Review by Antpants
"A game for the treasure hunter in all of us"
After playing this game, what dawned upon me was that this game truly is a collector's game. As the title of this implies, you can put a whole lot of time into seeking out and collecting many treasures. There is a standard plotline with your standard checkpoints, but should you want to deviate from the straight and narrow path, there's always a few hidden treasures scattered around, some in very difficult places. These treasures aren't necessary to get, but you do get rewarded for your treasure hunting. Rewards include new Lara Croft outfits, cheat codes and graphical tweaks etc. There's a fortune of unlock-ables in this game, which really surprised me.
On that similar vein, aside from the actual game, there's the Croft Manor, in which you explore for the simple goal of finding more treasure. This was a welcome addition to the game and adds on at least a few hours of play if you choose to explore it.
This game plays out very similar to Prince of Persia: Sands of Time as far as the platforming element goes. Lara is nimble and does the standard ledge climbing, pole-hopping, acrobatic parallel bar jumps that you you now see as standard fare in most platforming action/adventures. The animation is solid and the sequences are always met with a checkpoint so as to help minimize the frustration of putting a foot wrong and having to start all over again. Jumping also does sometimes feel a bit odd and deliberate.
The puzzles are the best part of this game. They are quite enjoyable, intuitive, and if you are stuck, a simple view using your special binoculars will give you the hints you require.
Additionally, there are a number of boss fights. While none of these are very difficult, it does give the fan of boss fights their recommended allotment and some.
During the game, various context sensitive cut-scenes play out, forcing you to press the right button at a certain moment, then Lara would perform some insane acrobatic. This was a refreshing touch that helped keep the game varied. Add to that a few motorcycle levels, and you're got a decent amount of variety in this game to keep you busy.
Gunplay is shallow and not very well fleshed out though. You get a small variety of weapons throughout the game, none of which seem very powerful. Grenades are almost useless as the throwing mechanism wasn't implemented too well. Additionally, the aiming feature was temperamental and was slightly frustrating at times. The gunplay was one of the weaker aspects of the game. Also, the animations of enemies when being shot needed a bit more work too.
The weakest aspect was the swimming. While the graphics underwater and swimming mechanics looked good, the minute you dived, Lara wouldn't be able to swim properly. I felt that the swimming mechanics were half-broken. Thankfully, there isn't much swimming to be had.
My other criticism is the camera. It wasn't broken by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly had it's quirks. Often I would find myself waiting to rotate properly, or jumping off a pole at the completely wrong angle.
This game has an average presentation to it, graphically. The levels differ and have a good variety to them and the graphics are above average. Lara's animations are excellent, and there are a few nice touches like smoking barrels when reloading while you are in aiming mode. Swimming visuals were excellent. Pity that Lara barely knows how to swim...
There's a good upbeat electronic score to this game. It never impresses, but it doesn't disappoint either. The best part of the audio is the effects of the environment - opening doors has a huge bass rumble, chains have a great "clank" to them, crumbling ground really shakes the bass etc.
The story is average. I took the time to watch the cinematics as some of them were quite interesting. The plot moves forward and gets a bit odd at times, but the game is held together well enough by it. Some scenes are quite gripping, like the first one of the game. They do trace back to Lara's beginnings, which are quite interesting to look at.
Now this was strange. The first half of the game took me 6 to 7 hours. By the time I had reached 55%, I was very pleased that the game had so much to go. Strangely, 2 hours later, the game was finished. I think that the designers used their percentage of completion based on how intensive the programming was or something, because the first 50% was twice as long as the second! Odd. This game turns out to be a bit on the short side, but not so short as to make you feel like you were shortchanged.
This a competent adventure/platforming action game. Collectors and those who like exploring nooks and crannies will find a lot to like in this title. TR:L does have it's shortcomings, but none of them are so glaring as to take too much away from an enjoyable experience. This is a solid game, full of content and does justice to the Tomb Legend franchise. That's not too hard to do, given it's track record. Nothing particularly shone, but nothing disappointed me either.
Overall score: 7.4/10
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 12/04/06
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