Wednesday, October 30, 2013


Two years after the events in Arkham City the Dark Knight spreads his wings again. Batman: Arkham Origins, the current part of the popular Batman Arkham franchise, was eagerly expected by the countless videogame vigilantes and is at the moment rotating in many systems over the world.

What has changed? How is the game? Here, as always, my personal in-depth review and opinion.

First let’s begin by saying that I basically liked the game. I think it’s a lot better than the second installment (Arkham City) in terms of the narrative, the presentation and - of course - the combat system, since that again got upgraded with moves, gadgets and fierce enemy types. For me the battling is one of the key parts that made this franchise special from the begin with. It is challenging, responsive, fast, tactical, it feels natural and makes a ton of fun. I have played a lot of Hack & Slay and brawling titles in my history of gaming, as well as countless action adventures, but never had I seen a game with such a masterpiece of a battle system before Batman: Arkham Asylum in 2009! Some were close, like The Matrix: Path of Neo for example, but Sefton Hill’s Freeflow Combat System set the bar to an unprecedented level. The core of the combat system is so simple that it is fast and easy to learn throughout all gamer classes and ages. Nevertheless it will still take quite a while of hardcore gaming and concentration to really master the system and get some juicy 150+ chains.

Aside to the well established and yet again improved combat system the new Batman looks graphically better than the last, in my opinion. I am not talking about resolution or frames of course, but about the general look and feel of the city - Gotham, in this part. Yes, there are lot of complaints on the net about the city being too empty, especially on a Christmas evening, but I wouldn't take that too seriously. I mean, what do some people expect? First of all: It's Christmas, so I guess naturally people could also spent their evening with their family at home. Furthermore: It's Gotham, and hardcore criminals are on the loose because of the bounty on the bat's head! I mean, did some people really expect NPCs to have some small talk with in a Batman game? "Hello Batmen. Can you help me with the groceries or are you very busy at the moment?". Actually I think you can even enjoy this city a lot more, because there are still a lot of enemies on the streets, even at the end of the game, and that was not the case in Arkham City! if I remember correctly, in Arkham City the streets just got emptier and emptier over time. No, I think the Gotham is fine the way it is. Also flying around through the different districts feels a lot more comfortable than in Arkham City.

For all out there still playing through the story and wondering what the second disc is for: Batman: Arkham Origins features a great multiplayer mode that, after just a few rounds, looks very promising and like many more hours of fun. At the moment (probably there will be a lot of DLC) you can play as a member of Joker's or Bane's gang and fight against each other until reinforcements (team respawns) are used up and the enemy gang is defeated, or other game mode specific objectives are completed. And while the gangs struggle in a 3rd-Person style shooter other players take control over heroes (Batman, Robin, Joker or Bane) and sort of do their own thing. Of course the Joker and Bane support their team. While the heroes control scheme is more or less familiar from the game, admittedly the shooter controls of the gang members feel a bit strange, but can get used to after a few rounds. I must say this multiplayer mode is basically the main thing that saved the game for me, cause without it there would be not much new stuff to it. All in all it's thought through well the only issue is that it is a bit unbalanced for beginners, since it is based on a level-up experience tree and rewards hardcore players with better weapons and equipment. Basically while you start on level 1 with a submachine gun and underpants, level X players already have camo-clothing, armor bonuses, aim support, rocket launchers and what not. If you start to play online, prepare to die constantly and big time!

Last but not least to mention in a positive light is the story; in my opinion the story, although short, is good. It could have included a deeper insight into the beginnings of the Dark Knight, but it was decent - including the one major ... twist I am not revealing at this point, of course.

Above I stated, that I basically liked the game. So naturally that implies there's also a few things I didn't like. The first and foremost thing I didn't like is an obvious QA issue with this game. I honestly don't understand why they released the game in the state it currently still is in, but probably publishing schedules again. I tell you honestly that this game made my Xbox crash and freeze to death on an hourly basis! And that didn't happen only to me but also to a whole lot of other gamers. A friend even had to start the campaign all over again after he got stuck falling into an infinite black void over and over due to a mandatory auto-save! - If that happened to me,.. oh boy, I would be raging that game to pieces. For myself, I "only" experienced about crashes and stopped counting after the 25th. They appeared mostly when initiating a fast travel, but also when passing over from on district to another on foot, when opening the map, even during battles as well as in multiplayer. In one word: Ridiculous! How could this major flaw have not been detected during testing?

