Tomb Raider: Anniversary PS2 Review

The Tomb Raider series is now in its eleventh year, and it’s with good reason that this anniversary edition has been released. Lara Croft herself may have become bigger than the games that brought her to life in many ways, although the original Tomb Raider was still a groundbreaking game for its time. This remake is a back-to-basics celebration of the top-heavy heroines decade of adventures.

The PS2 continues to show some stunning visuals despite it now being the equivalent of a person with grey hair and wrinkly skin, and Tomb Raider Anniversary is certainly a very attractive game. Lara herself certainly looks more like a woman, and her animations are fun to watch as she leaps about with a real purpose. The environments are also amazingly detailed and, with that said, whether you are raiding tombs in Peru, Greece, Egypt or Lost Island, your surroundings all have something in common, often sharing unflattering qualities such as darkness, dampness and loneliness (this all collectively makes for a great gaming atmosphere though!). Perhaps it’s needless to say (although we’ll say it anyway!) that they look worlds apart when compared to the decomposing original.

We should all be familiar with Tomb Raider by now, thus we all know that Lara leaps around like she has got spring fever, shoots animals with very big teeth and very sharp claws, and solves puzzles to get closer to the artefact that we don’t really care about, such is the pointlessness of Tomb Raider’s storyline. This remake is more of the same, although in all reality it’s not a simple remake by any means, as puzzles have been expanded, area sizes have been increased, a nifty shoot dodge move enhances the combat, and the grappling hook from Legend is now a part of Lara‘s kit.

Throughout the game you’ll be jumping off and grabbing ledges with plenty of verve, swinging on ropes, sliding down banks and swimming through pools of water, all of which assures that Lara is quite the action heroine. The difference here is that everything is now much tidier and Lara more agile. Indeed, you are no longer required to carefully plan and time jumps before leaping off ledges, as plummeting at body breaking speeds from a great height is one less situation that you’ll regularly find yourself in. Of course, like Legend, you can still speed-up many of Lara’s actions, which consigns the ponderous nature of previous games to the past.

As this is an anniversary we’re celebrating, we would certainly be expecting to devour a big slice of cake and to be drinking plenty of alcohol, and whilst this gaming milestone unfortunately doesn’t come with any of the aforementioned things, at least there’s some notable bonus content. Hidden within the environments are relics and artifacts, and when you clamber across their hiding places you’ll unlock new outfits for Lady Croft, artwork, commentaries and more. The commentaries are certainly one of the most entertaining extras, as Toby Gard (the lead designer of the original game) and Jason Botta (the director of the Anniversary edition) converse about various elements of both the old game and the new game. We’d still prefer some alcohol and a calorie filled big slice of cake though.

Tomb Raider Anniversary is an excellent remake of an iconic game, and a fitting ten year celebration for the series as well as its famous heroine. Crystal Dynamics must once again be credited for bringing new life to the series, and we look very forward to seeing how they will work their magic in future instalments in the series.