Today, I’m returning to a familiar set of breasts, a set that have quite possibly been the most famous since their conception in 1996. In case you are lost, I am talking about the breasts of Lara Croft. Yes, I am reviewing the new(ish) Tomb Raider: Underworld (PC) and here are my thoughts.
Like many games nowadays, Underworld utilizes a minimalistic HUD, which only really appears when you take damage or draw your weapon(s). It is very well done and leaves you to enjoy the great graphics. However, the graphics do have their down-sides. The shadows are a little rough and the use of 2D backgrounds are rather obvious, but are you really looking at the far-off landscape? I didn’t think so…
The combat consists of just jumping around while holding the auto-aim and fire buttons, which actually doesn’t subtract from the gameplay. The game doesn’t focus on combat, but rather puzzle solving and actually contains very little combat. A cool concept is that you get to choose your outfit and primary weapon before each expedition. It’s great in theory, but when all you really need is your pistols and the smallest pair of shorts you can find, such a choice merely insults the player by offering to clothe Lara more completely. You are given a PDA with various functions. Most notably is the Sonar Map and Field Assistance choice. While the Sonar Map is effectively useless, the Field Assistance is a nice way to disguise the I’m-totally-lost, what-am-I-doing button. Choose this option and Lara will give you hints as to what you should be doing, and sometimes how to do it.
Unfortunately, the Tomb Raider series always had the feeling like it was born to be played on a console, and even worse, it’s never quite grown out of that feeling. The keyboard/mouse controls, while not bad, are vastly inferior to a game pad. The game is still very much playable without game pad, but I recommend using one. There are some driving parts in the game and they are terrible. Many action games try to integrate driving sequences and some actually do succeed in making them enjoyable or even bearable. Sadly, Underworld falls into the masses that fail at implementing a driving sequence that works. Not to worry though, the driving is soon over and you are back on your feet.
This marks my first raiding of tombs with Ms. Croft since the original Playstation console, mainly because I never had the patience to figure levels and puzzles out. It was also because Tomb Raider games where never fast-paced enough to keep me entertained, causing me to lose interest. This one managed to keep my attention. Perhaps it was the beautiful environments, or maybe it was the beautiful…..characters. No matter the case, this is a great game. Sure, it has its flaws, but the overall game makes up for them. Having not played a Tomb Raider game in roughly 8 years, it is very hard for me to say how this game compares to previous titles in the series. As a game though, Underworld is great. Keep in mind that you will need patience and an open mind to complete most puzzles, but it keeps you entertained in more ways than one.
Score: 8 Olives