Posts : 49
Join date : 2009-05-06
Age : 29
Location : Indiana, USA
|Subject: Post Your TRU Reviews! Mon Apr 05, 2010 10:46 am|| |
Throughout the last decade there have been a lot of Tomb Raider games. Some would say there have been way too many even. With eight major titles and a remake (plus countless portable titles), Lady Croft has a lot of epic and not-so-epic adventures under her belt. She's been through two developers and is currently transitioning to new management under Square Enix, who recently bought Eido$ and all of its assets (that's not a misspelling). With all of the drama the series has had to endure, it's almost a miracle that the franchise has survived. However, the undeniable queen of the Sony PlayStation keeps coming back. Back with style.
Tomb Raider: Underworld is no exception. Overall, I'd have to say that it's the best of the Crystal Dynamics installments. Although, if you're a major fan of the previous installment Tomb Raider: Legend, then Underworld is certainly not a game for you. It's crammed full of puzzles, traps, and a kick ass story that will keep you guessing. This isn't a generic childrens shooter like its predecessor. Underworld's truly epic narrative delivers a tale that has no boundaries. When you go into playing Underworld, beware. People are going to die. Major characters even. Crystal Dynamics promised darkness, and they sure as hell delivered on this one.
Picking up after the events of Tomb Raider: Legend, this title starts with a bang. Within literally five seconds, we see Croft Manor go up in flames. Then it begins. No prompting. No explanations. We then see Lara come face to face with her good friend Zip and her butler Winston, who are desperately trying to escape the manor. However, this isn't a happy reunion. Zip pulls out a gun and starts shooting. Once again, no prompting. No explanations. Then, the credits roll, and we're taken back to one week prior. ("What the hell?" and "That was f***ing awesome!" are appropriate responses to that opening.) Lara is now standing on her yacht in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Guess what? There is no prompting and no explanations. That's what's so great about the series. You're left alone. To figure out everything. By yourself. Anyway, if you skip past the first, rather lengthy level set, you find Lady Croft climbing aboard a ship owned by Amanda Evert (your Legend nemesis). Deep within the depths of truly massive ship, Lara Croft is reunited with an enemy she never expected. Somebody who's been thought of as dead for over ten years. Jacqueline Natla, the enemy from the original 1996 title, is being kept in some sort of tube by Amanda Evert, who still seems to be seeking power. Natla, the Queen Goddess of Atlantis, is happy to share some information with Lara, who then sets out for Thailand, to discover secrets her father was keeping from her before his death. That's all I'm going to spoil. To see where the plot pick up, go grab a copy of Underworld from your local game store. You can easily find a copy for $40.00 or under.
Movement & Controls
This is nothing out of the ordinary for Tomb Raider. While the control scheme is average, with absolutely nothing innovative added to it, the camera is abysmal. Beyond even. It makes portions of some levels almost unplayable. I can honestly say that I've never played a game in this world with a worse camera. It made my first playthrough so bad that I vowed to never play the game again. When I came to my senses, I replayed it and gained an appreciation for what's around the camera. Perfection. Well, almost. So, don't be discouraged. Play Underworld. Play it. Play it. Play it. I promise, it is a good game. Minus the camera.
Score: 7/10 (That's being a tad generous, but Lara's moves are so sexy, I had to bump it up a bit.)
This is a topic that I generally find to be extremely unimportant. If a game is designed well enough, the graphics shouldn't matter. However, this is not a matter that brings the Underworld score down. In fact, I can honestly say that Tomb Raider: Underworld is one of the most visually stunning games I've seen so far on the Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. No, it's not quite Uncharted on this matter, but it's not far from it. Underworld is full of incredible detail, which proves that Crystal Dynamics was serious when it came to designing the game. The lighting is perfect, Lara is incredibly detailed and sexy, and the environments actually seem real enough that the player feels as though they're there. Amazing. The only graphics issue that has ever occured through my playthroughs is some odd shadow effects in a single cutscene. One cutscene. That's hella good if you ask me.
This is a matter that puts Underworld at the top of the world. The level design hasn't been this good since 1999's Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. Lara's path winds up, sideways, diagonal, and any other way she can go. It's complex, just as Tomb Raider levels should be. Not only that, but Crystal Dynamics managed to seemlessly incorporate puzzles in with the environment. This is a certain pleaser for both old and new fans. The old fans get the complexity, while the new fans don't get frustrated by constant level blocks. Everything fits well together, which make Underworld a truly well-designed experience. Sure, there's the occassional stop, which leaves you flustered and confused. However, without such experiences, it just wouldn't be Tomb Raider.
There are a lot extra elements that go into a game. So, here they are. The enemies were so-so. There was a variety, but the AI was horrible. Nothing new for Tomb Raider, unfortunately. The weapons were great, especially *spoiler* Thor's Hammer *spoiler*. Flinging endless mercs off the deck of a ship is truly amazing. The characters were great. Especially Lara's dark double. (Play the game to learn more.) The length of the game was depressing (roughly 9 hours). Luckily, Underworld has replay value. At least on the Xbox 360 version, it does. Plus the 360 title has two optional expansion packs available on Xbox Live!. Hell yeah!
Long time fans of Lara Croft and tomb robbing will absolutely adore Underworld. There's no doubt about that. New players will enjoy it as well. It seems to provide a little bit of something for everybody. Nothing too innovative, but it's a surely good time. So, now for the score. Drumroll please!
OVERALL SCORE: 9/10