Tomb Raider Legend


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


tombraiderlegend1psp.jpg (56732 bytes)Successfully reviving what was a dead franchise, Tomb Raider Legends is a near classic. Of course, that depends on what console you're playing it on. The delayed PSP release is an example of the handhelds capabilities to replicate the high end parts of a game, but also showcases its inability to handle the gameplay of a home console title.

Every level, cinematic, and puzzle has been included in this translation. It's an impressive feat, the epic styling of the levels remaining entirely intact on the small screen. The developers even added some extra modes, now incorporating new multi-player in two separate ways via ad hoc, including a dash for hidden treasure and time trials side-by-side.

The latter multi-player is the only exclusive content, unless you count the controls. On the PSP, the game simply doesn't work. The complete re-design of the series started with Lara's smooth, pinpoint control scheme. The fluidity of her movements created an addictive hook to keep the player involved.

That's all but lost on Sony's portable. The obvious problem is the lack of a second analog stick, a now unforgivable error on the part of Sony when they crafted the machine. Moving the camera requires the square button to be held and the analog stick to maneuver it around to see where you're going. During the extensive puzzles, it's a slight annoyance. During a gunfight, you're reliant on the targeting system, the same lock-on based system the home console versions had.

tombraiderlegend2psp.jpg (42637 bytes)It leads to other problems since the square button is also a standard "okay" button, used to confirm the pick up of items health packs, and various other functions. Worse yet, Lara is disappointingly unresponsive at times, either moving too far or not at all. It's dangerously close to the grid movement system of the old Lara.

At its core however, this is still the same game it was. The puzzles are ingenious, and even if you know the solution, they're still fun to play with. The game uses physics and logic like no other to create its intricate traps. Combined with Croft's new grappling hook, it opens the series up to a new style of play that blatantly ignores everything that came before it. That's exactly what Legends was meant to do.

Aside from the control problems and some occasional frame rate dips, it's hard to knock this portable effort. After all, this is a brilliant video game. It's one that simply requires a proper control set up, and this system cannot make the accommodations. If it's the only possible way to experience this one, then it's worth picking up. If you have other means, this will only ruin the proper versions.


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Last updated: Friday, August 25, 2006 10:59 PM