#698 Tomb Raider Legend

Posted: 9th February 2020 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , , ,

844th played so far

Genre: Action/Adventure
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2006
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive

So I still had two Tomb Raider games left to play – Tomb Raider Underworld is yet to come. My only real exposure to the series was the original Tomb Raider, which was my only real exposure to the series before this blog. I’ve sort of seen how it moves on, but like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, it also feels like at this time, it’s been overtaken a bit by how the gaming landscape changed. I’m not sure when the last time was that these games made an impact for me, and it’ll be interesting to see how it holds up now.

Our Thoughts

Action/Adventure games like this, exploring exotic environments (often jungles, as they feel like a location on Earth that hasn’t been explored a lot) with some shooting and puzzle solving, rely a lot on their feel. We were probably spoiled by Uncharted, which is the yard stick we measure these by, but the controls of Tomb Raider: Legend, at least in the PC port that we ended up playing, felt off. Part of this is the UI signposting we’re used to – modern games give you a feel for the ledges you can jump through, through the movement of your character and sometimes the look, that I was missing here. Even, or perhaps especially, taking that into account, the special interactable items that are there just don’t work right. In particular, jumping at vines is finicky and I ended up jumping through them and falling several times, which wasn’t just frustrating, but at times harmful because of your health. It felt clunky and perhaps made too many assumptions you are familiar with the series to make sense of it.

Once it works though, the movement feels quite good and the environments are pretty nice, at least considering its age. The story holds up nicely as well and is clearly a step up from earlier entries in the series (as far as I’ve played it), presenting an interesting origin story. Again, it still assumes familiarity with earlier games in the series, as there are some characters I don’t know – and don’t know whether to know.

Oh, and there’s gunplay. It’s mediocre. It felt unnecessary. I didn’t enjoy it being there – it’s not the strength of the game.

Final Thoughts

In a modern context, this game is overshadowed by Uncharted – it feels like it does just about everything better, and I had to resist comparing this game to it. It is decent and I could get into it, but it was a bit too rough in places and I think there’s a polish possible for future games. There’s one more on the list, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this gets improved.