"... But there's something missing.Replace Babylon with Venice or Area 51, and I could have (and probably have) made similar criticisms of Tomb Raider 2 or Tomb Raider III, respectively. It's just downright scary how familiar this all sounds.
It's in the level design. At about halfway through the game, I just got bored with the Prince's endless leaping and swinging through environments that lack the grandeur and complexity of the previous games. Though the streets, rooftops, and sewers of Babylon are interesting to a point, they simply don't offer the same breathtaking sense of scale. So far, there aren't any beautifully designed clockwork rooms or breathtaking water-drenched caverns or enchanted palaces to explore. Just too many mundane alleys, streets, and courtyards. It's lazy level design, and it's boring."
The engine doesn't seem to have been improved or optimized in the slightest since the last game. ...Try five games in five years, with some modest engine refinements, only a few extra moves, and a serious decline in level design and storylines, and only then will you have reached the depth of Tomb Raider. I could also mention the needless focus on arming Lara with ever bigger guns. Not that I really want the Prince of Persia games to go there, but this isn't nearly as bad as it can get.
Three games in three years tends to wear out a character's welcome, in my opinion. ...
[T]hese back-to-back sequels that the industry generates are too often merely phoned-in updates to previous versions with only superficial refinements.
Unfortunately, milking popular franchises until they're dry seems to be the standard. I guess it's easy money.
Great game franchises have been, are being, and will in the future be destroyed by greed and laziness.
That said, I'm giving Tomb Raider another try with the upcoming Tomb Raider: Legend. I'm still holding out hope that they finally grasp what was great about the original game and will give it a suitable update. Stay tuned.