By the end of the game, I was frustrated by the amount of time spent looking at the loading screen due to instant deaths and deaths from what I felt were unfortunate level-design/combat combinations.
Controlling Lara in her environment is by far the most fun in the game, although some of the things the developers did to spruce up the otherwise straight forward combat system were nice as well.
The head-shot system was extremely rewarding and very fun. It felt like you were controlling Lara as you would while navigating the environment, only you were doing it in battle. That was nice.
The backstory that you experience in Anniversary truly clears up a lot of questions from the recent Legend as well, which was nice.
Since it's been so long since I beat it and I'm just getting around to writing my review, I've cooled off a little bit with my frustrations; most of which manifested towards the end of the game, so I won't mention but a couple here and be done.
- Instant Deaths. If a game is going to have as many instant deaths as this game does, the load times should be shorter. I stared at the loading screen a LOT.
- Stages. Each level was made up of multiple stages (just what I call them). These stages would end without any contextual warning, and in places where it didn't seem like I was coming to the end of a stage. Suddenly a pop-up window would appear telling me how well I had just done in that stage. My main problem with this is that each stage has a number of hidden artifacts and relics which unlock goodies. If you could predict that the end of the stage was coming up, you might decide to explore a little bit before triggering the end of the stage when your artifact/relic count is reset and you're tasked with finding new ones.
- Complex Moves. Just because Lara can do something, doesn't mean that she necessarily should. There are a few moves in the game that Lara (and subsequently, the player) can technically do, but these particular moves aren't all that easy to pull off, and when they don't work, the player often feels like they did the right thing, but that the game didn't interpret it as such. These types of moves would be fine if failing them didn't cause instant deaths. Towards the end of the game, the player is forced to string very complex moves together over pits of insta-kill. If I had been presented with similar challenges in these areas using Lara's less finicky moves, I would have a much more fond memory of both the game and the complex moves that Lara could do.
All in all, Anniversary is a very good game. It was just a bit too long and I had a few nitpicky points of frustration. For anyone who hasn't played Tomb Raider 1 and is into the new Lara, they definitely should play this.
Game Title: Tomb Raider Anniversary
Platform: PlayStation 2
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Release Date: 05th Jun 2007