I need to share my thoughts on the Tomb Raider trilogy that was just released for the PS3. I played Legend and Anniversary on the PS2 and Underworld on PC back when they were released so I was curious to see how they would hold up, I enjoyed them a lot back then.
First thing I want to mention is the existence of a launcher that allows you to switch between games without existing to the xmb, it's the first collection to have this feature.
I started with the oldest game, Legend. The game holds up well, you can tell it's an old game but it looks nice in HD. It was a really good reboot of the franchise back then and is still a joy to play. The motorcycle sections are nothing to write home about but they didn't bother me. Overall a very enjoyable experience.
Since Underworld is a direct sequel to Legend I decided to save the best (Anniversary) for last and go with it next. Unfortunately I was very disappointed, I had no idea the PS3 version was such an atrocity, it's a very beautiful game but that's all it has going for it. You can tell that they tried to take the gameplay to another level and though some new moves like the sprint and the new ways to make use of the grappling hook are welcome, the lack of polish in the way Lara interacts with the environment and even in her animation, destroy it completely. You never feel really in control of her. Combat feels even worse than in the previous games, now she can aim at 2 targets simultaneously when wielding the dual weapons but it only causes the camera to spin uncontrollably from target to target, it's nausea inducing. The camera isn't any better during platforming, it's like it's trying to kill you. Sometimes it's looking in the opposite direction of where you need to jump, forcing you to jump blindly and hoping that Lara will grab on to something.
The frame-rate is borderline unplayable, the game can become a slideshow in some areas with Mexico being the worst offender.
It's a shame that such a beautiful game with a fantastic atmosphere (it really is breathtaking sometimes) is ruined by poor design decisions. The motorcycle sections are back and are way more furstrating than in Legend.
But the worst thing are the bugs, not only did they force me to reload my save in order to be able to progress (a door was somehow replaced by a solid wall) but the game actually freezes the PS3 in the last level. It got to a point where I wondered if I would be able to complete the game. The fact that they didn't fix this for this re-release is unacceptable. the first time it happened I actually thought my PS3 died.
Finally, you can't explore the mansion, one of my favorite features of the other 2 games.
This is up there with enslaved in the biggest wasted potential category of this gen.
So with a bad taste in my mouth I move on to Anniversary. To put it simply, it's brilliant. Don't expect it look like a PS2 game either, you can tell that a lot of attention went into this port, Lara in particular looks really good. As for the game itself it's considered the best TR ever for a reason, it's a joy to play. Exploring these fantastic locations, especially now with the improved visuals, puts it among the best action adventure games of this gen, despite being a last gen game. That's how well it holds up.
One thing all 3 games have in common is Keeley Hawes, the voice of Lara Croft. She is PERFECT, she fits Lara like Nolan North fits Drake.
Bottom line, this collection did it's job of getting me hyped for the new game. Please bring Keeley Hawes back.