Warning: This story was published more than a year ago.


Tomb Raider has been a mixed bag since 1996. The original on the Sega Saturn console revolutionised the games industry with its amazing 3D graphics. Thirteen years doesn’t seem that long, but before Tomb Raider arrived on the scene, every game was 2D. The following four games slowly got worse until the truly awful Angel of Darkness was released in 2003. At this point most people gave up on Lara Croft. I didn’t because I’m a sucker for these types of games, but trust me, it was painful. Luckily the last few games have managed to get things back on track, and with Underworld I can almost forgive Angel of Darkness. Almost...
The first thing you’ll notice is the graphics, which are now a lot more detailed. Around every corner you’ll discover massive, exotic, varied environments that feel completely isolated from human life. Of course, good graphics don’t ensure a good game, so luckily the control system is also much improved. Climbing poles, balancing on beams, sliding across ledges and free wall climbing all make for a more tactile, fluid Lara. 
Combat is probably the game’s biggest weakness. It’s just repetitive and boring and, frankly, the game would be better off without it. The new sonar map is also completely useless and helps to confuse you more than guide you in the right direction. Another problem is the scuba diving sections, which can be bewildering and painfully slow. Thankfully, these are minor issues. The good news is that the puzzles in Underworld are truly fantastic. Epic in size, the sense of accomplishment is unmatched in any game. If you get stuck you can even access a Field Assistance option in Lara’s PDA, which can provide two hints to the puzzle at hand. Most are quite straightforward, but if you get stuck on any you’ll kick yourself for not figuring them out earlier. For all fans of platform-heavy third-person action games; this is heaven. For everyone else; it’s like being in your own Indiana Jones movie. This deserves your attention.

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