Will Preston

Not even vaguely bouncing tits could save this series

by on Feb.02, 2011, under Review, Video Games

Can’t we all just give up and admit that Lara has lost her edge. In 1996 it wasn’t all about her digi-tits and hotpants. It was about freedom to explore and manoeuvre around a 3D environment. Tomb Raider was breaking stuff back then, but now it’s not breaking anything except the fond memories. After all, there are only so many times you can spice up climbing some walls before the whole concept becomes a chore rather than challenging fun. So here we are with the eighth title in a series that has no idea what it wants to do anymore. The previous game was actually a breath of fresh air. Tomb Raider Legend offered easier controls and a more sympathetic experience, as if it shares your pain felt during the days of no auto save. But with the direct sequel, Tomb Raider Underworld, we’re back to awkward controls, linear gameplay and more unneeded cleavage.

There was no need to bring the bike in with her

Ok, I’m not gay, but when Lara decides to insist on getting maximum cleavage on every costume she wears, I start to question whether or not she knows the concept of practical clothing. One of these day’s she’s going to suffer a fatal boob injury which could have been avoided by dressing like a practical explorer, rather than a porno Dr Jones. Am I the only heterosexual man who thinks this? Interestingly enough, the game gave me the option to change her clothing at the beginning of each level. Going with my guns I gave her outfit with most coverage. Come on now Lara, you’re hunting treasure, not future sex partners.

I have no idea where she will jump next. And neither does she...

Another similar issue I have is that most of the characters have that same smart-but-sexy thing going. Working with Lara is a computer expert and historian who would not look out of place skipping about on Hollyoaks. Even when Lara faces off against an old friend-turned-enemy, it feels like an outrageous scene from an American Soap opera where the actors are having a hard time delivering their lines properly because the story makes no sense. And it really doesn’t. Continuing straight off from the last game, Lara is still in search of her dead mother, who can be found in some form of afterlife (eh?), and the villain from the first Tomb Raider game also pops out for no adequately explored reason. As well as this, Lara’s house burns down and she discovers secrets about her father. It’s pretty clear to see that the story is stupid, even for a Tomb Raider game.

No species is left un-extinct

But the main problem with this game is they’ve changed everything that made Tomb Raider Legend playable. The combat system now means that you’re always the weakest thing in the room, even if it’s a couple of house spiders you’re up against. At one point in the game, I was faced against a ship with about a dozen armed men on deck. Would this be any other game, I was have gone from cover to cover aiming for the head and nothing more would need to be said, right? Well, unfortunately Lara’s weapons would do more damage if the guns themselves were fired out of bigger guns. And even then they would just get by with a limp. At close range, it took four shots from a shotgun to kill a guard protected by a t shirt and trousers. Consider my disbelief to go from suspended to at the bottom of the fucking ocean.

Then comes the inevitable wall climbing. Now before, this was simple enough; you press the jump button with the stick held where you want to go and the leap pretty much happens. Now you have too many kinds of jump per hanging position (with Lara usually picking the one jump that causes her to die) and the camera doesn’t even face the right way when you do it. Whilst hanging on a ledge one afternoon, I tried to swing the camera to face the opposite ledge to get a good view. This would have worked if the camera didn’t lock into a 180 degree semicircle where I could only view the ledge I was hanging on. There wasn’t even an option to go into first person view mode and get a good glimpse on what only Lara could see. When it comes to easy to avoid mistakes like these, you really have to question at how rushed this game was. Granted some of the levels did look nice and huge, but after a while it became repetitive and dull. Even most of the enemies got used again.

The game was over before I cried from frustration, so maybe that can count as a plus point. The only reason I bought this game was the complete the collection and even then I regret paying a tenner for it. Let’s hope that for the upcoming prequel, Crystal Dynamics hire a team of play testers rather than willing everything to work out, and that this abomination get’s cast into the bottomless bargain bin at Blockbuster Video.

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