Tomb Raider Trilogy Review (PS3)

Tomb Raider is hurtling towards massive changes with the upcoming reboot which sees a young Lara Croft shipwrecked on a hostile island, but before we say goodbye to the old Lara Square Enix are giving PS3 fans one last chance to relive some of her best adventures in 3D.

The Tomb Raider Trilogy is the latest ‘HD Classics’ release for PS3 and bundles together Tomb Raider Legend, Anniversary and Underworld all on one Blu-Ray disc. Underworld was of course released on PS3 in HD already, but Legend and Anniversary missed out on a PS3 release originally, instead arriving on PS2, PC and Xbox 360.

Legend's probably the least good looking of the three...

Those two games are of course closer to their PC and Xbox 360 versions now than the PS2 versions, running at 720p and sporting what appear to be the same high definition textures that were used on the Xbox 360 versions of those titles.

They look and run well with a smooth frame rate with little in the way of any nasty issues on screen, though it’s definitely evident that the three games were made separately over a number of years – Legend looks far worse than Anniversary, for example, and of course Underworld looks the best of the three. All three games run well, mind.

Part of the reason for these HD remakes is to see these aged games better – but this isn’t like the Sly Collection or even God of War – both of these games have existed in HD somewhere before. You can check the 360 or PC versions for an idea of how it looks and runs – but this is a great place to get all three games in HD in one place.

While these games date back to the dawn of the HD console generation and can look a bit poor in some areas the gameplay has certainly held up well. The three titles offer an interesting journey through Crystal Dynamic’s approach to the adventures of Lara Croft, each game in the set offering slightly different stylistic take on an enduring formula.

But the iconic T-Rex fight looks great in HD!

Legend focuses more on Lara as an action heroine with motorcycle chase sequences, tons of QTEs and shorter, simpler puzzle sections. Anniversary steps back on the combat and action set pieces some for more exploration and longer puzzles, while Underworld mixes the two in a very successful manner.

Underworld landed in a post-Uncharted world, and the influences of Nathan Drake’s travels are clearly visible on Lara’s final outing from this era. All three games hold up well in terms of gameplay, and while they vary in gameplay styles they’re all very clearly of the same era and design, making this trilogy package feel like the complete deal.

There are ups and downs in each game – Anniversary is my favourite, a loving HD recreation of a PS1 classic that had aged quite badly, but the soaring orchestral score in Underworld and some of the crazy action set pieces in Legend are also hard not to love even in spite of sometimes-dodgy controls.

Past the HD upgrade and the 720p resolution there’s not much that’s been added to the collection. It misses out some of the DLC that was added to Underworld, while outside of the actual games the trilogy disc also includes some extras for Playstation Home, some developer diaries documenting the creation of all three games, PSN Trophies and a PS3 theme.

The surrounding environments have some much-needed extra detail at 720p HD

In the end, these trilogy collections are all about the overall package. None of the games are quite good enough to be worth an absolute unequivocal recommendation. They’re flawed – the very definition of ‘good, not great’ – but also worth your time.

Legend and Underworld are both good, while I think Anniversary teeters on the absolute brilliant quite often – but three games of that quality for a bargain-basement price is an offer I find hard to refuse and hard not to recommend – especially if you’ve a hankering for a bit of artefact hunting while waiting for Uncharted 3.

Best Game Moment: Remembering and rediscovering some of those puzzles in Anniversary again – fond memories.

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By Vortex3D (I just got here) on Mar 28, 2011
How about comparing the graphics on Legends and Anniversary HD remake to X360 version? I like to know if HD remake version graphics is better or worse after having a lot more time to "improve" the graphics. Also why did SE use PS2 version to do the HD remake? Two of the games already been made in HD on X360 several years ago.
By Revan (SI Elite) on Mar 28, 2011
I actually prefer the old look. The 'fuzziness' gives off a surreal and yet somehow realistic atmosphere, which suits Tomb Raider. :S
By Zvezdalina (SI Veteran Member) on Apr 10, 2011
Legend may well have the worst graphics of the 3, but I think it is the best one to play. And the most amusing one. :-D