trials, unlockables, and watchable cutscenes hampers the replay value of the game, regardless of whether you can play the game over and over again. That's not what's in dispute. But I liked working towards a goal, whether it was unlocking an outfit, a cheat, or a bio in Legend. And yes, I realize Lara isn't a Barbie (or a doll, depending on who was telling people who were complaining about no outfits that their concerns were irrelevant), but it's still a matter of a step backward in terms of features.
So I count this game as a decent play with extremely limited replay value. I'd rather play Legend through again; for all the talk about how Underworld would be better, longer, bigger, and prettier, Legend is still the better title.
Well, it was def a trip. I highly enjoyed the game. Although there were MANY clipping issues, I loved the story and graphics. Really didn't have much of a problem with the game at all. 8/10 from me(PS3 version).
I'll have to post my full review later, I'm on a little high from beating it...
Here's my review.
Gameplay - 9/10
The gameplay captures what I love about Tomb Raider. The sense of exploration and discovery is very good. I also appreciate the variety that the underwater levels and Lara's bike brought to the game. The bike was so much better than in Legend. I liked how it fit into exploration and solving puzzles. I enjoyed the underwater sequences: the beauty, the exploration, and just the fun of swimming around. There are occasionally odd glitches that hamper gameplay a bit. I haven't experienced anything too bad except one I mention in 'Technical'.
Combat - 7/10
Combat is a mixed bag. Fighting creatures is okay, fighting mercenaries is annoying, but fighting anything with Thor's hammer was pretty fun. The lack of boss fights did not bother me at all. I enjoyed the final gameplay sequence and was not disappointed. The gun combat could use some improvement but I don't want it to be too much like Uncharted. It's okay in Uncharted but I wouldn't like it if 85% of TR was shoot-and-take-cover gameplay and there were 500 human enemies.
Length - 8/10
Took me about 20 hours, I guess. I have no complaints about the length of the game. I didn't want it to end, but I didn't feel the length was insufficient.
Graphics - 9/10
One of the best games I've seen to date. There's plenty of variety, and a great deal of beauty in almost every level. Overall, the visual aeshetics are wonderful. Lara looks great and I really like her motion captured movement. There were a few awkward animation transitions here and there but nothing too noticeable to me. It loses a point for an unsteady frame rate though. It's particularly bad in Mexico, but the fact that that's such a great looking level almost makes up for it... almost.
Sound/Music - 10/10
The music is beautiful and accents each scene perfectly. The ambient noise also adds a great deal to the sense of being there. The voice acting is great as usual. Sound effects are also very good. There are some minor glitches in the PDA like reverb from field assistance getting cut off abruptly but I don't feel like deducting a point for that.
Level design - 10/10
The level design is excellent and the graphics and sound really complement this to give wonderful atmosphere. Level styles that are sometimes a bit bleak or monotonous, like snow or deep beneath the ocean, were very beautiful and interesting in TRU. The levels are also very well paced. I never found myself getting tired of an area. I like they way they get progressively more ancient and mysterious. It's what made the England level so memorable in Legend, and also Greece in Anniversary.
Story - 9/10
I really enjoyed the story. The fascinating take on Norse mythology combined with Lara's personal search for answers and closure was very exciting and immersive. The way things played out was very sad poignant. I don't think I will ever forget this story. The cinimatics were very well done, though I kind of wish they were a little longer in some cases. I deduct a point because I felt some details could have been explained a little bit better in cutscenes. Specifically cases where information to help fully understand a scene is found in Lara's journal, but not in game. That said, I did appreciate the journal feature and what it added to my understanding of the story. I missed Alister and Zip's comentary a little, but I realize that hurts the sense of isolation. Lara's camera was a nice touch to make up for this.
Controls / Camera - 8/10
No complaints. It doesn't feel much different from Legend or Anniversary to me. I do like the way the camera pulls out at certain points to give a better view. There needed to be more of those for blind jumps though.
