Friday, November 2, 2007
Good: Nearly identical to the PS2 title, adds some new tricks to an old game
Bad: Camera, still a pretty bland experience overall
Ten years ago, when I bought the original Tomb Raider, I was hoping for a bit of an Indiana Jones-esque experience. I wanted to travel the world, collecting artifacts and generally just finding adventure at every turn (and ideally, kill a lot of Nazis).
Unfortunately, what I got was hours of running around bland tombs, just trying to figure out where the hell to go. Ten years later, and Eidos presents us with Tomb Raider Anniversary. You're still running around tombs trying to figure out where the hell to go, but there's a few new moves at your disposal now. I've always had mixed feelings about the series. I love adventure games, but these were just too empty and deprived of "fun" for me. It's not that they're terrible games, it's just that they're not exactly that entertaining (although Legend was decent).
There's a few new tricks up Lara's sleeve now, mainly taken from the Legend engine. Despite this, there's still a lack of action and enemies. There are flashes of fun combat, such as the legendary T-Rex showdown, but these are few and far between. Anniversary adds a new move that allows you to dodge Matrix-style and deal extra damage to enemies. Again, these "adrenaline dodges" are a nice new addition, but you won't be using it that much. The combat is also brought down by the helpless A.I., which causes wolves and other enemies to get caught in doorways.
You'll still be getting stuck a good deal, and her in-game journal isn't of much help. It's supposed to be there to offer hints, but you'll just get ridiculously unhelpful info like "There must be a way to open this door" or "Hmmm:..interesting".
The camera was an issue with the PS2 version of the game, and it's just as much of a problem on the 360. Graphically, it looks decent (obviously better than the PSX original), but it's nothing to write home about. There are a few odd animations as well, such as the pseudo-slow motion roll. Despite the obvious resolution upgrade, it's very similar to its PS2 counterpart.
I've talked to countless gamers, and have never met a hardcore fan of the Tomb Raider series. It gained a great deal of fame thanks to the cover girl and the films, but I feel it never really had the gameplay to back up the popularity. Anniversary, if nothing else, is an effective reminder of this.
First Play: 7.5
Replay Value: 6.5
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