I finished Tomb Raider: Underworld. All in all it’s about 16 hours of play, which is not bad for $6.79. Toward the end we see more of Amanda, who has pretty hip tastes in catsuits and artefacts:
The actual story is pretty much opaque to me. I gathered that Lara and Amanda are rivals, but I don’t know why. Some dude named Alister was killed, and I have no idea whether he’s a servant, or co-worker, or love interest. She certainly doesn’t let it keep her from her temple-climbing. (Wikipedia informs me he’s an assistant.)
What I like about the game is Lara’s athleticism; like Faith in Mirror’s Edge, this is a girl who can get around in fun and dangerous ways. It’s less frustrating, in fact, because very few things require precise timing, and it’s usually pretty clear what Lara can and can’t do. (On the other hand, it doesn’t quite reach the exhilaration of chaining together a perfect set of moves for Faith.)
(I’m curious, you parkour enthusiasts: is it actually possible to heave yourself up approximately six feet, hanging from a ledge? Lara makes it look easy, but I should probably get a second opinion before exploring any ruins.)
There’s a couple of huge rooms in the last part of the game that are less satsfying, because there are a huge number of steps to go through and not many clues on the order to take them, so I ended up relying on a walkthrough.
I am not really buying these ancient engineers who managed to make huge stone machines that work thousands of years later once you hack together the one or two pieces that have fallen off. Nor the ones who made an ancient structure big enough that it requires a motorbike to navigate. Nor the fact that Lara is the first to discover three or four huge temples per game. Oh well, it’s till fun to get Lara where she’s going.
Ah, one more thing– Wikipedia reminds me that Lara gets dirty traipsing through the ruins. I think I noticed this approximately once. So, note to the developers, don’t bother with that.