Tomb Raider Legend has great presentation, control and design but lacks substence and has a few too many short-comings.
tweek87 wrote this review on .
This game is quite possibly the easiest Tomb Raider to date. Perhaps this is to make it more accesible, as even my little sister could get through it, but for long-term fans (I have played all the games) it seems a little dumbed down.
This is helped by the fact that the game is largely quite linear. There is nearly no backtracking involved (as indicative in the older titles) and it is very easy to know what to do and never be left wondering. Once again, I suppose this is good for those who aren't that into games but for others it just feels too easy. Puzzles are also very easy, mostly consisting of putting blocks onto certain switches which are getting quite boring.
Before this game came out, it was advertised as being quite open-ended with the player being able to decide how to solve puzzles (given the example you can shoot a path clear or use momentum) but I would argue that this is only the case once or twice and otherwise the game requires you to do rather specific actions... sometimes not working unless the action is just right. Some of the animations certainly seem to have a sweet-spot... even jumping to grab onto a rope can be uneven as sometimes Lara will grab a rope she has missed completely and other times she will fail to grab a rope directly in-front of her.
This brings me to the animations. The new graphics looks quite superb and although I have heard complaints about framerate issues I haven't experienced any of those. The graphics are soo good that even when Lara is wet you can see that she is dripping and her skin reflects light as you'd expect. In fact, the graphics are reminicent of recent Price of Persia games which is a compliment, however, many of Lara's moves and animations actually seem to be ripped straight out of Prince of Persia. There were times when it felt I was even playing that game and so perhaps the developers should try and distinguish Lara more.
One way they've done that is by giving her a gapling hook which breathes new life into an otherwise stale formula. This addition is greatly welcomed but it does sometimes seem as though this is applied so a child could understand what to do as every object that can use the graple hood is shiny and removes any doubt of what to do next.
The developers have also distinguished Lara by introducing Boss battles which are perhaps the hardest things in the game. In most cases the challenge comes from not knowing what to do although sometimes it can seem as though the bosses don't give you a chance. The most frustrating thing about these encounters is that you are required to do VERY specific actions otherwise the bosses regain all their lives and this can be enormously aggravating.
One last addition that has made this game considerably easier is the implementation of a checkpoint system. If you don't know what to do - which is rarely the case - all you'll need to do is run around until you see you have reached a checkpoint and then you know you're heading in the right direction. By making it so you can't save absolutely everywhere you sometimes have to repeat puzzle sequences when you return to the game. However, this is a very small issue and doesn't really detract from the solidity of the title.
Ultimately, although Tomb Raider Legend is a welcomed return from a long absence with great presentation, it doesn't quite do enough to make it a classic. Its 8-hour (being generous) story mode is filled with good level design, yet nothing as memorable as say Venice from Tomb Raider 2. Although you can go back and discover all the secrets I'm not really into that so for some once the adventure is completed there is little to no value in returning.
Also, the constant implementation of gun fights which you'll often emerge from with more health than you started just detract from the overall enchantment of the levels you encounter. They are soo bad they feel as though they were just tacked on and its a pity that they consist of what seems to be at least 25% of the game. Also, it is hard to suspend disbelief when you have people flying, sending demons at you and throwing magical attacks without anyone in the game batting an eyelid. The frequent use of motocycle chases is by far the worst addition to the franchise as these are essentially levels which go on until you've killed all the bad dudes and so repeat ALOT of the same textures, are much too easy and are very dull, in fact it is difficult to fail these levels as between the constant supply of medikits and the terrible aim of the badies you never die.
The control on the PC is suprisingly good. The only problem I had with it was that in certain situations where it was required to roll to the right (requiring you to hold D and press F) was quite tricky as both required the same finger. I never tried it with a gamepad but I assure you its manageable without. The camera control with the mouse is really helpful and apart from the rare camera problem - where you normally need to jump backwards but can't see what is there - I found the mouse well implemented.