Can't turn the camera so Lara's boobs are in your face!
Welcome Lara Croft fans! Now there are maybe some of you who are so die hard with the series, who joined back in the first outing, shooting tigers in the face in the first level, locking the old farting butler in the freezer, who say no! No sir! I shall not go for this installment! It's not even a Tomb Raider game with trademark "A-ha!" relic finding. Well to you, sir, I say correct. You've got it right there, this isn't a Tomb Raider game. The only similarities to previous installments are Lara's appearance, grappling hook ring jumps and trademark pistols. However does that make this game inherently bad, even for fans of the series? Hell no! It's awesome.
Here we have Miss Croft throwing us straight into the story with scrapbook annotations and court-room artist drawings presented in a Powerpoint way, complete with Keeley Hawes voiceover. This doesn't present the game as cheaply as you may think, in fact it's downright hilarious the way they hide the lack of lip-synching in the few moving cutscenes that there are. Anyway, the story is Lara raiding a tomb, finding something, someone highjacking it despite Lara's ample, bouncing protestations and all hell done getting broke loose. The objective of the game being to kick that Xolotl arsehole back to wherever he came from.
The gameplay is really exciting despite the objectivity of the format. The whole feel of the controls feels very natural, although there are sometimes issues, despite the auto-aim feature, to direct your shots to where you would like them to go. There is also an issue with jumping, namely that you have to be sure that where you're jumping or face oblivion.
I was really impressed with the length of the game at around 5 hours, which considering this is all you get with most FPS games these days, it's a pretty good deal. I generally gauge a game's length by me having an inclination that it's about to be the final level soon. For this, I had that expectation roughly 3 or 4 times, so I was satisfied with the length of it.
Now lets look at the Co-op mode. Oh wait I can't. Not all of us are blessed with having friends who want to come round and sit side by side looking at the same screen for hours on end, because this is the only way you can currently do that. There will be a patch released on the 28th September that will allow online co-op but at the time of this review, not so much.
Ignorant of this, this game is still a good one. Perhaps it doesn't have the same kind of game longevity that can be expected of other XBLA titles of late - Crackdown 2, Monday Night Combat, however, it does have a certain amount of replay value such as going back over it to collect the Co-op achievements (which to be fair can be done in about 5 minutes) and also to collect all weapons, relics and artifacts. Giving this title any more than 3.5/5 would be being generous, particularly when I would give one of my GOTYs Just Cause 2 a score of just 4.
My advice to those thinking of purchasing this game - if your money is precious to you, as mine is, don't spend the full £12 on this one, it's not worth it. However if you love the tomb raider games, and have some spare MS points, maybe consider it. Otherwise I wouldn't bother, I know I regret it slightly but more because XBL is such a rip-off and I'm further supporting their evil machinations.