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Old 18-02-18, 01:54   #1
ancientIo
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Default I just played: Tomb Raider Anniversary

For the first time in my life I played Tomb Raider anniversary. Overall it's mildly pleasant but not without it's quirks.

I like the secrets system. Seriously it's perfect. Different tiers for different difficulties - Artifacts for the less experienced raiders and relics for us hardcore fans. So everyone gets a trophy even if it's just a pickup and everyone earns a trophy.

It always feels rewarding too. The artifacts take just the right amount of elbow grease. The Relics are beautiful, fascinating, realistically scarce 1 per level and well hidden. Not to mention when you do find a Relic it's automatically added to the manor. It really feels like you're a treasure hunter picking up stuff where you go and keeping the best trinkets for yourself and that feels really really cool. Dare I say, better than the classics.

The gameplay is okay. Lara doesn't have a consistent weight because the game relies on autograb. I know there is manual grab but it's an afterthought especially after what i endured in the Tower. The combat is actually better than before technically but...for some reason there's no thrill it's just really really annoying. Boss fights are actually pretty good but regular combat is supposed to light a fire under you and it just feels...bad.

Besides that I think the atmosphere is really good. TR1 is tense, but TRA is... peaceful. LAU in general is very serene but Anniversary is special.

The story is the thing I have the most problems with. It really really should have been plot driven not character driven. Atlantis is what's important, the Scion is what we're after. This is not a personal quest for Lara it's a personal quest for Natla. But somehow they had to make it about Lara's dad, and Lara not wanting to kill...meanwhile I still don't know crap about what I'm looking for I don't understand how Atlantis works, how Natla...works...and I still don't understand how the Scion works. Where is lizard guy? These are the things that matter.

It took itself so seriously too. This is a game about an atlantean queen who was imprisoned in an hourglass and released via nuclear explosions. She has her own tech company and now wants to create a new race of atlanteans. She has a cowboy as a henchman. Near the end of the game a kid on a skateboard attacks our hero. Our hero, who has recently killed Bigfoot, flips around everywhere and attacks people with dual pistols while being quintessentially British. This is a saturday morning cartoon. This is not the time or place to be considering the psychological repercussions of killing a guy who was totally flirting with me.

In addition I think making Natla a goddess was a huge mistake. If she can literally fly and has personal knowledge of Atlantis, why in the hell does she need Lara or anyone for that matter? Natla referred to Richard's work, not Lara's. All Natla needed to do was go herself using Richard's work. Natla isn't compelling just evil for evil's sake or rather for plot's sake.

I'm not even gonna talk about Lara too much here. That's for another thread. I'm just gonna say that making her less teflon doesn't make her more human.

Anyway yeah, mixed bag. 7/10. Thoughts? Questions?
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Old 18-02-18, 03:59   #2
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Great points! Clear and concise. I'm in total agreement with you.

I really like the point you made about the characters and the plot. TR1 never took itself too seriously, even during the more "dramatic" moments. Natla and her silly band of thugs was pretty tongue-in-cheek. But still, the game had just enough plot to be engaging. Tying the Legend plot (i.e. the mommy/daddy business) into the remake is generally regarded as a bad decision; not by everyone but quite a few.

The secret system was great. It's too bad Crystal didn't keep it that way going forward!

Also, I never played with manual grab. The platforming mechanics simply weren't built for it. It was a nice thought from Crystal, but ultimately unnecessary.

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Old 18-02-18, 05:56   #3
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Great summary, especially with the secrets and story. I wasn't a fan of Crystal's more mystical approach to Atlantis and Natla, or the weirdly tacked on "how far will u go 2 achieve ur dreams??" theme, but considering they only had a year to remake a classic, it's a good effort.
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Old 19-02-18, 01:32   #4
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thanks guys!

you know @Grimaldi, by the end i still wasn't sure what they were doing with Lara. Like, she's killed bigfoot and yet she's inexperienced and unsure when it comes to dealing with other treasure hunters.

Richard is inserted unnecessarily (Lara is all "I'm sorry father." FOr what? Defending yourself?) And then at the end she seems to accept killing when she...stares at her hand and smirks.

the ending was actually kind of terrifying. At first Lara is so earnest then she creepily smirks at her hand after killing Natla in the endgame.

Like, why? What was that supposed to mean? Lara......who are you...

in a way it mimics the problems TR2013 had. She starts accepting what she's supposedly guilty about way too fast
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Old 21-02-18, 06:07   #5
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Nice review, I agree with all of the points that you mentioned in your review. I still remember when Anniversary was announced and how excited I was for the remake. After playing through some amazing remakes like Resident Evil and Pokemon Firered and Leafgreen, I had high expectations for this game. In the end though, I much prefer the original TR over Anniversary. Anniversary did have some good points, but it didn't meet my expectations.

