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Tomb Raider Underworld Review (360)

The current generation of Tomb Raider games have been a massive step in the right direction for the series. Legend was the first to come to the new consoles with great looking graphics and had the control scheme it should of had from the very beginning. Underworld, now the third Tomb Raider release on the current generation of consoles, seems to have taken a step back.

In Tomb Raider: Underworld, Lara is after the Hammer of Thor to stop an evil. The story has a lot to do with Norse mythology, mainly revolving around Thor. After Lara’s mansion is burned down, she sets off for revenge to finish her father’s unfinished business. The adventure will take you all over the world to explore some beautiful looking locations.

Underworld brings in some new gameplay mechanics but fails to deliver quality. As nice as it is to see improvements made to the series, it’s just too hard to look past all of the technical flaws. This is easily the worst Tomb Raider to be released this generation.


New Moves: The new moves that have been added feel like that they should of been there all along. Lara now has the ability sprint with a press of a button. The “chimney jump” is a neat way to get around. Jumping off of walls to reach a pole or to a high ledge looks and feels good when executed.

An adrenaline head shot can now be done when your adrenaline meter is full. When this happens the game goes into slow motion, Lara back flips away from the enemy, and if you execute the on-screen command correctly, she shoots them in the head kill them instantly.

Nice Animations: If there’s anything visually different from the previous Tomb Raider’s it would be the updated animations. Simple things like Lara running and sprinting look really nice–dare I even say it looks like how a real person would run? They even added motion blur to some of her fast movements which also look impressive.

Great Sound Design: Tomb Raider wouldn’t be my first pick for great sound design, but I couldn’t help but be impressed by what I heard. Whether it be in the jungle, underwater, or standing in the rain, the atmospheric sounds are something to behold.


Technically Flawed: The graphics have seen better days. Visual clipping still frequently occurs and the textures on characters and objects look outdated. Lara will sometimes jump through objects, such as poles, and she often seems to jump in a direction in which you did not intend. I’ve even had a checkpoint disappear, making me restart an entire section of a level.

Bad Camera: I couldn’t begin to count how many times I had to re-adjust the camera. At some points, it seems the camera should swivel to show you where to jump or show the next location, but you’re just left guessing which often lead to missed jumps and death. The camera also seems to be a little too tight on the player. When Lara moves, the camera stays right behind her, resulting in jumpy movements.

Bad Voice Acting and Dialog: Tomb Raider has yet to impress with its dialog or voice acting. The game is full of simple lines and non-enthusiastic voices, making the story even more uninteresting.

Puzzles, Puzzles, Puzzles: It seems in almost every area there is a new puzzle for you to solve. The puzzles quickly get monotonous, tiresome, and boring. There are a few smart puzzles to figure out but the majority of them are figuring out how to hold down pressure switches or find missing pieces for a switch.

Cliche Story: An evil monster is made, killing loved ones. You set off the stop this evil. The creator ends up destroying said monster to help you out. Haven’t heard that story before! (No real spoilers there, honestly.)

Motorcycle Levels: The motorcycle levels have been around for a very long time. They’ve never been good or very exciting. It’s either time to dump the motorcycle all together or make the bike somewhat rideable and fun.

Originally posted on Endsights, December 29, 2008

March 5, 2009 - Posted by | Review | , , , ,

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