Here I am again, another Tomb Raider
game and another review. This review concerns the Wii port of Tomb Raider: Anniversary
, the PS2 version of which I reviewed back in May 2007
. As you might expect, the story and much of the game are the same, so I won't go into too much detail on those. What has changed is the control method, obviously. Not too obviously, however, some Wii-specific features and content have been added. Some of these changes have worked well and some of them have not.
For example, at certain points in the game you will have to re-assemble a long-dormant piece of machinery by inserting a misplaced cog. In the PS2 game, these cogs are placed by Lara without you having any control over where they go in the mechanism, you just walk up to the machine, press the button and Lara replaces the cog. In the Wii version, you have a little bit of work to do.
Lara will place the cog as before, but you are then presented with a close up view of the mechanism that enables you to use the Wii remote to rearrange the existing cogs and the one you have just replaced in order to make a link between the two main cogs at either side of the machinery. You then have to pull a lever that activates the mechanism and allows you to progress. In other places you have to spin wheels with symbols on them to match up with clues you have discovered. This is also done with a close up view and Wii remote manipulations.
These sections work really quite nicely, although I could have done without the levels of vibration that are used to tell you that Lara's hand is over the cogs, wheels and levers. I can see her hand, I can see the cogs, so why do I need such a high level of vibration to inform me that one is over the other?
Discovering the clues mentioned above is the first of the changes that have not worked quite as well. There are two basic ways you can discover the clues, wiping off dust and prying loose some sort of encrusted plaster. Wiping off the dust is performed with a boring little remote waggling mini-game where you hold down the [A] button and wave the remote to make Lara's brush cover all the area required to clean the carvings - and you have to uncover the whole
carving to progress. The textures for 'slightly covered' and 'fully uncovered' are not distinct enough, so you have to be very careful to brush everywhere or you have to more or less start all over again.
Prying the plaster works slightly better, but takes about as long to perform as the dust wiping. First you wave the trowel over the whole mini-game area until you get a vibration, this finds a weak spot in the plaster. Then you press [A] to chip away at it, then waggle the remote to force your trowel into the hole, then lift the remote to pry off a chunk of plaster. Then you repeat, and again, until the whole carving is uncovered. After you have uncovered the symbols, you get to do a rubbing of them, just like in a school trip to the graveyard. (
Insert your own joke here using the words "Lara" and "rubbing".) This works exactly like the wiping dust mini-game making for real tedium when one follows the other.
So, the Wii-specific features are a bit hit and miss, but what about the control scheme? As you might expect, this involves the analogue stick on the nunchuck handling Lara's movement, while the Wii remote handles the camera control and gun aiming. This arrangement works reasonably well in the main but that's because you don't have to directly control the camera very often.