Guess who’s back? Lara’s back. This time around, the adventure is much larger than before. Once again, we get to travel through many exotic locales and kick back to the Tomb Raider roots. So, do we have a winner this time, or will it suffer the same fate as Angel of Darkness?
Cutscenes are usually placed in a game to break up the gameplay and give you a quick break. Well not here, because most of them are interactive. It’s rather a simple matter of pressing a button when it pops up on the screen, but it really helps add to the excitement.
One other major feature in the gameplay department is the fact that Lara is very versatile when hanging off of cliffs. She has the ability to hop upward if there is another ledge directly above her. In addition, she can move faster if you rapid tap the Y in conjunction. This will become an important feature in various points during the adventure.
Despite some of the camera and targeting issues, Crystal Dynamics did a fantastic job revamping the control scheme for the game. Lara is incredibly easy to navigate, and you will no longer scream because you have to take 5 minutes to prepare for a jump.
Even though I played through the Xbox 360 version, I did not expect mindblowing ‘next-gen’ graphics, because this game was not intended for only this system. Most games that are ported to all four systems usually look like an upconverted PS2 version. Surprisingly though, the game had extremely crisp visuals and sharp textures. The character models look great, but could definitely use a few more polygons in some areas. Most notable though, every single woman you will encounter has a huge chest. I am assuming this is merely a coincidence.
This game has undoubtedly some of the best looking and interesting environments though. You travel through a huge array of locales, such as Bolivia, Peru, Ghana, Japan and more. Each and every single one is extremely detailed and vast. Looking far into the landscape is well done also. One small thing I noticed was while in the Japan level, on top of a very tall building, you can look down to the streets below and see cars driving. It’s not incredibly realistic, but a nice touch.
The game is available on the four primary consoles, and the Xbox 360 and PC have the more crisp graphics of any, naturally. Though I didn’t play with the other versions too much, the 360 version is stricken with many anomalies, but luckily none of them really impair your gameplay. The first problem is with texture flickering. Though it happened rarely, some of it was very noticeable.
Overall, the graphics are really, really well done. If you have an 720p TV or high resolution monitor, this game will love you. Kudos to Crystal D for doing things right with this one.
The sounds in the game is also well done, but nothing incredible. The music overtones add to the level, and can add a chill factor in certain dark areas. The voice acting is actually quite good, and comical at times. You can hear Lara talking under her breath to her helpers back at the office. They sometimes spat between one another also, adding a good sense of humor. Sometimes though, if you had to replay a certain part a level, over and over, you will have to hear the same line of text over and over as well.
So, the voice acting is repetitive at times, but is not as bad as in some other games. The ambient sounds in addition to the great sound effects are great. There are a few select sound effects in various parts that are not so realistic, but it’s a rarity.