|Tomb Raider Underworld: Beneath The Ashes/Lara’s Shadow|
|Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos - Xbox Live/PlayStation Store premium download
Release Date: Out Now
It seems a long time ago that it was muted that Tomb Raider would become available as an “episodic” adventure, and I’m not sure what ever happened to that idea but it never came about. I’d like to say here that going by these two extra missions for Underworld that’s probably just as well...
I don’t think it’s actually technically possible but the clipping (where Lara disappears into the scenery) seems even worse on these two new adventures than it did during Underworld itself. Many a time the rough collision detection makes it look like she’s levitating above or sinking into surfaces, and simply hanging from a ledge her hands or arms will often disappear into a solid rock/stone/wood surface. I may sound fussy but it looks really shoddy and should have been sorted. Some of Lara’s reactions to slopes and invisible walls are clunky too, and sometimes she’ll stick to something unseen on the floor and refuse to turn – this sticky handling passes over even to when she’s hanging from her grapple rope or standing on a pole, it’s sometimes completely impossible to get her lined up precisely where you want her to point, and even if you do when you make the leap she’ll redirect herself to where she seemingly wants to go, often resulting in death. Silly cow.
But on the good side though, the two new areas look superb, the environment artists can give themselves a pat on the back as the textures once again are some of the best that I’ve seen, although in Lara’s Shadow you’ll be sick of the sight of the blue glowing gunge (or “Eitr” a mythical substance in Norse mythology that was said to be the origin of all living things). At 800 MS points each these two new missions seem hugely overpriced to me, 800 for the two would have seemed more realistic, and I can only recommend them to complete TR addicts.
Note: both new missions require the original TR: Underworld game to run.
- Looks great, apart from the clipping
- New doppelganger abilities are fun (for a while)
- Some good puzzles and massive mechanisms
- Too much darned eitr
- Frame rate stutters and terrible clipping
- Too expensive at 800 points