Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Tomb Raider: Legend (PC)

Just as Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Legend works near perfect in Linux in Wine. One additional issue issue is that the "next generation graphics" option doesn't work and causes plenty of graphical glitches which makes it unusable, so one has to play with the low graphic settings, which by the way is the same graphic quality that Anniversary had, which didn't have a "next gen" option. The water reflexions have to be disabled too. The game also only support "widescreen", not specific aspect ratio, so things end up looking a little stretched when you play 16:9 on a 16:10 monitor, but you get used to that quickly.

Unlike Anniversary, Legend follows a much more linear and story driven level design. Every now and then you end up in a larger room that requires you to solve a puzzle or two, but the game doesn't really feature any real branching of the level structure. This makes the whole gameplay more accessible, but also makes the puzzles quite a bit easier. The puzzles in Legend however make much more use of physics and much less use of item collections which is a welcome change.

One of the really interesting aspects of Legend is that it features radio communications throughout the whole game, so you always get background information and commentary about the locations that you are currently visiting. Legend also features a wide variety of locations, everything from Japanese skyscrapers to classic ruins is present. The Croft Manner is present as well and while not as complex is in Anniversary still fun to solve. In addition to the classic platforming Legend also features a few motorcycle levels, these aren't really great, but neither are they bad enough to really annoy.

Treasure hunting and the time trial mode are available as well. The time trial is a lot simpler then in Anniversary, since you don't have to spend much time searching for an optimal route through the level. The treasure hunting on the other side is a little tricker, since the treasures are spread out much more randomly throughout the levels and there are also much more treasures to hunt. Bonuses are again present in the form of cheats, costumes and artwork. Costumes are present in much higher numbers then in Anniversary, many of them are however just color variation of other costumes.

The main critique about Legend is certainly its length, the first play through is doable in just 7 hours. However with all the puzzle hunting and time trial one can easily boost that to 20 hours, so there is still tons of game in there if one just bothers to search for it.

Overall however Legend is highly enjoyable and due to its linearity quite a bit easier and accessible then Anniversay. It also features a much higher varity of locations. So while both games are a little different, both are in the end equally fun.

PS: Tomb Raider: Underworld, the sequel to Legend, doesn't seem to work in Linux, while the demo installs fine and runs, the graphics are all messed up, so that you can hardly see anything.

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