Been told it's problematic, full of bugs and not worth it? Don't believe it for a second - try it for yourself!
sequekhan wrote this review on .
Angel of Darkness takes a character from a previous Croft game, and kills him off. Fans may be pleased about this, seeing as he's not exactly a bosom buddy. No pun intended. The thing is, Lara is the prime suspect, and even she isn't sure if she did it. She was at the scene. She remembers that much.
Pretty soon you find yourself hunting the killer, and getting to the bottom of it. Lara's old 'friend' asked her over for help, but Lara doesn't want anything to do with it. I don't want to give too much away, but I can tell you it intrigued me enough to want to keep playing. And that is the core of it. Once a game has you intrigued, there's very little to stop you from playing it.
It'd take something drastic for a player to be put off by a game, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't happen here. Speaking for myself, I found AoD a pleasurable experience, rewarding, and engaging. As far as game-play went: yes, I'll agree Lara is hard to control at times; yes, she can take a billion resets for precision jumps; and yes, some of the key quest items are severely bugged, and the number of periapt shards in your inventory varies from room to room, level to level.
But none of these problems affected gameplay. It's like the developers knew it was a botch-job, so took steps to remedy it. Enemies have predictable AI. They never do much damage. The traps in some areas are easily passed. There's an overabundance of health packs scattered about the game, as usual. No difficulty levels to choose from. An overabundance of ammo and guns, half of which get chucked halfway through, leaving you with a bunch of clips, which you can't even use for throwing at the dirty hookers in Paris. So the end result is a game that might have been hard, but is actually easily owned by an 80-year-old with arthritis.
The jumping was the worst for me. I found the controller responded differently with varying amounts of pressure, such that when it came to near the end of the game and I was required to do phenomenally long jumps (seriously, I think the gravity got lower or something), I had to mash the button down hard because I wasn't getting the full distance out of Lara.
But these problems only surface occasionally, to be perfectly honest. And perhaps it was because I didn't have a standard controller at the time, only one of those cheap PowerWave ones.
One idea I found worked well was the "My legs/arms feel stronger" thing, where Lara would tell you she can run/jump better, or push bigger objects. There are points in the game where you have to choose between two paths as well. This could have been an awesome idea, except for the fact that each alternative yielded the same items and weapons. Even just one path-specific weapon would have been nice. Or a path-specific body upgrade. The dialogue choices were great too, but as with anything in this game that provides a choice, you have to ask yourself why bother choosing at all.
The Cabal was an excellent choice for villains. The voice acting for each is superb, as is the plot twists. For someone that hasn't played the game, you'll find yourself hard-pressed to figure out where it's all leading, there are so few cliches and stereotypes. With the selection of villains (except perhaps the end boss) closely approaching sinister (something I've not felt since Marco Bartolli in the series thusfar) I felt I had come away from this game with a sense of accomplishment.
The music had occasional moments of inspiration, a small number that are truly great with a good sound system, but mostly you'll just want to listen out for enemies and focus on the sound effects. Graphics are more or less what we've come to expect from the PS2, but you'll love it when you turn on the lights in the Serpent Rouge.
Another point I should mention is the new character you get to play as. This also helped to mix the game up (in a good way), as it's the first time in the series we've had the opportunity to play as another character. Boasting a special talent of his own, this guy grows on you until the very end ... but don't ask me what happened there because I still have no idea if he died or not!
If you're a fan of the series, and can see past the faults, then you'll probably already have this game. If you don't have this game, but have been turned off in the past by Tomb Raider's lack of character development and over-simplified plots, then now's a good time to start.
After I finished, I got to wonder: Is Lara still a fugitive?