No longer (seemingly) Russian
and French, Max and Lara are back, at least for a short moment. We find
them newly married and chilling out in Cape Town, when a call comes to
look into an art theft at a local museum. Off we go, but then Max gets
gone, not at all sure where, and Lara ends up in San Francisco
investigating shenanigans in a church.
It all started rather well, with
the added mystery of what might have happened to Max, and it went lots
of places, but never really came together as a satisfying whole. I
thought there were too many things raised and not resolved, and too many
threads that didn’t really go anywhere. Then there are things you see
coming that as a result seem clunky, and even the fact that it is played
in self-contained parts added to the feeling of things not quite
Which is a bit of a shame, cos
there is some good stuff in here.
Not least of all is the length,
although that might be a reflection on the games I have played lately.
However where once upon a time adventure games seemed to be a good 20
hours at least, anything that long these days is an exception rather
than the rule. This didn’t take me that long, but I reckon for most
players there is a good 15 hours of globetrotting here, and depending on
how you go with the puzzles, even more than that.
Which, having mentioned them, is
another good thing here. Most were logical, rewarding effort and a bit
of brain power, and while the MacGyver inventory puzzles are present,
again they aren’t too illogical. Yes there are some duds, but what game
doesn’t have those. By and large they are all integrated into the goings
on, which is always a feature of good puzzle design. Tacked on always
feels like filler; I thought overall these weren’t like that at all.
Some of the parts though did
feel a little like that. While length is good, some pruning of some of
the middle parts would probably have helped the complete experience.
Pruning some voice acting would
definitely have helped. The main protagonists are fine, many others a
lot less so. Ambient sound is as you would expect in a modern game, and
the use of music is I think well managed. Music in games (and in movies)
can be overdone – not everything needs accompaniment – and while it
isn’t all that memorable its use is balanced and, as a result, a plus
rather than a minus.
The 3D rendering is both. The
backgrounds are as you would expect, but the character animations are
not all they should be. By comparison they are drab and underwhelming,
and often don’t fit with the words they are speaking. A little more
“life” in the characterisation would have helped pull things together.
There are times when you have
choices that suggest it might impact the outcome, and I confess I don’t
know whether that in fact occurred. Certainly there is more than one
end, but they seem to be more about a particular choice than the
combination of what you do throughout the game. More research is needed
in that regard.
You play predominantly as Lara,
but you do get to be Max for a bit as well as a female FBI agent. The
interface is point and click, with active cursors providing the various
interactions that can be undertaken. You can reveal all hotspots and
exits from a scene, which helps avoid pixel hunting. You can tweak a few
settings, and play with or without subtitles.
In summary, I think less of this
game would have made a tighter and better game. Which I hate to say
given too many games are in my view way too short. So I won’t. Instead,
enjoy what is good, and turn a blind eye to the faults, and lets have
more of what makes adventure games so good.
I played on:
OS: Windows 7
Processor: Intel i7-3820 4GHz
RAM: 12GB Ripjaw DDR3 2133 Mhz