The other major issue of the game, at least I want to complain about, is it's open world characteristic. Sorry, but I just don't like it. It's the same like in Arkham City; too much redundant and boring riddles and mostly uninspired side quests from the "other" villains. But above that, what I absolutely hated and what made me furiously skip the credits roll, is that the game didn't tell me when I entered the last location. You know, like: "This is the last location. Here you will face the last boss and you can't get back out and do side quests until you beat the boss!". I am sorry, but I am one of the of gamers, that like to complete everything to a 100% and then, JUST THEN, go to the boss and beat the game! This "Congratulations, you beat the boss but you can still run around without a goal afterwards"-attitude, mostly common in open world games, just annoys me deeply!

Finally I would like to conclude this review by getting back to the one question that I stated at the beginning: What has changed? - Well, and that really hurts to say: Not much. Besides the new multiplayer feature, combat upgrades, more tedious boss encounters and the ingenious rename from "Riddles" to "Extortion Files", there is not much traceable effort from the side of Warner Bros. Games Montreal. Like I said in my first impression, the game (story mode) is basically the same like Batman: Arkham City. Again, without the multiplayer feature, I think there went an almost negligible amount of additional code into the game's engine, from the time that Rocksteady Studios handed it over. We pretty much only got new models, animations, locations, names and pictures. Not to say that this alone wasn't a lot of work, but does it really justify this game to most likely once again cash-in a ton of awards, titles and above average ratings? I don't know... Sometimes I hate it when franchises always want to reinvent the already best solution with every part (like Final Fantasy), yet sometimes it feels absolutely wrong if they just do the minimum and get even more money than the last time. I guess we're back at what I think to be the main problem of the videogame industry after all - franchises.

As good as I still also find this game to be for the most part and as much as I still might continue to enjoy the multiplayer mode, for me the Batman: Arkham +"STRING" train has departed. If the next game will again be the same but with other pictures, I am pretty sure I will not buy it anymore.

Play more! Chain more!

Monday, October 28, 2013



Just saw another rather shocking video on g+ and I didn't want to hold back this vital information from my loyal blog-only readers!

  • Games (like Watch Dogs) are really delayed, because...
  • Network systems of both platforms are months away from being ready, because...
  • Both networks were initially built around DRM and now have to be reprogrammed
  • Sony had the same DRM plan like Microsoft and played a tricky card
  • Trade-Up program requires installation and original disc to play the upgraded version
  • Dead Rising 3 stripped of key online features to be playable at launch
  • Due to network issues Call of Duty Ghost will be 720p on Xbox One and PS4 but 1080p native on WiiU

Funny thing is that I've heard similar information like this also from other ends...

Is there some truth in it?
Will this next-gen launch be really as ugly as many expect it to be?
Can they fix the online systems in time and prevent the disaster?

Play more! Ask more!

Thursday, October 24, 2013



Alright everyone... after a few hours with the new Batman, as promised, my short and spoiler-free first impression:

It's great! The first thing I noticed was that battling is a bit easier. Not in a bad way... it's still challenging as hell and got extended once more. Could be due to the "normal" difficulty that I feel the timeframes to counter are longer. The game looks incredible, the villains are interesting and there seems to be a long road ahead until completing the game, filled with an awesome story!
There are several new features like special boss encounters for example but in general the game is more or less exactly like the second part (Arkhman City). Personally I think the city of this new part is a lot better in many ways and also more detailed and beautiful then Arkham form the last part. Nevertheless, I urge you not to expect a completely new Batman... seriously the game, the actual game engine is essentially the same like in the second part; although it was extended in many ways, it will feel and look exactly like Arkham City, but with other images.
So yes, I think it's already safe to say that the new Batman can't get up as high as the first part, but still it is a lot of fun and entertainment. I can't wait to continue, but for now I need a few hours of rest...