Replay Value / Bonus Content - 5/10
I define this as things that extend beyond (or perhaps enhance) the main story. Anyway, I feel Underworld falls short of the bar Legend, Anniversary, and Uncharted set in this area. There's little motivation beyond the 'New Game' option to return once finishing the story. Treasure Hunt mode is not a bad idea, but it should be in addition to standard replay, not replacing it. Being unable to review cutscenes from the story makes the inability to re-experience levels (as opposed to merely revisit) even more disappointing. The unlockables are disappointing too... the unlockable artwork is great, but where are the unlockable outfits, soundtrack, bonus weapons like Mjolnir or Excalibur, or videos? The lack of the regular Croft Manor side level and DLC being restricted to 360 hurts TRU in this area as well.
Technical - 6/10
Could be better, could be worse. I'd prefer better. The game completely locked up my system once (twice including Treasure Hunt mode; seems to be related to accessing the PDA at odd points) but so did Uncharted so I can overlook it somewhat. There was also one point where the end of Lara's ponytail flew a mile away from her and when it finally snapped back the rest of her disappeared, and she fell through the wall and died. And my utility light keeps disappearing (at the same exact spots; I know because I leave it on) in treasure hunt mode so it's not usable or even visible in Lara's inventory... it's annoying... Patch please? Also would have been nice to have an install option to reduce load times.
Overall - 8.5/10
The good outweighs the bad by far.
Bottom line: Some unfortunate shortcomings hold Underworld back from true excellence, but it is still an extremely worthwhile and memorable experience.
LittleBigPlanet: Croft Manor • Beneath the Ashes
PSN ID: DuskRaider
The soundtrack is beautiful, but I have yet to discover a memorable track. As for the sound, no problems, but nothing amazing either, everything does it's job. The voice acting is up to the usual (fantastic) standard of Crystal Dynamics.
Great puzzles, half the fun is working out how to do them.
Stunning graphics (PC Version at 1920 res). The cutscenes are some of the best I have seen (I have played through Crysis on high settings also, so take that as praise indeed).
Beautiful and atmospheric, a joy to watch.
Nothing amazing, weapons could feel meatier. Good fun jumping around. PC version doesn't have the headshot feature which is annoying but doesn't matter too much.
Annoying how you can't rebind certain keys (arrow keys) so I have to keep changing when I use the bike (on WSAD keys) back to on foot (ARROW keys). Sometimes the game doesn't pick up on what commands you press, so you end up jumping in the opposite direction or not moving at a critical time.
.....Oh dear. Not as bad as people make out, but it can't be as stubborn as my ex-wife, especially when you want to look around the environment whilst hanging from a ledge, it won't let you look behind. Plus the movement of the camera is very loose (I have tried many sensitivity settings to no luck) but it is still playable. This is the worst aspect of the game, but I would just say average rather than too nasty.
I have not completed it, but aside from a few minor issues (glitches, minor bad design and level design issues). This is the best one yet. I can only hope what they are able to do with their next game project [Cough] Legacy of Kain [Cough]
-Raziel: [to Elder God] "I'm beginning to think the vampires committed suicide only to escape your singing!"
-Kain: [after failing to paint the Mona Lisa] "I always was considered artless!" (both improvised )
Well I finally finished TRU and figured I'd write maybe not a review, but my thoughts on it. I thought it was awesome, epic and well worth the wait.
Starting from the beginning. The Mediterranean level was simply amazing. Even though it was not this huge level that expanding into the sea, it gave you that feeling that you could swim off into the haze and get lost forever. Having infinite air supply allowing you to not feel rushed was great and I took the time to explore. I'm playing on the PS3 so comparing how Lara looked this time around, and how the game looked to previous PS2 and PS1 titles... well they got nothing on this. From the beginning of the game, this new TR seemed very unique and different. I liked that.
Now on to something I didn't like, but found entertaining enough to not turn me off on the game. And that was the boat level. Both of them. Sending Lara onto a ship with the sole purpose of killing a bunch of mercs to get down into the hold of the ship just seemed unlike Lara. I'll explain though... I'm not a fan of having Lara killing people. Some are understandable, but infinite waves of men coming at her if you don't proceed with the level just seemed stupid. I found the level very rushed because if you stood still long enough, you'd end up in another gun battle and the mercs don't die easy. Another complaint of mine. You would have to unload two full clips into these guys to get them to fall. Now it was entertaining blasting them into the sea with Thor's Hammer...
