Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend

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Electronic Theatre ImageLara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend was hailed by most as the triumphant return of the franchise. Gone were the horrendous controls and cartoon-like image and in was a new gymnastic  Lara and wealth of fresh ideas, at least for the series anyway. Almost ever since Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend was announced, so was its portable incarnation and finally, after a small delay, Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend for the PSP has arrived. By now alarm bells may be ringing, yet another slap-dash port? Or a game utilising the strengths of SONY’s portable to bring a unique Lara Croft experience, complete with all the bells-and-whistles you would expect from a title in development two months longer than its home console counterparts?

The main Story Mode of Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend for the PSP is exactly the same as theElectronic Theatre Image one found in the home console editions. Lara must travel around the globe finding several artefacts that will help her unravel a mystery from her past. The game takes the form of Third-Person Adventure, a standard for the Tomb Raider series, and all the features, such as the Personal Light Source and Magnetic Grapple, from the home console versions are present, as is the good Level design. Being such a straight forward port of the home console versions, PSP owners can rely on Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend to provide an engaging, although slightly short, adventure on their handheld. As an added incentive, Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend also features the Tomb Trials. The Tomb Trials are a series of time  restricted objectives that take place over in a few custom made Levels. Although not particularly varied, either a race to a certain point or the collect several artefacts, these extra modes are fairly well designed and offer quick bursts of decent gameplay, something that suites the PSP well. These Tomb Trials can also be played in local Multi-Player, although it is hardly an engrossing experience compared with the more Multi-Player orientated titles available for the PSP.

One of the reasons that Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend was praised was because of its rejuvenated control system. Gone were the days of clunky, grid-based movement and in was a fluid movement system comparable to Super Mario64. Unfortunately the PSP’s Analogue Nub is unable to offer the same level of control as even the PlayStation2 Dual Shock Controller, which means that while Electronic Theatre Image control in Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend for PSP is still clearly better than some of the other Tomb Raider titles, it is not at all preferable to the home console versions. The button orientation has been inexplicably changed also, resulting in you now having to select the Magnetic Grapple, an unnecessary and ultimately frustrating decision given the frequency of the Magnetic Grapple’s use. Also, something that is becoming more and more an issue for the PSP, a lack of second Analogue Nub mean that the Camera can not be as easily manoeuvred, an issue that is likely to frustrate most gamers.

Thankfully the top notch presentation from the home console versions is still present and in general the game features graphics comparable to the PlayStation2 release, however there are few exceptions. The compression to UMD has taken its toll on the water effects and some textures, which now feature much less Electronic Theatre Image detail, although this does not really adversely affect play. Unfortunately one graphical issue that does harm gameplay is the below par lighting. All of the tombs seem darker than they really should, which wouldn’t be an issue if it was not for the fact that the Personal Light Source has lost a lot of it’s functionality. Instead of lighting the path before you, the Personal Light Source now just seems to make the scenery slightly grayer. This can become a real problem in some tombs and is an issue that really should have been resolved before launch. The Lara Croft character model still looks very nice though, as do the in-game cut scenes. Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend for the PSP also has all the good dialogue and music from the home console versions although to really get the same experience you will need headphones.

Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend for the PSP is decent conversion of a game in terms of the level of detail that the developers have squeezed onto a UMD, but it has suffered in the transition. Although the puzzles and Levels are the same, the arguable best part of Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend, the control, has been damaged through the design Electronic Theatre Image of the hardware, as has the Camera use. Despite this the Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend adventure is still fun and engaging, and the PSP version adds the Tomb Trials into the mix with good results. If you already own Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend, there is little point in playing this inferior conversion, other than if you are busting for some more Lara action and want to give the Tomb Trials a go. For PSP owners who haven’t played the original version, Lara Croft; Tomb Raider: Legend will provide an above average adventure in the palm of your hand, and if that’s what you are looking for, you could do a lot worse. Electronic Theatre Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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