PS3 version (*cries* wheres our downloadable content, traitors! lol)
1 - loved the story, loved amanda and natla (best extra characters ever)
2 - hated lack of extras, let us play the game as amanda or natla, ever more hilarious would be playing as the butler lol. also why on earth couldnt we atleast replay the game in any costume? seriously guys, thats a massive let down. all in all not many costumes available although i did like the options at the start of sections for costumes.
3 - secrets were far too easy to find in most areas, relics were harder but whats the point?
4 - graphics superb, far too much darkness though - i know, underworld, but should have been more variety, even some sections in the darker levels where there was some outside, like in the last sea stage where there was ice above, i found a little hole out but you couldnt go anywhere, hoe cool would have it of been if you could have got to the surface from there and found some treasures, like a little snow hut in TR2 stylee.
would have been amazing if more thailand levels, going island hoping in the boat and swimming onto islands.
5 - loved the return on enemies like the little spiders, tigers, panthers, bats, reminded me of TR1 etc.
loved using thye bike but feel it was slightly over used, good for the rainy mexico level but after that have some variety
6 - hated no training level bad bad bad bad bad. the manor is iconic dont leave it out! (i know the fire level but thats not good enough)
7 - camera, was a bit annoying, could have been improved but i have no massive complaints
8 - sound/music - amazing! why cant we just have the old TR music back though, that haunting tune, just once in the original style...pleaseee.
9 - puzzles - okay, no huge complaints, some were very simple, others were slightly harder but nothing that kept me stuck for days. maybe would like a bit more complicated but i can live with that.
10 - treasure needs its own section because its something ive noticed in a few games now, why do they always look the same? like in old games you would have to find keys to open doors, or idols to fit into puzzles - i know we had similar to this for puzzles which was good, but you didnt have to go far to find it. let us find keys for doors, remember that noise when you would pull a switch and it would make that *noise* of a door opening further away and you would ahve to go find it, wheres that all gone? it takes the nostalgia out of it, and that is what is important about these games
11 - voice acting, simple amazing, keep keeley!
12 - controls - mostly ok, sometimes she would jump off in a completely different direction than you were wanting but a massive improvement on legend and aniversary. the gapple was actually usable and swimming was an ease, thank god!
all in all 7.5 / 10
good game but lacked alot in way of just little things that make a game put in, did well on finer details like environment, but left out big details like bonuses. games need replay value and this has none.
at the end of the day, is it really that hard to listen to what the people who will actually be buying the game want? i mean its obvious when the manor was put in other newer games there is not one person who was annoyed by it being there and almost everybody that has said it should be in the game, i mean that isnt jus ta little thing to leave out! its almost like, alot of things that were lacking in one game have been added, which is good, but taken out things that were good before...wheres the logic in that??
Last edited by sophie22; 12-03-2008 at 05:00 AM.
'There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.' - Sir Francis Drake, 1587
'There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.' - Sir Francis Drake, 1587
ok, i dont mean training level then. i mean a playable level with a not on fire mansion. and i dont want to just explore the game, i want to wander around the grounds of the mansion.
The developers said that they wouldn't make a Croft Manor playable level without fire because it doesn't make any sense to have it destroyed and then we can play the game normally
'There must be a beginning of any great matter, but the continuing unto the end until it be thoroughly finished yields the true glory.' - Sir Francis Drake, 1587
Give the game an overall score. 10/10
Tell us what platform you played on. PS3
What you liked/disliked about the game.
I loved EVERYTHING. Ok some camera problems...
Feel free to give ratings on anything else like:
Environments 10/10 with Thailand level the BEST !
Enemies/Combat 8/10 not quite next gen.
Controls 9/10 sometimes Lara gets stuck
Camera 8/10 you know why, dont you?
Just wanted to say: THANK YOU FOR THIS BEAUTIFUL GAME!
Good Job CD....
My overall score for the game is at the bottom...
Platform I played on PC.
*The weapon and outfit selection at the start of the level
*DO NOT change the way the PDA is!! I absolutely love it!!! I also love the field assistance option.... But I wish it was Zip and Lara's voice; one Lara's thought for a hint on what to do and another Zip actually telling you what to do.....
*PLAYER TAILORING... Allowing the players to adjust the amount of damage inflicted to Lara and her Enemies is a Wicked Idea!!! KUDOS to whoever suggested that feature!!!
*Combining Lara's moves to multitask
*Graphics - Lara, environments, effects, lighting...
*Lara's movements, more fluid - She DOESN'T look like a video game character anymore....
*Music - I'm usually very particular about the music but, AWESOME!! That's all I can say about the music
*Lara's capability to do more - She can rock climb and sprint.... More variety in movements = Happy player!!
*Voice acting - they make the character's emotion more real
*Emotions on character's faces!!! Really moving!! Beautiful combination with Voice Acting!!
*No linear paths!! Thank God!!
*Enemies(Especially the Thralls) were likeable and an improvement from Legend and Anniversary... But.... See dislikes...
*Enemies - Yes they are improvements from Anniversary and Legend but the is still room for more improvement... Lara moves with flow and realistically but the enemies (exclude thralls) don't... The tiger's didn't really react like how an actual tiger would and they still move like their in a running loop.... And some get a bit glitchy...
*The amount of glitches!! This, I am quite disappointed in but I hope when I get the XBOX 360 version it wont be so glitchy.... She suddenly moves to another part of the ledge while I traverse around the corner's, she disappears when I get close to a wall, she gets stuck inside a wall and one thing that bugs me is when she stops dead at an invisible wall How is that possible i don't know..... It feels like the game was incomplete or like a "draft" game demo version.....
*I hate that Allister's killed off!! I know hundreds of people hate him but It was interesting to have Lara interact with other people aside from herself... I also missed Zip on her headset....
*No boss battles
*No replay levels!!! - This was the worst.... I mean what else are we going to do with the game after we're done with it?? I felt cheated.... Treasure Hunt mode doesn't make sense to me..... What's the point of visiting places just to find small secret rocks?? I much rather arrange a treasure hunt around my home then....
*Another thing equivalent to no level replay is NO CINEMATICS!!!!! It would be great to include this in the next game
*Combat - Legend had better action than Underworld or on par to say the least.... I love the new and improved adrenaline headshot system it works perfectly don't get rid of it..... But I would love hand to hand combat or melee combat system... Players need the option of either up close hand-to-hand combat or close range shooting... Some combination moves would be cool like maybe hitting x-y-x would get a roundhouse kick and involve some moves from the doppelganger too
Now to my rating review:
Great!! And this is coming from someone who is always particular about the music......
Not too complicated, but could still use some imaginative improvement...
Perfect both Characters and Environments!! Need I say more?
Just beautiful, from the Croft Manor to Thailand, left me in awe.. So realistic The scale was also perfect!! Some areas were not too big some were huge and extravagantly beautiful and had purpose too!!
Needs more improvement... Headshots were well coordinated.... But like I previously stated Enemies need to be more believable... The thralls are an exception... Animation for tigers and stuff need more improvement.... Maybe studying the movements of the actual animals would help.... Another thing is that the element of surprise must be preserved.... I really don't want an introduction for the BIG scary Tiger or thrall is coming.... RANDOM RANT: I would love to enter a room and suddenly a thrall drops down from the roof right on top of me and leaves me in shivers until Im to scared to react!!!
