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View Full Version : An AoD analysis - the Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Mytly
02-10-06, 08:37
After hunting for AoD for nearly 2 years – i.e. since playing TR for the first time – I finally got hold of it 3 weeks ago, and finished playing it a few days ago. I have heard so many extreme opinions about AoD – from those who hate it, for those who love it, and even from those who didn’t really like it, but preferred it to Legend. However, after playing this game myself, I don’t think I quite agree with any of these groups.

Here’s my own views on Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good:
·Lara: She looked pretty good, and I really liked her personality. Though I am still a fan of Legend Lara, I must say she comes off as a bit frivolous compared to AoD Lara, who’s really dark and interesting. In fact, the only negative thing I can say about AoD Lara is that she seems to have lost her sense of humour – but then, given her circumstances in this game, even that’s pardonable.
·The Louvre levels: Gorgeous! :jmp: Tomb of the Ancients, The Hall of Seasons, Louvre Galleries – WOW! The Hall of Seasons – including its four offshoot levels – is my favourite level in the whole game (though maybe not the fight with the Red Ghost at the end).
·The story: Fascinating story – definitely the most in-depth one in all the TRs so far. I just wish it was fleshed out more. And of course, that it was continued … :(

The Bad:
·The controls: Coming to AoD after getting used to Legend’s controls was a severe shock. Even after a few levels, when I had time to get used to the change, the controls still felt extremely awkward, and Lara’s movements were slow and clumsy. Most of time, pressing a button simply didn’t yield the desired action, e.g. when Lara was hanging from a ledge, pressing up to make her climb up simply wouldn’t work until I pressed it several times over. Drawing/holstering weapons usually worked only after a few seconds’ delay. And trying to pivot Lara to line up a diagonal jump was a nightmare. :hea:

·The Parisian levels (except The Serpent Rouge): BORING! :mad: Way too much talk, way too little action. The ‘interactive’ dialogues really grated on my nerves – a perfect counterpart to the godawful interactive cutscenes in Legend. Take Margot Carvier's Apartment, for example – about 5 minutes of dialogue, followed by 5 seconds of gameplay - that’s a level?! There’s no fighting whatsoever until Lara reaches The Serpent Rouge – which, btw, is the only decent level in this whole area. And the Parisian Ghetto area – a new loading screen every time you take five steps in any direction!
I think that most people who hate AoD probably gave up the game during the Paris levels, thinking that the rest of the game was just as bad.
·The hand icon: What was the need for this silly icon? We are perfectly capable of figuring out which objects can be manipulated without having an icon lighting up to show us. And people say that Legend was dumbed down – at least it didn’t have icons pointing out what to do next every step of the way!

The Ugly:
·One word – Kurtis. :mad:

Well, ok, not him, per se – in fact, he’s kinda cute (don’t worry, fellow GROKers, I won’t be defecting to KTEB anytime soon! ;)). But I definitely did not like him as a playable character. TR is about Lara Croft, and should remain about her. The controls for Kurtis were horrible – even worse than those for Lara – and the levels that featured him were so extremely awful that I almost gave up the game in disgust during The Sanitarium and again during Boaz Returns. What incredibly ugly levels – pretty much the most un-TR-like levels in all the TR games! And what was the deal with Boaz spewing green goo? I almost felt like throwing up too! :mad: :cen:

·The Parisian levels: UGH! Did these have to be so dull, dingy and … well, icky? There’s actually litter on the ground in the Parisian Ghetto area, and even in the Louvre Storm Drains. That’s taking realism too far, IMO. If I wanted to see dirty, rubbish strewn streets, I’d just look out of my window.

There were other aspects of the game that I have mixed feelings about. E.g., the last level. While I enjoyed this level – especially the twist at the end (that it was Karel all along), and the double boss fight – I wish there had been more fighting and less of simply dodging or outrunning Eckhardt’s and Karel’s attacks. There’s also the stealth moves – an interesting new development, but I’m not sure it was actually needed.

So, the bottom line is …
Did I enjoy this game? Oh, yes!
Will I be playing it again? Definitely.
Is it among my favourite TRs? Uh, no … but if only a few things had been changed, it would have been the best.

aussie500
02-10-06, 09:05
There’s actually litter on the ground in the Parisian Ghetto area, and even in the Louvre Storm Drains. That’s taking realism too far, IMO.
Legend also had its share of litter, adds to the atmosphere a nice bit of litter does ;) Just be thankful we missed out on the bit where Lara was going to avoid the police by hiding in one of those large bins, know that would have been a bit to much

Lux veritata
02-10-06, 09:27
Kurtis?Ugly???
:vlol::vlol::vlol: ....good one

ivannnnn
02-10-06, 09:32
wow,amazing opinions..:eek:

yeah,ugly kurtis :vlol:

Pipolinne
02-10-06, 10:42
I agree with you.

