I remember a long time ago, after i played Angel Of Darkness and was heavily sad with the bankrupicy of Core Design. Damn, those were rougue times. Luckily, Crystal Dynamics came to save the day and brought us Tomb Raider: Legend.
I was a bit anxyous, to be honest. Tomb Raider changing hands into another developer, will they bring us the same essence again?
As screenshots from the game were showed and when it appeared on the E3 of 2006, i was ready to say YES!
When i played the demo, i desperately needed to play the full version. And so i did. Back theses days, i bought my PS2. Witch got me not only Tomb Raider Legend, but also Anniversary some time later (Witch i will talk in other review). I played it with no clues of secrets or other things, din't even bothered reading the manual. IT WAS FUN. I mean, really fun. I remember, one of my first things that i've done after i first finished the story mode: Going out of my house and buying me a gamer magazine (Woah, those were the times...) to be able to finish it 100%. And so i did. I was so happy when i did.
First thing: The graphics. Even on PS2, they were beutiful. They are even better on PC. The ambients are pretty detailed and the immersion is great. I loved the art design of this game. It made me remember Tomb Raider 3. Moutains, temples and militar base. The snow part was my favorite, specially because of the change of gameplay.
Gameplay: Lara is like 450% more flexible than on Tomb Raider 6 and can do even more moves than the other 6 games. But it had a reason for it. As you go though stages, you will see that not you can climb, but also, run on walls (Like Prince Of Persia). I actually liked this featured and i think that it could've been more explored. Besides that, you can roll and do a lot of acrobatic moves with it. As i said, Lara is way more flexible than in other games. It feel MUCH MORE pleasurable to play with her. Other changes to gameplay are: Quick time events. There are two types of them. One is the common one, where you have to push a certain button to not fail and die. Since there's always a checkpoint before these events, it will not give you any trouble. The second one is what i call "Quick Action And Reaction". When a "Lara's icon" appears on the bottom right of the screen, you will have a limited time to get to safety. You will have to run and jump, and react real quick to anything that is happening. An example: In the end of the first stage of the game, a chopper will come and start to blow up the bridge that you're on. You have to get to the other side if you want to make it alive. But the chopper's shoots will always vary. Sometimes they will hit a little bit forward, so you have to keep attention where you are stepping or else you will fall to death. I also had no problems with this event. I actually found it pretty cool, if you ask me. I preffer then more than common quick time events (I would love so much if Castlevania: Lord Of Shadows was more like that). The reason is because i think it's more skill based than "pressing the right button" based. Am i right?
Okay, next on the list of gameplay is vehicles. Sometimes, Lara will ride a vehicle. I personaly had no problem with them. Expect for two things. I swear to god, the physics of this game in these parts are rather strange sometimes. What i'm trying to say is: Don't hit walls many times. Seriously, don't. And the other thing is: Gunplay while driving. It's quite obvious that you can't fire both weapons, right? Okay, so what do you expect? Enemies with less life, right? WRONG! Enemies will take 7-9 shoots to die. I mean, SERIOUSLY. Couldn't they low it a bit, so it din't got THAT repetitive? Here's a tip: Try always to fire explosive barrels and explode their bikes, it's MUCH FASTER.
Also, this is another things. Explosive barrels are back. And with them another "interactive destructables". What i mean is: To either explorer a barrel (That's marked with a "!") or an "interactive destructable" (Also marked with "!"), you have to press the action button (On PC: "E", can't remember right now witch one it is on Gamepad). And Lara will shoot into these places and take out more enemies (Or take ou heavy enemies with less challenge). You also can use manual aim on them (Tough i din't used manual aim in the ENTIRE game, so). These are cool. And thanks to them, some destruction is possible in this game. And, again, that could've been MUCH MORE explored. Damn, this game had a lot of potential. And may be the game where the devs took out most of the ideas and put on Tomb Raider 2013.
Sound: I really liked the sound of the game. I really loved the song from intro, menu, ending, mission ending and the Tokyo mission theme. It's a memorable soundtrack and does it job. Lara's voice is quite good and i think it combines with her new visual in this game. Zip is back and...Tough he is not annoying, i preffered SOOOOOO MUCH his voice from Tomb Raider 5. He sounded so much cool there, what happened? If i can say one character that annoys the ♥♥♥♥ out of me is Allister. JESUS ♥♥♥♥ING CHRIST. SHUT UP ALREADY! AND I MEAN IT THIS TIME! THANK GOD YOU WILL DIE ON UNDERWORLD, YOU BIG PILE OF ♥♥♥♥
The Story...Oh boy. I think i will need to put these into parts. I will begin. With the failure of making a trilogy of the Angel Of Darkness, Crystal Dynamics tried to make their own trilogy (Witch was never a Trilogy BTW). At least they started it right. They tried to erase TRAOD from canon (Since we don't know anything that happened after the ending of it) and create their own story. Not only for the exploration part of the game (Myths, artifacts, etc), but also for Lara. That's right, this was the first game since Tomb Raider 4 (Witch only did a bit of this on the first two levels of it) that tried to explore Lara's past. As you can remember, nothing was ever said about Lara's dad and mother. The only thing you know is that they aren't showed and Lara is rich as hell. That's it. And that's where the devs tried to explored, creating a whole new story of it, introducing new characters like Amanda and Anaya. Anaya is just friends with Lara, and doesn't have much impact on plot. She just helped her to locate some things and was rescued by Lara later on the game. Amanda is the big fish in the new characters here. She's now the main antagonist. And i really mean it. She was best friends with Lara, since an accident happened and Lara had to leave her. More of this is revealed during a part of the game. And now, she's back, with hew own plan to gain infinity powers and become immortal (Well, that excalated quickly). And Lara has to defeat her by collecting all the parts of...Excalibur.
I know what you're thinking right now: "LOL, that was the best they could do?!". It has a connection. Not only Excalibur is the only thing capable of hurting Amanda, but also, Lara's mother disappeareance had something to do with her getting to another known as "Avalon". Now, with this, you know what mythology this game is about, right? Okay. Through it doesn't really happen a lot on plot (I mean, only things about Lara's past are revealed and there's the fight with Amanda and a little recounter with Lara's mother), it isn't bad. Each piece will be somewhere in the world, and that's will be a new mission. So location variety is back and this time, at least, it's good. Remember when i said i like the Tokyo mission soundtrack? It was also one of my favorite stages. I liked how they got a closed space and transformed it into a open exploration space. I just really think that the enemy of this mission in particular isn't that memorable. I can't even remember his name if you ask me.
But that's the most of the story.
Now, we are going to talk about two major things in this game that completes theirselves: Exploration and unlockables.