Thailand and New Mexico are probably my favorite levels in the game. Their size and uniqueness really makes them stand out above the rest. Also they were beautiful in scale and took my breath away. There was not one part of these levels I didn't like.
I also NEVER ENCOUNTERED ANY GLITCHES like other people were. Shiva stature activated the dropping floor under it, I could use the ring to pull open the Naga stature to break the floor. I got out of the glove room without any issues. Same with Mexico. No bridges were down preventing me from continuing with the level. Lara's bike never vanished. She never floated or got stuck. So looking at this game from a glitch stand point. AOD had twice as many. I never had an issue with any of the glitches that are so populated through out the gameplay section of this forum. I guess I count myself lucky.
The game flowed smoothly, the music set the mood perfectly and made me think I was there. Everything was beautiful.
The controls were good also. Pretty much the same as in Legend and Anniversary. Lara still got some new moves like kicking and throwing those grenades. And sprinting was cool also. Nice to have that back and without a sprint bar like in TR3
The story was perfect also. Now maybe its my imagination that kinda over active but wow... CD outdid themselves this time when you really get down and think about it. Starting with the outcome of Lara's mother. I didn't see that coming but it makes perfect sense. The portal she went through took her to helheim. There was no way out of there. Her mother was not an archaeologist like her husband or daughter Lara. So the poor woman gets stuck in this dark mysterious place surrounded by thrall warriors and poison blue water. Its not like she could check into a hotel and wait for a rescue. I'm sure within days of being there, if not sooner, that she was already dead. Of course the whole essence of the underworld turns her into an undead "thrall" like creature as well who wanders around those deadend caverns for ages to come. We were all kinda fooled like Lara and her father, that they would find her alive and well. That was unrealistic.
Also putting Amanda and Lara back together was really cool and unexpected. Both hate each other yet both need eachother. Amanda realized Avalon was not the place she wanted to actually stay at. Guess in her mind she kinda forgave Lara for destroying her chances back in Legend. I'm sure we haven't seen the last of her or the two of them together. I'm kinda hoping to see them both together in the next TR in a twisted race of helping each other and seeing who can get to the prize at the end first.
Some minor disappointments with the game. No boss battles. Amanda took care of the doppleganger for us... ahhhhhh I wanted to. The boss fight with Natla simply has you destroy the serpent and trigger the end cutscene. Makes sense in a way since the hammer kills a god in one hit. That means the Natla battle would have been a one hit kill fight. But still...
Also no replay levels as you wish other then treasure hunter mode. Why couldn't we have had both? And no replaying cutscenes? You for real? We've always had this even in the classic TR with the "Story so far" option from the level loading screen.
Closing thoughts. It probably took me 16-20 hours to beat the game. I kinda lost track. It was an awesome adventure and I look forward to the next. There better be a next. This was my first TR on the PS3 and I wasn't let down by the game itself in the least. I played it with hints off so I had to use my wits and the puzzles were great and often times left me with an "oh wow... so thats how you solve it" accomplished feeling.
Thats all I got for now I guess lol
"no no no... my mother is dead... my mother is dead. My mother died a long time ago. You're NOT my mother." -Lara Croft
There are SPOILERS in this post. Best not read if you don't like them.
Review of Tomb Raider: Underworld. Yes, there's a lot of text here, I know. I put a lot of time into it.
Music/SFX: Performed perfectly, being dramatic when required yet never intrusive.
Puzzles: Those that were there were done well I thought, but it seemed that the emphasis was on a few HUGE puzzles with a lack of smaller examples. Shiva/Kali and the snowy pillar were particular favourites of mine, kudos to whoever designed the latter, but thinking back to Anniversary it seemed that there were fewer puzzles in comparison.
