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Tomb Raider Legend

It's a little late for a full review now that's it's been out a while and I've lost interest in it, but this is partially the game's own fault, because (and I may make reference to this later on) it's damn short.

Now, having drafted in a new team entirely to take care of the development, Tomb Raider Legend comes out of things looking far more modern than ever before. Redesigned from the ground up, the engine retains some familiarity while making the game seem like something more than a mission pack for the original. But it's a short game. Incredibly short. I spent less than 10 hours playing to complete it, and that includes 3 spent in the sandbox "Croft Manor" level finding secrets. For a Triple-A Next-Gen title so long in the making, this is diabolically short, especially given the labyrinthe and time-consuming nature of the previous games.

There are plenty of good things about TR7. Despite every game in the series from TR3 onwards claiming they were going to return to the roots of the franchise, TR7 does actually manage this to a large degree with a far more forgiving mix of action and puzzles than before, though it should be noted that what made the roots of the franchise attractive at all was the originality, not the action:puzzle ratio that's been obsessed over for the last few games as if concentrating on that would solve the problems people were having. The unlockable extras are a personal fave, and graphically speaking it's far ahead of any previous Tomb Raider game, and looks utterly gorgeous even on my mid-level PC.

However, there are plenty of bad things about the game. I can't speak for other formats, but I was plagued with bugs on the PC version. Constant sound problems that distorted it into unrecognisability and required a reboot were the most frustrating, and in the first level alone I found myself standing waist-high in debris that was missing any collision detection, and hanging from an invisible ledge in mid air. Where's the QA team when you need it? There's also the small matter of how it violates existing Tomb Raider continuity by inventing an entirely new backstory that's bound to piss off the hardcore fans. Then there's the paltry length. And the controls and camera have lost a lot of their grace, something I attribute to Crystal Dynamics, the new team, not having the experience that let Core refine thei handling of those two essential gaming elements.

Overally, it is a genuinely decent game. It's the update the franchise has needed for some time now, and It'll please both Tomb Raider fans and casual gamers alike. It's bound to keep players interested for the length of the game, but mainly because it's SO DAMN SHORT. Christ.

About this entry


I hate short games. If a game's too short it simply cannot be good. If the developers actually cared about the game it would be longer. I'm sure they were more fussed with the visuals and relaunching the Tomb Raider franchise. I would say anything over 20 hours is acceptable.

By performingmonkey
April 15, 2006 @ 4:54 am

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I think short games are a curse of the console market. My friend is a sword consolite and he can tear through any of his new games in 10 or 15 hours. I'm currently at about 6 months on my latest game of Morrowind and Deus Ex took about 40 hours to complete. It seems developers have no respect for the console gaming market (assuming they're all kids or lager lads and therefore have no concentration span).

By Cappsy
April 15, 2006 @ 11:46 am

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If a game has a good story structure, it's better if it's a long one. Half-Life, Deus Ex and the Monkey Island series are prime examples.

However, if a game is nothing but playable fluff, it's probably better if it's shorter.

By Austin Ross
April 15, 2006 @ 11:30 pm

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"I'm currently at about 6 months on my latest game of Morrowind "

Check out Oblivion. I've already done an unhealthy number of hours on it. My PC can only just handle it though. Talk about making a game future-proof. Even high-end machines have problems with it with all the settings turned up.

By performingmonkey
April 17, 2006 @ 5:15 am

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I'd just like to say, as someone who is not a hard-nosed 'gamer', that 10 hours of gameplay is plenty long enough for me, thanks. Especially now I work during the week, and the sun's out and I have gardening and stuff to do in my spare time.

By Pook
April 17, 2006 @ 3:37 pm

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Check out Oblivion. I've already done an unhealthy number of hours on it. My PC can only just handle it though. Talk about making a game future-proof. Even high-end machines have problems with it with all the settings turned up.

I have cheacked out Oblivion on a friends PC - I have to say I'm massively dissapointed it with it. This is taken from a post I made on NOTBBC:

Right. I've played a little of Oblivion and watched my friend play it for a good few hours. It's obvious that this is great game. A really great game, but I'm dissapointed to see that it falls down in comparison to Morrowind on quite a few levels.

* I dislike the quicktravel system. Sure, Oblivion's bigger than Morrowind, but there's Horses (great addition, btw) to make up for that. The moment I enter a menu and select where I want to go, rather than getting there on foot or taking in-game transport, I lose all the immersion.
* Those *fucking* lock picking and character interaction mini-games. I don't to fanny about with shit like that, I want to allow my skill set to determin *entirely* how my character does, my own personal skill shouldn't come into it.
* The loading screens. It makes no sense at all to be confronted with a loading screen when all you're doing is moving inbetween rooms in a house or even entering that house from a street. What's wrong with a little 'Loading' message on the bottom of the screen? Once again, it rips you out of your own little world and reminds you're only playing a game.
* Completele lack of 'special' objects. I'm not talking about the super special artefacts, but the absence of the odd slight variation in names. For example, in Morrowind you could go into a dungeon, find a dead adventuer and pick up his 'Silver Sword of Vengeance', or something. It's no different to any other silver sword, but it has a name because it *belongs* to that adventurer. In Oblivion everything just has generic names - there's nothing that's completely unique or collectable. Half the fun of exploring is finding worthless but unique and interesting items like this.
* Also, on the subject of artefacts, they do seem to be stupidly sparce...
* Your enemys level up with you. This is so fucking stupid it makes me want to eat my computer. The whole *point* of an immersive world is that some things are managable and some things aren't. It's totaly stupid to a) have all the enemys in the world beatable when you first start and b) make it almost impossible to level up to the point where you can lord it over everyone and everything. This new system destroys any feeling of realism or personal advancement.
* The lighting claps don't shit me up nearly as much as Morrowind's.

As much as those things make me want to knaw my own legs off, I'm still aware of the simply staggering array of missions and just how much fun this game will be. But, for now, Morrowind is my mistress and I'm not tempted to stray.

By Cappsy
April 18, 2006 @ 1:56 pm

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ilove the game

By jyuytuytduytujyh
January 03, 2008 @ 3:40 am

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