Controls were good I usually re-adjust them on my keyboard... But I dont know if I should blame this on the glitches or camera but She gets stuck at times when she hits an invisible wall which can be frustrating... Otherwise no complaints....
I'm sure enough complaints have been given about this..... But it for me it would be better if we were given full control of the camera including the how far or close the camera should be.....
Replay Value: 8/10
Actually 6 points from above is credited to myself because I had to replay the whole game after realising there isn't any replay level option, just to save at every start of each level..... Please include the replay level and cinematics options in the next game!!! So that I wouldn't feel cheated when I pay for a game that costs a lot where I live..... I would like to replay levels without dead bodies everywhere, Lara isn't an undertaker... I want to kill those enemies in different ways every time I play!!!! Im not mad, just hoping that the Replay Level and cinematics options will be available in the next game..... Please and Thank You.....
I love the new system that is introduced in Underworld for the outfits.... It makes it so that Lara wears suitable attire for the right locations.... But I also hope the outfit selection option will be included in the next game...
Now to the storyline:
I would give it 7.5/10..... There were some plotholes but overall the storyline was great!! I loved the way the questions were answered in a subtle way..... But it wasn't as good as Legend which in my opinion had a very climatic plot..... Which also built up in a subtle way at its own pace..... Underworld did achieve this to some degree but somehow got side-tracked on the way...... So take Legend as an example in the next game... Loved Natla, Amanda, Zip, Winston and... poor poor Allister..... But the character I loved the most was Lara.... The minor inconsistency was that her drive, even after Allister's murder, was to find her beloved Mother, Amelia. But when she finds her she doesn't seem to hesitate, other than convincing herself that her mother's dead, to kill the thrall.... And what was worse was that she didn't show much emotion..... I mean her famed home was blown up, Allister's dead and she put the world in danger by releasing Natla, but she didn't shed a tear? I mean I'm sure Lara isn't without heart right? Overall the story did have progress and the scenes in the Croft Manor we're well played out and even the scenes between Lara and Amanda were great....
Overall Score: 7.5 ( By the way, I counted up my ratings for each category and found the average... )
Overall the promise of integrating Anniversary and Legend was kept... And quite truly an epic game was made... I enjoyed it and Crystal Dynamics has out done themselves.. Its definitely a game that is up to standard and should be received well..
Only some flaws keep me from giving this game a perfect score... But Crystal Dynamics have kept improving in each game and they're definitely on the right track... There is still room for improvement and I have faith that CD will have nothing but progress on their minds.......
Oh yes I almost forgot!!
THANK YOU FOR UNDERWORLD!!!!
Quite EPIC indeed.....
"To see a world in a grain of sand and an eternity in an hour" - Lara Croft
all i have to say is that it was fantastic.
i started playing at 11:30 (just got home from comedy night) and i played it untill i notice sunlight coming into the room and i was like "oh my goodness this is awesome "
THANK YOU EIDOS
THANK YOU CRYSTAL DYNAMICS
every member here has a symbolic function, if only the outside world were the same
Okay I have my final view on Tomb Raider Underworld.
It was an amazing game that truely is EPIC TO THE MAX
So the negative aspects of the game are:
-There are alot of noticable glitches throughout the game.
-The camera goes spactic at points.
-Treasure hunt mode is boring.
-It doesn't feel like theres any other things that make you want to fool around with the game once you've completed it.
-The manor was destroyed
-Some movement problems.
-I didn't have the main theme in the main menu for some reason.
And the positive aspects of the game are:
-The graphics are mind blowing.
-The levels are vast and cover a huge scale.
-Lara's movement is great.
-Love the weapon selection.
-Lara looks great.
-The story has alot of "WOW" moments in it
-The slow down time moments are fun.
I'm easily amused by tomb raider games and don't generally take any notice of the negative aspects of the game so I can honestly say that this was a very enjoyable game.
So my score for the game is.
Combat:9/10 ( the combat was a life-saver at points)
Final score of 8/10
overall i think it was a good game, little bit too short for my taste perhaps , graphics awesome, some minor bugs, but besides that very smooth , experience would be a lot better if trophies were introduced for the ps3 i believe, i give it 3.5/5 would be 4.5/5 with trophies definitely
Platform: Xbox 360
I was very impressed with the game. I give it a 9 out of 10! The environments were awesome
and the way Lara was rendered was incredible. I especially like the way she actually got
dirty in this game! The cut scenes were beautifully done, just can't find enough good
things to say about the game. I guess my only negative comments would be that it was
a little too short and enemy AI could be a little bit smarter. I can't wait for a new chapter
in her adventures to begin. And if any of the developers are out there watching this
thread, please make her ability to get dirty a mainstay in her future games. Little details
like that are just awesome!
Thank you Eidos and company!
Overall I would have to say i'm kinda dissapointed with Underworld;
As gameplay goes, it's pretty sound. The graphics for the environments were amazing, top notch, i was blown away by most of the locations. A glitch here or there, meh, who cares, it was nothing enough to ruin the gamplay experience. So yeh, gamplay went well for me.
Unfortunately, in this day and age, a game has to be about MORE than gameplay- it has to offer something that will keep you coming back more and more, and for me, Underworld doesnt have this. I finished it in just under a week, and that was me TRYING to take my time. All said and done, Underworld is woefully short.
Next, and yes i know its been mentioned to death, but the fundamental elements we've come to expect in TR games have been taken away; replay level, 'story so far' cutscenes, time trials and outfits. Now the first two should be included no questions asked. The time trials i can live without, they were just a means to an end with me, but the outfits i sorely miss. They were fun, and i know it 'didnt make sense' to have Lara in a swimsuit running around Nepal or whatever, but they were fun, they were worth collecting every secret for. In this we're only awarded concept art, most of which is throwaway and the rest can probably be found online. I know some peeps go for secrets 'for the sense of achievement', but me, I need an incentive.
The storyline was good, I liked it, but it could have been so much more than it was by fleshing it out a bit. I know this is 'Lara's game', but it doesnt need to be so entirely focused on her that we dont get any other cutscenes with other characters. How about showing some conversation between Natla and Amanda, or showing us the thoughts of Zip and Alister. Lara doesnt have to be in EVERY cutscene ALL the time. And speaking of cutscenes, what's happened to FMV these days? yes I know the power of next gen consoles allows for less distinction between cutscenes and in-game graphics, but you could push the boat out a bit and give us SOME FMV, for the ending at least?
Lara looked ok, but I was let down by the other characters, from what we saw of them anyway. Being a massive Amanda fan, I was looking forward to her, but her face seems to have elongated and aged by about 20 years since legend. Even my girlfriend jumped up when she saw her and said 'bloody hell what have they done to her!?'. It's pretty dire when a character looks WORSE on a next gen platform to a previous one. And dont get me started on the lack of her tattoos. Once again Lara got all the effort into her and the other characters were left wanting. It reminded me of Final Fantasy X when the principle charatcers looked great but those around them looked awful.