AOD had some really deep atmospheres.In HOS,you almost could feel the that you were trapped below earth...it was powerful!

Lara without humour wasn't that interesting,for me. She behaved like a stupid teenager during the Louvre scene,while,in previous games,she kicked the sensitive area of any bloke who dared to doing that to her.But Core is to blame,not Lara :D!

Kuty is ugly and bad !

Michiel
02-10-06, 11:23
Personally I didn't like the story they wrote around it. The story took a way to big part of the game. I just want to look for artifacts all over the world in exotic locations, not follow the path a dead friend walked and actually come across some artifacts on the way. The murder of Von Croy, and Lara playing detective, was taking to much of the game. I just wanted AOD as a Tomb Raider game having Lara search for the obscura paintings (3 or 4 of them, not 2), not playing detective and contolling monkeys. Monkeys should be enemies, not playable characters :tea:

Aurimas
02-10-06, 11:49
I loved all Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness, the one bad thing was that the game was not finished.

abraham
02-10-06, 12:15
Legend also had its share of litter, adds to the atmosphere a nice bit of litter does ;) Just be thankful we missed out on the bit where lara was going to avoid the police by hiding in one of those large bins, know that would have been a bit to much

yea i remember seeing the footage of that. the controlls looked much better. AOD is my favourite and lovure levels are great.

Mytly
02-10-06, 14:16
I forgot one more rant:
Schizophrenic Lara: Lara talking to herself every now and then was extremely annoying, and made her sound slightly schizophrenic (talking to the voices in your head, are you, Lara? ;)) - "I feel stonger now", "I smell oil, I'd better be careful". I guess CD implemented the headset in Legend to get around the problem of such one-sided "conversations" - though they did go somewhat overboard with that.

Legend also had its share of litter, adds to the atmosphere a nice bit of litter does ;)

Ooh, where? How come I never noticed it? :confused:

Just be thankful we missed out on the bit where lara was going to avoid the police by hiding in one of those large bins, know that would have been a bit to much

Yuck! :yik:

Blackmoor
02-10-06, 14:35
I think litter, dirt and debris is good. I can't wait till things become so realistic I can scuff Lara's knees and almost taste dust in the air, as she makes her way across all sorts of environments. :D

The Parisian streets was such a good idea not given the scope and execution it deserved...unfortunately. Still I hope this doesn't deter the developers from attempting a similar city level in future. As computing power, graphics and AI get better I expect they'll be able to bring this type of environment vividly to life in ways we can't yet imagine...

And...despite it's faults I still prefer Paris AoD-style to the linearity of you know what. I'd do Paris a 100 times over Japan.

What I don't like about AoD are the smaller levels, increased linearity and reduced complexity (compared to old-style games). In some ways it is a halfway house between old-style and Legend.

terminator
02-10-06, 15:55
well about the parisian level.... YES, it is BORING!!!:hea: :hea: but those talk things was just about something that you need in this game. INFORMATION, you need information if your gonna make this game without help.

Greenkey2
02-10-06, 18:41
I'm glad you enjoyed it overall Mytly ;wve:


For me it is one of the most interesting - but fataly flawed - TR games of them all. I actually went back and played a couple of levels just recently, and after the controls of Legend I suddenly felt like Lara was in a straightjacket :eek:. But the story (had Core not withheld some good twists and turns) was well thought out, and with a little more TLC from the developers I really think this could have been THE crowning glory of tomb raider.

-DEBUG
02-10-06, 19:54
I have to say that I agree mostly with what you say there Mytly :wve:
But I like the controls, her speed and the way she moves makes her seem much more human. Also as a Lara, AoD is my absolute favourite Lara Croft :D I also liked Kurtis, but I would have liked him a hell of a lot more if he was complete :rolleyes:

Yuna´s Wish
02-10-06, 20:02
I'd do Paris a 100 times over Japan.
:confused: Are you OK? Did you really mean it? :p

-DEBUG
02-10-06, 20:15
IMO Paris was alot more fun and alot more dangerous. Remember kids, there is a world outside the autograb box :)

Mytly
02-10-06, 20:49
Has anyone noticed that AoD was already halfway down the autograb road? There's no autograb when Lara jumps - but if she steps off some high ledges, she turns around and grabs them automatically. Note the "some" bit - for whatever reason, this doesn't work with all the ledges. I couldn't find any pattern, but I observed this feature throughout the game.

