Tomb Raider: Anniversary Review (Xbox 360)

TRA is a remake of the original Tomb Raider game, and normally I don’t really play remakes of games, but seeing as I had never really completed the original game, I figured that it wouldn’t do any harm to try my hand at TRA.

The game was developed by Chrystal Dynamics and Buzz Monkey Software and published by Eidos Interactive for the PSP, PlayStation 2, the PC, Wii and Xbox in 2007. The game was labeled as a platform action adventure.

The Story

The very first cut scene that you’ll be shown takes place in 1945 where there’s a blast in New Mexico that reveals a crystalline structure from which a winged creature flieLaras off.

Fast forward to Calcutta in 1996, Lara Croft is approached by Larson Conway who in turn introduces her to Jacqueline Natla, who wants Lara to find a piece of an artifact called the Scion which is located in the mountains of Peru.

In the Peruvian mountains, Lara is able to get into the tomb of the Atlantean King Qualopec. She finds that he was one of the three God-Kings, the Triumvirate who ruled Atlantis before it sank into the scene. Lara recovers the artifact and leaves with it before the tomb collapses on her, but not before noticing that something, seemingly the statue of Qualopec moves. Lara’s search for the rest of the Scion will take her through Peru, Greece, Egypt and ultimately she’ll arrive at an old Atlantean pyramid.

Atlantis

Seeing as the game focusses mainly on Atlantis and it’s mythology I thought I’d lay out the myth surrounding it a little more into the open. So who hasn’t heard of Atlantis, I reckon most people have.

So the island of Atlantis supposedly existed over 11.000 years ago and it was located in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The island was guarded by the Greek good Poseidon, the god of the sea, he in love with a mortal woman who would bear him a son, Atlas, the first ruler of Atlantis. Of course it didn’t take that long for greed and power to take over and Zeus and the oAtlantisther gods came together to determine what the punishment would be for the Atlanteans. In the end, Atlantis was swallowed by the sea, killing every citizen and erasing any trace of it.

This is what the basic story says about Atlantis. I suppose that it’s the same for TRA but there have been a few changes. The original myth speaks of 1 king of Atlantis while the game speaks of a Triumvirate, meaning that there will be 3 Priests instead of Kings. The legend in TRA is different form the mythology that you would find surfing the web so here is a little about the TRA version.

According to the TRA story line, there were 2 social structures in Atlantis, the People, who were about as ordinary as the current humans today and the Priesthood, an aristocracy of genetically enhanced men and women who had powers that made them look like Gods but without the immortality of a God. The three Priests that formed the Triumvirate before Atlantis’ destruction were Qualopec, Tihocan and (SPOILER ALERT (well, not if you’ve played the classic TR game) so you might want to skip to the Gameplay section if you don’t wanna be spoiled) Natla. She tried to overthrow the other two Priests and because of this she became imprisoned. After this in the following Age, the continent of Atlantis was hit with a meteorite and this caused the flood which would swallow Atlantis and making it disappear.

The Gameplay

The gameplay to this game is pretty much similar to that in Tomb Raider: Legend, meaning that the same enWallrunninggine has been used for the controlling of Lara. The grappling hook makes it return, but instead of it being a small device like it was in TRL, it’s now a proper hook. A new feature is that you can use the grappling hook to do a wall swing, basically you throw the hook to a point in the wall and if you’ve got enough space, you run back and forth on the wall so you can make it to the next ledge or to make it to a ledge somewhere behind you. This is an awesome move if you’re able to control it properly, but the only downside of it is, that you not only have to make sure that Lara keeps swinging back and forth, but you’ve also got to angle the camera in a way so that Lara actually registers what she’s supposed to be doing. This can be somewhat of a pain but as far as I counted, you only have to do this move about 4 or 5 times in the entire game.

This game also features Quick Time Events (QTE for short) I didn’t have the time to handle this in the review I did for TRL so I’ll handle them now. Imagine you’re watching a cut scene and at a random moment you’re required to press a button otherwise Lara will die a horrible death. This is basically what a QTE is, watching a cut scene and pressing a button at the right time as if you’re playing a game of ‘Simon says’. You can probably tell from my tone of speaking or rather typing that I’m not a fan of these segments. Well, I’m not. Personally I believe that these segments are kind of useless, they don’t really add anything to the story. On occasion I would just not press the button I had to press out of annoyance over these segments and watch Lara get chomped to death by a great big t-rex that you have to fight at some point, get her arse kicked by Larson Conway or simply get her arse shot by Pierre DuPont. (And yes, I know this by letting the QTE’s go by without doing anything out of annoyance.) The only problem with this is, is that if you fail a QTE, you have to redo the whole cut scene again from the start.

Conclusion

If you ignore the QTE’s, the game is pretty awesome. I think fans of the TR series will appreciate remodeling that the game has undergone. Not only have the graphics greatly improved, but it also keeps the puzzles of the classic games in the progress as well as adding a few puzzles in the progress. Croft Manor is back as well as the Rewards system that allows you to unlock additional outfits (though luckily not as much as you could unlock in TRL) plus Lara has gone back to her classic look of turquoise tank top and brown shots. The only other downside is that where you could just hold the trigger to make Lara fire her guns, now you have to repeatedly press the button to make Lara keep firing. So yeah, overall the game is awesome and definitely worth picking up.

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