Graphics: I don't think I should pass judgement on this, since my PC is below recommended specs. I had to push it just to play without chopping every five seconds, and environments like the burning manor were extremely slow. Having said that, even on lowest specs the game was beautiful. Certainly pointed out to me that the time has come to get a new PC though. The hints given by Spore have been hammered home by Underworld...
Environments: One of the things I loved about Legend (and Chronicles, for that matter) was the sheer diversity. Snow, desert, city, creepy lab, Cornwall... Underworld is still diverse, and I especially liked the local touches such as the macaws, but not to such a degree. More on this later.
Enemies/Combat: Tranq gun: brilliant. Lack of ammo replenishment: not so brilliant. Sure it's a bit of a long shot to expect to find loaded darts just lying around, but suspension of disbelief is what got those ancient Egyptians their shotgun shells.
I found the quantity of combat diverse, with some areas heavy on respawns and others with next to nothing, which is good. I would argue though that despite varying shapes and colours, the enemies all act pretty much the same. Spiders, lizards and thralls all have a swipe/vomit combo, while the human foes shout at each other a lot (and sometimes at themselves) but don't offer much more challenge. Oddly, I found I really liked the wee jumping spiders. They're bloody annoying, but not to such a degree that they spoil the game. Also unlike their larger kin, and every other enemy in the game, they don't hit you once and then wait to see what you do next. You get careless around those guys and they go IMAEATYOURFACE, which is both easily dealt with and charmingly endearing in a venomous arachnid.
As with some of those who posted before me, I do lament the lack of boss fights. I wouldn't go so far as to say that these boss fights should have beenwith Natla or the dopple, but there should have been bosses. The Kraken was cool, but we all know it's not the same. Anniversary's Tyrannosaur was intensely annoying, but I relished the challenge. Same with the ambomination, Natla, etc.
Controls: Now maybe I'm alone in this, but I thought Anniversary got the controls spot on. Direction depended on Lara's perspective, not that of the third person viewer. I liked that. The controls in Underworld are perfectly servicable, they just seem like a puzzling step back.
Camera: A few places did cause it to vibrate alarmingly, such as the end of the tunnel in the hammer room. Someone already brought up 'leaps of faith,' and I think that would be my only gripe with the camera. I don't mind a few isolated issues, but jumping at something I couldn't see happened a bit too often. The camera early on also seemed to have some sort of desire to show me Lara's breasts at every opportunity. It got over that after a while though, and I put it down to an adolescent obsession that it matured out of.
Story: Ho hum. This is important, so it's going to take a while.
Story is a big thing for me, in all games. Plot, history, lore, call it what you like, the significance of an event (to a character or other observer) is what makes the event itself. And I understand that different people will have different perspectives on story. One might be motivated by "Time to save the world from despotic Atlanteans/huge dragons with one vital weak spot/the ancient Egyptian god of chaos and destruction!" Others will find greater significance in "Got to find the lost treasure of X/Lara's mother!" or "Amanda/the mafia broke into Croft Manor! REVENGE!" You get the idea. All of the Tomb Raider games provided some form of significance to flesh out the events they depicted. That is what makes Tomb Raider more than just shooting a series of unfriendly people in interesting locales.
So, I did like how Underworld was directly tied in with Legend and Anniversary (and by extension Tomb Raider 1). The plot brought a sense of continuity. But when I considered that more deeply, I can't help but think that a lot of Underworld's significance is not so much carried over from Legend as carried ON Legend. Legend introduced Anaya, Amanda, Alister and Nishimura, it fleshed the cast out nicely, demonstrating that Lara, independent as she is, is not an island. One wouldn't expect Anaya or Nishimura to crop up very often, but it was a good feeling to know that Lara had friends, and didn't just visit foreign climes to dig up shinies. Underworld developed Amanda's character (right at the end - though I would like to say that I thought her soulsearching moment at the dais was expertly done. You can almost see the conflicting agendas in the flicker of her eyes), but otherwise was devoid of new material. Unless you count Mr. Irish mercenary, but he was around just long enough to play a funny stereotype before bowing out. Legend even had temporary villains like Takamoto and Rutland, who were dislikable without being moustache-twirling evil, and whose interactions with Lara were fun to observe. Lara's reaction to them (as well as her conversations with Amanda, Anaya, Alister and Zip) went a long way towards defining her own personality, which in Underworld has been replaced by a lot of talking to herself. It gets historical information across, yes, but monologues are an extremely unexciting way to deliver, and carry zilch in the way of character development.