A lot of this sounds like nitpicking, but like i said a game needs to be about more than the gameplay these days. Why couldn't CD push the boat out and put in the kinda effort we saw with MGS4 or something? The ending is soooo rushed! No aftermath....no remembrance of the deceased...no 'what next'.
So, to summarise, Underworld exists to me as what it fundamentally is; a game. Theres nothing more to it and nothing more calling me back to it. It felt rushed and a little empty, which is a shame.
Okay, I though we should redo my review.
The most awesome graphics! I was blown away when I first started playing.
Game play was just as good too.
I liked the camera, easy to control.
The environments are some of the best I have seen in CDs games.
Enemies & the combat is very cool.
The story was epic. But I think TR1 had the best story.
A few bugs in the ps3 version. But not hard to get out of.
It is some what short also.
CD dose a good job, but will never be better than Core.
I hate the fact that you can't reply levels.
And you can't unlock but what? One outfit? If non.
The puzzles where not very hard. Really, they are pretty easy.
The replay value of this game is the ghastly. I think AoD has a better replay value.
And that's bad in my opinion. (I hate AoD)
Music/SFX.... I WANT THE OLD MUSIC BACK!!!!
My advice is to get the game. It's worth playing. I loved it despite the cons.
First, Chris and the rest of Crystal Dynamics, thank you for this great game.
Now to the report card...
I've tossed my opinions around in my head of the game. I've played it through each and every possible way and accomplished each and every achievement since the game's release and have been quite happy with the game. I played on the xbox 360 platform.
There are so many aspects to critique in the game.But I will try and keep my written critique as short and sweet as I can, while still trying to give you guys at CD some guidance.
I liked... the graphics, the new environments, the increased interactions with your inveronment, and the all SFX and music.
I disliked some of the control features, the camera, the complexity (or lack of) puzzles.
The plot behind Underworld was really solid. You guys did a good job of telling a story, though a part of me wishes it was a little longer, or maybe larger "sandbox" like areas to play in. Looking forward to the downloadable content on 360 marketplace to be released.
The music was great, and most of the SFX was good. The motorcycle sounds had issues, especially in Mexico when you are going down to acquire Thor's Belt. I think the sounds can definitely take some refinement and improvement for later Tomb Raider games, but it was solid considering all the changes made from Anniversary to Underground.
The puzzles... fraankly I thought they were too simple and too linear. There were some areas where you guys did a good job at trying to make areas that had multiple options to getting the job done. For example... in the Mediterranean Sea with the Kraken. In that room, there were a couple of good routes to get to where you needed to get to, but I think there coudl have been more. Either that or Lara needs to be developed to interact with the world even more. In areas such as Jan Mayen Island, it felt too linear to get from one side of the massive room with the hammers to the other. You fall here, jump there... shimmy this ledge, wall climb here and so on. It was a GREAT demonstration of what Lara can do, but I think some of us want that feeling of being in the place and having to look around and decide on a route and go that way, kind of like what you do with rock climbing. Having areas where we can get from A =====> B by at least half a dozen means, that would really increase the enjoyment of the experience. The tooltip assistance was a great feature to add. I never used it, even with all all the helpers turned off for in game assistance, but that is my opinion, that the puzzles were too linear and simple for that reason. I think for the future, let the gamer decide a little more. Let the tooltip assistance from Lara be their guide if they get stuck and need that linear push. The sonar... I never used it because the range seemed to be too short. Maybe if Lara had a sonar that mapped out the areas you've already explored through, so that you had a full working 3D model of the area that you've expored, that would be awesome!
Graphics... no real complaints. Everything looked great. The only critique I have about the graphics concerns the motorcycle. Lara seems so fluid and dynamic... real and believable. The motorcycle seemed a little too arcadish when riding it. Give Lara more things she can do on the bike?
Environments... they all looked great. NO copmlaints about them. Definitely can improve upon them through the above comments about puzzle interactivity. I think that would add to the environments, make you more of a part of them by allowing you to utilize every possible square foot of each area. and make it less linear.
Enemies and combat.... I think my issue with it was the camera controls. If I have an enemy coming up from behind and I'm focused on one in front of me, I would like to be able to adjust my camera controls so I can make the camera ultra sensitive so I can snap that camera so I know what each enemy is doing. The combat system was great. Stick with what you have an improve on that.
Controls... only issue was the above about the camera. I'd just like to be able to adjust the sensitivity.
And lastly, the camera.... what can I say? Probably the same thing a lot of people said... it's very buggy. You get into some really tight spots in the game and camera just freezes or sticks and it takes you a couple minutes to get the camera refocused so you knwo what your'e doing. Give us a little more of control on the camera. Maybe come up with a way where we can zoom in/out with the camera so that those sticky situations can be resolved.
There were issues, as there will be with any game, but overall I think you guys did a really great job producing this game. I am one satisfied TR fan since the very beginning. I look forward to future titles you release and will be the first in line to pick up my copy. I hope these critiques help you out.
Tomb Raider: Underworld - User Review
Apologies for the delay, the game didn't arrive over here in New Zealand and Australia until December 5th.
Overall Score: 9 out of 10
Platform played on: PC ( - with 360 controller).
What I liked about this game:
What I disliked about this game:
The 'ambient' subwoofer was a bit loud, but apart from this the music was good. I liked some of the good action music, and epic moments. I loved the sound during the Adreniline moments.
The puzzles were interesting. I found I struggled with the puzzles earlier on in the game, though. I would not mind seeing more complex 'combination' type puzzles.
I was disappointed with the lack of combinations, sadly. The shadow/sillouette puzzle, and the calendar puzzle in particular. With these puzzles it seemed to be more a case of being there and pulling a switch more than thinking about what needed to be done.
It would be nice, if field assistance (etc.) is up to it (for those who want it), if the puzzles were made more challenging next time.
The graphics were good.
Rating - 9/10
The environments were brilliant The ledges did not stand out so obviously (except for a few times), and I did not always know where to go in an environment.
It was unfortunate, though, that when I did find a "path" (series of ledges, polls, ladders, etc.) it was always fairly obvious where to go next. More complex 'mazes' of the "paths" (ledges, polls, etc.) would be good (including places that don't lead to anywhere).
Jars: It seemed to me that these played the role as both "cookie crumbs" in confusing areas ("Lara hasn't been here, I haven't smashed the jar yet"), or as places for hiding secrets. (Particularly in Croft Manor).
Secrets: I found that, other than the secrets in jars, they were often out in areas easily enough found. Some would be along the direct path a player had to take, others required more effort to get at. I would not mind seeing distinguishment between these secrets (as it was in Legend).
Relics I've only had one pass through of Underworld, but did not manage to find any Relics. I would like to think I searched for secrets, and did not have a clue where any of the relics were
Balancing Beams/Polls: It seemed odd to me that Lara balanced more easily on a round poll than on a flat ledge. I would not mind seeing Lara's sense of balance moved into Player Tailoring. (e.g. more likely to fall, less likely, not at all).
Rating - 8.5/10
Lara vs. animals/creature combat was brilliant (jumping around in the open shooting, just classic. I couldn't shoot while rolling, though).
Melee seemed a bit overpowered, though. I found that, with a single enemy, it was easier to melee it to death rather than to shoot at it with pistols.
