Introduction: Tomb Raider Anniversary is a love letter to the fans of the original game who for many years saw a decline is the quality of titles being released for the franchise being developed by it's creators CORE. This is the second title developed by Crystal Dynamics, who were given the task to return the series to it's once respected and celebrated roots atop the action adventure genre and they not only accepted this great challenge but, as we all now know have continued to exceed gamers expectations as to what's to come from our most eye pleasing raider of tombs. If you truly wish to see exactly how the series progressed to what is now considered by many as the only franchise able to challenge and possibly best the Unchartered series as reigning action adventure royalty, Tomb Raider Anniversay although the second title released by Crystal Dynamics is where the evolution of their titles truly began.
Overview: Tomb Raider Anniversary is a remake of the original classic game released on the Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation and PC. Now many years after the originals release, it not only began to show it's age but, seem more like the grandmother of gaming instead of it's symbol of female stregnth, resolve and sexuality. Crystal Dynamics has returned our once royalty of the action adventure gaming scene to her original glory by completely overhauling the graphics and gameplay for the modern age. They have successfully retained the gameplay elements of the original all while enabling the player with a more fluid and responsive control scheme for combat and navigation.
Gameplay: The gameplay of Tomb Raider Anniversay is a blend of the previous entries with a more modernized execution. Gone are the tank like controls of the original which are now replaced with a scheme more suitable for a three dimensional space. The player will now be able to comfortably navigate our protagonost Lara through her adventures with a fair amount of ease and grace. Traversing areas overall feels much more natural than before as you perform platform jumps and general movements (combat etc.) throughout each level. With that being said, there are some areas which you will encounter less fluidity such as the under water sections which, in comparison to her ground level areas seem much less intuitive and a less than perfect camera that can at times make the journey a bit frustrating yet, even with it's flaws won't ruin the experience.
The puzzle aspect of the gameplay is kept fully intact retaning the original elements that many considered the series stregnth and are executed on a much more professional scale than the 1996 release. With the change to a more intuitive control scheme comes less headaches when trying to place objects in their necessary positions along with a free camera which will assist you in getting a better look at the challenge at hand. The puzzles are of increasing difficulty and can at times seem like a daunting affair which only heightens the experience. As you solve the puzzles, you will marvel at the the genius displayed by the develpers and see why this game is considered such a figurehead in the industry. It's this very element that Tomb Raider Anniversary displays time and time again throughout your adventure that makes it easily understandable once again why Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Series are considered one of the most influential games created.
Graphics: Crystal Dynamics has done a fantastic job at bringing the original Tomb Raider into the modern gaming age. The entire world that you may or may not remember from 1996 has been painstakingly recreated with surprisingly beautiful results. Although anniversary saw it's initial pc release in 2006 the graphics are still something to behold. The indoor environments specifically can at times leave you in awe and shock that this was now released nearly ten years ago. Developed on a modified Legend engine which was first seen in the 2005 release Tomb Raider Legend, Crystal Dynamics have displayed their knowledge gained and applied it masterfully within their newly crafted world.
There are a variety of features found in the graphics options to suit the pc gamers taste and configurations. From resolutions of up to 1080p, multiple aspects ratios and an assortment of graphics features such as anisotrpic filtering, multiple AA, shadows etc., Tomb Raider fans can rejoice that their title will remain relevant and playable for years to come. The only feature lacking which, oddly enough was found in Crystal Dynamics initial title Tomb Raider: Legend released in 2005 is an option to turn on high end graphics effects. Why they chose to limit the options available are beyond me but, regardless even without these, it still remains a beautifully constructed world.
Sound: Within the first few seconds of launching anniversary, you will be welcomed back by the easily recognized soundtrack of the original remastered. For gamers who had the privilage of playing the original 1996 title, this will immediately send a chill down your spine and emit feelings of generations past. I immediately felt like a child again upon hearing the woodwind instrument solo echoing during the intro and it set the stage for an incredible adventure to come. The sountrack found within anniversary is perfectly suited to eash sequence at any gven time during your adventure and a stregnth at every turn. The sound effects serve their intended purpose and are general standard fair. The only sounds a bit lacking are during gun fire which, show their age in comarison to more current titles. They simply lack an ability to give the player a sense of power while weilding the many firearms found in game.