I'm given to understand that one of the aims of Underworld was to recapture a feeling of being alone in a dark, mysterious, ancient place. Fair enough, we don't want Lara calling her mates from Xibalba to remind them to pick up some eggs. But I would argue that it's been taken too far in the other direction. I liked Legend's commentary and interaction a great deal, and if other people prefered Underworld's comparative emptiness then perhaps a happy medium has yet to be struck. This would be one of my requests for the next game: please aim closer to that happy medium.
Next, some possible plot holes.
I will point out first that everything I'm about to say may be due to misinterpretation, missing information, or wishful thinking on my part. It's also possible that future games will tidy this up? Here's hoping. However:
- Why does Natla want to kill everything, or at the very least a whole lot of things? Her motivations are never fully explained, having gone from 'dominate' to 'destroy' with no clear reason. It's possible of course that losing Atlantis for a second time sent her completely round the bend, but if she's insane (a weak reason for villainy at the best of times) then she should at least have some sort of logic for her actions. Even if it is "Lara killed my pet abomination, Mr Fluffyworth! Lara lives on Earth, so... the EARTH MUST BURN."
- If the dais in Bolivia was part of a transport system, how was Lara able to communicate with Amelia through time? (This leads to several other interesting questions. Namely, will time travel play a part, even a small one, in later Tomb Raider games? Concievably Lara could save both of her parents. Or, less likely to shatter causality, she could just pull her living mother from Helheim before the poor woman actually dies. Alternatively, time travel may never play a future role in Tomb Raider. In which case, why would Lara ignore such a potentially powerful find?)
- The basis for Underworld was finding Avalon, which turned out to also be Xibalba, Helheim, etc. Maybe this was explained (did Natla call it Atlantean?), but who built Avalon? Why do the Excalibur-portals destroy themselves if they're part of a transport system? (And if it wasn't Atlantean, I'd really like to know what kind of political relationship those people had with Atlantis, but that's just me geeking out, pay it no mind).
- That blue stuff was called a poison that creates the illusion of immortality when in fact it just raises the undead (common misconception). Fair enough. But where does it come from? If there's no giant snake, where does it keep flowing from?
- IF Underworld and Legend have finished their conjoined plotline, then what are we to believe happened to Tihocan and Qualapec? If they haven't of course, then call me a gleeful bunny rabbit because I would eagerly like to see what they've been up to. Besides watching Natla and eating popcorn that is.
These things don't break the game by any means, but they leave niggling questions that completely ruin the d'enouement.
An earlier poster said:
While we're on the subject of death, lets talk about Alister.
Now if I were you, I'd be thinking one of two things. Either "Oh great, he's going to complain about an irreversible fact of the canon," or "hey, did he hate Alister too?" And in either case I might be tempted to skip this paragraph. Please, pay attention to it, I'll put a lot of thought into it and I promise there's more than that.
I firmly believe that character death should only be used in circumstances that merit it. Amelia's (second) death brought Lara down so hard that Natla managed a good bit of gloating extemporisation, but in this circumstance it's her first death that's more important, her disappearence. Her vanishing prompted Richard Croft's research, his death, and the entirity of the Legend and Underworld storylines, with at least part of Anniversary as well. The emotional impact of that crash shaped events and the Lara we know today (her second death, by contrast, was disappointing not only for being anticlimatic but also because it lacked an emotional connection. Lara's shock and heartbreak were more difficult to tap into than Amanda's later turmoil, which is really not a good thing).
