Tomb Raider: Underworld (PC) Review

By Athanasios 30.10.2016 3

Review for Tomb Raider: Underworld on PC

Tomb Raider: Legend was far from perfect, but it was certainly a nice (re)start that managed to make people turn their heads once more towards the curvy behind and fronts of Wonder Woman's distant relative, Ms. Lara Croft. Tomb Raider: Anniversary was something more than that. Besides being a very good action-adventure on its own, it actually managed to recapture the magic of the original for the first time in… eons. What did Crystal Dynamics' third attempt at a Tomb Raider become? Unfortunately, something that feels both fantastic and extremely rushed at the same time.

Tomb Raider: Underworld is the conclusion of the new-gen Tomb Raider trilogy. It's not just the third game, however, since it doesn't only act as a sequel to Tomb Raider: Legend, but it even manages to create a strong connection with the plot of Tomb Raider: Anniversary, the heavily updated version of the 1996 classic.

Without spoiling anything, the story is very good, and although it leans more towards Legend in terms of storytelling, this title has a very good balance between exposition and pure, non-obtrusive immersion. Also, while this is almost as dark in theme and setting as the wretched The Angel of Darkness, it pulls that off a lot better, mainly because Norse mythology feels more… Tomb Raider than the latter's black magic cults and "demons."

Screenshot for Tomb Raider: Underworld on PC

Needless to say, like with Anniversary, the locales that the player will have to traverse through are simply gorgeous, which comes as no surprise as this came after an already good-looking product. Note, though, that Lara has also undergone some changes, and while it's strictly a matter of personal taste, her new, more realistic, and, at the same time, supermodel-like face and body, might alienate those who preferred her more exaggerated and cartoony ones.

If there's something that's surely an improvement, though, that would be her near flawless animation - and, hey, even if you don't like the new Lara Croft, seeing this curvy, petite heroine swim in the depths of the ocean while the refracted light from above covers her body, is still nothing sort of yummy.

Screenshot for Tomb Raider: Underworld on PC

Enough with all that, though. What about the meat of this title? What about the gameplay? Well, it's pretty much the same as before, which is a good thing, isn't it? In theory, yes. This is still a game about doing some pretty daredevil-esque acrobatics, about solving intricate puzzles involving ancient machinery, and, of course, about a little bit of shooting between those two. These are all here, so what's the big deal?

Is it the fact that the camera has reached an all-time low, or the fact that the visuals tend to glitch every now and then? Well, while this makes the experience a little less enjoyable, it's doesn't ruin it. Is it the fact that some of the puzzles are a bit too cryptic? Again, this may be irritating, but it's not really an issue. Maybe it's the fact that, besides concept art, there's a severe lack of unlockables (which is strange when there are so many secrets to find)?

Screenshot for Tomb Raider: Underworld on PC

No. Like The Angel of Darkness, the problems revolve more around how bad the controls are. Yes, the comparisons feel unfair, since, unlike Core's problematic product, this doesn't feel clunky, and it actually works most of the time - but that's only most of the time. In all honesty, Lara will die a lot of cheap deaths here, and, initially, it will feel that the problem lies in the fact that it's hard to know where to do what.

Unlike the previous two instalments, where it was easy to see where Lara could grab on just by looking at the colour of a surface, Underworld requires a bit of trial and error, since most ledges and what can be done on them aren't as obvious as before. This, however, is a flaw that can be forgiven, and can even enhance the experience since it increases the overall challenge. The real problem is that the jump/grab mechanics are severely broken. Lara will jump in the opposite direction she faces, she won't be able to grab ledges that look… climbable, and so on - she will fail, fail, fail, and with her, this game will fail too!

Screenshot for Tomb Raider: Underworld on PC

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Tomb Raider: Underworld is the perfect example of how something that could be the gem of the genre can turn out to be quite the flawed product due to an extremely rushed production. The story, the level design, the puzzles, the visuals - it's all here, and it's all great… but the overabundance of control issues makes this far less enjoyable as it could otherwise be.

Developer

Crystal Dynamics

Publisher

Eidos

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I got this when I got my PS3 many years back, so I have good memories of this one and making sure I played the hell out of it. I remember enjoying the story and graphics. That first level in the Med Sea looked gorgeous. It was cool there was more of a focus on underwater play. Sadly, I can't remember much else now, but I did have a good time with it. Whether I'd enjoy as much now, I dunno.

Azuardo said:
I got this when I got my PS3 many years back, so I have good memories of this one and making sure I played the hell out of it. I remember enjoying the story and graphics. That first level in the Med Sea looked gorgeous. It was cool there was more of a focus on underwater play. Sadly, I can't remember much else now, but I did have a good time with it. Whether I'd enjoy as much now, I dunno.

I never got a taste of the PS3 version. Maybe it wasn't as bad as the PC one.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

Eh, I imagine the same faults still apply. I probably just enjoyed it more at the time because I got it when I bought the PS3, running on excitement.

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