reviewed on PC
From the dark a curvy figure appears. I know her all too well; I became quite fond of her tight shorts and green top when I first met her back in 1996. Unfortunately, the only recent memories I have of her are a couple of brief, shallow dates which went awry, leaving me with a broken heart. This time she swears she has changed for good. I just wonder.
The intro video and the main menu are impressive. The starting screen shows Lara in more or less the same way the Godfather shows your character in the loading screen. I really like the animations (she plays a little with her gloves, crosses her arms, looks around), it gives the game a live feeling. The interface looks very clean and bright, and depending on the level you are playing Lara will be dressed in different outfits (some of them very suggestive) and the background will be different too. All the options, the secrets and the level selection are organized under menus which don't always respond to the mouse. For example, there's no way to enter the control configuration with the mouse, but with the keyboard it works like a charm. Fortunately, this is the only strange error that I found while using the interface.
Throughout the first few levels, you will be treated to a lot of flashback movies which are loosely related to what is happening in the game. These cut-scenes look great but they really don't help you to get an idea of what are you playing for. Once and again, you will be confronted with strange memories which appear to have no relation to the game and may confuse you more than give you an idea of what is going on and what the purpose of the game is. After a while, the game starts to actually offer videos that tie everything up (loosely) and everything starts to making some sense. The voice acting in the videos is sub-par, mainly because someone decided that using special effects which don't let you hear the voices would be great for storytelling (NOTE: he was dead wrong).
The story revolves around King Arthur's sword and how its pieces, which should grant their owner amazing powers, were split around the world. It also includes some stuff about Lara's mother and a friend called Amanda, but I really didn't get it. All of the above may make it sound like I didn't like the game but while the storytelling is horrible, it's Tomb Raider! The last thing you should worry about is the story!
The gameplay has been notoriously improved; before beginning a mission you will be able to see which outfit Lara will use (she changes frequently and she looks quite good in every single outfit). Then you will start to play the first level and you begin to notice that they are divided into several sub-levels. There are some acrobatic sections which play a lot like Prince of Persia, but with less running and more thinking. Then there are some gunfighting scenes where you take on dozens of enemies, using grenades and Lara's guns - sometimes you will have to actually twitch on the control buttons to save Lara from a certain doom. And then there some classical Tomb Raider box puzzles (only marginally more interesting this time around).
No Pros and Cons at this time