Video Game Review: “Tomb Raider: Legend”

   Tomb Raider: Legend is an action-adventure video-game released and published by Eidos Interactive. It was the first of many to be developed by Crystal Dynamics. Notably, this was the transition away from Tomb Raider’s developed by them, and not Core Design. Crystal Dynamics went onto develop Tomb Raider: Underworld, the reboot, and the upcoming sequel, so the success speaks for itself. Beyond being a commercial success, Tomb Raider: Legends remains one of the widest acclaimed and most beloved installments to the franchise.

    While Core Design’s work with the franchise is definitely something worth acknowledging, after all, they are the ones that introduced the franchise in the first place. I think a lot can agree that it was time somebody else to take the reigns. Especially after Angel of Darkness failed at adding anything worthwhile to the franchise. (I’ll be taking a look at Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness at a later time.)

   The story begins with a flashback showing Lara Croft as a nine year-old girl with her mother, Amelia. A plane-crash happens that brings them to the Himalayan mountains where they take refuge at an ancient Buddhist monastery. This ends with them discovering a sword in stone that, when Amelia touches, causes an explosion and presumably her death, leaving for Lara to survive on her own. This continues to haunt Lara. Time continues, and her friend Amanda seemingly dies from a cave falling in on her. When she finds reason to believe that Amanda is alive, she begins searching for the fragments to the lost sword. These events and more lead to the story as it progresses.

    Tomb Raider: Legends brings elements from Arthurian myth, and builds to Tomb Raider: Underworld.

    It doesn’t have dazzlingly brilliant characters, but they are charming and likable. I would even say that they had more of an opportunity to develop themselves than the Tomb Raider: Underworld that came after. If for no other reason than they are allotted more chances at dialogue. The story is interesting, and while I believe it fails at channeling the emotion the story beckons, it’s enjoyable.

   The controls and gameplay is what actually brings this installment front-and-center however, because it’s a delight being able to play as Lara Croft. The melee combat is non-existent, but in this one, it doesn’t seem to matter too much.  I feel like there is a lot to do with the shooting, even more than what it had to do with the shooting in the sequel, and with the variety of different things that you do, such as driving a motorbike, it seems to keep everything fresh from beginning to end.

    As to be expected with the Tomb Raider franchise, the best part lies with the platforming and puzzle-mechanics. A lot of fun to be had to say the least. I feel like this is one of the first games I have played in a long time that feels like an adventure through the game-play and not the story. I wish I could channel some of the feelings that I had during it, but I’ll merely conclude with exclaiming that I really enjoyed the time I spent playing this!

   The graphics are tremendous as well, beautiful graphics and imagery can be seen through and through, and they are definitely a tremendous improvement over Angel of Darkness in-terms of both inspiration and graphical enhancement. There also doesn’t appear to be any glitches throughout, which was a problem that I particularly had with Underworld. There is only two problems that I see that keep it from achieving its potential. For starters, the conclusion feels anticlimactic. I wasn’t expecting for a boss-battle for the ages because it never really felt like that type, but it ends very suddenly. Although it never really felt like it was building toward anything, I didn’t want for it to merely end without any sort of pay-off. Instead of a pay-off, however, it merely ends. Underworld picks up where Legends left off, but I never really believed I had closure for this experience.

     Lastly, it is also very short.

     It took me eight-hours to finish playing Tomb Raider: Legends, but somebody with actual skill could have easily beaten it in around six or seven. I really wish that it wouldn’t have ended as fast as it did.
    Thankfully, for the all eight hours that I had with it, I was very immersed.

     In conclusion, Tomb Raider:  Legends is a Great Game.

     It offers a tremendously satisfying experience in-terms of platforming and puzzle-work, as well as intricately embroidered graphics. While the story isn’t exactly explosive in-terms of character-development and depth, it manages to succeed more than it fails. It doesn’t last as long as I would have liked, but I thoroughly enjoyed the ride while it lasted.

     Thanks for reading…

Rating: – 4.2 out of 5.0