nutcrackr's Tomb Raider: Legend (PC) review

Legend is the same, just with less thinking and more shooting.

After trying Tomb Raider Anniversary and enjoying it I decided to get into Legend. In terms of controls it's much the same, although various strangely situated buttons may need to be reassigned it won't be long before things are familiar. Now Legend does look nicer than Anniversary thanks to the next gen content, this is basically better textures, bump maps and unified lighting/shadow system. It's not the best running game and still has fairly low polygon environments but it looks ok. The role of Lara is straightforward, you perform various platforming moves at various locales including Japan, Bolivia and Africa. The story centres on one of Lara's old friends who was trapped in a cave in, it unravels some of Lara's own past and leaves it open for the continuation in Tomb Raider Underworld.

There are familiar puzzles, many platforming events this time rely more on quick action rather than a pre-thought process. Most of Legend is very straightforward, there aren't many open puzzles like in Anniversary and you will usually know the direction of travel, you just need to perform the jumps correctly and on time. Legend also features an excess of action, rather generic, extremely dumb enemy grunts are placed ahead of you at various points in the game. These combat areas are uninteresting and feel out of place in the game, the ability to throw grenades grants some interest. There are also a few motorcycle rides, one in particular sees Lara chasing down a train, you travel beside it and take out more generic, stupid grunts on motorbikes, its poorly implemented with only passable vehicle physics. Most of the game is still linear platforming, with the occasional stunt or puzzle to solve. The more difficult and non-linear aspects arrive in collecting the various treasures throughout the levels, some take a bit more thought or a slight journey off the linear path. The croft manor is also quite open and there are some nifty word puzzles that aren't too hard along with the usual scavenger hunt.

The story is quite intriguing in some respects, and the dialogue is both witty and consistent in helping to keep you motivated for the next task. The absence of difficult open layout puzzles and the short nature of the story punish this otherwise good game. The boss battles are not particularly hard but feel unnecessary. The music is quite good, fitting with some of the locales well enough to warrant a mention. Anniversary will give you a more challenging, lengthy and satisfying adventure. Legend will give you more action and the continuation of the platforming experience.

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