Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 9.2
Sound 8.0
Value 8.9
Distributor: Eidos
Review Date:
August 2006
Shael Millheim


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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend
XBox 360 Review

If you're the type who loves storylines, Tomb Raider: Legend should be one of those games you'll keep near your system, ready to play for a while. With numerous cut-scenes, the player gets to see a chunk of Lara's childhood. From surviving a plane crash with her mother to finding something that obviously shouldn't have been found, this game fully immerses players into Lara's world with clarity.

In older games, Croft Manor was a place that had many areas to visit at the player's leisure, and a lot of roaming room. In Legend, certain levels have to be completed to unlock rooms and such at the Manor. Doing this gives players something to strive for, to unlock secrets of the mansion.

The game itself starts off in Bolivia, and it's sort of like the "tutorial level." In the beginning, the player learns the controls, and gets a little taste of what kinds of things to expect in different areas: Multiple ledges on various levels in a certain location, what kinds of animals are around, and the "press this button now! Aaand THIS button! Now. this button!" sequences. If one is caught off-guard a lot and it doesn't connect on what the heck to do, expect Lara to meet her doom quite often. There are certain trap sequences throughout the game when a button will show up on the screen, indicating that the button must be pressed at that certain time. This may take a while to get used to, especially if one mixes up the buttons all the time.

Well, now that the general information is out of the way on what the game is all about let's talk a bit more about the over all game itself. Including the interface. The menu controls are pretty simple and run of the mill. Nothing here will confuse anyone unless you have never played a consol game before at all.

The in game menu can be accessed during game play by pushing the start button. Simple lists such as new game, load a game and replay level are all here as expected. Then of course for those that like to explore the Croft Manor house you can go here to by way of the main menu. Areas of the manor are unlocked only as you progress in the game.

Lara Croft really kicks some butt in this games go round. So much so that even for me the level of difficult is a welcome thing. Difficulty levels include Explorer (Easy) Adventurer (medium) and of course tomb Raider (Hard). 

During game play, Lara will meet her demise often, even on the easy setting so you will be reloading a bit through out the adventure. Every game level has checkpoints; it's the checkpoints that load. Sorry folks there are no save any place. When reloading a game, Lara always starts at a recently saved checkpoint.

The games controls make use of every button and stick on the Xbox 360 controller, it is advised to read the manual and take full advantage of the tutorial level. I know, we have said this before for a few other games. It seems as if this would be common sense, but I too am guilty of just jumping in and seeing what the buttons do in the middle of the game without even giving the tutorial a first look. In Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend you will be glad to go through the tutorial. It makes the crazy action that comes later a bit easier to handle and also to survive.

Playing a game title that the character harkens back as maybe half as old as I am, is really kind of strange. But the character seems just as popular as ever. I think that Angelina Jolie's depiction of the character in the two Tomb Raider films sky rocketed the characters over all appeal to the masses. The games after the movies just.well kind of sucked.  It's a real pleasure to see the series come out with a bang up game that may well rocket Lara Croft back up to the level of game play and visuals that it deserves. Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend wraps up some incredible visuals with an interesting story, lots of combat and of course acrobatics and puzzles, top it off with some awesome sound and you have real winner of a game.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend is the pinnacle of the series; it's going to be a hard act to follow up on. I look forward to Eidos and Crystal Dynamics trying. This time around the character Lara Croft has even more personality; she has a past that has helped forge the person she is. The games story line enables the players to get a glimpse into what has shaped the kind of person Lara Croft is today. Even better and big thumbs up to the design team and story creators, you actually find yourself caring about the character. Not an easy task in a game.

Moving the character around seems a lot smoother than past games. I used to get really frustrated when I could not get Lara to move the way I needed her to and then fall to her death or what have you. This time around the movement and the controls are very smooth and manageable.
The games third person perspective works well here, making combat really rather fun. All animations are a real bit of eye candy in this game. It makes all the exploring and testing out what Lara Croft can do a real fun experience. Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend is a top notch game and a real welcome breath of fresh fun for most of the gaming platforms.  For the Xbox 360 the visuals are incredibly crisp and just down right jaw dropping.

Say it with me fellow girl gamers, and all you Lara Croft Fans. Lara Croft is back and all is good.

Kick back, relax, let's play.

Shael Millheim


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