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Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Review

This article is part of a series of articles where other writers took a look at the whole Tomb Raider series. If you want to read the other articles, you can do this in the hub article: [Link] 

Tomb raider Angel of darkness review

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness was the game that could have been, but it certainly didn’t live up to our expectations as we eagerly awaited Lara’s return after she was declared dead way back in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. I should also note that Angel of Darkness marked her debut onto next gen consoles too! So not only was Lara alive, we were going to see her fleshed out with smoother graphics and clarity. No more triangular boobs to jab us in the eye!

So what exactly happened? Well, a few major factors came into play for this game failing as much as it did. Mainly Angel of Darkness went through development hell before being rushed out to meet the release of the second film, Cradle of Life, but also the game was just riddled with poor controls and game breaking bugs. At times it was even unplayable as levels wouldn’t even load up. 

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness performed so badly that not only did it ultimately destroy the franchise, but the original trilogy that had been planned was scrapped! 

Some even took issue with the plot itself, but I personally liked the dark and gothic edge that they were going for. The city of Paris was gripped by an unknown serial killer known as The Monstrum, who had been targeting several individuals in a brutal and ritualistic fashion. After the events of The Last Revelation, Lara arrives in France to meet with her former mentor Werner Von Croy.

An argument breaks out and a fearful Werner is suddenly killed by an unknown entity with Lara also being attacked but only sustaining memory loss of the entire event. With blood on her hands, she is framed for his murder and is not only on the run from the Police, but she also is tasked with solving this dark mystery. 

Although many fans were left disappointed with the game not going back to its tomb raiding origins, its new gothic edge combined with a dark storyline was a refreshing change for the series, however its poor execution overshadowed it. 

For once Lara isn’t purely on her own on this adventure, instead she will find herself talking to NPCs to help uncover secrets and progress the story along, with some interactions affecting certain outcomes of the game. Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, also thought that it would be a brilliant idea to include a male companion- Kurtis Trent, which I thought was a stupid addition to the game.

It was clear that they were trying to force some sexual tension on us, which I personally didn’t think worked, and personally his inclusion in the game wasn’t really needed. Let’s face it, when did Lara need to have a sidekick? The woman single handedly took on a dragon, mutants, and a T-Rex, not once, not twice, but three times. Not to mention she just escaped the clutches of death, so I’m pretty confident that she would have been fine dealing with cultists and serial killers on her own! 

Once again Jonelle Elliot reprises her role, bringing the darker tone to the game which blends perfectly with the overall theme, but at times it feels forced and overdone, to a point where Lara has developed an attitude problem and is somewhat unlikeable in her interactions. Before, Lara used to just be witty in her clap backs, but now she comes across as a total bitch to a lot of the NPCs, which isn’t really needed a lot of the time. 

Not only is she unlikeable, but she actually controls like a tank! Now, many of us would have thought that Core Design would have fixed the tank controls, but they wound up making them much worse. She ran slower, could no longer perform a quick back skip or midair roll and getting her to simply turn around was far from a seamless experience. 

To add to their list of sins, they also included a grip metre, which depletes the longer she dangles from ledges. This can be upgraded by having her solve certain puzzles in order for her to become stronger, resulting in her either building up her physical strength or endurance. It’s annoying. I don’t know why they felt like they needed to add this into the game.

However, the game’s major criticisms was the amount of glitches and bugs that plagued it, rendering it unplayable at times. I was unfortunate enough to have possessed two new copies of the game; my first copy didn’t even load, and my second never loaded past the Parisian streets. What’s worse, is that I wasn’t alone in my experience. Many gamers had situations where Lara would spawn into a level in the wrong place, resulting in her dying straight away, and the only solution was to go through the game again in the hopes that this would fix this bug! 

It’s such a shame. Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, should have been the start of something exciting, but poor execution caused it to fall flat on its face. The new, darker direction and story was gripping, setting it apart from the entire franchise. Fair enough, she wasn’t exploring dusty tombs anymore, but this thriller-esque approach was a very welcome change to a franchise that was dying of repetition. 

Let’s only hope with the success of the Tomb Raider Remastered that was released recently, that Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness can be resurrected and saved from itself! 

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