The Return of the Raider!

User Rating: 8.5 | Tomb Raider: Anniversary (Platinum) PS2
I've always loved platforming games; they put me to "greater heights." I love the feel of being able to traverse very high grounds, shimmying camouflaged ledges, running around and eventually finding a very intricate escape route, and of course, controlling the sexiest protagonist in gaming!
(STORY)
It's basically Tomb Raider One with a few extra levels and deeper story. The whole thing was just revolutionized! Lara's beginning story became a dramatic one, compared to the original Tomb Raider game. This remake was generally about polishing the whole game, in its 10th Anniversary, and I must say that this is one of the best remakes ever to be released. So, Lara's on a mission to discover the long lost scion of Atlantis, which is this powerful round thing that's composed of three parts allegedly hidden within the tombs of the great Atlantean lords. So, the quest is on with a few twists and turns that'll keep the progress interesting. I just love treasure-hunting tales!
(GRAPHICS)
This game features the enhanced graphics of the Tomb Raider: Legend and it's incredibly beautiful in its overall feel. It's darker and extremely more detailed; things really have changed since the original. Lara's buffed up with a lot of new tricks and she looks dazzling. The set pieces are immersive, have great scale to them and they really bring that "edge" feel to intensify the platforming feat of the game, that I know a lot of people love. Character animations are superb; the enemies look a lot scarier and bigger than their PS1 counterparts; the puzzle rooms are more detailed, intuitively camouflaging the climbable ledges so that players can discover them for themselves. The whole thing is being not too obvious. It's so good that I really had a hard time turning off the game after discovering one secret passage after another.
(SOUND)
Lara talks to herself a lot. And that's good because in a game where the main character is mostly alone, thought-speak is deftly utilized so the game won't feel too silent when it comes to its lead character. The environmental sounds are also realistic, with echoes on very large rooms, spooky animal calls, nature sounds all around; they're just so amazing. The musical score also plays an integral part in this game. Each enemy type has its own soundtrack when they attack Lara; the exploration score is also always there to accompany the gamer and Lara in their quest for the scion. I'd really appreciated the soundtrack; they feel so intense and cinematic, yet at the same time, they have a sense of peace in them. Everyone has to give it in to the noise in this game.
(GAMEPLAY)
Platforming greatness, featuring Lara Croft! Who could ever complain? She leaps, she runs gracefully, she swan-dives, she performs seemingly impossible acrobatics [yeah, try swan-diving on hard floor], she grapples, she punches, kicks and holds on to wall edges; I mean, wow! One of the only downsides to this game is that the camera can be very frustrating. It's confined into the entire room only and would not extend your line of sight if it hits a wall or something. So, you sometimes won't know if the jump is safe or not, if the daring leap will lead Lara to the next level or cause one of the frequent load screens that'll end with the checkpoint. Lara dies a lot in this game, in gruesome ragdoll physics; so horrifying! Anyway, the fights are better this time, Lara's actually responsive to the controls and the boss fights are great, though few. The addition of the bullet-time bits when an enemy is enraged is god though and very essential to make a battle easier to handle. This game will keep gamers interested.
(OVERALL)
Lara's back once more in the Anniversary of her debut, and it's bigger, better and more beautiful. Though the camera can sometimes be a bit of a pain, and the lack of NPCs can make the game stagnant, the essence of this game, which is platforming, is profound and that's what matters. Solving the puzzles of this game will leave you satisfied [sometimes, the puzzles are so big and diverse, that they go on for long periods of time and may require critical thinking skills. Just don't oogle on the game too much; it may leave you with hours of fun, you'd forget that important thing you've been doing that involves fire and pork.] Have fun!