Similarly, there are good reasons for other characters not to die. If Anaya had been shot while hiding beneath her vehicle, if Jean-Yves had keeled over with a scorpion sting (the Last Revelation, for anyone who missed that reference), what purpose would that have served? Would their deaths have had any impact on plot, or character development? That second one is absolutely vital, I can't stress that enough. If a character dies and the survivors hardly react, then their death was pointless.
Which brings me back to Alister. After a brief show of being unhappy, the other characters get on with their lives. Lara would have done what she did anyway. In fact, events would have been exactly the same if he had lived. Lara gets one line on the boat ("You killed Alister!") and then it's like he never existed. With one important exception, and I feel I should bring this up because I was especially impressed by it. As Lara is doing her moterbike thing on some snowy icecap, Zip ends his transmission with something like "If you run into Amanda... give her my regards." More than any other line, that one shows some emotional impact caused by Alister's death. My hat goes off to the voice actor who delivered that little masterpiece, as well as whoever wrote the script.
However, there was no reason for him to die. One could make an argument that all death is stupid and pointless and that it's those that occur without purpose by being in the wrong place at the wrong time that are the most tragic of all, but that's a level of realism that most people don't like to accept in reality, let alone fiction.
The same poster from above also had a take on this subject:
Ok, seriously, why is it always the characters that I like that die? Whether it's games, movies, books, whatever, in every possible medium for fiction to be delivered, it's the ones that I'm fond of that die. Spoilers (though mostly old stuff): See? And that's hardly an exhaustive list. It's as though me liking a character is some sort of death sentence for them. What's with that? And I liked Alister, as a character and as a counterpoint to Zip's... ways. Heh, I'm not sure how to describe it. The character isn't ignorant at all, but his lack of detailed knowledge on history or myth makes for some brilliant observations. "Funny name for a sword" was one of my favourites, and I loved the banter in Cornwall. But on his own he'd become whiny and annoying, the dialogue bouncing between the two of them was perfect.
It's as if someone went through the thought process: We need emotional depth. What if we blow up the manor?! Yeah, that'd work, everyone loves the manor. Hmm, but can we do more? Maybe someone could die. Hmm, well it obviously can't be Lara. Everyone loves Winston and we need him for history and balance, so he's out. Zip and Alister... Zip provides techno-knowhow, what does Alister do? Basically list things that Lara, being brilliant, probably has memorised anyway. Ok, we'll kill him off. Yay, instant drama!
I really, really hope that wasn't the case. And I really hope it wasn't an attempt to please people, because the character could have just retreated from the action a bit, like Zip. Remember, some of us actually like these people, my first though when seeing Zip and Winston by the door was "crap, where's Alister? Need to go save him."
And he would die just as his model changes to something more attractive, wouldn't he? It's just my luck. See the new appearence on the laptop when Lara's on the boat and think "WOW, he looks good now, lets hope he crops up again more in the future." Spend the next few levels dodging tentacles and skeletal tigers, all the while with a little thought at the back of the brain lamenting the comparative lack of sexy male characters in previous Tomb Raider titles. Reach Croft Manor? Brief cutscene followed by DEATH. Way to toy with my emotions. Especially that "See you in Avalon" sentiment. Granted it's as impossible for him to be there as for Amelia to be alive, but I wanted SOMETHING.
...*Puts objective hat back on* That went on for a little longer than I anticipated... Suffice to say that, personal wishes aside, the character's death just didn't have the impact that it needed to be worthwhile, and for that reason should perhaps not have taken place.
Now if Alister had been given real screentime in Legend, say around the same significance as Amanda, then his death would have had an appropriate degree of impact. As it is, the above scenario of "Hey, someone needs to die!" springs to mind, and is a great disappointment as far as story is concerned.
WOW I wrote a lot. Still not done yet either. 0_0
Lets see, where was I...?
I think I'm done with story now. I should probably make a disclaimer in that, despite what the above may have led you to believe, I did not hate Underworld's plot by any means. I enjoyed seeing Natla and Amanda again, I enjoyed Amanda's character development in particular. I thought the weaving of the myths of different cultures was accomplished and interesting, just as it was in Legend. I just feel though that the characters, and thus that side of the story, lacked depth.
