|System: X360, PS2, Wii, PC, PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Crystal Dynamics||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Eidos Interactive||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 13, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Justin Conte
The original Tomb Raider was among the first games I got with my original PlayStation years and years ago. After playing the first few, and then watching the franchise go downhill as better titles came along, I had given up hope for Miss Croft. After picking up Tomb Raider: Legend and falling in love with its Prince of Persia inspired gameplay, I couldn't hide my excitement when it was announced that a sort of remake of the original title was being done, but using the new engine. I wondered if the original would hold up by today's standards, and more importantly, if the title would work as well using the Legend engine. Most importantly though was how well the game would carry over to the uniqueness of the Wii console itself.
The game is spent exploring tombs in order to find an artifact and defeat the evil group trying to get to it before you. The story isn't very fleshed out, and frankly isn't important here. The real story is that of exploration: Finding your way around the various tombs and solving all the different puzzles sure to be thrown at you, all while collecting a variety of weapons and defeating the various enemies and creatures that are sure to be out to stop you from getting to your goal. Why do they want to stop you? It doesn't matter. They're in your way, and that's enough. Why is this tomb built in a manner that none of the people who built it could make their way through? Don't ask yourself those kind of questions; they just get in the way of the fun.
The best part of the whole experience is how fleshed out and unique the whole world feels, yet at the same time it is sure to bring back moments of nostalgia that will remind you of the original title and still feel like more of an homage than a graphical update. You'll recall just how unique and terrifying it was the first time you saw that T-rex come barreling towards you. Some of the puzzles are reminiscent of the original, but everything has been changed and redone in order to take advantage of Lara's new abilities. You'll be swinging, dangling, running up walls, flipping, and using all the new moves Lara has picked up over the years. Fans of the original who've gone astray will be shocked at how new-and-improved Laura is, but fans of Legend will feel right at home.
Don't think that this means the game is without its issues. The camera itself can cause issues when attempting some of the more acrobatic moves available. Hitting the C button brings the camera 180 degrees behind Lara, or you can hold the same button and then use the motion controls to swing the camera where you'd like. It simply can't replicate the ease with which one can move around with a second analog. It's still a serviceable experience, and one that you can get used to, but many times I simply wished for the ability to use the classic controller and have things function similar to the PS2 version of the title. No matter how well you adjust to the new method, the Wii's motion controls can't substitute for another analog when it comes to camera control.
Most of the game is spent solving puzzles, with a bit of combat tossed about to spice things up. The puzzles are some of the most satisfying you'll find, truly making you feel as if you've accomplished something, instead of the simple "where's the switch" variety. You'll very often find yourself investing an entire play session on one lengthy puzzle; something as simple as opening a door can become a length series of steps, but things never feel tedious or forced. Every puzzle feels unique and satisfying. If only the combat elements were as fluid. You use the Z button to lock onto enemies, aim with the controller, and then fire of shots with the B button, but you'll often find yourself fighting with the camera to aim where you want, as it will continue to follow the enemy, and in turn change where your reticule is on the screen. This can particularly frustrating when facing multiple foes.