g33kWatch has now been around for a year and as people who follow my Twitter Feed know, I was lucky enough to receive my very first review copy of a game a few weeks back. It’s probably a testament to myself and the rest of the g33ks really striving to make this website legitimate and informative … or it could just be that I am now on a ton of Press Lists and sometimes get really fantastic offers. Either way though, I was super excited to review my first official review copy of a game. It’s my first time though, so everyone please be gentle.
Say what you will about the PlayStation 3’s online capabilities (or lack thereof) the systems use of Blu-Ray really gives game developers to utilize a lot of space on one single game disk. This has helped certain games in using higher resolution textures, and in other cases helped there to be just more game to play. Another fantastic by product of this, has been the advent of game compilations. Games like God of War Collection which had God of War and God of War II on the same Blu-Ray with updated graphics, really was a brilliant idea. From a company standpoint it doesn’t take a lot of work to put those games on disk and upgrade them so that keeps costs down, and for players it gives them the opportunity to play games and series that they may have missed out.
Based on the huge success that was the God of War Collection, Square Enix is now introducing the Tomb Raider Trilogy which gives us Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and Tomb Raider: Underworld all on one disk with enhanced graphics. When you first boot up the game, you will have a prompt to choose one of the three games and once you are there, you can quickly get into any of the Lara Croft adventures. Legend and Underworld have connecting storylines so they create a very obvious back to back gaming path. Anniversary is a remake / re-imaging of the very first Tomb Raider game and as such stands on it’s own. Only reason I bring this up is that the games are listed in order they were made, so on the game menu it is Legend, Anniversary, and then Underworld. Just be aware so you are not surprised by the storyline not flowing if you go in that order.
I could sit here and individually review each game, but in the end that is a lot of information and overall not very necessary. If you have specific questions about any of the games included with this package, you are all smart enough to use whatever review site you want. It sounds like a cop out but trust me it isn’t. The games all remain exactly the same so rather that spit out specifics, I would just like to go over the general theme of all the games and some things that you should be aware of.
First off the biggest area of improvement over the original games are the enhanced graphics. I could sit here and talk about it, but it’s best to show you using the images down below. Anniversary and Legend get the biggest push as those were both PS2 era games and the game is just clearer and crisper. Underworld gets a bit of a bump, but as it was a PS3 game originally, it only receives a few tweaks and minor improvements.
Storywise the games are interesting. If you have never played a Tomb Raider game before (like me) and you like the Uncharted series or movies like Indiana Jones / National Treasure then you’ll enjoy all three of these games. They are interesting enough, have some hilarious cheesy dialogue, and have some fun takes on mythology like you would hope. The biggest issue though with the games, are the controls and gunplay. After playing games like Uncharted or Assassin’s Creed that have made significant strides in the third person combat and free running systems, playing these Tomb Raider games is going to feel like a step back. The camera is wonky in all of the games, and combat never really gets past “lock on target, mash trigger, dodge occasionally”. Given how good the environments look and how good some of the puzzles are, you will probably have some situations where the controls will frustrate the crap out of you.
Are these issues deal breakers? Not really. The camera controls are fine for the most part, and while the gun combat isn’t particularly robust, it’s also not exceedingly difficult. In the end, the ability to pick up three good games for less than $40 really makes this a great package. As I played these games for the first time, I found myself have a very great appreciation for games like Assassin’s and Uncharted because it was good to see some of the roots in which those games were conceived.
There were a lot of games in the previous generation of consoles, and a lot of people like myself missed out on some really great franchises. If you are like me, and didn’t really get into console gaming until the XBOX 360 or PS3 and missed out on Tomb Raider the first time around, then I highly suggest you look into getting the Tomb Raider Trilogy. They may be a bit dated and have some issues, but the fact that you get three quality games for less than the price of a new game, is reason alone in my book to add this to your gaming shelf.
(4 out of 5)