Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend PSP Review

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was almost universally hated for varying reasons, and Core Design the UK developer of all the previous games were therefore thrown off the franchise and the more than capable hands of Crystal Dynamics were enlisted to create this seventh game. With that little bit of history out of the way, lets talk about why the American development team were largely the right folk for the job.

We loved The Prince of Persia like fluidity of Legend when it arrived on all the major console formats, and whilst this portable version is a great port, it doesn’t feel quite as silky smooth. As the PSP only has one analog nub, holding down the square button and using the nub compensates for the camera control. It feels a little strange at first, but given time it’s something that you eventually come to put up with.

The rest of the plusses and minuses also feature in the console version. Lets get the minuses out of the way first.

Lara only gets to commander a single vehicle, and whilst these sections do offer a modicum of enjoyment, they do feel a little like bolted on mini games opposed to a solid gameplay feature. The less precise control, also makes these sections tougher on this PSP version.

Pressing a single button to detonate explosive barrels with your guns or to bring environmental objects down on top of your enemies is a rather dumb inclusion, it’s not like casual gamers are a totally unknowing bunch, as many developers seem to suggest these days.

The jumping feels just as automated, which has already divided opinion. It all looks stunningly fluid though, as Lara’s leaps look quite beautiful in motion, although we don’t think that the Prince of Persia has got a lot to worry about the adventuress challenging him for his athleticism crown just yet. Perhaps when Lara starts running along walls he’ll have some competition.

Exclusive PSP multiplayer modes are also present via ad hoc. There’s a mode which sees you racing other players and another that tasks you with artefact hunting. It’s fun enough with another player, but there’s better multiplayer experiences on the PSP.

The games biggest flaw is that it’s very much devoid of challenge, but in spite of this and the slippier controls, Legend comes through as a great console-to-PSP port and remains a beautiful and well crafted adventure, although the big screen version is definitely the way to go if you have that option.