PS3 Reviews: Tomb Raider Trilogy Review

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Tomb Raider Trilogy Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

8.1

Gameplay:

 

7.8

Sound:

 

8.3

Control:

 

7.7

Replay Value:

 

8.0

Overall Rating:       8.0

 

 

Online Gameplay:

Not Rated

Publisher:

Square-Enix

Developer:

Crystal Dynamics

Number Of Players:

1

Genre:

Action/Adventure

In my professional opinion, Lara Croft should always be in high-definition. From here on out and until the end of time. This generation has delivered all-HD interactive experiences and for the sake of the veterans, many developers have issued overhauled remakes of their classic titles. We’ve seen plenty of fantastic collections already – all of which featuring recognizable names – and the latest is the Tomb Raider Trilogy from Crystal Dynamics and Square-Enix. Boasting Legend, Anniversary, and Underworld in 720p HD, along with the addition of Trophies and a few other goodies, this assortment is designed to appeal to all the hardcore Lara fans. But even if you’re interested in some solid action/adventures, the Trilogy should probably be on your wish list.

As is the case with any upscaling or upgrade in terms of visuals, not all graphical elements receive the beautiful reconstruction we anticipate. Some of the jaggies so common in the earlier days of PlayStation simply resist the sheer, clear glories of high-definition, and some of that is evident here. But for the most part, the atmospheres and environments become that much more appealing, as the ramped-up detail and enhanced clarity is a pleasure for the eyes. Everything is sharper, from the intimidating creatures to the expansive level design to Lara herself. You just gotta love the beautiful animations and the continual sensation that is intrinsic to all Tomb Raider titles; a feeling that we are indeed exploring uncharted waters with a brave, somewhat cocky treasure hunter. It works, you know?

I can’t be sure if the team tweaked the sound as well as the graphics, but the audio certainly seems to have a fresh coat of polish. That could just be in my head, though; it could be the afterglow of the pretty new visuals that has addled my brain, and caused me to perceive a sound upgrade that isn’t there. Nevertheless, Lara’s voice (Keeley Hawes) is great, most of the effects are prominent and in some cases, frightening, and the original musical compositions are sweeping and fitting. Personally, I’ve always thought this series was far too quiet during intervals of exploration and puzzle-solving, but then again, I’m sort of against raucous melodies and in-your-face effects interfering with my enjoyment. Balance is key, yes? And speaking of balance, it can be off at times in the audio department, but this deficiency is minor.

If you aren’t familiar with the gameplay of a Tomb Raider title, you must turn in your gamer pass tomorrow; your membership has been revoked. Even if it’s not your thing, it’s virtually impossible to have avoided at least seeing snippets of a Lara adventure in the past 15 years or so. And yet, I suppose I should elaborate for the sake of this review; it’s probably necessary for the sake of the three distinct titles, anyway. We start with Legend, which represented a bit of a departure from the norm – one some fans didn’t like, but others tolerated – and presented us with a more modern environment, along with shorter, more crowd-pleasing levels. Arguably, this one has the most diversity of any of the three games, simply because it can be considered a “reboot” in its own right. No repetition of dank, smelly subterranean caves here.

No, we’re all over the place in Legend, giving Ms. Croft the chance to test her acrobatic skills in fresh locales. Plus, we get the new magnetic grapple feature and an attempt to spice up the gunplay with cool slo-mo maneuvers. With every step, it becomes clearer and clearer that Legend was designed to inject new life into an ailing franchise and heroine, and although the fans remain split on the issue, the game was received relatively well and we have to give credit where credit’s due. The effort required to keep Lara on her feet was substantial and in truth, many of the upgrades did work out just fine, although we still had a few control and camera issues. These, unfortunately, continue to pop up throughout this Trilogy; graphics updates won’t eliminate gameplay drawbacks such as these.

Anniversary was a simpler affair, in that it basically went in the opposite direction: rather than adopt a slick new style, it reverted to the old ways, to the ‘90s when Tomb Raider was about…well, raiding tombs and fending off prehistoric beasts. Lara’s skills remained top-notch, of course, and they didn’t sacrifice everything they implemented in Legend, but in general, Anniversary pays homage to the traditional style and format, and there’s nothing wrong with that. As for Underworld, that’s the most recent Lara quest and as it was made for next-gen consoles, it was already in high-definition. It was also the most ambitious title to date, even if it didn’t quite get everything right. Featuring a lot of variety (from Mexico to Thailand) and the deepest set of abilities yet, it’s a robust adventure.

All three games do stand up quite well, and I find that a little surprising. I’ve always, perhaps incorrectly, viewed Tomb Raider as a series that persists in gameplay and control eccentricities, which hinder the experience. Now, there are a few problems that are obvious in all three titles, but given the many different locations, the various storylines, and other significant changes (gadget upgrades, for instance), this trilogy manages to impart a huge amount of enjoyment. Remember, in regards to longevity, such collections are great; for half the price of one new game, we get three full-length titles that were – at one time – big-budget productions. Certain aspects falter over the years and there’s no getting around the control and camera instability, but it was never enough to stop me from playing.