I would love to tell you more, but I don't want to spoil you something!! I think I said the most important thing already and although a more detailed comparison with Arkham City needs to be done, here it is again: Expect a new and better Arkham City but not the same atmosphere, uniqueness and character of in Arkham Asylum!

Play more! Punch more!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013



So who else can't wait for the new Batman game? My Bat-Sensors are on full capacity - of course trying to avoid getting spoiled too much. Will this game be the bomb? Closer to the first part and better than the second? I really hope so. Cause in my opinion Batman: Arkham Asylum was probably the best game that came out in the current generation of videogames!

Why? - In one sentence: Because it had everything and more, but also managed not to have (to want) too much! A great hero, his background, the true nature of the Batman universe, together with iconic villains... all that was transformed and brilliantly retold in a videogame. The game itself took Hack&Slay-style battling to a whole new dimension, it offered us a great story within a perfectly created, seemingly endless yet enclosed game environment, it made us sneak and hide as well as kick and punch, it made us explore and think and above all it was full of fun, action and atmosphere. Since that game got released I am playing it about two times per year a new, and I see no reason to stop this tradition in the future.

Unfortunately the second part didn't feel that good to me anymore. Ok, given a lot more gadgets and moves, the battling was even better than in the first one, but I absolutely didn't like that the game moved a lot more into the open world direction. Another thing that I absolutely didn't like on the second part, as well as probably the main reason why it can never come close to the first, is that in Arkham City they already wanted too much. I am talking about the riddles, of course. In Arkham Asylum the number and balance of the riddles was perfect, while in the second part there were simply too many riddles.

So what do I hope from Arkham Origins? What are my fears?

I hope they will not dumb down the battling system. - A few month ago I read a statement that this - of course articulated differently - was one of the main goals for the developers. Well, I hope they didn't, and reaching high combos will be as challenging as before. I fear that, also according to the information on the web, this game will have an even bigger open world characteristic than the second one... but I guess we will soon see how it really is.

Play more! Bomb more!

Sunday, October 20, 2013



As announced before, Friday I got my critical hands, eyes and entertainment sensors on the new Xbox ONE. Microsoft rented the beautiful event location MetaCity in Vienna for all the weekend to promote their new “all in one” box on tour. Although I did play with the new Xbox before, I was very happy to get the chance to visit this event since the tour is sort of semi-public only, and gives you a lot more time to play.

The event itself, as well as the location itself was great: I think there must have been over 80 ONEs there, beautiful and atmospheric decorations, good catering and nice staff. Unfortunately the absence of visitors underlined an obvious insignificance of the next generation system. Ok, they still had all the weekend left and I guess not everyone has the time on a weekday, right? I am curious however how big of an event it had really been at the end.

At some point I actually liked that there weren't too many people, because it can be a bit uncomfortable among the masses sometimes. In this case, I could enjoy everything almost privately, I never had to wait in line and could play all the games for as long as I wanted.

All together I tested 11 Xbox One titles and I will present you a really short first impression and opinion of them below. Furthermore, I took a critical look at the hardware, and for me personally found out something great, as well as one big letdown.

This will not be a complete and absolutely detailed report, because I don't want to tell you something that you already know. Against the title of this post I still want you to go there and experience things for yourself. As always, I will tell you what was new and important to me.

Now, after this event, my mind is made up 100%. I know that I will definitely not buy an Xbox One within the first half year since release I will most likely be waiting and watching until next spring.



  • The console itself is a monster; it is so enormous, I wouldn't know where to put it.
  • It looks nice and clean however.
  • Loading times are partially ridiculous, but obviously nobody is interested in that anymore nowadays.
  • Kinect was plugged in and on some sort of standy-by while playing games, which I found great and surprising! It was even possible to obscure Kinect and still play the games. Since this was a demo event, I hope the "always-on camera" and "not being able to play if Kinect can't see you" issues are not just coming up, when logged in via live-account though.
  • The system froze two times while playing. Reboots took several minutes! - Could have been due to the demo setups and will not appear with full games... seems a lot familiar to a known 360 issue though.
  • The new home menu doesn't look to different but offers a lot more things than the old one at the same time. - Ok, that we all know already.
  • The controller was unfortunately the biggest letdown I experienced. It is too small, too edged, to hard and in short feels totally uncomfortable. The new sticks move a lot more sensitive and stabile, on the other hand they are also way too small and again feel simply too uncomfortable to rest the thumbs on. - It could be just the change that feels uncomfortable at first,... I sincerely hope I can get used to the new thing at some point, cause after 10 minutes of FIFA my hand started to pain quite a lot!



