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Old January 14 2009, 04:52 PM   #1
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Tomb Raider: Underworld

I recently finished playing Tomb Raider: Underworld on XBOX 360 and I wanted to know what you people thought about it.

Let me say first of all that I'm somebody who played and loved the original TR on PS1. It was an amazing game IMHO and really something not seen before. I loved exploring these amazing places in 3D that Lara would go to, and the focus was really on exploring and adventure and not so much on action.

I also enjoyed TR2 and to some extent TR3 though things were getting rather repetetive at that point. Plus the two of them had some rather needless and IMHO badly realized action added in that really wasn't needed. TR4 IMHO was an improvement in that way though it seemed to have a rather weak ending.

I never actually played TR: Chronicles or TR: Angel of Darkness (I'd gotten a bit tired of TR by that point plus AoD got really, really bad reviews).

TR: Legend was the game that brought me back in again. It was beautifully realized, had interesting places to explore and was really a Tomb Raider game while adding many new elements to the mix. I did have my complaints, however. In particular, I didn't enjoy the combat very much at all. I felt it was, again, pretty unnecessary and badly realized. Plus the boss fights didn't do anything for me. Still, it was a good return to form.

Now, finally, on to TR: Underworld. First things first: I absolutely love this game. This is the closest TR has ever come to reminding me of the joy I got out of the first game while feeling new and fresh enough to firmly belong in this day and age of gaming.
The game looks and feels beautiful. It has an interesting story (thankfully picking up from where Legend left off), fantastic settings and visuals, some beautiful music and sound effects, as well as puzzles that are challenging and fun.
The sheer size of some levels can be daunting. But then, that also seems right somehow. It really conveys the epic feeling that the story suggests quite effectively.
My biggest complaint probably still lies with the combat. It's better realized here than in Legend, I think. But I still can't help but wonder why the developers feel the need to have SO MUCH OF IT. Part of the fun of TR IMHO was that you'd have huge levels where opponents would only appear every now and then. That meant there was always a basic tension there since you'd never know when you'd encounter another one.
In the later levels of TR: Underworld, well, you're just mashing away much of the time, so there's no real suspense to be drawn from that. Plus I very believe Tomb Raider is an adventure game, not an action game.

Nevertheless, I was very impressed with and highly satisfied that I picked up this game. Once I was through, I felt like doing it all over again. Then I felt like playing Legend and Underworld all over again. Then, when I thought about it some more, I felt like playing ALL the Tomb Raider games again!

It just really managed to re-ignite that excitement that the first game had inspired over ten years ago. As a consequence, I'm really eager to see what the successor will be like. Sadly, Eidos doesn't seem to be happy with sales figures so they might change things around quite a bit rather than evolving the good material that's been established here.

So, what do you people think about Tomb Raider: Underworld? Has anyone played the DLC?
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