Tomb Raider: Legend Review

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Legend is a perfect title for this game as Lara Croft IS a Legend! You all know this icon whether you like her or not. When female protagonists were few and far between, Lara took a giant leap (literally) back in 1996 for female protagonists.

The Tomb Raider franchise has come a long way since the early days of primitive 3D graphics and awkward controls and Legend shows the vast improvements that have been made with the ever changing technology available.

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Legend is a highlight of the career of the icon that is Lara Croft.

Story

Lara who is around 8 or 9 at this time and her mother are involved in a plane crash in the Himalayan Mountains, they stumble across some ancient ruins. Lara finds a stone dais and a large sword encased in the rock. She touches the sword and a portal appears, her mother can hear distorted voices and grabs the sword. The portal explodes. That is when the game begins…..

Years later Lara wants to find out what happened to her mother she must find the stone dais and the fragments of the ancient sword but she will come across enemies who have the same desires.

This game has an intriguing story as Lara travels around the world trying to piece together the fragments of her life as well as the sword.

Characters

Lara is the protagonist and she is the focus of the game so other characters are less developed, but you receive the basics of their characters and motives to keep the story easy to follow. There are a few antagonists but I won’t list them here as it will spoil the story. Lara has two friends/colleagues (Alistair and Zip) who talk to her through Lara’s earpiece throughout the game they are humorous but again aren’t very in-depth characters.

Gameplay

For people who remember the older Tomb Raider games you all know about the frustrations of the stiff, clunky controls and terrible camera angles. I am happy to say they are both very much improved. Jumping, climbing and general movement flows so much better, still not perfect but vastly improved. There are a few QTE’s in the game, I know allot of people hate them but for me they actually added to the tension because you don’t expect them and they added a sense of excitement.

The camera can sometimes make it difficult to judge how far a jump is causing a few curse words to fall out of the player’s mouth when they miss a ledge but that is true of any Tomb Raider game! Also the camera can move to areas where Lara is shrouded from view but it is not game breaking and you can adjust the camera just enough so you can see her.

The puzzles range from easy to head scratching. Then you want to kick yourself when you see how obvious the solution is! But I never found them to be too frustrating.

This game is definitely not as frustrating as the older games so don’t let that put you off giving it a chance!

Atmosphere

The Tomb Raider series is known for its feeling of isolation. In cold dark caves and tombs, the gloomy and quiet moments can really pull you into the game and make you feel you are alone. But there are allot of generic gun toting enemies which breaks the tension somewhat. There are also parts of the game that are bright such as Tokyo (my personal favourite) climbing and swinging in between these buildings is exciting and you get a real feeling of how high above the city Lara is. The developers have done a fantastic job of mixing exciting and sombre with a wonderful pace.

ImageAnother thing that really makes this game atmospheric is the soundtrack, something which is important in all games in my opinion. From the opening theme which is a traditional Scottish song called Aileen duinn to the end credits, the soundtrack is impressive and beautiful and also calming and fits perfectly with this game.

Croft Manor

As a kid i always loved playing around in Croft Manor. Finding all of the secrets, riding the quad bike and of course locking the butler in the freezer! Unfortunately no such thing happens in this version but there are still puzzles to solve and places to explore, which are fun.
ImageNobody puts the Butler in the freezer!

Conclusion

The Tomb Raider series has had its highs and lows and although the game is short and relatively easy. Legend is Lara at her best. Excitement mixed with dread, a great atmosphere, a sense of achievement when you finally make that difficult jump. All the while you are rooting for this strong willed, charismatic woman. You want her to succeed not just because you want to finish the game but because you care for her and all she has been through.

Long may her story continue.

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