Tomb Raider: Legend

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Tomb Raider: Legend
61664-lara-croft-tomb-raider-legend-xbox-360-front-cover.jpg
Not only is this what The Angel of Darkness should have been, but it's also one of the hidden gems of abysmal year for video games that is 2006.
Protagonist: Lara Croft
Genre: Action
Adventure
Third-Person Shooter
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 2
Xbox
Xbox 360
Release Date: EU: 7th April 2006
NA: 11th April 2006
AU: 13th April 2006
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Franchise: Tomb Raider
Previous Game: Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (released)
Next Game: Tomb Raider: Underworld (Chronologically)

Tomb Raider: Legend is an action adventure game released in April 2006 for the PlayStation 2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC. It was published by Eidos Interactive, and is the first Tomb Raider title developed by Crystal Dynamics. It serves as a series reboot after the failure of the previous entry, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.

Gameplay

Tomb Raider: Legend plays like a pre-Uncharted third person shooter with a heavy emphasis on platforming, exploration, and puzzle solving. The game takes a more cinematic approach to story telling, with chatter during gameplay, more cutscenes than previous entries, and more interesting set pieces. Quick Actions (this game's quick time events) are new to the series, and are used in more dramatic moments such as leaping between buildings on a sports bike.

Why It Rocks

  1. Everything in the game has been completely overhauled; such as the save system, design, combat, and especially the controls.
  2. Much simpler, tighter controls. No more "walk" button, or action button! Lara is just as acrobatic as she's always been, but now having more moves at her disposal.
  3. Very high quality graphics for 2006, even on PS2. Lara's updated design also looks amazing!
  4. Lots of traversal and puzzle solving. Some puzzles can be quite taxing on the first playthrough, but not too difficult.
  5. Though finally modernised, the game still remains true to the adventure/platforming routes that Tomb Raider is known for.
  6. Lara's home (now referred to as Croft Manor) has been greatly expanded. It now has its own treasures to collect, and its own share of puzzles to solve.
  7. Time Trial mode is a new feature that has been introduced, which helps to give the game some replay value after the story is finished.
  8. Very detailed environments that allow for intricate platforming. In a way, it feels very much like a pre-Uncharted game.
  9. Since movement is now analogue as opposed to digital, the D-pad is now mapped to Lara's weapons, health kits, binoculars, and light source. This allows weapon switching and healing to be seamless without going into a menu like before.
  10. Has a much deeper story than before (partly due to being a reboot), with Lara's back story being explored, and even going into the history of her parents as well. New characters are introduced, and Lara's butler, Winston, and old colleague, Zip (who was Lara's tactician in Tomb Raider Chronicles), make a return in this new continuity.
  11. Very good acting, with Keeley Hawes giving a solid performance as the new voice of Lara Croft.
  12. The magnetic grapple gives Lara extra mobility, and it adds to platforming. It is far more reliable than the grapple gun in Tomb Raider: Chronicles.
  13. Three tiers of treasure can be found in each level: Bronze, Silver, and Gold. These replace the secrets in the last few games, and they are well hidden, so you are encouraged to explore the levels rather thoroughly.

Bad Qualities

  1. Level design is weaker compared to the previous games.
  2. Lara cannot move while she's in free aim mode, which is not ideal in the midst of combat.
  3. Some questionable writing; a big example is after Toru Nishimura picks Lara up in a helicopter at the end of the Japan chapter, he tells her: "I am relieving myself, too...", instead of: "I am relieved to see you, too...".
  4. Enemies can be engaged with physically, but some moves don't work as well as they should.

Reception

Tomb Raider: Legend received positive reviews upon release, scoring 82/100 on Metacritic for the PS2, PC, and Xbox versions, while the 360 version scored 80/100, thus scoring higher than the last four titles in the series. Many have praised the game for reviving the series, and bringing it more in line with modern game design. The platforming elements where compared favorably to that of Prince of Persia, and Lara's controls were more reliable. Minor criticism was aimed towards the superficial combat, and relatively short length.

The game ended up selling 4.5 million copies by 2009, and the PS2 version went Platinum, making this the first commercially successful Tomb Raider game since The Last Revelation 7 years prior.

Trivia

  • Lara's voice actress, Keeley Hawes, played Jane in the British comedy film Death at a Funeral (2007).
  • She also starred in 2 episodes of British sitcom The Vicar of Dibley.
  • This is the first Tomb Raider game to be available on a Nintendo console (Gamecube), and Microsoft console (Xbox, and later Xbox 360).