Lara vs. mercenary combat (especially on the boat at the end of the Med) was agonising, though. Implement a cover system so our girl can take cover behind things, although don't force the player into cover because of enemies. (A feature in Player Tailoring to either switch the system on/off, or increase "exposed" difficulty, perhaps).
The 'mercenary AI' could've also been better. They stand around like targets waiting to be shot, rather than enemies wanting to kill Lara. Improve the (enemy) AI and allow for enemies to be as good at combat, and jumping around the environment as Lara is; make them a challenge to kill, make them smart enough to not be a static-target.
I did struggle with the section on the boat, but felt that this was the combat system more than anything else.
'Swarm' enemies: (small spiders, bats, etc.)
These were interesting. Without aiming reticules turned on, I had to stop for a bit with spiders just to realise they were there. These enemies did not "come into their own" until Croft Manor. For most of Thailand, they were too few in number, and too far between to do much damage. In Croft Manor they didn't manage to hurt Lara , but they were a lot better.
I found that the individuals of the swarm (a small spider or a bat) would only take one shot, (perhaps two at a distance), to kill. They would've been much more fearsome, and damaging, had they taken numerous shots to kill. (Player Tailoring didn't seem to help this).
Loved the use of adreniline in this game, a bit improvement on Legend and Anniversary
Headshot: Brilliant! Not forced like Anniversary's Adreniline Dodge, and not 'free' like Legend's head-jump. It was best used with the pistols, but the other weapons reacted in the same way. I would like to see certain weapons deliver Headshots for a cheaper price (i.e. less adreniline), or certain weapons deliver for 'free', and perhaps others not at all.
Concentrated Fire: Nice! Got caught reloading a few times, though.
Adreniline Moments: EPIC! These were great moments, forcing the player to do/try something cool, but slowing down the time so they had the time to think about it.
I would like to see use of adreniline anytime (rather than just in combat) to be able to allow the player to get past traps more easily.
Dual Aiming: ... although I did not like being "forced" to shoot two targets at once. (It didn't seem to me like I had the option to). Every time there were two enemies about she would automatically shoot at both at once (with weapons that were able to).
Accuracy: I know our Lara should be able to shoot accurately, but it would be nice if Player Tailoring would allow for Lara to shoot a little less well at great distances. A 'calibration' (available at the start of levels, perhaps) to determine how well Lara could shoot would be nice.
Free Aiming: I didn't like how Lara couldn't draw her guns when in "Free aim" mode; but I think it would be nice if options allowed for "Automatic aiming" to be dropped, and allow for the player to shoot at any target they want to.
Automatic: I didn't find myself so proficient with the fully automatic weapons; the SMGs and the assault rifle would lose ammo very quickly (without doing so much damage). The shotgun I found to be very good against larger animals, such as the large cats.
Reloading: Anniversary had a brilliant reloading system, the ammo stayed in the weapons even when bringing them out from holstered. In Underworld, when all bullets are fired from a "magazine", Lara must reload before shooting, whereas if she holsters then draws, the "magazine" is full. I did not like this.
For dual-wield weapons (pistols and SMGs), I would love to see the option to wield only one at a time, with a quicker reload speed, so that 2 pistols will take longer to reload than a single pistol.
Played with 360 controller, it played nicely for the most part.
(I didn't bother with reassigning controls, but the healthpacks were sometimes accidently used because of the button assignment on the D-pad.)
On the motorbike, I thought it strange that accelerate/reverse were the same buttons as shoot/lock on, and the 'shoot' button was the same as "grenade throw".
I cannot comment on the Keyboard/Mouse controls. (I played Tomb Raider: Legend and Tomb Raider: Anniversary with Keyboard/Mouse, though). I will say, though, that Legend, Anniversary and Underworld have the "console" feel to them, like PC was an afterthought.
I did play the demo with keyboard/mouse, from what I remember, with Headshots, it was hard to perform with a mouse. The reticule seemed to move slower with a mouse than with the gamepad, as a result pulling a headshot off with a mouse would be last-second, whereas with a gamepad would be very quick.
A solid camera for the majority of the time; worked well in large, open areas but poorly in enclosed spaces, or when Lara was close to a wall.
Last edited by rg_001100; 12-06-2008 at 06:50 PM.
Ok, I just completed the game. With finals and such, it's hard to get time each night
I have to say I liked the game. There are some problems, which is unfortunate, because most of the game is epic and wonderful and just an amazing feat.
Graphics: 9.5 out of 10. I played it on the PC, at full specs, except for the AA. It barely ever dropped in framerate to 30 fps, like only once, or twice, in cut scenes, and so that's a plus. Lara looks amazing, animates mostly amazingly, though there are some issues of jerky animations at times. The mo-cap idea is working though, so go forth with this definitely. Lush environments. CD has always been prolific in its design of such extremely beautiful places in their games and here is no different. Lighting is great, except for in some shade. I will agree that Lara looks kind of flat in less dynamic lighting. Not only her, but the rest of the environments, enemies, etc. Yes, less direct lighting does this in life, but not to such a degree. There are still soft shadows that will occur. Water looks fantastic, for the most part. Since the demo, the waters of Thailand have been so breathtakingly rendered. There's a current and a flow and it looks great. Reflective, yet you can see inside almost as naturally as the clear blue of the coral reefs. I loved the tigers and panthers. They looked fantastic. Again, there are some choppy animations with the tigers before they attack. But, I am spending too much time on this. From lightening up high, flashes of light from it, water effects, glistening moisture on Lara and her clothing (which isn't just a translucent mask placed over her like before), blood splatter (btw, amazing amount of blood and darkness for T-rated game. Who slept with the members of the ESRB board to get that rating? lol Anniversary had to be cut entirely of the blood they wanted to put in to reach T. Shows how waffling the ssytem is, I guess...), to the burning mansion! My goodness, the mansion's destruction is just a moment that had me going, wow, wow, wow! over and over again. It looked totally like a mansion of fire. I dare say that perhaps the later levels suffered slightly for the lushness and accuracy captured in some of the earlier levels like this and Thailand. The mansion, though, friggin' kudos for pushing that next gen hardware! Lara and a few others have great facial animations. Little wrinkles on the brow, subtleties in the mouth and eye movements, in the movements of the body, that just couldn't be done before, are amazing to witness. This carries over to Lara when she's in the game, which is a feat I can't begin to praise on. Animations, which I am lumping in the "graphics" section a lot, when things die, could have been a bit better. Like has been said, Lara is just a rag doll in death each and every time. I've seen it since Legend. Perhaps something better next time around. The tigers, salamanders, or whatever they are, etc., sometimes either die in weird positions, like the tiger was a tiger rug, or ready to mat with a walrus, or else, spawn weirdly again when reloaded. It's nice, though, that enemies who've died are left on the screen *sometimes* (as they do not happen all of the time, or fade away after a few seconds). BTW, anyone's jaw also drop at seeing the idle cinematic from the menu screen, if you don't choose new game, and it shows the mansion from post-destruction reversed time all of the way until pre-destruction? That's something I could watch all day. Totally amazing.
Ok, I should move on.