Blackmoor
02-10-06, 21:56
:confused: Are you OK? Did you really mean it? :pOh yes, very much so. A thousand times in fact. :p :)

Yuna´s Wish
02-10-06, 22:19
Oh yes, very much so. A thousand times in fact. :p :)
A thousand isn´t enough...you should have said a million times, or a billion:p
However, I still think it´s pretty extreme...I wouldn´t even dare to compare them: a party in Japan, swinging in the rooftops, getting into Takamoto´s building, a museum and a greatly designed boss (ok, I think of him that way) and a 3-parts (because it can´t load as an entire level) parisian ghetto, a cafe with the biggest loser in Paris OR the poor man in the park who want you to get something from a very tombraiderish (with very tombraiderish music...something many people disliked about Legend´s Japan), getting to some sewers through a cementery that lies behind Francine´s house...
Short and simple, but focused on Fun, Legend´s Japan beats AoD´s boring, frustrating (give me more loadings through the city CORE) and long Paris...

Of course, I´d like you to state your reasons :)

Ward Dragon
02-10-06, 22:40
Has anyone noticed that AoD was already halfway down the autograb road? There's no autograb when Lara jumps - but if she steps off some high ledges, she turns around and grabs them automatically. Note the "some" bit - for whatever reason, this doesn't work with all the ledges. I couldn't find any pattern, but I observed this feature throughout the game.

I'm not sure, but I think Lara only turns around and grabs the ledge if you press action while facing it. If you press action with your back to the ledge, she dives off backwards, spins in midair, and grabs the ledge. I've definitely noticed that the "last chance grab" animation from Legend is remarkably similar to something Lara does in AOD sometimes when you jump and grab a ledge, except AOD Lara corrects for it herself instead of having a giant orange icon telling you to push a button.

Blackmoor
02-10-06, 22:48
A thousand isn´t enough...you should have said a million times, or a billion:p
However, I still think it´s pretty extreme...I wouldn´t even dare to compare them: a party in Japan, swinging in the rooftops, getting into Takamoto´s building, a museum and a greatly designed boss (ok, I think of him that way) and a 3-parts (because it can´t load as an entire level) parisian ghetto, a cafe with the biggest loser in Paris OR the poor man in the park who want you to get something from a very tombraiderish (with very tombraiderish music...something many people disliked about Legend´s Japan), getting to some sewers through a cementery that lies behind Francine´s house...
Short and simple, but focused on Fun, Legend´s Japan beats AoD´s boring, frustrating (give me more loadings through the city CORE) and long Paris...

Of course, I´d like you to state your reasons :)Good answer. I can see why Japan appeals to you. :cool:

Myself on the other hand...

As you may have gathered from some of my other posts, I'm not fond of that ripped dress for starters.

Then there's the fact it's an office party, in an office... The environment I find very bland and virtually non-Japanese (which is a big shame), and the usual linearity of everything... I want to wander more. I find the Japanese level very dull and mindless, like a lot of Legend unfortunately.

Paris, despite the never-ending load screens (did you notice btw they corrected that problem later in the game but not in Paris for some reason...:confused:) had lots of interconnecting bits just how I like it. I had a feel for being somewhere with a bit of a problem to solve, and not just follow the breadcrumbs style of gaming.

Don't get me wrong, I too think Paris had many many problems and could have been done better... but overall the style suits me. It's more old-style TR flavour.

But mostly it's like favourite colours Yuna. Mine are green and red together... Why? I don't know really. Just because.... :)

Michiel
02-10-06, 22:58
Don't get me wrong, I too think Paris had many many problems and could have been done better... but overall the style suits me. It's more old-style TR flavour.

What is so TR about Paris if I may ask? I don't remember any TR level before where you run around in a city for hours, talking to every weirdo around, walking through the sewer and going to a night club.

Paris can be fun if it would work fine, of course. But not as a TR level. It can be fun as something like Lara's Home, exploring every part of the city like you do in her house. But as a part of the actual game, no.

Yuna´s Wish
02-10-06, 22:59
But mostly it's like favourite colours Yuna. Mine are green and red together... Why? I don't know really. Just because.... :)
I understand :) However, I prefer it linear to boring exploration...but don´t misunderstand what I´m saying: I love exploring tombs, temples, ruins, natural environments...or cities with some action. And Paris lacked that action, except for the Serpent Rouge, wich I think was the best Paris had, along with the very first level of the game. Tombs and the others may lack that action, but cities should be associated with gunfire and action everywhere: Venice, London, El Cairo and Japan are good examples. Alexandria, Prague, Paris, Rome don´t appeal to me...