I definitely agree with you about the story. It just made me cringe on how they treated Natla in the LAU series. It felt like Crystal was trying to create a Chris Redfield vs. Wesker type of rivalry between Lara and Natla. Yet, the original TR did a better job with the rivalry between the two. And while the original TR's story was rather simple too, I felt that it was explained better than TRA's story. Don't get me started on the daddy plot in this game either. I can forgive the mother plot in Legends, but there's zero reasons for him to be included in TRA's story. I never liked how TRA's story was connected to Legends and Underworld in the first place.

The graphics were stunning in this game though, and some of the levels definitely looked better than they did in original TR. St. Francis' Folly looked absolutely stunning in TRA. I didn't like the character models for the NPC characters like Larson, Natla's thugs, and even Natla herself. The levels were hit and miss for me too. The levels in the original TR felt more immersive and atmospheric than TRA. I can't really put my finger on it, but the levels felt more grand in the original TR.

The levels themselves were hit and miss for me too. Some parts were better than the original TRA, but others were disappointing. Some of my favorite levels like Palace Midas and Sanctuary of the Scion just don't match really compete against the ones from the original game. And I hate how they removed Cistern level in TRA! Although the Tomb of Tihocan version of the Cistern was a pretty good puzzle. I liked how they changed some parts and puzzles for each level too. For example, the Tomb of Qualopec puzzle was definitely more challenging than the original TR one. On the other hand, some of the stunts were bad like the wall running. I swear I spent over an hour on the Damocles room in TRA.

Overall, it was an average game at best. I usually have an open mind when it comes to remakes for any of my favorite franchises, but this one was a kind of a disappointment. I only played through it once and have no motivation to play through it again. 6/10 for me.
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Old 27-02-18, 04:27   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ancientIo View Post
In addition I think making Natla a goddess was a huge mistake. If she can literally fly and has personal knowledge of Atlantis, why in the hell does she need Lara or anyone for that matter? Natla referred to Richard's work, not Lara's. All Natla needed to do was go herself using Richard's work.
This has always been my thought!! Plus, why does she need her henchmen to kill Lara at the exit of the Scion's Sanctuary...she could do this herself!! Well, to me they probably tried to stay "royal" to the original game, when Natla used also to have henchmen...but then, she indeed needed them, which is not the case with the current incarnation (which I prefer to be honest...I think the image of a powerful, immortal goddess fits more the image of an Atlantean queen).
As for Anniversary in general, it's my favorite of the LAU trilogy: covering mostly ancient locales, fighting only animal and monster enemies, and, while not too shabby comparing to the classics, it still has the most challenging puzzles of these 3 games. Also, it can be easily beaten by the casual player, as it is easier and more linear than the original- plus I love its checkpoint/full health after reload system On the other hand, I do agree that they unfortunately didn't capture the atmosphere that TR1 had, plus I understand the fans of the original, when they complain that some levels have been extremely butchered (although I think that they made up for it, by making some levels harder with the addition of traps, harder platforming etc). To sum up, if it wasn't for some bugs during platforming, when Lara doesn't reach ledges and poles that she normally should, I would rank this game very high-surely close to 10

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Old 01-03-18, 09:26   #7
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It's my favourite game of all for some reason, still is. Anniversary has a bond with me because when I played 11 years ago I was lonely. Lara kept me company and reminded me that being alone is not always a bad thing.

I started exploring more places around my areas back then, anniversary taught me to love nature and abandoned places more than any previous TR did, it's just that it made me who Im today. TR anniversary and mirrors edge define who Im today. A free runner with a passion for exploring wilderness.

It is not a breakthrough game at all, neither anything major but the emotional part played the big role in my picking. Anniversary really is a great game for me. Better than all the new TRs with explosions and trying to be uncharteds without being uncharteds.

So it's a 10/10 from me. Happy explorings guys.
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Old 02-03-18, 21:49   #8
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That was such an uplifting post, Denis. I loved reading it. For me, that game was The Last Revelation. Opened my eyes at a young age to the ancient world and what would become my love for exploring the unknown.
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Old 04-03-18, 21:11   #9
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That was such an uplifting post, Denis. I loved reading it. For me, that game was The Last Revelation. Opened my eyes at a young age to the ancient world and what would become my love for exploring the unknown.
Another favourite! TR4 is the very 1st TR game I ever finished. And I was only 14 I think
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Old 05-03-18, 02:28   #10
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In addition I think making Natla a goddess was a huge mistake. If she can literally fly and has personal knowledge of Atlantis, why in the hell does she need Lara or anyone for that matter? Natla referred to Richard's work, not Lara's. All Natla needed to do was go herself using Richard's work. Natla isn't compelling just evil for evil's sake or rather for plot's sake.
My headcannon is that she needed to recharge her "battery" or something like that with the scion, in Lara's Shadow DLC it looked like she was powerless and very vulnerable and needed that machine to regenerate or idk...
Also maybe she thought it was far too dangerous exposing her like that, it is stated in her bio that "her public appearances are very rare"
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