All the games I played were demos only. They didn't have all the features of the full versions and might be different from them in many ways. Also the connected televisions might not have been state of the art and you know how it is... on such events you are basically always to close to the screens, because of the cables.

  • Does not only not look as I expected it, actually I think it looks pretty bad. - Seriously, these are the graphics you see as next-gen?
  • The game is to slow for my feeling of a multiplayer shooter.
  • Maybe the campaign is better in graphics and gameplay and can save this game. Multiplayer isn't for me, that's sure.

  • Was looking forward for that game (childhood memories), but didn't kick me too much.
  • Graphics are nothing special.
  • Combos can get really sick, like in the old days and the sound is great.
  • Seriously hope the game has a good story campaign, like Mortal Kombat did for example. Without such a campaign I have already seen enough of the game.

  • The other parts weren't for me, so why should this one be?
  • Yes, a ton of options; pick up and throw everything, build one million cars, gadgets and stuff.
  • The kind of "free roaming" scenario playable at this event is fun... at least for 10 minutes.
  • Controls seem good, graphics and AI showed nothing special.
  • A million zombies but fear factor = zero.
  • It plays a lot like Fighting Force, but somehow I just miss the point of the game. Maybe a story/campaign or playing with friends can put some more juice into it...

  • I guess it's Forza... never have been too much of a car game fan. Especially not a fan of realistic car simulations.
  • The game is boring to me but might have its loyal and big audience, which I respect.
  • In contrast to the general opinion I really don't think the graphics of this game are very good. Yes, there is a lot of anti-aliasing and it looks smooth, but in my opinion everything looks way too artificial. - Really, if I take a look at the race track, to me everything seems made out of plastic. The only thing that looks nice are the cars. But even in that matter current-gen cars pretty much did it for me.

  • Plays kind of interesting, with high combo possibilities.
  • Features a level-up/progression system with lot of skills and moves.
  • Relies more on tactical combat than on button mashing, similar to the new Batman games.
  • Setting and graphics are OK, yet nothing mind-blowing.
  • A game that needs a good campaign to immerse players. The multiplayer and arena components are more like the cherry on top of the cake. The actual cake however is still missing.

  • Graphically the most advanced game on display. - On the other hand, also FIFA 13 is pretty good already.
  • The rest is clear; It's FIFA, so it's for people that like football simulations. I am more of an occasional FIFA-player. - Yes, I got a few tricks up my sleeve, but since I don't really see the big yearly advances, I always get only every third part of the series. So for me FIFA 15 will be the next.
  • What I find to be the best improvement of this game is that throw-ins now are dynamically and realistic. That feels really good, but won't get me to buy that game.


In addition to these 6 rather big titles there were also a few "smaller" ones presented to the players: Zoo Tycoon, Peggle 2, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, Crimson Dragon and Kinect Rivals. I honestly want to spare you every word possible about these games and try to sum up all that I have taken from them in a short paragraph.

I don't get it. Why are such games at an 18+ launch event for a new  - supposedly - next-gen console? One game is a puzzle game with nothing remotely exciting, the other one is supposed to be canceled already and the next one builds upon a nice idea but seems to be conceived for five year old players... I really don't get it. Are there really still no games that Microsoft can show us? The only game that's looking even remotely interesting from these titles was Zoo Tycoon, but this game is also more special interest than for a broader audience, I guess.

Yeah,... and please somebody blast Kinect! I hated the old one as well as most of the games made for it, and - in contrast to the approach "We've now gone from the childish theme to a look and feel that aimes also at the grown-up players" - it is still the same to me: unresponsive, boring, childish and above all exhausting!



Yep, I felt kind of disappointed and my premonition unfortunately came true: I just cannot see this new console as next generation at the moment. Basically all that has changed are the networking and application control features. There is nothing outstanding or better regarding graphics or gameplay at the moment. In fact the total absence of any real good launch title speaks for itself.

