Tomb Raider: Legend

One of the most well-known of the modern gaming heroines is the delightful Lara Croft. Going from 1996, the series went on a hiatus after the shambles that was Angel of Darkness. It suddenly made a return of some description with Tomb Raider: Legend.

So, what is this? A typical Tomb Raider game where you just get to raid tombs? Pretty much, yes. If you wanted to see something different, then you won’t get it here. Your typical tombs are there for the taking, except this time there’s a vestige of a plot to veil them together. You start in Bolivia, with a certain artefact being brought to Miss Croft’s attention. After a brief foray up the side of a mountain, you find that the tomb you are about to raid has got a bunch of mercenaries guarding it. Going inside, you discover some man at the artefact you’r- AH GOD I CAN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Dear God, the plot is a pile of complete crap. Yes, it gives you a sense of purpose, but that’s the only thing it’s for. I could understand if it knew that, but it really doesn’t. Every time you go somewhere, this man tells you what he’s doing and refuses to give any further information about what this artefact you’re chasing is about. If I were Lara, I would’ve shot him immediately for that crime.

Speaking of crimes, the voice acting is here is a damn crime against humanity. As in, I turned the subtitles on and the sound off. Lara’s voice could be worse, but her two assistants, Zip (I can guess the manual would describe him as the “cool hacker guy”. He is not cool) sounds like a teenager who’s drunk 10 tons of red bull, and Alistair (The scholar) isn’t much better.

Right, now I’ve got that off my chest, what can I say about it that doesn’t involve me tearing it to shreds? Well, it is an action puzzler, and it handles most of that well, but it’s too simple. It never reaches Portal’s “Hmm, how do I do this then?”, thus never has the “I’m awesome!” feeling at the end, but it’s never bad puzzling. Only twice did I get stuck, one because I didn’t think that see-saws worked like that.

Although the actual tomb raiding isn’t great, it’s much better than the rest of the game. The combat sections, which includes 5 boss fights (None of which were fun), the QTEs (ARGH) and the bastard bike sections. I just hated all of them. The combat is just Lara being given a peashooter and getting on with it, the boss fights are strafe affairs (Though the Kraken boss was different), QTEs are barely ever fun and the bike sections are just awful. Who thinks “Keep pressing up and hold down the mouse button to kill anyone that attacks you” is a brilliant game mechanic?

I’m desperately trying to find a reason for you to buy this, but I can’t see one. Steam has it for £14, which is amazingly high for a game with 6 hours at best. Arguably, I haven’t completed it fully, since there’s a collectable system in place, with each level having one gold reward, a couple of silver and many bronze. You can probably get more time out of it. But even then, I can’t see you spending more than 10 hours on it. I wouldn’t get it unless you are a big Tomb Raider fan and it’s dirt cheap, and even then I’d think twice about it.

    • Kid A
    • June 10th, 2010

    I remember playing through this in about the same time as you when it was up for free on GameTap (before they started paying attention to whether you were in the US or not, and forced you to install several Gb of data just to use their service through Firefox.)
    It really is one of those games that you just have to agree to disengage your brain for the duration of – not a bad game, just don’t look at the plot for too long.
    Oh, and Keeley Hawes is wonderful. Always.

    • I think I enjoyed it more when I played it on the PS2. But I think I’ve grown up since then. Mirror’s Edge does the action puzzle better, and AC1 doesn’t have annoying controls.

      I’m starting Underworld soon, and I hear it’s much better.

  1. Underworld is actually rather good. There’s less combat, larger puzzle pieces and some nice platforming. Turns to shit at the end though and there are an odd sections now and again that bury themselves in keyboard smashing territory. Mostly good though.

    • Katmandoo
    • June 10th, 2010

    Underworld? As in the game based off of the film? I have that, it’s meh at best.

    Also: “Who thinks “Keep pressing up and hold down the mouse button to kill anyone that attacks you” is a brilliant game mechanic?” answer: Valve when they designed the pyro.

    • Kid A
    • June 10th, 2010

    Mirror’s Edge does exploration and that “a-HA!” moment better, God of War manages to do better puzzles while also doing massively better combat, and Bayonetta does a “sexy” (YMMV) lead better – which begs the question, what does Tomb Raider actually do now that makes it stand out?

    • Nersh
    • June 15th, 2010

    Nothing, Kid A, which is why they’re busily rebooting the whole franchise with that co-op top-down shooter-platformer thingie, which I must admit looks quite interesting.

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