Pipolinne
02-10-06, 23:30
PAris would have been great,if,instead of an anonymous town Core decided to call PAris,they actually planned something based on the actual city!!

If you came to Zona J,in Portugal, a highly problematic zone in Portugal,you'd have a copy of that level!

Of course all cities have a dark side,but I'm playing,not involved in a social project! And that guetto could have been Paris,Lisbon,whatever!

Blackmoor
02-10-06, 23:30
What is so TR about Paris if I may ask? I don't remember any TR level before where you run around in a city for hours, talking to every weirdo around, walking through the sewer and going to a night club. This bit: ...had lots of interconnecting bits just how I like it. I had a feel for being somewhere with a bit of a problem to solve, and not just follow the breadcrumbs style of gaming.
Makes it more old style TR flavour to me over Legend. I'm just explaining why I prefer Paris over Japan Michiel, NOT making a point about whether Paris is TR or not. Of course it has many new elements, some of which some people like, others don't... but overall, to me, it contains a more old-style feel than the Japan level in Legend. Short answer = more exploration.

I can however argue also that it is not as TR as the old-style TR. Depends what I'm comparing it to and the point being made...

Paris can be fun if it would work fine, of course. But not as a TR level. It can be fun as something like Lara's Home, exploring every part of the city like you do in her house. But as a part of the actual game, no.I personally don't think there's anything wrong with having a city level in TR. I like variety and I think it's perfectly compatible with the TR experience of accessing interesting and unusal, as well as forbidden places...

I do think Paris could have been done much better though. I would have liked to have played a much more dynamic Parisian environment... preferably early evening, packed with commuters, dark and rainy... with Lara sneaking into buildings and sewers in a desperate attempt to evade capture, whilst struggling to find answers. But that's me. ;)

I understand However, I prefer it linear to boring exploration...but don´t misunderstand what I´m saying: I love exploring tombs, temples, ruins, natural environments...or cities with some action. And Paris lacked that action, except for the Serpent Rouge, wich I think was the best Paris had, along with the very first level of the game. Tombs and the others may lack that action, but cities should be associated with gunfire and action everywhere: Venice, London, El Cairo and Japan are good examples. Alexandria, Prague, Paris, Rome don´t appeal to me...I know what you mean. I don't mind a bit of peace in cities, especially if it's creepy and dark. :D

Yuna´s Wish
02-10-06, 23:39
Continue your City discussions here:p http://www.tombraiderforums.com/showthread.php?t=75727

That way, you´ll encourage me to create more threads and I won´t be frustrated for this failure :vlol:

Mytly
03-10-06, 05:06
I'm not sure, but I think Lara only turns around and grabs the ledge if you press action while facing it. If you press action with your back to the ledge, she dives off backwards, spins in midair, and grabs the ledge. I've definitely noticed that the "last chance grab" animation from Legend is remarkably similar to something Lara does in AOD sometimes when you jump and grab a ledge, except AOD Lara corrects for it herself instead of having a giant orange icon telling you to push a button.

No, actually she grabs the ledge even if she simply runs off it accidentally - no button pressing involved. I didn't know about the backwards dive, though - must try that!
Yes, I noticed the similarity etween the Legend "last chance grab" animation and that of AoD's. But I think I prefer Legend's version, as it's more interactive. I could do without the icon, though.

PAris would have been great,if,instead of an anonymous town Core decided to call PAris,they actually planned something based on the actual city!!

Exactly! Not that I expected Lara to go climbing the Eiffel tower, but couldn't we have seen something of the actual city?

Lara Croft!
03-10-06, 12:23
Kurtis.....ugly???????

star girl
03-10-06, 15:09
I enjoyed the dialogues... actually AOD was the game I played during a very dark part in my life... so the dialuges sort of shapened the story and had me deep into the game. I actually knew what was going around me... BUt the cinematics in AOD are good, but in Legend they're a tad bit too much in quantity.

Kurtis' controls were horrible, agreed, but when I played the game, it was the first game I really finished (after Mortal Kombat 4 that is), and so I just kept on cursing my ancient comeputer for the horrible behaviour, other than that I played Boaz Returns so much that I knew how to control Kurtis at the end, but the controls really needed a good cleaning....


Overall, the whole atmosphere of AOD was good, maybe that's my taste, and though not a true Legend fan, I still think AOD was better.