Story: In Tomb Raider Anniversary you play as the protagonist Lara Croft, an archeologist and adventurer whos beauty and athletic grace is matched by her intellectual abilities which, serve her well whilst traversing the many dangerous ruins found across the world. The story takes a back seat to the gameplay aspects but, serves the game well. It establishes a sense of purpose and creates a nice sense of pacing to ensure you continue further into your adventure without feeling forced. Simply put, the gameplay is just as much of the story as any dialogue found within it as any true action adventure game should be. Balanced and not overbearing, it exists and knows it's role at all times.
Replay Value: The replay value of anniversay is all dependant of the player. There are many hidden artifacts to discover if you wish to let your inner completionist enjoy a bit of obsessive compulsiveness during your adventure. There's quite a bit to discover along the way and overall it's a fairly legnthly adventure. That being said, like any action adventure title, there are some that will get more out of it than others and that all depends on what you're looking to achieve within the game. Although there is a seperate standalone mini-adventure that extends the content, what it adds isn't really geared towards the standard player and the gameplay found within it is mostly puzzle based. So overall the replay value found here is moderate but, most definitely worth the asking price.
Final Review Score: 8.1/10 After being passed the torch, Crystal Dynamics successfully resurrected a franchise that was quickly being destroyed by it's creators CORE. In Tomb Raider Anniversary, Crystal Dynamics re-established the series as a viable contender for the action adventure crown and have done so since this 2006 release time and time again. Although Tomb Raider Anniversay isn't the incredibly polished title the most recently released Tomb Raider (2013) reboot was, it is very much so a classic example of how a remake can be achieved successfully without alienating it's fan base. If you're a fan of the action adventure genre, Tomb Raider Anniversary absolutely deserves a place in your library.
Anniversary is not as action-oriented as the 2013 reboot: combat is scarce and boss fights are average. It's all about exploration, platforming and puzzles, and these elements have been the series trademark since its beginning.
For me, this is the best Tomb Raider, despite its not so great reception at launch.
47 of 51 people (92%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
12.5 hrs on record
Posted: February 7
I need to start with the the bad first, because while not changing the fact that I definitely recommend this game, I feel it really needs to be stated.
The bad aspects of this game really come down to one thing: it makes too many assumptions on what you are trying to do VS what you should do.
Let me explain.
You can say what you want about the original, requiring quite a bit of precision with its blocky walls and ledges, as most of the moving around was made by jumping and grabbing ledges that were always facing each other. But it was clear when and where to jump to and from. The game knew what it did, and didn't make any assumptions of any kind on what you were trying to do. When you died, it was entirely your fault and your fault only.
The Anniversary edition has gone beyond that and allows you to grab onto a ledge while jumping from another perpendicular ledge. While this is welcome and freshens up the game feel most of the time, it gets tiring when the game does not agree on your trajectory and lets Lara fall off to her doom without having her trying to grab said ledge. Next time, you try an identical jump and surprisingly the game now agrees to it.
This is but an example. Overall, what happens is that the game does not allow you to do things it is not expecting. The most infuriating aspect of this is when the game decides wrongfully what is allowed and what isn't.
You can reach that pole from where you stand? Lara won't grab it because you are expected to pull that cage over there to be able to reach that ledge over there that will in turn allow you to grab the pole.
This leads to some really cringe-worthy moments were you will fail sequentially until the game finally decides to let you do what you actually are trying to do.
Finally, and this is more of a detail, but still thought I'd mention it.
Remember that animation in the original, when Lara lands on her feet and hands when she falls off a high platform? That is an animation that tells you "this is as high I can fall from" and you're like, "phew, that was close". You could really feel that fall through Lara.
In Anniversary, Lara falls off, lands on her two feet like nothing happened physically, still yells and loses some health, but that animation is not there anymore. Tough falls do not feel like tough falls (except those you die in). Too bad.
All of this being said, this remake of the first Tomb Raider is everything a remake ought to be: it freshens up the original with new ideas and does not try too hard to be like its predecessor.
