Tomb Raider Underworld (Wii)

Here it is, the conclusion of the reboot trilogy before the franchise got rebooted yet another time in 2013. Tomb Raider Underworld for Wii was handed off to the same development team that handled the Wii port for Tomb Raider Anniversary, but apparently all learned lessons were ignored and on top of that a PS2 version had to be made, and on top of that everything had to be completed within a date that apparently didn't leave any time for polish and proper quality assurance.

What all versions of Underworld have in common is a lackluster ending and too much diving. The latter is where it becomes immediately apparent how bad and stupid the controls in the Wii port are. You move with the analog stick which is fine, but instead of using the A and B buttons to ascend and descend, you have to use the d-pad while A and B aren't used for anything under water! Similarly, while climbing the B button doesn't make you drop down anymore, instead that functionality is assigned to the minus button. The motorbike accelerates with Z and the brake is on C. It looks like deliberate self-sabotage at this point.

The transitions between different animations are choppy and awkward, at times it looks like Lara warps. Sometimes she does indeed warp because the game is so glitchy. Running through puddles shows no reaction on the water. There are scripting errors that can lead to broken save files; keep a separate save file in order to be able to restart a level instead of having to restart the entire game. There are only six proper levels and the game lasts barely more than six hours. Hidden treasures were an afterthought; there aren't many to begin with and most of them have been placed in plain sight. They do not unlock anything either.

There isn't any resemblance of difficulty balance. There are very few enemies because the developers probably didn't have the development time to put in more of them. Health self-regenerates, you have infinite ammo for machine guns and shotgun, and enemies don't survive more than a few handgun bullets. The hardest part about the game is to figure out where the hell you are supposed to go next in certain sections. The Jan Mayen level in particular is a terrible mess that leaves you guessing.

It's hard to believe how bad Tomb Raider Underworld is. The truly mindboggling thing is that Eidos already had a working framework on Wii with Tomb Raider Anniversary.

Controls 10 Don't fix what isn't broken. Unfortunately, this was ignored.
Almost completely different button-mapping than in Anniversary.
Gameplay   The basis of Tomb Raider is of course still present,
but it is more of a jumbled mess than a coherent whole.
Story   Poor audio volume in a few cutscenes and an overall
disappointing ending to the trilogy.
Single-player   There are hardly any enemies, but you are fighting with the controls.
The level design is confusing at times.
Multiplayer   Not
available.
Graphics   Good character models, but that's about it. Framerate issues,
awkward animations, missing effects.
Sound   Undoubtedly the highlight of Underworld. At least there is one
thing that didn't get messed up, cutscene audio aside.
Value   Six to seven hours is all it takes to finish this game.
Treasure is sparse and inconsequential.
Replay Value   If you made it till here, it should be self-explanatory.
Should have never been released in this state.
Score 2 Tomb Raider Underworld for Wii is a disgrace for the franchise.
It's playable, but far below acceptable standards.


Legend11 correctly predicted that GTA IV (360+PS3) would outsell SSBB. I was wrong.

A Biased Review Reloaded / Open Your Eyes / Switch Gamers Club