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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Tomb Raider Trilogy on PS3 Impression

Lara may have lost some luster over the years but this trilogy shows Ms. Croft at her finest.

Before Lara goes back to her past in the reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise it’s time for gamers to get caught up with the future of the past. The new Tomb Raider is set to follow a younger Lara, one growing into her adventuring and while the future of this Lara is not set it is possible for gamers to get some older Lara adventuring in with Tomb Raider Trilogy. This collection takes two PlayStation 2 titles in Legend and Anniversary and combines them with PlayStation 3 Underworld in one incredible package. Incredible is the word to use form a value standpoint as these are three recent, relevant games that have been cleaned nicely. What’s to love in re-visiting Lara’s most recent adventures? Let’s take a look.

Gameplay – Three games, one Lara. This collection brings together Lara Croft’s last three console offerings, two from PS2, and one from PS3 in a collection that really is a great bargain. Take control of Lara Croft in three third person adventures which chronicle her re-vamped adventures, her first re-boot from the very, very beginning on PlayStation. These three games polished Lara, made here relevant again. The controls feel a bit off, stiff, in Legend but improve in Anniversary and Underworld. Gameplay revolves around solving puzzles, fights/gunplay and platforming, a challenge that will keep fans of the genre happy.

Graphics – A picture is worth a thousand words and the included gallery of images shows off how the look and feel has been upgraded. Underworld is slightly better looking than the original but it will take a very keen eye to see these tweaks. The real beneficiary is Anniversary as it was a later generation PS2 offering and benefits more than Legend in its graphical update. The environments have been polished, made more realistic as have the characters and their movements. The really noticeable changes revolve around the use of shadow and light in-game, very nice improvements. These games were not just ported over in their older state.

Sound – The voice work is polished and soundtrack immersive. There were never any gripes with how the Tomb Raider franchise sounded and that continues in this collection.

Design – Three games and all improved. Underworld is essentially the same game that PS3 owners received before but the graphic overhaul on the two PS2 offerings is well done. A great collection indeed and one that shows how a game can progress in design from one iteration to the next. Controls get better, graphics get better, and everything gets just a bit better from game to game.

Miscellaneous – The included Tomb Raider theme is nice but otherwise this collection is all about Lara’s three latest adventures which no gamer should be without.

Overall for just under the price of one game, gamers get three. There is a lot to like in this collection and as we’ve seen with other collections it’s a win-win. Gamers get games they may have passed on individually at a better price and developers get to polish off the old to promote the new. Music offers greatest hits collections and seeing games do the same with trilogies is great. Tomb Raider, Gears of War, Grand Theft Auto … who’s next, we want more collections!




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