New graphics (2007-wise, but still look good in early 2015) and environments. If the sensation of vastness was there in the original, Anniversary builds on top of that and adds a more detailed architecture that improves that sensation of vastness.
New controls that use the gamepad perfectly (don't know about keyboard, playing with a xbox 360 controller).
New combat system that works way better than the original's jumping around. You still jump around here, it is just more dynamic overall. Even though combat is not frequent, there are enough to break the slow going pace of the puzzle solving. Also, boss fights! That means you have to find that specific thing to do to beat them.
New cutscenes, cinematics and new voice acting. Some cutscenes have QTEs, but this remains very rare and anecdotal and does not add much to the game except giving you the impression of control when Lara does some badass stuff on screen.
Collectibles that will have you rummage through the levels if you want to get all of them. These unlock rewards such as new costumes, artworks, developer commentaries, etc. There is also a time trial mode in which you must complete a level in one go, without checkpoints or anything: you fail, you restart entirely.
Some of the old puzzles have been replaced by new ones, but old ones that worked well have been kept. In the original I sometimes found myself wandering aimlessly until I eventually came across all the pieces needed to solve a puzzle. I never felt that in Anniversary. It was almost always a straightforward but still rewarding experience.
In addition to the ability to jump to perpendicular ledge, there are other new gameplay elements such as a grappling hook, swinging poles and climbable poles, all of which open up new possibilities for exploration and puzzle solving.
I played Anniversary along with the original to fully appreciate the differences, and in my opinion, Anniversary is a great reverence to the original. It stands out on its own, with fresh ideas that definitely make sense for a game like this, while not casting any shadow over the original which has its own merits over Anniversary.
Good remake to the original game that initiated this extensive and acclaimed franchise.
Being a remake of the first Tomb Raider, the gameplay is predominantly focused on scenario puzzles. There's action sequences and combat, but they are few in number, thus the pace might not suit gamers looking for something more dynamic. Despite old, the game features satisfactory graphics and mechanics as well as a good sound quality. There is also a good variety of scenarios and their puzzles, which contribute to not become a repetitive and predictable game. The plot is dispensable and the end doesn't excite.
It has some problems with the camera which sometimes irritates, and despite having full joypad support, the commands presentation are for the keyboard/mouse, which can lead to disorientation. In the end it's a good game, but I would only recommend for those who love and have played the old Tomb Raider games, or enjoy games based on puzzles.
21 of 21 people (100%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
21.5 hrs on record
Posted: June 23
Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a solid re-imagining of the original game which makes use of the Tomb Raider: Legend engine, meaning a game that's much more user-friendly and playable control-wise, and of course packs quite the graphical upgrade.
Controlling Lara is a breeze with her acrobatics and various feats of parkour coming out smoothly and naturally whether using a gamepad or keyboard and mouse. This makes the fact that a good 70-80% of the game is straight platforming and puzzle solving all the more enjoyable. A keen eye and critical thinking are required to leap, grab, and grappling hook your way out of each scenario, and the game has a fairly generous system in place to help guide Lara to platforms, but most of the work is still up to the player.
The only real downsides of this remake are the combat and sometimes dodgy camera control and how that can interfere with some late-game platforming segments. Combat in general feels very mushy. Gunplay never really felt satisfying, though the lock-on and shoot mechanic does help smooth things out a bit. Issues arise however when enemies are able to get close, and especially if they're enemies capable of flight. The camera really loses track of what to do and can often cause a lot of seemingly unfair damage to be taken because of the obstruction.
The camera particularly fails in one of the final areas of the game (The Great Pyramid), where a long series of timed jumps are required to proceed. The camera gets positioned in ways that obstruct the path and you may find yourself making blind leaps and grappling hook attempts in vain. Even worse is that movement can end up completely fudged in this sequence since the controls are relative to what the camera is doing and leaps and grabs you were capable of earlier in the game suddenly have to be performed with different or nonsensical button combinations because the camera hasn't decided what forward and backward are or hasn't communicated it properly.
Even with its faults though, this is a fantastic puzzle platformer with a silly as all hell story and some great locations to parkour around in.
