Tomb Raider Legend Review
|Release Date:||April 7, 2006 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Brian Rae (Bri)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
The last Tomb Raider game was nothing short of a disaster in my opinion, "Angel of Darkness" was pretty much a flop and deservedly so. Thankfully, history hasn't repeated itself and Lara's new adventure is a stunning romp through various locations around the world reminiscent of the original which captivated gamers 10 whole years ago.
Considering so much about the game has changed, it's surprising just how much it feels the same. Our femme fatale is slender, more curved in all the right places and no longer confined to the clunky, pixel-perfect controls of the past. Lara now runs, jumps, flips and vaults with all the grace and air of an Olympic gymnast. As well as being a lot more flexible she now has a few more combat moves up her sleeves such as slide tackling and using enemies as makeshift launch pads to spring up into the air with a rather cool slow-motion effect.
To compliment her new repertoire of abilities Lara now comes packed with a some nifty little gadgets. First off is the grappling hook, which allows her to pull off some Indiana Jones-esque hijinks as well as retrieve hard to reach objects and activate switches that would otherwise be too far away. It can also be used in combat to drag enemies closer, depriving them of the higher ground or just closing the distance. The binoculars come equipped with a new R.A.D (Remote Analysis Device) system which comes in handy for identifying traps, switches and mechanisms instead of trying to use anything and everything in the immediate area to solve a puzzle. In addition to the gadgets Lara now comes with a variety of costumes which can be unlocked during the game, my particular favorite being the saucy little black number complete with suspender mounted holsters.
The plot is typical of the adventure genre; Lara is in search of a sword that holds the clues to her mother's disappearance. Unfortunately, as is always the case it seems, the sword has been broken and the fragments scattered around the world. During her travels Lara bumps into old friends and enemies, with flashback levels helping to provide more of the back story. At certain points during the cut scenes a button will flash on the screen, press it in time and a trap will be evaded, a jump will be made and certain death will be avoided. For those with the reflexes of a snail or who usually don't pay attention to the cut scenes you might find yourself watching Lara fall to her demise.
Not much has been changed to the game play itself, but all the little minor adjustments make it feel like this is what it should have been from the beginning. You no longer have to be exact to the pixel to make a certain jump. Miss a jump and Lara with scramble to hang on for dear life while a button flashes above her head, press it in time and all is well and she manages to grab hold. Pressing the Y-button while shimming or climbing in time with her movements will make her move faster. Exploring and navigating the trap filled levels is still at the heart of the game, with the combat sections adding a bit of action and change of pace. Although the story mode wont take long to complete at around 5 to 6 hours of playtime, there are lots of hidden artifacts to discover and a challenging time trial mode to conquer allowing you to unlock extra outfits and so on. The Croft Manor also makes a return, complete with gym and swimming pool. There's a lot to explore in the Croft household and it'll take a lot or hard work to find the gold reward hidden somewhere within its grounds.
Fans of the Tomb Raider series will definitely not be disappointed, with Legends going back to the roots of the classic Tomb Raiders. The story is a bit on the short side, but the number of secrets and hidden items will have you going back to try and explore every last inch of the levels. If your after a game that's requires a little bit of brainpower then you cant go wrong with Tomb Raider: Legend's mix of puzzles and action.
- Lots of secrets to uncover
- Great gameplay that captures the essence of the original games
- Nice graphics
- Lara, in all her curvy hi-definition glory
Not so good stuff
- Doesn't take long to play through the main story
- Lara's dodgy English accent
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