Tomb Raider: Underworld Review
- Posted November 19th, 2008 at 12:05 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 42 Comments
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Tomb Raider: Underworld is a lackluster adventure. Lara looks great, but gameplay is predictable and thwarted by camera issues.
- Lara's character model and animations are spot on
- Some beautifully rendered locations
- Predictable, bland puzzles
- Poor camera angles makes exploration frustrating
- Combat is lackluster and overly simple
Can you believe that it’s been over 10 years since the voluptuous Lara Croft began seducing us with her enticing blend of action-packed exploration, treasure hunting, acrobatics and perceptive puzzle-solving?
The success of the series has meant that the foundations laid down by the original title still haven’t changed one bit, with Tomb Raider Underworld following a familiar and predictable blueprint. If you’re a fan of the series then you’ll no doubt take some delight in exploring ancient ruins, underwater chambers, dimly-lit caverns and lush jungle settings all over again. You’ll probably also feel quite at home climbing mountain faces, ledge-hopping, swinging over ravines, pulling levers, pillar jumping, shifting blocks to activate weight mechanisms and solving cog-based puzzles. We, on the other hand, were bored out of our minds. Ever heard of the saying “familiarity breeds contempt?” Well, never has a phrase been more apt than in the case of Underworld.
Furthermore, whilst Miss Croft’s latest outing, which carries on from where it left off in Tomb Raider Legend, looks suitably next-gen, with Lara moving around with admirable poise and grace, ass cheeks wobbling with every step, we spent most of the adventure swearing at the T.V. with sheer frustration. Like spoilt brats - and we feel quite ashamed to admit it - we almost lost the plot at one point, banging our fists with anger onto the table after we fell to our death and then had to scale a cliff face for the tenth time. A videogame hasn’t made us this angry since we hopped on the back of a dragon, took to the skies and wrestled with the motion-sensing functionality of the Sixaxis controller in the disappointingly poor, Lair.
There is some good news though. As far as pixelated videogame heroine's go, Lara does look very sexy. With all the bumps and curves in the right places, her finely chiseled body should certainly appeal to the testosterone-fueled teen brigade and undoubtedly old perverts as well. Crystal Dynamics has cleverly played on her sexuality throughout the game and from the outset, where they place her snugly into a figure-hugging swimming costume for the first ocean-diving level, to the coast of Thailand where you have the opportunity of dressing her up in either jungle pants or jungle shorts, there’s never an opportunity missed to take advantage of her obvious womanly charms.
Wisely, every opportunity has been grabbed by the developer's manly fist in order to show off Lara’s mighty fine cheek-wobbling buttocks up close and personal. Thanks to camera angles that pan in when you’re scaling a mountain face or during cut-scenes you'll get plenty of time to ogle those buns. We’d hazard a guess that this will also be the gameplay footage that is most likely to be sent out to the press or put onto You Tube in a bid to tempt you into the alluring world of Lara and her creamy thighs. Unfortunately, watching Lara parade around in this flirtatious manner is one of the few highlights of an otherwise boring, predictable and irritating jaunt across some familiar locations.
Lara does animate extremely well. It’s clear that the motion-capture technology, which has been used for the first time in the Tomb Raider series, has really paid off. She looks fantastic shimmying down poles, somersaulting through the air, traversing cliff faces, scaling walls with her grappling hook and swimming through the clear blue ocean. Lara has never looked and moved so well as she interacts with the environment, using her arms to push through the overgrown jungle foliage or putting her hands to her face to shield herself from fire. It’s commendable that his level of attention has been paid to the story’s heroine and her impressive range of acrobatic tricks, but the focus on making her look great and move like a medal-winning gymnast feels like it’s been to the detriment of much of the rest of the game, which consistently fails to live up to her eye-catching physique.
Underworld suffers from some frustrating level design, annoying camera angles and tedious puzzles, the likes of which have been regurgitated from the bowels of previous Tomb Raider games and mixed around ever so slightly to try and give you the impression that they’re ... (continued on next page)
- 7:07am EST - November 19th, 2008
you think they would of stopped making this game now. It's boring and there are alot more better games out there than this. Including Uncharted... not a surprise.
