Tomb Raider: Anniversary Reader Review
Well, I wanted to focus this reader review solely on two issues with the Wii version: the camera and the control scheme. (Since other issues like setting and leveldesign seem to be widely loved, and rightfully so, I figured you wouldn't need to hear that from me again.)
Let me start by saying that I completely disagree with Eurogamer's take on these issues. Both the camera and the Wii controls worked very well for me personally. I did have problems with them in the beginning; there's certainly a learning curve here. If you do get past that however, the Wii version shines and enhances the Tomb Raider experience considerably.
When I started playing TR: Anniversary, the camera gave me problems in 2 areas.
It seemed to randomly shift to looking at the ground
It didn't show enemies behind me
After some experimenting, I found out the answer to problem nr 1. was that I wasn't aiming the Wiimote at the TV screen. So whenever I wanted to adjust the camera, it automatically pointed at where I was pointing the Wiimote, which was below the screen. After training myself to always point at the middle of the screen (which is very much possible while resting your hand on your thigh), I was able to change the angle of the camera very fast and accurately, whenever I wanted to.
Problem nr. 2 becomes a problem if you let yourself get surrounded by enemies. In contrast to the review, I found that the Z-locked camera actually followed the action pretty accurately. It's the wild jumping around by the enemies that can send the camera in a frenzy, because it follows the locked, jumping around enemy so well. (An exception is if you're standing in a very small space, like right in the corner of a room, but almost any camera system would have problems with that). Anyway, if you get in trouble when you're surrounded (which after practice, actually doesn't causes as much problems anymore), then try and not let yourself get surrounded. In real life you don't have eyes on your back. I can forgive Lara for not having any either. (Combat tips follow when I discuss the controls below)
Other notes about the camera:
Sometimes you can't see a ledge or platform you want to jump to. This happens very rarely though, so it was just a minor nuisance for me.
The camera system is very, very good when you have to make a difficult jump, which happens A LOT in Tomb Raider: Anniversary. Why it is good? Well, since the Wiimote allows you to very accurately adjust the camera viewpoint, you can very easily point it in just the right direction you want to jump to. Then it's a simple matter to push the analog stick forward and jump in precisely that direction.
To sum it all up: to me, the camera system worked better than any dual analog camera I can remember. The Z-lock tracks enemies well and adjusting with C can't be done fast and accurately, IF you remember to keep pointing to the TV screen.
The Wii controls
OK, then the controls. The reviewer's beef is mostly with the combat system and I can appreciate that. I had the same problem in the beginning, getting killed when I was surrounded. However, after practice, I found this to be less and less of a problem, and at the moment I can comfortably let myself be surrounded by 3 velociraptors and keep dodging them and, after playing with them for a while in this way, still shoot and kill them. It's just a matter of practice, as with many Wii games, and if you put in the time needed to learn how to shoot, then you can get good at combat in this game. What's left then is a deeply engaging and awesome combat system in which you dodge and aim with body movements.
I love the thrill of having to dodge with my left hand (always leaning a bit with the rest of my body) and then stil aiming true and making that headshot, just when the enemy jumps past you.
So I agree there's a learning curve here, and perhaps a steep one for people who aren't used to manual Wiimote aiming. If however you've played games like Red Steel or Metroid Prime 3, you won't find it nearly as difficult.
For anyone who has problems while being surrounded by enemies, I have the following advice:
Use the camera's Z-lock as early as possible, and shoot as early as possible, while trying to keep as much distance between you and the enemy as possible. In most cases, you'll be able to kill the enemy before they're close to you. With stronger enemies, make use of the terrain. Try and keep that pond or pillar somewhat between you and the enemy and you'll have more time to kill it before it reaches you. If it does reach you, do not let go of the Z-lock. The camera WILL follow the enemy well enough for you to keep shooting.
The very most important part of advice I can give though is to always point the Wiimote at the middle of the TV screen. Again, if you rest your hand on you thigh, this is easily possible, with the added benefit of your hand being completely still while shooting. If you keep the Wiimote pointed at the screen, you won't ever have to look where your "blue dot" (crosshair) is on the screen if you're attacked by an enemy.
The other Wiimote controls are implemented with loving detail. Using the nunchuk for your grappling hook is pretty standard by now, but that doesn't keep it from adding to the game. Moving the Nunchuk in the rhythm of Lara's movements while shimmying along a ledge or climbing a ladder feels right too. Shaking the nunchuk to swim faster feels perfect, especially when you're chased by that crocodile and really have to make an effort to stay in front of it. Using the Wiimote in the added mini-game "puzzles" is a bit lame though.
To recap, I found that most of my early problems with the camera as well as combat could be traced back to me not pointing at the screen. When I got used to pointing at the screen, everything worked much better. The end result is that I feel the Wii version to have a very good camera and control system, which enhance the Tomb Raider experience for me in just about every way imaginable. Don't let yourself be put off by the reviewer's take on it, especially if you're used to Wiimote aiming in other games. This game has excellent Wii controls, which has caused it to be the ultimate Tomb Raider experience for me.
8 / 10