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Zero Punctuation Reviews Anniversary and Underworld February 6, 2009

Posted by tombraiderfangirl in Lara Croft, Underworld.
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zero-punctuation-tra-lara-2Zero Punctuation is a rather rude and crude review site which tears apart practically every game that it comes across (except for Psychonauts and Sands of Time…) with hilariously entertaining results.  Yahtzee reviewed Tomb Raider: Anniversary when it first came out and he recently reviewed Tomb Raider: Underworld as well.  Go on and watch the reviews before I discuss them.  I’ll wait…

Okay, first I’ll start with the Anniversary review.  While I don’t quite like the tone he uses to describe Core’s games, I won’t argue too much because he did pretty much sum up the history of the series with relative accuracy.  I also had no problems with the controls of any of the classic first five games on PC, but I did recently start playing the series on PlayStation and now I see where the complaints about the controls being “like a cow in a supermarket trolley” came from.  I also would not refer to Anniversary as a straight up port from the original Tomb Raider considering that every single level was drastically redesigned (and several levels were significantly cut down), but I’m guessing that Yahtzee has not recently played the original game so I guess he wouldn’t know or care about that.

When he actually reviews what’s in the game without harping on the series in general, he’s spot-on accurate.  I myself had many encounters with “jagged rock junction” for the very reasons he mentions, so it was hilarious to watch this video and see that I’m not alone in experiencing this frustration with the camera and controls, not to mention Lara’s faulty AI which doesn’t consistently grab ledges.  It’s also heartening to know I’m not the only sick person out there who took joy from watching Lara die whenever she refused to obey the controls.  He is also 100% right about those damned interactive cutscenes which I truly loathe.  They break immersion by distracting me during cutscenes so I can’t pay attention to what’s going on.  Either let me watch or let me play.  With IC’s I can do neither.  I don’t necessarily share his hatred of remakes, but at least he gave the game a proper review on its own merits so I’m happy and got a good laugh out of this video.

Now, for the Underworld review.  After how entertaining the Anniversary review was, I found myself sorely disappointed with the Underworld review.  He spent a minute complaining about the series being so big, a minute complaining about some general things in the series as a whole (such as Lara’s personality and occupation), and then a minute complaining about the premise of the series.  All told, throughout the nearly four and a half minute review I think he spent less than a minute actually discussing Underworld.  Even during that time he failed to tear apart the gameplay, choosing instead to focus on aesthetics or slightly misrepresenting things (for example, complaining that the spiders in Thailand are also in England which only makes sense if they traveled over there, when in fact they did travel over there and it was clearly explained in the story that Lara’s father brought back specimens).  Plus, he kept harping on the cover art complaining that it prominently showed off Lara’s boobs (which were obscured behind the title of the game) and had dirt effects, nevermind that his beloved Sands of Time has the Prince shirtless and bloody on the cover.  (For the record, I love Sands of Time.  I’m just pointing out inconsistencies with what Yahtzee said in an attempt to be amusing.)

So, all in all, I like Anniversary and Underworld but they do have some rather obvious flaws.  The Anniversary review picked up on that and really made me laugh.  On the other hand, the Underworld review was tired and boring and it was rather obvious Yahtzee didn’t want to bother with it, which is unfortunate because I was really looking forward to what he’d say about some specific faults in the game which he didn’t bother mentioning.  I was also looking forward to what he would say about the infernal interactive cutscenes being replaced with somewhat acceptable adrenaline moments, but he didn’t say a word about that either.  However, I did learn that the Tomb Raider series has a lot of games and Lara has boobs, which is apparently all that matters in the grand scheme of things…

Anyhow, Yahtzee’s other reviews are quite hilarious so go ahead and browse through his gallery for some fun at the expense of a lot of recent games that you love and hate.  Either way, it’s good to have a sense of humor and appreciate an honest joke, no matter how much you enjoy the game itself 😀

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