Tomb Raider: Underworld
Score: 5.5 / 10
My first clue about Tomb Raider: Underworld, should have been the cover art. Itís a shot of Lara Croft posing dramatically while holding her guns except for one thing, her head is completely covered by a logo. This sums my opinion of the game pretty quickly, a good foundation to build from, but no real brain power behind the game itself.
the story starting off right where the last game ended,
The core gameplay of TR is jumping and climbing. Then more jumping and climbing with a little swinging thrown in. Swinging from a pole to a narrow ledge can be a lot of fun, but sometimes a prospective jump makes you squint at the screen and ask yourself ďReally? I have to do that?Ē The problem is compounded a few minutes later, when youíre in a similar situation and miss that same jump a few times before discovering a hidden ledge off to the right.
Finding the right path to take requires a good deal of searching on some levels and depending on your attitude it can be rewarding or annoying. Based on my experience having an online guide handy will help prevent noise complaints. Make sure you have the right system guide however, as there are subtle differences in the layouts of each consoleís version
the game. A fact I did not know when I first tried to defeat the giant
squid. Sorry about the yelling Mrs. Gonzales.
Once, while trying to descend
to the base of temple, I found a series of ledges and worked my way
down. After running around for an hour and eventually killing myself in
frustration, I discovered that since I went down an unconventional way,
the game refused to recognize my progress and stopped the next series of
puzzles from opening. If you want to advance through the game, you need
to find the specific ledges and grappling spots the game provides. As a
result there is no real replay value to the game, unless you want to
recreate your last adventure step for step.
there is some combat, itís mostly nonexistent. The twenty or so
battles are short and the optimum strategy is to stand and shoot because
itís almost impossible to die by getting attacked. Even though every
mission is started with ten grenades and unlimited ammo, the only time I
used grenades was to commit suicide when I realized that I made an
unforgivable error when choosing what platform to leap from and needed
to start back at a loading point.
separates the Wii version from the 360 and PS3 versions are puzzles that
make use of the wiimote. Every so often there will be a small puzzle on
the wall that requires you to solve it before moving on. Unfortunately
the puzzles are ridiculously simple. One puzzle requires you to put two
gears into a clock to make it work, and are given two to choose from.
Hmm. Another requires you to solve a moving tile portrait, except the
answers are painted behind the tiles and four of eight spaces are open.
And thatís one of the trickier ones.
addition to some faults with the creative aspects of the game (the
storyís a real bore), there are massive clipping problems. Many
objects that seem cylindrical are in reality cubes, so Lara ends up
standing on thin air while walking across a platform. On top of this
Iíve seen Lara sink into a statue way too many times. Also the camera
often has no idea what to do. At times when Lara is hanging off a ledge
itís uncontrollable, leading to many mistimed jumping deaths. So many,
many jumping deaths.
next gen adventure title that relies solely on platforming should
emphasize creativity. Getting from A to B should be an adventure in
finding interesting jumping angles and ledges, making you want to replay
a level countless times to find new and more inventive ways to advance.
And with no real enemies or other obstacles throughout the entire game,
that importance is doubled. Here, however, unless you follow the
specific path, the game simply wonít let you advance. Jumping from
cliff to cliff overtop of a deep ravine in South America can be a lot of
fun, but it gets lost in all the times you died retrying a leap not
knowing that there was a hidden ledge far off to your right.
- Karol Kudyba
January 15, 2009
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