Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend Reader Review
And that's the last breast gag I will make in this review. It seems like we've been waiting forever for the next in the Lara Croft / Tomb Raider franchise, and in a weird twist of fate there are so many games featuring athletic 3rd person action and adventure now, you'd wonder if there's any room for the old girl.
Tomb Raider Legend attempts to muck around a bit more with the Lara Croft storyline, and paste a finer gel between the movie Lara Croft and the duck-egg-blue-rubber-top-wearing plummy girl we much prefer. Crystal Dynamics have at least gone and had a look back at the heritage of the game before deciding to re-jig the way Lara moves, tighten everything up and make it look like it belongs firmly in the 21st century.
Take her for a spin
So how does it play? A bit of history. I saved up for about 10 weeks while at college when the original Tomb Raider came out. I couldn't afford games, but having had a quick go on the demo, I was irretrievably hooked - and judging by the complete explosion in popularity of the game and its leading lady, you all were too. Weirdly though, like the return to the TV screens of Dr Who, the return to your console / PC screen of Lara Croft will have those who don't like change muttering into their moustaches. It is a very different game to the original Tomb Raider, but also I'm pleased to report that it's nothing like Angel of Darkness either - phew!
On the 360 the game looks utterly stunning in my opinion. Dynamic lighting, and the much talked about "wet skin effect" are all present. There are tombs here too, and hooray hooroosh, there are also motorbikes in it. Could it be the perfect Tomb Raider game then? We wish...
Shorter than Herve Villechaise?
To me it feels like Crystal Dynamics / Eidos are dipping a toe very carefully in to test the water. There is the distinct impression that a very special game was somehow held back, and this graphical taster was substituted in its place. Don't get me wrong, it is a fun challenging puzzling game, though there are times when Lara's true nemesis, the bloody awful camera system, rears its ugly head and makes you want to throw the controller across the room - particularly when you're struggling with some of the physics-based puzzles.
Don't let it put you off, it still manages to re-dress a lot of the problems that the Tomb Raider franchise started to suffer before the truly abhorrent Angel of Darkness, and I doubt you'll even be too ticked off with the ever-present gunplay against mercenaries, and the largely disappointing "shoot the boss character till it's dead" type level-endings you'll come up against.
For the time being then, play this and hope that it sells well enough to give Eidos / Crystal Dynamics the impetus to have another go (as the ending suggests they may well do). Though if you're a hoary old git like me, you'll still want to go back to the original Tomb Raider (or its infinitely improved sequel, Tomb Raider II) and re-live the glory days.
7 / 10