Saturday, July 22, 2006

Tomb Raider: Legend - Finished, random thoughts

Finished the last two levels, Nepal and Bolivia (redux).
  • Scaling some of the parts of the mountains in Nepal was fun. On the other hand, the area is full of breaking ledges and platforms, which is maddening when the controls are wonky.
  • I really, really hate the Dragon's Lair gameplay that God of War seems to have inflicted on cut scene action sequences. In TR:L the main problem is that the timing for the button presses is a little tighter than I think it needed to be and there is some confusion over what particular icons mean. The first time I saw an up arrow icon during one of these sequences, I thought it was a triangle button. Nope. After reloading I tried pressing up ... on the D-pad. Nope. Figured I was timing it wrong, so tried those two again. Two more reloads and I try up on the analog nub. Yep, that was it. Other than triangle looking like up arrow icon, I don't see why up on the D-pad shouldn't be acceptable.
  • Worth playing the game to see the story. I like that the history of Lara's family is explored, and I thought the explanation for the big "event" in Lara's childhood was well-done.
  • Not so keen on the cliffhanger, but I can accept it.
  • On the other hand, the development of Lara's ruthlessness was exciting at the end. It was pretty thrilling (and gutsy on the part of the developers) to have her get uncontrollably furious, beat the crap out of her enemy, and then demand information by punctuating every word of her demand with a gunshot near the enemy's head. I won't give away what she's saying, but I thought it was impressive.
  • I am less impressed by the characterization of Lara's foes. Rutland was weak to begin with, and the development of Amanda was limited to one background story and then lots of spittled sneers. I don't have any good ideas on how better they could have handled it, but those enemies just aren't as interesting as they should be.
  • Broken door, obviously breakable. Why does an artifact need to be used to break it? I have grenades, you know. Allow me some options. Stupid limitations.
  • The magnetic grapple aiming truly needs work. If Lara is between two metal boxes, one in front of her and one behind, the metal grapple should not shoot out of her hand and connect to the one behind her. This is the same problem as the boss battle I described earlier.
  • This game is probably fantastic on a system where you can use a second stick to control the camera and the analog controls aren't so touchy. I hope they work on that before the sequel and Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary.
Try to hammer things into a review on CG later.

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