Review by Ulysses83
"Lara in her old glory"
Ten years of Tomb Raider. Ten years of great and less great games (Angel of Darkness, anyone?). Ten years of a phenomena. For the celebration of Lara's Birthday, Tomb Raider Anniversary is one of the greatest gifts possible.
You always wanted to see the famous Lost Valley in one of the best graphics the PS2 has to offer? You always dreamed about seeing the beauty of Egypt or the mystical Temples of Atlantis in more than ugly blocks climbed by an strange woman with edges?
Here's your chance!
Tomb Raider Anniversary provides one of the best graphics I've seen on the old but still good PS2. Beautiful textures, great effects, gorgeous animations and a Lara that looks better than ever before. You will find yourself standing around, watching ever inch of the environment or turning the cam to get better views on Lara. She even has animated eyelashes! Her co-stars like Natla and Larson look great, too, as do all the enemies. They are also quite terrifying on a second look. The videos have in-game graphics and you won't miss the old render times at any point.
Game play 9/10
Wait a minute? Not the full score? Yes, not the full score. While the climbing sequences are absolutely fantastic and provide great challenge, in my point of view the battles are not that good. Enemies ranging from wolves over gorillas to Atlantian Beasts move very quickly and aggressive. Wouldn't be that much of a problem if the producers hadn't come up with two new and in my opinion annoying features. One is the hard hit. Even wolves can struck Lara that hard she tumbles and falls. Pressing X keeps her from falling, but in a battle with four wolves the timing is very hard. Also the number of hard hits seems very high so at times Lara bounces around the battlefield, after the not always perfect camera didn't show you the angry ape coming from behind.
The other feature is the adrenaline move, used also for the bosses. Enemies get angry now and then and charge at Lara. The screen changes, heartbeat starts and Lara is able to perform a special move to kill most normal enemies at once or strike great damage to the bosses. Sounds cool but is quite annoying, due to the difficult timing and high damage you receive when failing.
Just great. The synchronisation is highly professional and the surrounding sounds in the levels create a perfect atmosphere. The howling of the wolves might give you the creeps while the sudden roar of a bear makes your heart go faster. Beautiful melodies support the feeling of the game, going from the kind of melancholic and mystical theme of Croft Manor to nearly God of War like choirs in the Palace of Midas.
The well known Atlantian Scion story from 1996 returns but with more details. Lara's father and the disappearance of her mother are brought into the plot, connecting it to the movies and TR Legend. The characters are more defined and the story is more thrilling then back in 1996. I painfully miss Alistair and Zipp. Lara again moves silently through the old tombs, the dialogues of the three added a special feeling to TR Legend which isn't there in Anniversary.
Replay Value 10/10
I've played Tomb Raider several times back in 1996 as I did with every other game of the franchise except Angel of Darkness... which I didn't even finish.
Tomb Raider Anniversary is definitely worth a second round. Just like TR Legend the game provides the challenge of finding several artifacts scattered over the levels. By finding them you unlock galleries, biographies, soundtracks and other stuff. Anniversary introduces the relics, special artifacts which are even better hidden than the normal ones. They are shown in the trophy room of Croft Manor and unlock the greatest goodies like the special costumes. Visit Peru in the sports dress Lara wore in the Manor back in 1996 or even as the old polygon Lara. You can visit each of the subsections of the huge levels Peru, Greece, Egypt and Atlantis after playing them through once. Also the time trial from TR Legend returns. There is much to do.
Overall rating 10/10
Even with the kind of annoying battles (I miss the human enemies, also because some of the animals in the game are placed where they would have had no means of survival. Does anyone believe that a pack of lions lives hundreds of years in a locked up cell in an under earth coliseum? And who dropped all the good ammo and weapons in all those never before found places?) Tomb Raider Anniversary is one of the best games of the franchise if not even the best. Only TR Legend can stand against it. Which one you prefer is your choice.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 06/04/07
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