Music: 9.8 out of 10. My goodness, is the music epic and friggin' amazing, or what? For the most part, and I mean 95% of the time, the music is so good, it's both inspiring, exciting, just making the game feel that much more. Yet, there are times in the water when the music is a bit hypnotic and is alsmot enough to make me go, gah, enough. It's anti-exciting there. Also, at the end, it gets to be so much that the aggravating puzzles, due to the controls and their glitches (which I will elaborate on) gets to be a bit grating. It's not the music's ultimate fault, though, so I am not faulting it here. It is so amazing, though, that the ending's shortcomings are made that much more apparent. I will go into that later as well, but for the love of God, keep that music! Blockbusters would kill for it.
Story: 7 out of 10. I come at this having played since Legend, so I know all about where it's going. I haven't looked at the recap of things since then offered, so will just go from there. The story not only follows faithfully Lara's desires, motivations, and all else's as well, since Legend, it follows the darker mood of that game as well. It follows it so accurately, with all happening and the rage explicit in Lara's character, that it makes one so on the edge of their seat to see this darker Lara, almost driven on a mission of the anti-hero, to nearly destroy all in her wake to get the answers she wants. Both boat levels are prime examples of this. There's something a bit off about a character who would do that, you have to understand. To be that consumed to find the answer to her own past she'd murder all of these people to get it, well, it's borderline psychotic. Yet, that's an addition to her character by now that makes it that much more compelling. Unlike Indiana Jones, who she was modeled, in part, from, she's not fighting Nazis that you can kill by the dozen and no-one questions you: she's fighting people just paid to do their jobs, running a ship. Wow... And not only this, but the continuation from before of wanting to rip out Amanda's throat seen in Legend when she almost shot her continues here. Heh. Anyway, the story works.
What doesn't work about the story is the ending, to some degree. It doesn't work right before the ending, I should say, because the climax doesn't work.
Voice Acting: 9.8 out of 10. I don't care what I've seen on IGN, or elsewise, the voice acting in this game is pretty much top-notch. The range of emotion expressed and gotten cannot be any better. As usually, CD has done its job here. Lara IS Lara, so don't anyone ever recast her unless she simply doesn't want to play the part anymore. Amanda still sounds a bit like a brat, but then again, she sort of is. Natla, is great. The others are as well.
Controls: 6.2 out of 10. 7.8 out of 10 without the glitches. This will be my worst critique of the game, and not because of the controls, themselves. There are far too many glitches, mostly happening later in the game, that cannot be tolerated. Be it gamepad, or keyboard, glitches happen that cause the commands being told to be confused and ignored. In the later stages, , Lara has done the following: jump= her half jumping, standing again, over and over, meaning a stutter where she doesn't jump. This has lead to her plummeting toward her doom many, many times, or falling off a ledge she should be about to jup from and grabbing it. The former is a game-breaker; the latter is not. Reloading a save does not solve this. , Lara has done the following: , Lara has instead of grabbing the chains like a chain, grabbed them like another rod, and thus, tried to swing up (and has done so, defying logic and physics) and through the chain. The chain, thus, goes through her body like it wasn't even there, or vice/versa, and the movement of the chain slams her into the wall; she plummets to her doom. I tried to hand-over-hand it once on the chain, but she didn't move fast enough and pressing action didn't seem to speed it up. She plummeted to her doom. I tried to stand on the chain, then walk. Here's something that happened before (in sptos where she had to move forward, so no, it's not on something she possibly shouldn't be able to), but it wasn't causing my destruction, but it happens and is a major, MAJOR bad glitch. She, standing on the chain, walks forward two, or three steps, then freezes solid. No matter of movement can make her unfreeze. No reload changes this. She slammed into the wall, plummeted to her doom. Over. And over. And over. And over again... I tried when she froze to jump forward. She grabs the chains, sometimes, tries it again and sometimes makes it in time, only to walk and freeze again. Plummet. Doom. So, I thought the game had an impasse I couldn't overcome. Tried to go back to hand over hand, but it took literally 20 tries for her to finally be able to do it, and do it listening to the action button telling her to move faster. That's the worst of the glitches. Her movement stutters and she can't go any farther sometimes like in the water and she's swum in a direction, reaches a wall, or camera change, then she stops. Or walking on a platform, camera change, stops, shakes her head no and will not move. The only way to correct is to wait a full second, then move again. In the last level, she's grabbed ledges and repelled down from rings only to, without me doing it, inexplicably drop and disengage to her impending doom. Over. And over. And over again... These. Problems. Need. To. Be. Patched. I can't stress enough how bad this all is. Finally, and this mostly happened in the final, or final stages as well. The camera and Lara following it have somehow, beyond my understanding of how physically is can be possible, have both reversed angle in mid-jump, as well as her position and speed and velocity. What I mean is, I jump forward for a platform. Camera reverses, as does she to still be facing forward, and we land on the same platform I just jumped from! Wtf??!!
Camera: 7.8 out of 10. I, like others, haven't had an issue with the camera, other than the above mentioned in the controls, lol, but that's just too crazy to say it's the camera's fault... There have only been a couple of times when the camera has jittered and not responded, but it's been rare. It gets a bit much when on revolving things, I have to say, like, woah, I can no longer think because of the damn spinning and jerky movements... I'd like quicker response time also, but otherwise, it's ok.
Combat: 8 out of 10. Seems easier, by far, than both Anniversary and especially Legend. However, slow time engages almost when it wants to, like, when I am not even asking it to, and not when I am, which is strange. However, I could defeat all enemies without a problem not using it anyway, so... I haven't tailored anything, so maybe that's part of it.
Overall, I think the game is very good, but it lacked the punch at the end it built towards and I think CD knows this already. However, the glitches need to be refined. Patches, people, patches... Test the game out on multiple PCs and fix this. The game is shorter than perhaps we'd all like and there is little in the way of extras except for the wonderful concept art... Why? Time constraints. However, even with Legacy of Kain: Defiance, which had more time constraints than you can shake a stick at, CD put in the cinematics. I'd even love a cinematic/script transcript extra (they put the ENTIRE SCRIPT in Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2 -- how AMAZING is that??), but at least the cinematics have to be in here. I really don't want to deal with glitched controls to get to the later stages again and see it all, unfortunately.
7.8 out of 10
Sorry for any typos. It's late, pleople!
Last edited by The Hylden; 12-10-2008 at 12:40 AM.
This game could have been 10/10 with 6 more months development. Crystal Dynamics have made a real breakthrough by adopting Nintendo’s gameplay philosophy of creating “playgrounds”. Just like Mario 64
2 levels are notable
- Mediterranean Sea - wonderful free roaming diving like Mario 64 Jolly Roger Bay
- Mexico – vehicle is integrated into core exploration gameplay like Halo 1 silent cartographer u can choose what ruin to explore first
Crystal Dynamics need to continue this naturalistic, choiceful level design. For example you could have a larger Mediterranean level composed of mini locations - u move around locations with a DESTINATION MENU in ur yacht. NOT GTA open world yacht driving - this is unnecissary + boring
For example the Mediterranean level mini sections could be:
- Rhodes tourist harbour – pseudo rpg hub for detective work, selling loot, shopping for clothes, diving gear, etc
- Pompeii @ Vesuvius volcano – underground flooded city w preserved ruins in the old crumbling pyroclastic cloud
- Crete Knossos ruins – Minos Palace + Labyrinth + Minotaur = epic win
- House of the Faun (Sicily) – private island owned by dodgy businessman. U break in at his masquerade party and steal artifacts from his romanesque house etc.
