Craig Owens takes a look back at Crystal Dynamics' action adventure game, Tomb Raider: Underworld, in this week's retrospective from Eurogamer.
Underworld is a game about descending, that tight control scheme coupled with level design that - true to the title - frequently sees Lara push further and further underground. Tomb Raider has always been a series about its environments as much as its star, but here Croft really is dwarfed by the vast, cavernous spaces she explores. It's hard to believe, given quite how long it's lasted, but Underworld is to date (Guardian Of Light aside) the only Tomb Raider game released to have been developed with this generation exclusively in mind, a brand new engine helping to give the crumbling mausoleums and ruined temples a rare sense of depth and scale. So much scale, in fact, that Lara had to be positioned hundreds of feet above them to properly take it in. Why else would Crystal Dynamics take the relatively risky manoeuvre of building the opening moments of its adventure (explosive prologue aside) around underwater controls?
Why? I thought it was the best Tomb Raider in years.
Bad camera leads to bad platforming; I shouldn't have to guess where my character is going to jump just because the camera refuses to present a proper view.
Brain-dead AI. Why have enemies at all if they're all going to be this stupid?
Terrible story. Why does that woman in the vat of science juice have angel wings? And why is there a clone of Lara running around? Maybe these plot points are explained by the end of the game, but I never finished it.
I never finished it either, but I thought it was a well made game. It's a game I often think of going back and finishing, but I didn't keep my saves. I remember some of the puzzles were pretty fun to figure out.