Tomb Raider Trilogy gives the fans just about everything they’d expect: glossier depictions of three relatively popular and solid Lara Croft quests, along with new Trophies/Achievements, outfits for PlayStation Home, and behind-the-scenes stuff, like developer diaries for all three games and a couple trailers for the excellent Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. It’s a darn good package and one the die-hard fans will undoubtedly have to own. As for those who remain a little iffy, just bear in mind that aforementioned longevity and bang for your buck, as well as the prospect of traversing much prettier environments with a much prettier Lara. That’s not an altogether unpleasant prospect, is it?

The Good: New HD graphics greatly enhance environmental and artistic appeal. Package additions are a definite plus. The three games offer distinct experiences. Huge amount of bang for your buck.

The Bad: Visual overhaul can’t stop some elements from appearing dated. Basic gameplay issues remain. Some sections drag.

The Ugly: “Oh, I remember you, Mr. In-My-Way Camera.”

3/24/2011 Ben Dutka

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Comments (26 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 9:52:23 PM
Reply

I'll probably pass, I don't like how the combat is lame and just a small part so that you're always wandering around solving unnatural puzzles. I'm looking forward to the reboot and hoping it takes a few pages out of Uncharted's book.

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Temjin001
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 10:03:05 PM
Reply

I think Tomb Raider will always have a special place in my heart. The first game really got me back on PSX. I really enjoyed the experience and while the series has had it's heavy share of bumps and bruises. I want to like the TR games. I read a lot of people who claim that TR is obsolete now that Uncharted has landed, but I disagree. THey may deal with a lot of the same setting and themes. But TR skews much more puzzle solving by design and it has less action movie vibe to it. Legends deviated a bit and drew the gameplay closer to Uncharted style, but the series returned to it's roots with Underworld (sadly, very buggy)
I would've definitely signed up for this HD collection, but I already have Underworld and Legends on 360. I eventually will snag Anniversary edition for $15, or so. It's also too bad that these HD remakes don't have some of the 360 exclusive content, like "Beneath the Ashes" (so I read somewhere else) .

Anyway, good deal for PS3 users who've been wanting an HD Legends and Anniversary, plus Underworld, all on one low cost disc.

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jdt1981
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 2:06:24 AM

I agree, there's room for both games. Uncharted is more of an action oriented thrill ride where TR is more about exploration and puzzle solving at a slower pace.

I personally love both franchises, they're both great adventure games with distinct formulas. I'll be picking up this trilogy eventually and I'm also looking forward to the next TR game.

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DazeOfWar
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 10:23:02 PM
Reply

Still not sure if I'll bother with this HD package. I'm really waiting for the Splinter Cell package.

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Temjin001
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 10:27:28 PM

I wish someone would confirm that they're HD remakes of the Xbox versions.

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DazeOfWar
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 11:11:26 PM

I'm with you on that. Let's hope for the best.

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SmokeyPSD
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 10:23:54 PM
Reply

I'm hoping this is released digitally. I don't see why this is bundled as a trilogy. I already have Underworld.

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BigBoss4ever
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 10:27:29 PM
Reply

i love the series, i am going to trade in my old ps2 versions of the game along with the underworld and get all in one disc.

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kraygen
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 11:32:32 PM
Reply

Awesome good review. I have always enjoyed the Tomb Raider games, but the only one in this collection that I have is legends. I happen to be one who enjoyed it, so am looking forward to getting this collection.

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Xbox_Killer
Thursday, March 24, 2011 @ 11:35:37 PM
Reply

Why wasn't Angel of Darkness in this collection? Definitely my favorite. There's no need for Underworld to be in this collection.

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Xbox_Killer
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 3:24:04 PM

For the people that down voted me... You'd rather have Underworld which is already in HD and currently selling on Amazon for 15 dollars new, than an HD version of Angel of Darkness?

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Lord carlos
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 6:39:54 PM

It only be crystal dynamics & square enix,mon!
Angel of darkness be a eidos game an thing.

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Xbox_Killer
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 7:47:40 PM

All of the Tomb Raider games were published by Eidos.

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VampDeLeon
Saturday, March 26, 2011 @ 10:12:28 AM

Eidos is too ashamed of Angel of Darkness to include it.. Also because it's a completely different Lara (biography and story wise) and it would be odd to include a game that ended in an unresolved cliffhanger into a finished trilogy that CD made. Call me cheap, but I always wait till Tomb Raider series hits the bargain bin due to the re playability not as high before buying.

