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A fresh coat of paint is not enough
on 6 March 2008
Re-making a classic game like Tomb Raider is an inspired move and sure to bring back some memories for older gamers. Using the Legend engine, Tomb Raider Anniversary is a good looking game and runs at a very quick pace even on a modestly powered PC.
It doesn't seem quite as polished as Legend, Lara seems to have less animations & costumes and the enemies you come across are often very bland. The environments are generally OK and the lighting & effects are good. Music is sparse and sound overall is minimal, with the odd grunt from Lara as she jumps about the level and that's about it.
So to look at and listen to, Anniversary is OK but it's not going to give Gears of War anything to worry about. But how is it to play? The combat mechanic is virtually identical to that used in Legend but doesn't seem to be quite so good. It maybe mimics the dodgy combat from the old Tomb Raider a little too much.
There is not the same level of variety as in Legend, the levels are much longer and there is more repeated running backwards and forwards. This is a fair representation of the original game, but it does show that games have moved on. They may not be so long nowadays, but the experience is better and less laborious.
TRA is a decent game, but overall it's not as polished or as much fun to play as Tomb Raider Legend. It's a good trip down memory lane and perfectly playable, but even with a fresh coat of paint it's easy to tell that the Tomb Raider series has moved on in recent years.