Tomb Raider: Underworld

Tomb Raider: Underworld Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PCWiiDSPS2

All-new Lara Croft adventure.

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8Out of 10
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Underworld is easily the best looking game in the series
Underworld is easily the best looking game in the series

Underworld is easily the best looking game in the series

Lara Croft is one of a dying breed of video game icons from the mid 90s. She was once seen as a pin-up for PlayStation and helped convince thousands (if not millions) of gamers that they needed to ditch their 16-bit consoles in favour of a shinier, more powerful 32-bit monster. Needless to say, the rest is history, with Tomb Raider now standing as one of the most popular video game series ever created. After the critically mauled Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, developer Crystal Dynamics took the reigns and has returned Lara to her glory days. With Underworld being the most ambitious title in the series to date, is it three for three for Lara's saviours?

Underworld centres on Lara's quest for Thor's hammer, the Norse god's hugely powerful weapon. After discovering proof of the Norse underworld at the bottom of the Mediterranean sea, Lara starts an adventure that takes her all over the world and into her own family history. It's a truly epic journey (certainly one of the longer games to arrive in this busy release period), with the game offering the kind of adventuring Tomb Raider made its name from and some solid combat thrown in for good measure.

Anyone who has played either Legend or Anniversary will know roughly what to expect in terms of core gameplay. Lara is as nimble as ever, jumping from perilous ledge to crumbling platform as if she's still in her late teens, swinging from poles, balancing on beams and abseiling down walls without a second thought. It's all part of the job, and for the most part comes effortlessly. Lara seems a better mover all-round, and can now handily wall jump between two vertical surfaces - something you should bear in mind when a certain platform or pole seems tantalisingly out of reach.

Also new is Lara's ability to free-climb. It's not quite as amazing as it sounds (you can't climb up anything), but certain walls have a series of hand holds on them, allowing you to climb without leaping from one ledge to another. This adds a sense of realism to your exploration, at least visually, and again is something you need to be aware of. Just as the grappling hook, appearing in a third Tomb Raider, is only now becoming a tool you expect to use and are always aware of, you'll likely miss a few of these free-climb areas at first as they don't have the trademark Tomb Raider ledge appearance we've become so accustomed to.

The game isn't short on challenging areas

The game isn't short on challenging areas

Developer Crystal Dynamics has really gone to town with massive caves and underground worlds to explore. At times you'll enter an area with a lever, only to return to it hours later after finally managing to retrieve whatever missing artefact was needed to get it working. You'll walk into rooms so large you won't know where to begin, with part of the fun coming from figuring out what you need to do to get to the various key locations. There are puzzles in Underworld (with some requiring a fair amount of thought, the use of blocks, your grappling hook and cogs, to hint at just a few), but successfully jumping, shimmying, sliding, climbing and wall jumping your way to platforms often just out of reach is the real challenge.

At times you'll think you've done all you can, explored every nook and cranny, and leapt to your death numerous times in the search of that platform that might lead you to safety, only to catch a glimpse of a half-broken ledge on the hidden side of a pillar. With a potential way out spotted, you just have to navigate around the environment (easier said than done) and then make your way to safety. It's worth pointing out that you'll encounter a few annoying bugs (notably one that causes Lara to become immobile for a short time) and you'll occasionally accidentally leap off a ledge in the wrong direction - something that the camera often tries to make worse by refusing to allow you to get the desired shot of the action. Still, for the most part you'll be enjoying what are some of the most well designed levels we've seen in the Tomb Raider series.

Combat thankfully plays second fiddle to exploration. It's by no means bad, with Lara able to target and even focus shoot enemies in the head for instant kills, but she just doesn't seem at home doing somersaults while firing pistols. Also making a reappearance is the bike from Legend. Thankfully it handles far better here and is only used as a means to get from location to location rather than having levels dedicated to it. Later levels have an almost free-roaming feel to them, with Lara able to bike around the environment, leaving it behind when entering buildings. It's a nice touch and gives the game a great sense of scale.

