Tomb Raider Anniversary Review (Xbox 360)

Written by Clare (aka EffEmmGee)

Tomb Raider Anniversary is, as most of you already know, a re-imagining of the original classic more commonly known on the original Playstation back in 1996. And interesting fact for all you fans is that Tomb Raider was actually released on the Sega Saturn first.

Personally I am a big Tomb Raider fan so when I found out that Tomb Raider Anniversary was to be released on Playstation 2 I was very happy indeed. To then find out later on that it was to be released again on the Xbox 360 platform I was even happier.

If you have played this when it was released back in 1996 I guarantee that you will recognise most of the locations and feel a huge smile creep across your face. They’re not identical but definitely recognisable. As you start the game in Peru you will notice that what you once watched as a cut-scene you will now be playing yourself, you will feel like you’re in familiar territory yet at the same time you will have to rethink how to get from Point A to Point B. You will also remember certain pick-ups and find that yes they are still there in Tomb Raider Anniversary right where they were left in 1996!

But enough of all the reminiscing, I also need to describe this to those rare, poor and less fortunate people who missed out of this amazing game! Yes you, sat there all clueless wondering what I am drivelling on about.

You’re Lara Croft, in your early 20’s and with a reputation for uncovering some of the worlds archaeological secrets. You’re commissioned to find a specific artefact in locations previously undiscovered and thus the game begins in the icy cold reaches of Peru.

The control system for Tomb Raider Anniversary is very simple, places to climb are obvious without being an eyesore. Most of the environments seem immense and unlike Tomb Raider Legend, you will feel isolated and alone. Unlike the original Tomb Raider that worked off a grid system to move and jump, Anniversary seems more forgiving. The game seems to recognise and understand what you are trying to do. So if you’re trying to make that huge jump and it looks like you just might miss, Lara will reach out with 1 hand and just about grab that ledge, although if this happens you must quickly press the Y button to correct her grip, otherwise she falls.

As you progress through the game the difficulty slowly increases, by this I mean that in later levels getting from A to B will require more speed and agility whereas in the beginning you are not really forced to rush. Anniversary is split up into 4 locations (or 5 if you include Croft Manor). You start off in Peru which is fairly easy and obvious where you need to go, then onto Greece which comes with new enemies including Lions and its famous Hall of the Gods, next comes Egypt, yes you guessed it there’s plenty of timed areas and traps to get through, and finally the Mines. In this final stage you will need to remember all your skills to succeed as not only is there tricky grappling to be done but this is coupled with the fact that if you run out of time, more than likely it would mean certain death!

Ok now onto the other aspects of the game, the Time Trials. As in the previous game Tomb Raider Legend these Time Trials are added as an extra challenge or added replayability. Not only that but I personally think this is a positive part of the game. You will need to have played the main story first to unlock the levels to play again in time trial and this way you will know roughly where to go and in what order to achieve the best time. Unlike Legend I think the times set to beat are harder and more challenging, especially in Croft Manor but that won’t stop me going back and trying again!

Ok now onto the more technical stuff. This game was reviewed using both a 19″ widescreen TFT monitor and a Standard Def flat/widescreen of 26″. We encountered no tearing or slowdown whilst playing this game and after doing a direct comparison to the Playstation 2 version I can honestly say that graphically the 360 version is a huge improvement.

So in short for those of you who are fans of the original Tomb Raider, this will not disappoint. There are other reviews complaining that the famous T-Rex level has been spoiled as its been turned into a QTE event, don’t worry that’s only part of it. For those of you who are in fact new to Tomb Raider then you’re in for a treat!

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