Top critical review
9 people found this helpful
Great graphics and storyline, awful controls
on 4 August 2009
This game is the first in the so-called Next Generation of products featuring Lara Croft. As such, there are some great features and brilliant ideas which possibly work well on a console but which do not transfer at all well to the PC.
First, the good: the textures are well conceived and programmed; the storyline is intriguing and well thought out; the new Reward system is an excellent extension and development of the old Secrets, and you can replay levels to retrieve missed Rewards; finally, the Time Trial mode will appeal to speed junkies. The ability to choose costumes is also a nice idea, but you can only use them in Replay mode or Croft Manor, not during main game play. The Ripped evening gowns are especially nice... ;)
Now the bad... (Take especial note if you have not played the new games or other games using this system.) The entire control system has been changed. Lara now moves relative to the "camera". In other words, pressing "forward" will make her run away from *you*, rather than run in the direction *she* is pointing (the old system: character-relative). This sounds fine until you realise that even a slight angle relative to your perspective makes a huge difference. The mouse controls the camera, but it can be difficult to move in time to line up that jump before the floor collapses. I personally do not find the system do be a good development. Worse still are the fiddly new controls: every controller-key has been remapped. While the cursor keys do still work, the "Official" movement keys are W-A-S-D and all the other major keys are clustered around these (and you need the mouse for the camera) so you are forced to use them. Fine if you are left-handed, I guess! ;) Furthermore, the other controls are often placed in awkward positions, even in relation to WASD, and there are a plethora of them Get ready to spend two or three hours in the first level figuring it all out!
The controls make the Time Trials almost impossible to complete on the PC, so you may need to invest in a good console-type controller if they interest you.
There are two other important changes. First, the game now uses Checkpoints to save in automatically predefined positions. In other words, the PC game uses the console save system: you cannot save where ever you want. Note that you can still save (automatically) while falling of a high cliff, so the system does *not* avoid near-death saves, despite what some people say. Manual Save also resumes from the most recent Checkpoint. Second, you now have limited space in your back pack: no more 2,457 MediPaks, Shotgun with 4,862 rounds, Rocket Launcher with 25 Rockets, Digeridoo, Wobbleboard, 10 changes of underwear etc. Only three Health Packs, two weapons, four grenades, a flash light, binoculars, and a Grapple. Much more realistic! The grapple is a bit Indy Jones, but fun.
My scores are based not only on my experience of using the keyboard as controller, but also on the fact that the game is actually completely linear. There are no alternate paths and the human enemies are all very similar. You will never get lost. Ever. And that defeats the whole purpose of "Tomb Raiding", IMHO.
Get the game if you are a completist, or need to practise the controls for the later games. Otherwise skip forward to Anniversary or Underworld.