U need a more rewarding collectables system. Lara is a collector of antiquities and interested in botany and zoology. So u could loot antiquities + stalk and tranquilze rare animals for the estate at Croft Mansion. The Mansion grounds gradually fill up with new animals, plants and artifacts; statues, fountains etc as u collect them ftw. For example u stalk water deer in the misty forests of Sicily . In the free roaming Mansion hub u need a training robot (like the film), an autumn forest, church ruins and Victorian botanical gardens ftw
Finally there is a great analogy between Underworld and the opening 10 min of silent hill 2 on PS2. The ‘walk to silent hill’ is a stupendous psychological device for creating isolation. Underworld did this in 2 or 3 levels – the Mediterranean dive in particular induces real isolation from the player. Please create more sequences like this, before u get to the ruins. Then u feel as Lara would…. away from civilization
There is real potential for a 10/10 next game.
Last edited by midna1; 12-11-2008 at 01:58 AM.
replay value is horrible, collecting treasure is pointless as it does not unlock nothing special like costumes or special levels, trophies for ps3 would most definitely make the replay factor escalate
This game overall is ok
Ill give it a may be 6
question for eidos... WHY CHANGE A WINNING STRATEGY ???
Anniversary was the best lara croft ... the game play had gotten much much better then legend. I expected the gameplay ( movement, control ) to get better not get worse. I was pulling my hair out. I really really hope that Eidos will bring some of the gameplay and Menu options from Anniversary. This menu stunk really really badddd in underworld...
I am still a bigggggg fan of Lara croft. I finished the game in day and a half and already craving for the next lara croft. I still play anniversary and legend and love them. I think i'll continue to play anniversary until the next lara croft comes out.
P.S. Anniversary gameplay and menu with Underworld Graphics will make a great winning combination.
Absolutely loved the game.
Best game I've ever played.
I can play it over and over and not get bored.
Lara has an awesome new look and I love it.
Natla looks awesome.
Sad that Allister died but it makes for an epic story.
Amelia part was really sad.
Costumes are great.
Voice acting is perfect.
All-terrain motorbike... SO FREAKIN' AWESOME!
Lara's new acrobatics are just absolutely awesome, yet look realistic.
Croft manor level, best level ever.
Revisit location feature IMO is the best thing, because it's more realistic, after you have been there and done everything and if you came back it woudln't restart again in real life so I think that's great.
Lara's journal is fun to read.
Swimming is awesome with air tank.
Adrenaline headshots, awesome.
Lara's boat is the best I think, it's like her little hub.
Thor's hammer is so kool, and lara looks great with the belt and the gauntlets on.
Thralls are creepy and awesome.
Lara's hair looks real.
Lara's movements are realistic.
Hellheim is awesome to visit.
Adrenaline moments are absolutely awesomely wicked sick!
The previously on Tomb Raider... feature is awesome because now Tomb Raider Underworld has all 3 games in one, and I only have to play Tomb Raider Anniversary and Legend when I want and don't need them to understand Tomb Raider Underworld.
Can't think of one thing bad about the game...
Oh! One bad thing... The sharks are mean.
Tomb Raider Underworld, best game in the history of GameKind.
Can NOT wait for Tomb Raider 4, hope it comes out in '09.
Keep up the good work Crystal Dynamics.
Does my beard tempt you?
Let down, trying very hard to keep from being upset.
Overall score: 6.5 (may improve if I can finish it. I write while on Thailand.)
Well lets go with the good. It sure is pretty so far. Top notch. Art direction/ art decisions and the accompanying art execution are pretty tremendous.
I like the additional moves, the chimney jump, climping atop the bars she swings on. The narrow ledges thing and the 'balance beam' segments (although they could have benefited from using the motion controls of the sixaxis.) Gave it a WOW I'm going to be able to go anywhere feel.
Start out with an armory, like the tranq. gun. And the sonar map is neat.
Stomping the bugs is cool.
PDA is alright.
Now the not so good. Couldn't actually go anywhere. Still have to follow the path. Which isn't bad just sort of a tease I guess. I thought there would be more than one way to traverse a gap or climb to a height. So far same old Tomb Raider (which isn't bad but...)
Control/Camera . I've never understood the camera problems folks metion with previous TR games. I've got the things that didn't work so good but I've always thought it largely came down to preference. This thing is a disaster.
It keeps trying to move around on me when I don't want it to and fails to move around when it would be good like in combat. Not to metion jumping when Lara jumps.
I've gotten stuck on a section and it is really easy or it should be but the camera and control is a bigger obstacle than the challenge.
I'm trying to get the other lense in Shiva. To try one way I run her into a wall. Try the swing bars method the camera flips in mid move so a left pushed stick needs to suddenly become a right pushed stick and not to mention the control problem that ensues with trying to make a quick transition to the next bar.
I thought it might be a let off after each move a tap the stick, let off, tap again deal but that often doesn't get her moving at all.
Which brings us to the bad thing about the chimney jump. She makes that move even in places where she can't or doesn't need to. And she climbs up to balance on the bar when I want to quick transition to the next.
Not to mention the frequent jumps not at all in the direction I meant.
I can't comment to the length because I've set it aside again because I am so frustrated with the camera and controls. It is if everything in Legend and Anniv. that was just a little bit not working or you can work around it easily enough suddenly became broken.
Also why can I not 'reset' the camera with R3? I can't get it to a default position easily. It is a mess.
And of course I keep going into aim mode when the camera fights me and I just hit R3 to fix it.
You ditched the mansion training levels.
Menu is clunky. What was wrong with the Anniv. menu system?
Combat is flat. Camera again? I'm not asking for Uncharted (too much running gun fight) but there are some things that could be stolen- like taking cover. Although she can shoot while hanging which is a good addition. Why does she not draw her weapon when I go into aim mode? If there is to be melee, institute a melee system.
Breaking jars for secrets is old and I've barely started.
Overall. I bought a PS1 because I wanted to play the first TR game and a backwards compatible PS3 when going next gen to play Legend and Anniv. which were, while not flawless, a lot of fun. I was thinking you'd really found the formula. If Underworld moved back to Legend with more combat than Anniv. I was thinking we'd really have something. As it is with the camera and control issues I can't decide whether to even try to finish this mess.
Ohhh, and if I do finish this and if I am left with a sense that I was short changed, a sense you just left the last levels off the PS3, or released the game unfinished (which it seems you might have this issue aside) so you could put exclusive DLC on the Xbox...
Well, I suppose there is enough money in that you won't miss my non-purchase if there is a next game or my other non-purchases of your company's games.
Underworld is the game Legend should have been. Maybe if we'd started with all that Underworld brings to the table, by the third game we would not be complaining about the camera or glitches. The "formula" would be set, all that would be left would be fixing the code and making up new adventures (and outfits.)