Tomb Raider:Anniversary is a very succussful reboot of the first Tomb Raider game, introducing new camera physics, and better graphics. After playing through the game, I found it very useful to be able to move my camera freely as I have noticed some things I would otherwise not have.
Bottom line:Great game! Rating: 9/10 for a good story, and 7/10 for graphics, but 10/10 for the amount of fun you get for the price.
Tomb Raider. Oh man, Tomb Raider. I remember 1996. I bought a Voodoo graphics accelerator to make a Lara that was basically three cubes into a Lara that was basically three smoother cubes. But the first game really nailed it when it came to exploration, artifact-hunting, cool acrobatics and that odd sense of wonder- stumbling into acient ruins had never felt so awesome. Right up to Tomb Raider 3 you could actually argue that despite the hype, despite the always growing bust, despite the recycling, Tomb Raider was a great game. Then things got downwards rapidly.
Well, Legend rebooted the franchise, for good, with better graphics, smooth controls, an overhauled moveset and an actual story. Legend is the game you want to play when you really just want to play a cool action title.
But Anniversary is the game you want to play when you have seen the series rise and fall. It's a remake of the original Tomb Raider. It has the same plot, and you will recognise some key locations. It's more focussed on exploration, carefully timed jumps and feverish backtracking to get that last bonus idol for your collection than Legend, where gunfights started three minuted into the game. There's little shooting here. Instead there's the feeling that you are back. Back where it all started. I bought this game three times now. That's how good it is.
I Highly Recommend this game for anyone who is looking to get into the Tomb Raider franchise. I also recommend for those seasoned players who have not picked this one up yet. it is by far my favorite in the series, competing close with Last Revelation.
Why do i recommend this to Newbies? It has all the basic mechanics and puzzles at an easy starting level for everyone. It throws you into the action with an easy and slow first level. the puzzles are simple, such as moving blocks, and gets slightly harder from there. The other games get harder from there.
Why do i recommend this to Fanboys? it recreates the original in a very casual environment, with beautiful new textures. it does not need to be challenging because, quite frankly we beat the game in 1996. For those who would find this easy, think of it as a refurbished museum to a historical game.
The game is just the right length to not become boring and tedious, which is always a plus. You will visit Peru, Greece, Egypt, and the City of Atlantis in this exciting adventure. There are only 4 Weapons, but its ok, combat is not the focus here. There are annoying Quick Time Events, but they are short and maybe only 4 or 5 encounters within the entire game. Puzzles are fun, and will make perfect sense once you figure them out. There are plenty of costumes to unlock, paying homage to outfits lara has worn in the past. My favorite part of the game was the bonus level of Lara's Mansion, which is a nonstop puzzler that has you exploring the entire inside and outside of her estate.
19 of 24 people (79%) found this review helpful 1 person found this review funny
18.6 hrs on record
Posted: September 4, 2014
THANK YOU EIDOS!
For the longest, I've spent ages wondering why in the world left didn't mean go left and not turn left. The same thing that has HAUNTED my experience with this as well as resident evil. But for the latter I was perplexed as the publisher pushed out games like gex 2 and 3, akuji the heartless, legacy of kain, meanwhile this game was carrying this annoying movement all the way through angel of darkness. Why is beyond me.
Tomb raider anniversary takes the experience and intensifies it without making it as atrocious as not having ammo in the regular games. You get all of the fun whilegetting the experience you were supposed to get from tomb raider in my opinion. Dedicated exploration, optional puzzles, and a world and character worth looking at, and very playable to boot.
I wonder why everyone turned their face at me when I mentioned how I loathe tomb raider because of the clunky movement control. They changed it, and now it is another entry to worthwhile platform games that everyone should give a try. You probably won't find everything on your first go, but taking a nice stroll through it and trying everything will do the trick, as well as stump most normal platform gamers who think that everything that happens is accessible and valid instantly. Where that is not always the case here.
I'll probably enjoy tomb raider games from here on for sure. Because I couldn't get enough of the older eidos platform games. And this is just tomb raider that moves just like the rest of those games. I couldn't be more pleased with that. As the rest of the game is or should be self explanatory.