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Old 01-12-19, 17:14   #3
michaeldt
Tomb Raider
 
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Join Date: May 2006
Location: Australia, WA
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Because it's perfect <3

In all seriousness though, it may have to do with the fact it was my first TR, but I can list multiple reasons.

- Expertly paced, the game feels as if it's constantly moving and evolving. (There is not a point in the game where the player should not know what they need to do, they should only question how they need to do it) The level design reflects this as it slowly becomes more complex and engaging, reaching its pinnacle with The Temple of Xian and Floating Islands.

- Amazing soundtrack. So many memorable motifs that add a perfectly executed cinematic flair to the game.

- Level variety. Going from China to Italy, to a oil rig, to a sunken ship, to a tibetan monastery and to the fourth dimension... It can be argued that TR2 features the series greatest level variety, also ending the game with the immensely satisfying 'Home Sweet Home'.

. Solid but fair difficulty. Alongside TR1, I feel that TR2 hit a perfect difficulty curve- If ever anything bad happened to you it was your fault as the player. The player would always be given a sound cue, a visual cue or foreshadowing about oncoming danger. The difficulty of the game encouraged the player to learn and think deeply about your actions (Unlike TR3 which often said "**** you" to the player and would throw random one hit death traps at you without warning). Even with the combat difficulty, the game still provided more than enough med-kits and ammunition for players who aren't a fan of combat to progress.

- Atmosphere. For an adventure game, TR2 certainly has a lot of Horror moments... Who doesn't remember venturing into the cave in Temple of Xian only for the creepy music and rattling of spiders legs around Lara to seep into your subconscious, or realising that the Maria Doria is upside down, or hearing the distant thuds of the Guardian coming for Lara after stealing the Talion. How many of you had a panic attack at the beginning of '40 Fathoms'? Moments like these were perfectly executed, and naturally fuelled the escapism of the game.

- Lara. Although Lara was for the most part, a silent protagonist in TR2, her personality still shone through the voice of Judith Gibbins- whom to this day is still regarded as one of the better Lara VAs due to the way she personifies the character- Cool, collected, smart, tough and full of British first-class taste. On the other end of the spectrum, because Lara was mostly a silent protagonist, this actually allowed players to project their own version of Lara into the game, deepening the players emotional connection to the character and world.

- Iconography. TR2 has some of the strongest pieces of iconography out of the TR series. Speeding through Venice in a motor boat, exploring a sunken ship, mowing down mafia members in a snowmobile, fighting a frickin' fire breathing dragon, facing off against a horde of home invaders whilst donning a nightgown- the list goes on. The varied, and justified iconography not only enriches the story elements of the game, but leaves a lasting legacy- people are more likely to remember unique iconography.

- Going against player expectations. How many of you gasped when you found out you could befriend the monks and have them fight with you? Or when you realised at the beginning of 'Offshore Rig' that you had to force the enemy to shoot the window and break the glass for you to progress? These are moments that actively reward thinking out of the box.

- Refined the controls. Compared to TR1, TR2 feels a lot smoother, the controls feel tighter, Lara overall feels like she responds faster and has more moves at her disposal.

Overall, TR2 did everything that is set out to do perfectly. It's a perfect piece of action-adventure escapism with amazing pacing and intelligent design that encourages the player to overcome challenges at their own pace and think carefully about their actions. It has some of the most memorable cinematic moments of the TR series, alongside its striking iconography- leading to a memorable experience.
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Last edited by michaeldt; 01-12-19 at 17:41.
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