Now, back onto more mechanical matters. The Extras section, or lack of same.
Maybe it's just that time was limited, I don't know. But really, things were going so well in Legend and Anniversary. The secrets, the outfits, the time trials, they were awesome ways to encourage replayability. Where'd it go? Why'd it go? Besides time constraints, what on Earth could possess anyone to take such a successful combination and screw with it? I know it comes across as greedy at best to expect 'extras,' but those things were little goals to work towards, they were fantastic. I enjoyed playing through levels again and again just to see Lara traipse through the Himalayas in an evening dress or Amanda press a gun to her own head.
Added to that: cutscenes. We like them. We like watching them. Sometimes we want to watch them whenever we like. I'm repeating what others have mentioned, true, but it needs to be said. Cutscenes, give.
I remember when I first discovered there could be different outfits in Legend. I was so excited, partly because I didn't know what the limits were. I collected as many as I could, and was happy with the results, but still a little disappointed. Goth Lara was cool and all, but I wanted to see Nishimura riding alongside that train in Kazakhstan. I wanted to be Winston, swan diving off a cliff in Kenya. I wanted to be Rutland, saving Anaya's life. If this sort of thing could be implemented in the next game, I would be so mind-bendingly happy. You have no idea.
Another thing: glitches. I had none. HA! Bet you thought this was going to be another huge rant, what with my PC being below recommended spec and all. Well I'm pleased to say that this was not the case. There were a few tiny graphical errors, such as occasionally swinging through a block of stone, but these were few and far between, and none of them were irritating or game-breaking.
Now, some people have also mentioned length as an issue. I'm not sure if the game really was too short. It certainly seemed too short, but this might be because there were fewer 'stopping points,' for lack of a better term. Boss Fights, scene changes, conversation, these all slow down the story a bit and make you feel like you're progressing through a real world. Underworld was not, I think, a small game by any means. But it was also hollow, to some extent. I spent a decent potion of the game thinking "the real action's going to start soon," but that was replaced by "what, it's going to be over soon?!" the instant Lara hit the second boat. I would like to point out now though that taking Thor's hammer out there was very cathartic. Lara might not have shown much reaction, but I was greatly enjoying going "Yeah! Kill my friend will you? Well I've got the hammer of a god now and I'm going to MESS THIS BOAT UP." Then I'd blow up everything in my way. Was fun.
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, length. I'm still undecided as to whether the game was actually too short or whether it just seemed too short. But at the end of the day, the point is moot. In either case, the result is the same. Bad thing.
Are reviews supposed to be concise? I'm aware that I'm rambling a lot.
This is actually the first time I've bothered to write anything on a game. Why? Because in der old days, when most of the games I really like were released, online communication wasn't such a big thing as it is now (Neverwinter Nights, Dungeon Keeper 2, Tomb Raider 3), and the recent games that I've played I didn't have any major complaints with (Legend and Anniversary, two thumbs waaaay way up)... Apart from Angel of Darkness, but no amount of criticism, constructive or otherwise, could save that one. Poor thing, had such a great story, if only it hadn't been for a wretched control system and emo Lara...
I'm rambling again. Time to wrap it up. My point was that, vain though I know it to be, and though I am but one voice among thousands, I truly hope that something I've said trickles through. One can say that those who made Underworld put their all into it, and above all I want to mention that I appreciate everything they did, and I am not so full of myself that I think my opinion to be THE ONE THE ONLY THE GREAT WORDS OF TRUTH THAT MUST BE OBEYED. I know that some people will and have given reviews that completely contradict mine. You can't please everyone all of the time. All I can do is give my own opinion, and trust that someone agrees with me.
There, a whole review without mentioning Kurtis Trent.
My score: 8/10. It's high because, for all my personal problems with it, I can't fault the game on being technically sound and still highly enjoyable.
(I prefered Legend)
(Wow, I just spent four hours writing this. It's like 6:44am. Ha)
Last edited by Tomb_Dust; 11-30-2008 at 12:59 AM. Reason: Spoiler warning