I will most certainly not pay a ton of money for a system at launch, that doesn't give me a single great and/or new game. At the moment the Xbox One is still basically the same like 360 but with a better media center. So far I didn't have the chance to deeply check out the PS4 but from what I've seen and heard, I assume it's the same situation. Like I said above, I think it will be best to just wait and get a new console when there are games out.

Either what's going on now is a great economical plot that creates lots of revenues, or Microsoft as well as Sony are being really, really nice to us. The great and truly next-gen games are definitely coming and the technology will be good for something at some point; be it the new Wolfenstein, Titanfall, Watch Dogs, and many more, I think it's just really nice I am not forced to play all that stuff on a new system, but can instead use the ones I already have to get out the same experience!

The event itself was great and of course I encourage everyone to get on the tour and make up his/her own mind. For me one thing is clear: The time to get a new Xbox will come, but not just yet...

Play more! Wait more!

Thursday, October 17, 2013



The tour has reached Vienna, the cables are already plugged-in and since it is not a public event and allegedly only Very Important Players (what an honor), in reasonable quantitiy, were invited, I am really looking forward to get the most experience out of this.

So stay tuned over the next couple of days, cause my personal, first-hand report will be coming up soon!

Play more! Tour more!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013



Bad luck for those upcoming next-gen console releases... what will be left to play now? Do we really have a delayed release because they need to tweak the game further, or is it maybe just another financial plot because of the other major releases during the next months?

Well, I am sure we'll find some other games we can spend our money on... or is this what they want?
I am sad but I'll get over it... my playlist is long enough anyway.

Play more! Doubt more!


I guess weall remember the (good) old Robocop games on various platforms...

(To the left is a screenshot of a GameBoy version from 1991)

Ok, I haven't played all of them but a good deal and I think I am not leaning out of the window too much, if I said they all have one thing in common: They are slow and tedious! Why? Because Robocop is definitely one of the slowest and most tedious characters sicence-fiction ever brought to life. Yes, he might be a tank on two legs, but don't you remember him walking at this incredibly slow speed, almost falling with every step and how elegant he could turn? I always thought that this is absolutely no character you can make a videogame of, but actually there where quite a lot. Back in 2003 Titus realized that given the statuesque characteristics of Robocop there was only the FPS-Genre to put him in. And so, ten years ago, the last (bad) Robocop game was released.

I always liked the Robocop universe: Delta City, OCP, uncontrolled crime and of course... robots! Seriously the setting and atmosphere of the movies, which can easily be sorted into the cyberpunk category, offers such a great basis for storytelling. It's like one of the most plausible fictions we can imagine for ourselves at the moment: Dystopian futuristic cities, where citizens are separated into to poor and frightened lower class and the wealthy, protected upper class, where violence rules in the dirty, burning streets, where technology is everywhere, flying drones and robots are on patrol, surveillance cameras track your every move and the people are tied into the system with no escape,... oh boy, that's some real great stuff there!

Actually I was always thinking about making a (for once) good Robocop game myself, if I ever had the money. Since Robocop as main character was no option I always wanted to have a human as protagonist. You know,... a cop, first day on the job, young and inexperienced but with great skills and technological understanding. He would be part of a special force and assigned to Officer Lewis. Together they would fight the crime with some real human agility as well as a bunch of techno-gadgets and uncover the bad doings of OCP & Co. Robocop would just be some sort of sidekick, drop in every now and then and do what he does best: Stomp around, brag about legal paragraphs and tank everything to dust.

Unfortunately for my concept, yet fortunately for videogame and movie lovers, we will all see a brand new and contemporary Robocop movie next year! And guess what: The new Robocop will be depicted without his major flaw of lameness. He is so fast, apparently he can even run and jump at high speed. Murphy 2.0 also seems to prefer a fast motor bike instead of a car. (

Not only that the new movie looks really promising, I think we can all expect a future with more than one new Robocop game. And since the Robocop of this century can obviously do a lot more things than the old one, the cards are mixed again and give us seemingly unlimited options. Please give us good new Robocop games! And if you still want to go with my idea,... you know where to find me. I'd be happy to help you with the game design.