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User Comments

EISPower's Avatar

EISPower

Love this one same as Tomb Raider Legend.This trilogy game is a masterpeace.I"m just sorry it had to end with part 3.
Posted 20:38 on 10 March 2011
Edward's Avatar
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Edward

Go on youtube.com and they put tomb raider walkthrought it will show you how to past that midgard serpeant
Posted 06:26 on 25 January 2009
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Miss

Erica - help! I am experiencing the same problem. I cannot exit the level before midgard. I have missed something and my walkthrough does say there is a bug here. I am happy to restart the level but this game doesnt save each level seperately like the other games did so I cant get to the beginning to start again. How did you overcome this issue? I'll be quite miffed if I have to start from scratch!
Posted 03:19 on 21 January 2009
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Erica

its an amazing game, and ive been playing tomb raider since i was little on PS1. I now play it for 360. Underworld is really good, but the bug in midgard serpent is really annoying, considering to fix it you have to go all the way back to the beginning of southern mexico.
Posted 06:13 on 17 January 2009
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mariomario

yeah i have only played the demo so far but it looks really good and i had a lot of fun. the engine needs a bit of work and tuning, but its still a great engine and i hope they improve it and build the next tomb raider(s) on top of it.
Posted 06:31 on 10 January 2009
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Anonymous

on the midgard serpent board the pole won't go down anyone know how
Posted 00:43 on 08 January 2009
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TRBO RAD

Well got this for christmas beat it yesterday unfortunately.....the ending was somewhat abrupt but...it was good....the graphics are AMZG it looks like i had a rainforest in my room great prob one of the best tomb raiders to date...but some of the new moves make the game alittle difficult...for instance the new jumping from wall to wall comes in handy when needed but...when u are on a cliff and jump on an edge and istead of grabbin the ledge ur stick to the wall an pounce off to certain doom....can u say annoy me OH and don't get me started on not being able to select levels after you complete them like othr tomb raider games
Posted 09:30 on 29 December 2008
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Jaz

i watched the vid comparing xbox360 and ps3!there seems to be no differences at all? but this is just the graphics! does anyone know if there are any differences between the 2 versions at all? gameplay, graphics etc...
thanks
Posted 21:45 on 29 November 2008
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TRBO RAD

Bought all the othr tomb raiders loved them all and asked for this one for Christmas and im really excited im glad the game will be longer...i completely agree with sakshamthegreatest so many games are short...best is gears of war i beat the campaign in about 3 hrs maybe a few more and was disappointed i was ready for a weekend of GOW2 but was given a short afternoon of intense gameplay then END.. so hopefully this will keep my attention and keep me playing for more that a couple hours and the screens look pretty amazing if i had to say so
Posted 05:55 on 28 November 2008
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KO

@Damon since angel of darkness there has been mouse support. The game looks awesome.
Posted 19:43 on 22 November 2008
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valap

I buy this game if it stay platinium.
Posted 16:37 on 22 November 2008
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Damon

They finally add mouse-support or do I need to skip this one too?
Posted 01:11 on 22 November 2008
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Yomero

Hi the screenshots are from xbox360?
This is the PC review, right ?
Posted 21:36 on 21 November 2008
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redhotchilli

cant wait to get this one,it looks like a 10/10 for me,bring it on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted 20:33 on 21 November 2008
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sakshamthegreatest

Great, I will buy it today. This game looks goodand certainly it is a contender of game of the year. Tomb raider series is the best gaming series ever created. If, you say it is the best tomb raider then I can't wait. It is a long game and nowadays we hardly see any long games. This year GTA IV was the longest game which I played and other than it all games were ****ing short. The best examples are Mirror's edge, CoD5, Quantum of solace and even Gears of war 2. So,I'm pretty relieved to hear this game's length is good.Well done, Crystal dynamics.
Posted 10:11 on 21 November 2008

Game Stats

Tomb Raider: Underworld
8
Out of 10
Tomb Raider: Underworld
  • Isn't over in six hours
  • Looks stunning
  • Emphasis on exploring
  • Some control and camera quirks
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/11/2008
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , Wii , DS , PS2
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Genre: Adventure
No. Players: One
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 1,430 225
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