That initial paragraph sounds very negative, but I don't mean it to be. Underworld is a "next gen" Tomb Raider game. Lara controls exceptionally well. No more empty frames of animations to wait on. She is quick and responsive. Personally, I like the new animations, and the new moves really open up the platforming. Lara has more ways to get from one place to another than ever, and that makes for some real platforming mysteries. The sprint returns, and there are many context specific animations that appear like treats. Front walkovers to pick up objects or flips when jumping from one spot to another. To my knowledge, I did nothing to trigger them, so watching them appear was delightful.
I enjoyed the new combat although I found the choice of moving the head shot reticule with the right analog to be mystifying. The sequence is scripted, so use the left. You're pulling the trigger with your right. The "slow time" mechanic was OK, but the R3 button is never intuitive, so I rarely used it. Thanks for fixing the targeting. Now Lara's shoots enemies rather than walls. The flip and fire moves are nice; but they're not very evasive. I also thought being armed to the teeth at the beginning was rather a nice change. Thanks for the "one pull" to shoot too, rather than the button mashing of TRA.
The adrenaline moments are a nice replacement for interactive cut scenes. They did seem few and far between though. I would have liked more of them. Thanks for extended breath bar and scuba gear. It was nice to swim and take a real look around rather than race for the next air hole.
The music and graphics are fabulous. I played the 360 version. There are anti-aliasing problems, but nothing this non-graphics junkie couldn't handle. The cut scenes will make you think God of War the environments are so massive. Voice acting was good, although the story was swiss cheese. That's fine. All TR stories are cheesy, although I think the constant animosity between Lara and Amanda is a bit forced. One can be on opposing sides and still respect and care for the enemy. Look at Magneto and Xavier. Much more interesting relationship.
1. The camera. Sorry, this really needs major work. I'd almost prefer a fixed camera to what this one does occasionally. Why on earth would it center underneath the bike? Lara sure has nice fenders. I did not feel the camera was a game killer, although it's a little too in love with Lara. I just want it to pull back and stop trying to follow her around like a puppy. It slows down the gameplay because I spend time reorienting the camera to make sure my jumps don't fail. Sort of the new "hop back" prep for a jump. Now I just "re-orient" the camera.
2. Mexico. The biggest playground in the game, but also the most limiting. Lara will only climb 10% of what you see. I'm guess the rain makes everything too "slippery" although there were objects knee-high Lara refused to clamber onto. This is a return to Legend where Lara couldn't do anything. Rule number one in TR: If it looks like Lara can get there, she should be able to. Don't program her out.
4. Glitches, glitches, glitches. Vanishing objects, vanishing Lara, spongy floors, walls, etc. I have no doubt coding all the textures is a big job, but maybe a few fewer hallways and tighter programming? These sorts of things as a rule don't "ruin" a game for me, but it sure un-immerses you to see your character disappear halfway into a wall or "hit" an invisible one.
5. The save system. For goodness sake, it's been THREE GAMES. Who likes this system? What's wrong with just a straight forward save system? I can never tell what's saved and what's not. I die, I go back to a spot. Is that spot saved? Not if I turn off the game. It goes back to some other un-named spot. It just gives me fits.
6. The new menu. I don't like how save files are listed. It's tough to tell what's what. Perhaps a GOW style menu with pictures to help remind you where you where? Also, did I unlock any outfits? Where are my achievements? It kept telling me during the game what I had achieved, but I never could find a list of all I had achieved.
7. Too many secrets. With all weapons locked and loaded from the beginning, secrets are reduced to shiny objects that don't do anything. Why am I kicking open all those jars again? I love having lots of stuff to find, it's just too much for no good purpose. There needs to be real rewards for exploration. Find all parts to the *blank* and get this upgrade/outfit/unlockable.
8. Replay stinks.
9. Balance beam walking is stupid. Really, how can a trained gymnast who flips from the tip of one pole to another constantly lose her balance on a six-inch wide beam? *shakes head* Just drop it already.
That list makes it sound like I didn't enjoy the game. Well, I didn't enjoy the bike. Vehicles are a tradition in TR games, but I don't think there have been any I liked using. I spend more time running into walls than anything, and the forced "race to the gate" drove me batty. (I did get the roadkill achievement though. )
However, when Lara is off the bike, it's Tomb Raider. You will wonder where to go, you will wonder what to do. You will ask yourself "how the heck am I supposed to get there?" and grin when you do. Plus riding a giant hammer is just way cool. Much has been said about how short this game is. I've read people saying they completed it in eight hours. Possible, I suppose if you have the help icons "on", use field assistance the minute you're stuck and ignore artifacts. I think play time is probably more like 15 to 20 hours for Raiders who like to explore and find secrets.
I give Underworld a "B". I would have scored it higher except for technical issues. If I were just scoring "the raiding", I would probably give it an "A."
Feminism is the belief that women are people.
(sorry if my english is bad )
Played the game on Xbox 360
What I liked about the game
- The graphics
- The enviroments. The Thailand level is really beautiful
- The controls is good (even if I hate the camera)
- The story is really good, I loved everything about that
- The puzzles is good, but to easy sometimes
- The field assistence - if u got stuck u just checked it for some advice
- How Lara, Amanda, Natla and the other looked. Really beautiful
- That u could choose clothes
- the underwater areas
- that u can shoot underwater
- Thors hammer
I liked more things about the game, but well..
What I didn't liked aabout the game
- all the glitches
- the new menu (the menu from TRL and TRA was so good)
- the camera
- no croft manor too play around in
- That Zip (and Alister) isn't talking to u in the levels. It should atleast have been nice if she talked to them in the cutscenes, even if she didn't talk to them when u are playing. (my english is too bad, I can't explain it better :/ )
- That u can't replay levels
- U can't look at the cutscenes just from the menu
- the bike (it was hard to control it)
- that u can't unlock cheats, outfits, and stuff like that
- the annoying treasures.
- that Lara is so quiet . I know that she is so quiet in all her games (I thinkxD ), but I would really enjoy if she like : "oh no!" when the thralls are attacking in a group.
- that in the last levels it was to many thralls, it was boring to kill that many on exactly the same way.
- the game was short, I wanted it to be longer (but who doesn't )
Well, it was a good game . I really liked it, even if I think Legend was better. Some levels in Underworld was boring, when in Legend every level was so excited
But yeah- I really liked the game
I give it 7/10
OK, I had this in my own thread before this official Topic got made, so I'll re-post here First the stats;
Platform: Xbox 360
Like: graphics, environments, puzzles, character acrobatics, music, story, cinematics, adrenaline headshot, improved version of quick time
Dislike: camera issues, control glitches (camera related), not enough outfit selections, less replayability than previous installations
It’s been 13 years since the most controversially provocative female protagonist entered the game scene on the PS1, capturing the hearts of many a wide eyed gamer. And now she makes her 1st true next gen debut in Underworld. Although Legend had already come out on Xbox 360 (but in the systems first year, and also Xbox and PS2) , this is the game that really takes advantage of this current generation of hardware (both in 360 and PS3).
And let me say right here and now, speaking as someone who’s played the first series from the first back in 1995 (although I missed Angel of Darkness on PS2) to Legend, this latest installment is without contest, THE best game ever made of the adventures of Lara Croft. I mean it. No game before compares to this.
