Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
27 July 2006
Tomb Raider: Legend bits & pieces
I didn't want to clutter the review with too much random debris, so here are more comments:
  • Aiming (guns) - When facing a single enemy, the auto-target button should lock onto him. If a player doesn't want to aim at the single enemy they can -- get this -- not use the auto-target button!

  • Aiming (magenetic grapple) - The grapple should not shoot out of Lara's back and connect to a target behind her. Similarly, when part of a puzzle won't be used again (because it literally is all but destroyed) don't make the magnetic grapple connect to it instead of the single remaining piece of puzzle.

  • Bosses - Not a single boss is fun to battle. Obvious Achilles heels + terrible aiming system = crap.

  • Motorcycle driving - Too long with unreliable controls -- these strike me as padding to lengthen the game trivially. Hated by other reviewers, I couldn't bring myself to hate them outright, yet, there is nothing to recommend them either.

  • Environment as weapon - Overblown feature that amounts to fluff. Either do a far better job or put the effort elsewhere.

  • Linearity - The original Tomb Raider had linear puzzle sequences too, but it was typical to find the pieces out of order and then have to figure out which piece goes first, second, and so forth. In Tomb Raider: Legend the next step is always obvious: straight ahead toward the open door or the shining light.

  • Load times - The first level has, by far, the worst load times, sometimes taking 40 seconds to reload. Regardless, they're still 20-30 seconds every time you kill Lara off. You don't realize the critical importance of time rewinding until a Prince of Persia clone like Tomb Raider: Legend tries to do without it.

  • Buggy sound - There are some miscues on dialogue and sound effects that surely could have been fixed with more polish. Given that this version lagged the other versions by many weeks, I'm guessing it was still rushed out as "good enough".

  • Laggy menus - Nothing makes a bad first impression like an unresponsive menu screen the first time you load up a game. Same with loading up the PDA while in the game itself.

  • Urban environments - Just don't. Lara belongs in tombs. Perhaps the British Museum (hinted at for the sequel) will be a good one, but high rise buildings with cubicles are a terrible setting.

  • Camera - Don't aim at the ground in front of Lara so much. Similarly, provide mechanism for setting how far behind Lara the camera sits, especially when in free-look mode.
That's it for now. I'll add more as I think of them.
--Matt Matthews at 13:46
Comment [ 1 ]

Comments on this post:

The Linearity section reminds me of when we (Matt & I) were taking down notes in RE when we saw a message explaining what pieces to place in what order in some early puzzle, where the pieces ultimately just jumped out of your hand into the right spot once you found them and went back. Painful, indeed.

Could today's twitch gamer appreciate Zork? And who has commented the most of the Japanese vs. American gamer, where Americans apparently need dumbed down versions?

By Blogger rufbo, at 27 July, 2006 16:00  

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