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Winterwind Productions • View topic - Tombraider: Legend - Impressions

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 Post subject: Tombraider: Legend - Impressions
PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:15 am 
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I know, I'm probably one around here who would possibly go and buy a new Tombraider game after the disasters that were Tombraider III, Tombraider; Revelations, Tombraider: Chronicles & Tombraider: Angel of Darkness :roll:

Still, the odd lurker out there might be interested in knowing, that the game hsa very little in common with those listed above.

My expectations before the game? Very little. I bought and played Tombraider III & Tombraider: Revelations and after that, I was fed up with the franchise. It was ran into the ground by exceedingly weird puzzles, artificially (i.e. abusing limitations of the controls) hard difficulty levels forgetting everything that made the first game great, The sense of exploration and adventure. The game is bloody hell about Tomb Raiding, you wankers at Eidos!

I never liked Eidos. Not even before they changed their name from Domark to Eidos. Domark made crappy games for 8 bit computers.

Anyway, I bought the game based on rumours, that it wasn't really that bad, although very short and crappy controls, which seems to be pretty standard today for games ported between consoles and pc's.

Simple plastic box, 1 Dvd (Yay! :)) and a paper pamphlet that pretends to be a manual. Mostly, it's just a keyboard control reference guide. Very unimpressive.

I've still got the Lara Croft posted that came with the original Tombraider... they just don't make them like that anymore :(

Installation went smoothly, without a hitch. I checked the version number which said 1.1 and a quick search on the internet found an official update to 1.2 (and a no-dvd crack for that version) which I downloaded and installed.

The main menu is slick and easy to navigate. Slightly inconsistent when trying to get "back" one menu level. Most places you can use escape to go back, but not all.

The style and athmosphere of the game is definitely inspired by the Tombraider movies, not by previous games. This is both a curse and a blessing. It works quite well in it's own right, but I miss the original signature Tombraider music/score from the first couple of games. Lara's wardrobe has been updated too, although one of the levels is a "flashback" level, happening in the past. A nice touch, Lara running around in her cyan latex t-shirt. Made an old raider nostalgic :)

The game has an option to enable "Next Generation" visual features, and I tried it for a while, but all it does in return for hugging your processing power is creating the HDR/Bloom effect that seems so popular these days. It looked just as crappy as it did in Oblivion. Like some kind of glossy plastic poster card you would send home from holiday in Spain. I disabled it again and cranked up everything else. Much better.

And now for the actual game...

Level design is pretty good for what it is. I mentioned, that the franchise is no longer about exploration and adventure, but more about puzzle solving and some platform action. This also holds true for this game. It's even vert short, linear, you can't get lost type levels. You would think that an old raider would hate the game, right?

Wrong. For all their shortness and claustrophobia inducing crampedness, the levels are actually very well designed, with the right level of difficulty for completing the levels. Most people, both old and young raiders will be able to complete the game. The challenge is to live up to the motto "Lara explores everywhere" and find all the secrets, and there are a lot of them. And the "gold" secrets are *&^%$ tricky to find (I've only found 2 out of 7-8 or so of those). The secrets unlocks a ton of extra little goodies, like character biographies, concept art, cheat codes, a rather large wardrobe to select clothing from (when you have completed the game) etc. Very nice. Easy to complete the main game, a bitch to complete the entire game.

The controls are Ok. I hated them in the beginning, really missing the "Over the shoulder" camera, but as I got used to it, it wasn't so bad. The free roaming camera has the advantage of giving a much better view of Lara's surroundings. It did take a bit to get used to though.

The inventory system has been much improved. She can no longer carry a container full of stuff and the dreaded "ring menu" has gone. She has a magnetic grapple, med packs, pistols, binoculars, hand grenades and occasionally an extra gun. Thats it. And it's all accessible with each their own keyboard shortcut. Very nice.

Combat is not too hard, but then, Tombraider was never supposed to be Brother in Arms or a martial Beat'em up game. It is mnostly there for a bit a variety and fits nicely into the story. She kills a lot more people and a lot less endangered wildlife now. And the people she kills are "security contractors", i.e. red shirt mercenaries. All expendable in the name of some good fun. A nice touch is, that occasionally, there will be explosive objects on the battlefield. You can target those and detonate them. Watch them guys fly through the air :P

The story is Ok. No Nobel literature prices, but Ok. A few places even had some quite touching moments of emotional drama.

The locations, besides being too few for my liking, are also a step back to the good old Tombraider days. Peru, Bolivia, Museums, Archeological sites in Africa and a single Japanese high tech level thrown in for variety.

As for the ending... Let's just say it's a cliff hanger and a well done one at that. Are you taking notes Obsidian... this is how a cliff hanger is done, leaving you curious as to how it continues :cool:

Conclusion: Nice game. Not a lot in common with the original, but in it's own right a decent, fun game. Nice gfx, nice music (unfortunately very un-tombraideresque), too short, but well designed. Pretty much bug free. I ran into a total of 3 places where a bit of clipping occurred, that was about it.

Looking forward to the continuation of the story :haksthumbsup:

Now, if they could just be convinced to port the original into a remake on this engine :roll:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 3:20 am 
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Location: it's a mystery, wrapped in an enigma. baked with a fluffy crust of wtf?
I never played the first one, but I recall really enjoying TR2, but I never finished it. I got stuck in a spot that I couldn't get out of and I had foolishly saved it while in that trap (not knowing it was a dead end at the time). And since I didn't want to replay half the game, I left it at that.
But it was fun, though I never looked into the following games. I tried the Legends demo on a whim and thought it was pretty fun, though not something I'd buy.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 09, 2006 4:05 am 
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TR II had some frustratingly hard timed puzzles :?

A completely different game from TR I which required no twitch skills whatsoever :)

Edit: As for the demo, yeah, that was actually what sold the game to me. It does take a fan of the old ones to really appreciate the kind of game that it is. Not really an action game, not really a platform game, not really an adventure game and so on. Just a bit of many things.

Edit2: Mind you, the demo is the tutorial level, nothing more, nothing less :)

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