- 7:27am EST - November 19th, 2008
This is good, but they should stop it now and let Uncharted take over
- 7:52am EST - November 19th, 2008
After reading this, the XBOX360 can have all the "extra DLC" they want. I'm actually really dissapointed about that score as i was looking forward to get my hands on Lara again. Not this time though! Farewell Lara, it was damn good while it lasted.
American Ninja | AmericanNinja1
- 8:25am EST - November 19th, 2008
no trophies no buy.
Sryche22 | Sryche
- 8:32am EST - November 19th, 2008
I'm actually really glad to read this....after my wife had an excruciating time with the camera issues of Pirates of the Carribean, I've been really selective about which games to buy...Unchartered was great...but I think we'll skip this one. Thanks PSU =)
- 9:06am EST - November 19th, 2008
i played the demo on my friends xbox and i was very dissapointed. i have been a huge fan of tomb raider ever since the 1st on the psone and i have every tomb raider game ever. ANGEL OF DARKNESS WAS TERRIBLE! i was expecting a huge overhaul in the combat for this but it felt too slow and boring. although the graphics are amazing!
- 9:12am EST - November 19th, 2008
At least now I could use my 60 buck on some batter game. I was looking foward to it but all reviews agree that its not worth it.
- 9:33am EST - November 19th, 2008
there is trophies for this game. also this is another SH!!TT review
- 10:28am EST - November 19th, 2008
- 10:56am EST - November 19th, 2008
TBH, the combat part is what annoys me about the game. Too much human-human combat. But I would not knock it for being simplistic...its an adventure game, not a beat-em-up or shoot-em-up.
Camera angles in the Nintendo version p*ssed me off due to the environment being made so much smaller.
Are we ever going to see a TombRaider that really does get close or exceed the original? Looking at what we are seeing, it would appear we will never get that again. Especially when they listen to the gamers that would prefer they concentrate on shooting/fighting, rather than exploring, puzzles & themes/atmosphere.
Remake TR1 in HD and you will have a great seller.
Remake it as is...no little adjustments or enhancements other than smoother character movement and visuals.
- 11:05am EST - November 19th, 2008
Character model spot on? Are his eyes okay? ooh new costumes lets not even look at the face, I mean who are we kidding no one ever looks at anything but her boobs anyway right? She should be photorealistic by now but she still looks like a barbie doll.
- 12:02pm EST - November 19th, 2008
Aww. I was going to get this. That stinks. I'm pretty surprised that it wasn't at least an 8. I was actually looking forward to it.
- 12:59pm EST - November 19th, 2008
they should have let lara die on PS2
- 1:24pm EST - November 19th, 2008
i was expecting 7. the original is still my fave no question, and i thought they did a brilliant job of the remake but sadly i think lara has had her day
- 1:44pm EST - November 19th, 2008
Aside from Metroid, everygame and movie with a macho woman character is lame. Especially this Trash. Might as well make 3 Ninja's the video game or Ninja Kids.
- 1:58pm EST - November 19th, 2008
you know what i find funny, everyone gets all hyped up and psu always overates before it actually comes out, and everones like looks awesome!! and stuff then this happens.
- 2:20pm EST - November 19th, 2008
From what i've read of this game it really doesnt look good. Which is a real shame cause I've been looking for an awesome adventure game since Uncharted. But looks like I'll have to wait until Uncharted 2.
- 2:43pm EST - November 19th, 2008
@10 They did remake Tomb Raider 1. Its called Tomb Raider: Anniversery and it was released on the XBOX 360 and not the PS3.
They really need to get back to their roots. The Playstation is what made Tomb Raider great, yet they screw us over by being Microsofts B!@#$
- 3:16pm EST - November 19th, 2008
WHAT!!!! Im Surprised That This Game Didnt Get At Least An 8 I Like Tomb Raider And Im Still Gunna Buy It...The Review Is Alrite But I Like To Find Out For Myself..
- 6:47pm EST - November 19th, 2008
This will permanently ban this user and delete all associated comments. This action is irreversible, are you SURE you want to do this?!