This of course is the most obvious upgrade to the game. The outdoor landscapes are just gorgeous vistas, with lush foliage that bends and folds as Lara pushes her way through it. The temples and ruins seen from the outside are picturesque, conveying a hint of mystery of what lies beneath their serene surface, with the interiors being richly detailed, and all of this being greatly enhanced by the new lighting engine CD has incorporated. Much of the scenery will give you cause for breathless admiration and wonder, a testament to beautifully executed art direction. The wildlife that is also a staple of the franchise is also more vivid and truly a beauty of nature. The tigers have really come to life with fluid animation giving them beautiful ferocity.
Naturally, mention has to be given to the graphical upgrade Lara herself has received with this next gen overhaul. She has never looked better. And I’m not just talking about her hotness, which there is no denying is as present as ever, in her athletic physique, piercing eyes, long toned legs, her confident swagger, and those full round… errr… ahhh… sorry, got side tracked So ahem ahem… as I was saying. This is the best looking Lara Croft, not just in the “babe” sense of the word, but also in that this is the most realistic rendition of the iconic character. This is a more naturalistic human looking person. Yes, she’s still well endowed but much more realistically well endowed, with the accurate proportions of what real women with large breasts actually look like. In fact when you compare this model to the original from 1995 (even going by the CGI render), that one takes on a more caricature appearance of “the hot babe” ideal where all the features are exaggerated.
More than ever, the art direction gives the illusion (and hope) that Lara Croft could be a real person. And it’s this more natural and human approach to her appearance that really enhances the beauty and appeal of the leading lady. The look of Lara is further augmented by the motion capture incorporated into the animations (a first for the series) that really breath’s life into the character, especially in the cut scenes.
It goes without saying that the platforming is as enjoyable as ever. Carrying the tradition of environmental puzzle solving that Tomb Raider began, you’ll experience the challenge of figuring out which of Lara’s many acrobatic skills (swinging, climbing, chimney jumping, balance walking, pole vaulting, shimmying, etc…) to use in what areas of the environment, where your goal is to decipher your route to get from point A to point B of the intricate structures. Then of course there’s solving the riddles of ancient mechanisms and how to activate them so you can proceed.
The environments and puzzles are on a massive scale, made majestic by the detail and beautiful rendering of the art. Southern Mexico in particular covers a vast expanse of territory as you’ll race through the jungle on your cycle to not one, but a few temples, exploring them to recover the pieces you’ll need to solve the even greater puzzle leading into the next grand secret chamber - with even more puzzles to solve. There’s a reason that mission gains you a 100 point achievement for completing.
The challenge in some areas will be quite high; stemming from the size of the environments that leaves much guess work as to the correct path and order you need to take multiple routes in, which adds to the complexity of the puzzles. While some puzzles will be easy to navigate and solve, be prepared to do some wandering as you stumble along looking for the solution to some others. Thinking will be required here.
What I always found to be the charm of the Tomb Raider series is the sense of wonder and discovery. These were games where I felt I wasn’t just having an adventure in some fantasy world, but really delving deep into the mysteries of our own world. Uncovering remnants of long perished civilizations that still seemed connected to our own modern world fostered a fascination I rarely found in other games. These are the roots of what made the series so great in the old days, which Crystal Dynamics has so successfully resurrected and enhanced in modern gaming form. This is also where the brilliant visuals augment the experience lending authenticity to the cultural exoticness of the ruins, where you’ll really feel like you’re in a genuine recreation. This is a game of exploration, and not just of old structures, but also of ancient legends and mythologies. Where Legend took it’s rendition of the “reality” behind the myths of Excalibur, Underworld does the same, with a unique approach to Norse mythology, uncovering the secrets of Thor’s hammer, the World Serpent, and the prophesy of Ragnarok.
When Crystal Dynamics took the reigns of this beloved franchise, they didn't stop at taking the game back to its roots of what made it great. They also looked to see where tweaks could be made to the game mechanics, by eliminating limitations Lara had in past games that she really shouldn’t have today. Being able to target two enemies simultaneously as well as being able to shoot (just one pistol) while hanging from a ledge is a very welcome addition, and about time too. But there's two new enhancements in particular that are the real stars of the show;
First is the addition of the Adrenaline Head Shot. This fantastic combat maneuver is both cinematic and remains interactive, where you still control the aiming during the slow motion action. It gives you the feeling of controlling a powerful character, more skilled in marksmanship than the average mercenary she encounters, albeit in more of a hollywood action movie enhanced by special effects, than in the traditional FPS player based skill manner. And when it comes right down to it, it just looks frakkin COOL. This is one of those play mechanics that I can say never gets old.
Second is the new and improved method of special action sequences. Gone is the tired old Quick Time mechanic. This has become an all too common feature and having button icons pop on screen, really breaks the immersion quality of a game, and pulls you away from the fluid game play, where it becomes a segment where you're riding the rails. Basically it smacks of hand holding where the game is telling you what to do and you have to follow on queue. Instead, during critical moments, the action simply slows down, allowing you to execute the appropriate maneuvers from Lara's repertoire, whether that's a jump, grab, roll, or shooting of the grapple line. Without the icons appearing on screen, and the fact that your actions are still fully in your hands, relying on your knowledge of the built in control scheme (basically you're controlling the same way you normally are throughout the game), the immersion is never broken and it blends much more seamlessly with the standard game play.
It is now my firm held position that this, THIS is how special action sequences whould be done in all games, to completely replace on screen icon pop-ups. The era of Quick Time must be brought to an end.
Yeah, need to get to this part. And how unfortunate it is that after all these years, Tomb Raider is still struggling with the camera. While most of the time the game control is solid in executing Lara's acrobatic maneuvers, it can get hampered in those cases the camera refuses to give you the proper viewing angle of your environment, leading analog stick direction confusion, that in turn cause you to jump in the wrong direction - like towards a chasm instead of the opposing ledge which is where you (in your mind at least) was aiming towards. Considering it's been 13 years, you'd think this would be resolved by now. Even if Crystal Dynamics has only had tenancy of the series recently, still this is an issue that has been dealt with by games since the 3D era 1st began. To Crystal Dynamics I sentence them to mandatory lessons from Ubisoft :P
It's this persistent shortcoming that prevents me from giving Tomb Raider Underworld a higher score, and believe me I would like to, as I rank this is the best of all the Tomb Raider games. Another smaller complaint I have of this game is far fewer costume options than Legend. It seems silly, but did add replay value, and was just fun to give you the player the choice to see Lara how you wanted.
So my final score for Underworld is 8.5
On a Final Note
OK, so this doesn't really have any bearing on the game itself. But I'm going to include it anyway, because hell, it's MY review I just have to say... Alison Carroll is THE best Lara Croft there has ever been (Angelina Jolie included). She really looks the part, with a face both friendly and determined, has the stance, the confidence, the class, and best of all, genuine British poise. In all respects that matter most, she comes across as the embodiment of the polygons come right out of the screen and taken flesh. Alison is undeniably beautiful, confident, and exemplifies unwavering perseverance - all the qualities that we have come to love about Lara herself. Oh yeah... and she's an actual GYMNAST!!! How much more perfect could any lady be to carry the mantle? Alison, you're doing a fantastic job so far and I hope you'll be the face of Tomb Raider for a long time to come
Last edited by adobeARTIST; 12-24-2008 at 02:15 PM.