Eidos Tomb Raider: Underworld

Tomb Raider: Underworld brings Lara Croft back in an ardent effort to stop what has been a heady descent into video game irrelevance.

Eidos Tomb Raider: Underworld
  • Expert Rating

    3.50 / 5

Pros

  • Beautiful locations, entertaining story, functional controls

Cons

  • Underdeveloped combat mechanics, generally slow pace, some platforming sections need tuning

Bottom Line

Lara tries to whip out the twins — get your mind out of the gutter: the "twins" I'm talking about here are action and adventure — in order to evoke some excitement in Underworld but there isn't enough solid action to back up the platforming. All in all, Ms Croft's latest effort falls a bit flat with a dated feel; it's obvious that the genre that Lara helped pioneer has long passed her by.

Would you buy this?

  • Price

    $ 99.95 (AUD)

It's pretty obvious after playing Underworld that Lara Croft simply can't run with the big boys; that's not a knock on her being a woman but more on how dated she feels. Her gunslinging abilities are outclassed by Nathan Drake and she's unable to use the surrounding environment to her advantage like Indiana Jones. Underworld's gameplay also lacks polish, especially when it comes to combat. There's no workable cover system, the melee moves are downright laughable, and the adrenaline power-up is plain useless; combined, this severely limits your options in battle. The poor combat system also means that most enemy encounters are harder than they should be.

It doesn't help that enemies have a bad habit of appearing when you're in the middle of a tricky platforming sequence. So, to give you an example, this means that dealing with the wave of angry bats that swoop in while you're clamouring atop a set of ruined pillars under the Mediterranean Sea becomes nearly impossible. Lara can't fire a gun while hanging from a ledge, which leaves her completely vulnerable during these scripted attacks. Nobody said Mother Nature plays fair.

Thankfully, the platform challenges and puzzles fare much better. The fundamentals remain solid but it could have benefited from a bit more work. The level design is phenomenal but it's a little too clever for its own good sometimes: It's far too easy to embark on a series of jumping challenges or climb a wall only to get stuck and not clearly understand where to go next because the next ledge or platform blends too much into the environment. Better camera work would easily have addressed this, providing helpful pans to highlight where you need to go next; however, the camera freaks out in close-quarters and offers no aid whatsoever.

Overall, Underworld is a decent enough effort. It has slick controls, interesting puzzles and a story that's actually pretty interesting. However, it never fully compensates for a lack of compelling action and overall polish. It'll probably appeal to diehard Tomb Raider fans hoping to recapture some of the series' lost magic but most gamers will be better served by competing titles like Drake's Fortune.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?