Saturday, January 23, 2010
Game Review-Tomb Raider Underworld
Yeah, I know what you're going to say. For the most part I review horror movies and games. Why am I reviewing a game that is clearly action-adventure? Well, for two reasons really. One is that Tomb Raider has been a big part of my gaming life. It was one of the very first games I played as a kid, and with the exception of the Angel of Darkness I've played every game since. And two, this game was a horrifying experience for me, and if I have to suffer, then so do you. Got it? Fantastic. Here's the review:
Underworld follows on the heels of Legend, a game that was actually decent with a huge graphical upgrade, new characters and new elements of gameplay. In Legend, Laura discovers that her mother is not dead and instead resides in the world of Avalon, which can only be unlocked by obtaining mystical artifacts (of course). Legend was an attempt by the creators to relaunch the series, and it succeeded. After the reviews of Underworld came in, the creators are now, I kid you not, talking about doing a relaunch of the relaunch.
There are two features on Underworld that were part of its marketing campaign. As the player, you could now get dirty as shown by the cover (um...woo hoo?). The second was that Laura's manor exploded. And you know what? I predicted that her house would eventually explode and a significant main character would get killed off all the way back in Tomb Raider Revelations, which was in 1999. Even exploring her house isn't all the interesting, because you don't spend much time in it (because, you know, it's on fire).
Underworld's gameplay is very annoying. Tomb Raider games by default are very buggy, but this is the first game on the PS3 that caused me some major headaches. The save system is unreliable. Depending on the mood of the game, you might go back to where you saved or to where it automatically autosaved (and sometimes that can be over a pool of burning lava. Thanks game). I fought camera angles, falls from ledges I should have been able to grab onto, and then promptly died from heights that were only three inches from the ground. I actually played this game a year ago, but I didn't finish because I was so turned-around and confused that somehow I managed to go from the end of a level all the way back to the beginning.
But this time around I did finish it. How did the ending measure up? First of all, I was extremely disappointed with the fact that Laura faced not one but three antagonists, and you literally didn't fight any of them, which to me is just lazy. The conclusion was horrible, and I would like to say that it only destroyed the work that Legend did. Unfortunately, because the manor blew up with all of Laura's past relics still inside it, Underworld pretty much destroyed the last eight games.
FINAL GRADE: 1 1/2 stars out of 5. Points for the level design only.
On second thought, let's not go to Avalon. It is a silly place.