Thursday, 4 August 2016

Raid's End

It turns out I had the house to myself at the weekend, so I decided to pick up Tomb Raider Underworld and see if I could blast through it and complete the series. I didn't quite manage it over the weekend, but I did finally finish it off last night. So that's it, another series down! There is still the most recent game that I haven't played yet (I don't own it yet), but I'm sure I will some day. It's a fantastic series of games that I hugely enjoyed playing through. But what's Underworld itself like? Not too bad at all. It follows on directly from TR: Legend (Anniversary in the middle was just a side step) with Lara still trying to find out what happened to her parents. It also sees the reappearance of one of the original series enemies, Jacqueline Natla. To be honest, the story's not really that great - it's pretty obvious where it's going, and it's all pretty fantastical - even for a TR game. The mythology tie-in was quite fun, though, exploring the theory of a monomyth uniting the beliefs of ancient cultures. The puzzles and platforming were pretty cool. The controls haven't changed much from the previous game, and they didn't need to. There was still the odd occasion where Lara's jump targeted the wrong platform and sent her flying off to her death, but it didn't happen too often. They did away with the focus head shots that plagued the boss battles of Anniversary, which was a relief. However, I think they went a bit too far here and did away with the concept of boss battles altogether. I don't necessarily love them that much, but they do give a sense of achievement when you beat them, and a feeling of closure that solving a simple environmental puzzle just doesn't provide. Especially as Natla's there flying around throwing fireballs at you, but you don't actually get to retaliate in any way. Anyway, I can't complain, I really enjoyed the game as a whole. I can see why they wanted to reboot it to a younger Lara in the next game, though. In general, the series has clearly improved from game to game, but I think my favourite is still the first. I'll always hold a soft spot for that game.

Next up on the series list is Shadowlands. It's an isometric RPG from the '90s. I really remember the screenshots for it in mags at the time, but other than that I don't know much at all. First up, though, I'll try and get a bit further in Inquisitor.

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