Last edited by VampDeLeon on 3/26/2011 10:13:30 AM

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VampDeLeon
Saturday, March 26, 2011 @ 10:12:29 AM

Eidos is too ashamed of Angel of Darkness to include it.. Also because it's a completely different Lara and it would be odd to include a game that ended in an unresolved cliffhanger into a finished trilogy that CD made. Call me cheap, but I always wait till Tomb Raider series hits the bargain bin due to the re playability not as high.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 2:04:48 AM
Reply

I've tried a couple of the Tomb Raider games, but didn't like them for some reason. Good to see another Classics HD compilation, but this is, sadly, one that I will be passing on. Waiting for Splinter Cell, ICO and MGS.
Peace.

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Lawless SXE
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 3:59:18 AM

Hey, can I make a pain out of myself and bring to PSXE the news that there is a new Resident Evil game in the works (I'm putting here because of the recently announced REClassics Compilation ties back to this article... sorta). As rumoured a few months back, it's a team based shooter being devved by Slant Six. Operation Raccoon City, and the name pretty much announces that it's back to basics for the series. As long as there is a single player portion, I am amped. Old-school RE FTW!
Peace.

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Highlander
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 2:13:16 AM
Reply

This looks worth a purchase.

Ben, I love your reviews. In particular this "You just gotta love the beautiful animations and the continual sensation that is intrinsic to all Tomb Raider titles; a feeling that we are indeed exploring uncharted waters with a brave, somewhat cocky treasure hunter. It works, you know?"

"uncharted" waters? LOL! Well, Nathan Drake easily took over from Lara's glory days on PS3, but the girl just won't stay away. I'm definitely looking out for this one.

You know, one thing about this HD remake thing, it's quite remarkable what a new coat of paint, and some spit 'n shine will do for an older game that's lost it's luster. Perhaps the best way to bring the best of the old PS2 to the new consoles is to remake them in a way that allows they to be played on more hardware? It certainly seems that a lot of PS1 games ell well in their old format, so a decent attempt at up-resing the graphics can't help but make things better. PS2 titles too, some of them were verging on HD quality anyway, pushing them the final steps to HD beings a new lease of life. I never thought that I would like the HD remakes over backwards compatibility, but for the games that they do this to, it's a definite win.

Last edited by Highlander on 3/25/2011 2:16:46 AM

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___________
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 2:32:08 AM
Reply

are the graphics much better?
thats one thing i was really impressed by the PoP collection, the games actually look REALLY good!
all the other collections, GOW and sly cooper looked like a ps2 game running on a ps3 but the PoP collection looked heaps better!
dunno if i should pick this up, still got shift 2 to get through.
playstation move heroes was suppose to come out tomorrow but that did not happen, moved too close to socom 4 now so thats canceled.
pisses me off when publishers leave it till the date of release to delay a game!

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Lawless SXE
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 4:14:57 AM

A quick look at the PS official website shows me that PSMove Heroes releases on the 14th of next month. If it was moved in the first place for being too close to SOCOM, what the hell happens now? On the other hand, I'm not expecting it to release soon. Sony does minimal marketing, but you still hear about their games if you look. Heroes has been a dead front though. Wait 'til E3 I think.
Peace.

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___________
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 8:35:08 AM

no, it was suppose to release on the 24th same day as crysis 2 but when i got to EB and asked to pick it up was told sony delayed it that morning to the 14th of april so im not going to get it now too close to socom 4.
and mortal kombat and portal 2.

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YenooR
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 3:04:55 AM
Reply

Hope these become available on the PS Store as I already have Underworld on disc.

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SolidFantasy
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 6:56:47 AM
Reply

I could really go for a Tomb Raider 1,2,and 3 HD remake. I lost track of the series after the third installment on the PS1. For the sake of nostalgia I go for a purchase of an earlier remake.
But that's just me.

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Lord carlos
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 6:43:21 PM

Your not alone

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tridon
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 8:42:42 AM
Reply

I wish I had the time because I would seriously pick up this collection. I missed out on all three of these Tomb Raiders and with the improved HD graphics, I think it'd be worth the price of admission.

I gotta say, who else thinks it would be AMAZING if Sony and Square-Enix got together and created an Uncharted/Tomb Raider crossover game? I mean, if Capcom and Namco can get together to have Street Fighter and Tekken meet, this could easily happen, too, right?

Hell, they could even do the same thing that Capcom and Namco are doing; Naughty Dog can put together a crossover through the perspective of Nathan and Crystal Dynamics can develop the crossover through the eyes of Lara. You can't tell me that doesn't sound awesome. ;)

Last edited by tridon on 3/25/2011 8:47:49 AM

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Aerifale
Friday, March 25, 2011 @ 2:22:11 PM
Reply

Yes. Okay. That's a purchase for me.
Should stave off my uncharted itch for a while at the very least :)

Last edited by Aerifale on 3/25/2011 2:23:42 PM

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