Play more! Stomp more!

Monday, October 14, 2013








A few days ago I stumbled over a shared post on g+ showing footage of a game in development called SOMA. The video was breathtaking, to say the least, and I started to search for more information about that game (; It is currently developed by The Chinese Room under Frictional Games and due 2015 on PC and PS4. According to the internet Frictional Games has earned quite some credits over the last years with two major franchises Penumbra and Amnesia. The last Penumbra (Requiem) was released in 2008 and the most recent Amnesia (A Machine for Pigs) was released just this year! Unfortunately I haven't played a single Frictional Games title so far, but rest assure that will change! I thought I heard of the titles already and yes, after searching through one of my countless lists I actually found a note reminding me of playing them. - Apparently the titles came up a lot during a time when I was browsing through a ton of "Top whatever scary games"-videos on YouTube...

All the games Frictional Games had their hands on were PC-only so far, but SOMA will also be released for PS4. I think it's safe to say that Amnesia (above) and Penumbra (further down) were not necessarily mainstream but definitely had a certain community behind their back. After about five titles featuring and therefore expanding their own Frictional Engine, I think going for PS4 was a very smart movie. I am absolutely sure we will hear a lot more about them or rather The Chinese Room the sooner we come to the release of the PS4 version.


So what is SOMA? - Besides the fact that it has some rather famous predecessors. What makes the game special and why the connection to the older games?

Well, in short I think the game could be the new cover girl for horror videogames. Forget about classical Survival-Horror games defined by Resident Evil and Silent Hill, Alone in the Dark, and possibly even earlier games... What we see in SOMA, as well as in the earlier games by Frictional, is a first person view. Yet, they are no shooters like for example FEAR. The games seem a lot more about exploration and interaction with the environment. - Which I personally think is way more scary then having a gun and being ready to shoot at everything that moves. All the games so far can undoubtedly be described as highly atmospheric and dark, even psychological in nature. And this is something I like a lot! Where is the horror in any recent Resident Evil game? Right, there is none. My suggestion to fix Resident Evil: Less is more! What was the last game that really psychologically messed with your head? That made you feel frightened? A game that you simply had to turn off at some point, because it was simply too much? I think SOMA could be that game, should they manage to bring fear into the center while staying as simpe as possible yet providing the player with more and more unanswered questions along the way. Please don't try to explain everything and keep the player helpless. Nothing destroys a good spook quicker than an overpowered hero!



Another - I find to be the most interesting - face about SOMA is obviously the big role of technology and the postmodern. Sometimes I wonder how we can accept the exponential rise of technology without being the least bit afraid or at even concerned about where we are going with that. From what we can see so far this game strongly emphasizes the human merging with the robot and vice versa. It seems to break out of the standard zombie and ghost themes always associated with horror and places the cyborg topic into the spotlight. And THAT is something that makes me probably the happiest person in the world. There are far to few games - even movies - with robots out there that give you the real creeps. We need more robots! We need to make our children instinctively afraid of robots. If you see a robot, shoot it! Seriously, they can be so extremely frightening... just look below and see where we already are!

Do you ever want to get chased by a thing like that because you posted something somebody didn't like

I suggest we all watch SOMA very, very closely and in the meantime probably check out Amnesia or Penumbra.

Play more! Have a good spook!

PS: I just have to show you this!!

This footage from Penumbra is probably the funniest thing I have seen in a while. You should probably don't watch it, if you're planning on playing the game yourself soon...

Now that's what I call some serious spooks!

Also don't forget to check out the page from SOMA ( for more interesting video clips.

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Dear Followers and Readers!

Thanks to recent posts in the Blogger community I was able to change the system and can now use more and better features of my blog. Due to this changes I will now also feature a small news section for those of you not having a google+ profile. I don't know how this will play out and where I am going from here, since something like this wasn't planned from the beginning.
Writing reviews already takes a lot of time and I see no real benefit in feeding you news you can already get everywhere else on the net. However, I will try... try to keep you posted with new things I find to be interesting. I will probably use this news section mainly for short personal announcements, recommendations and information like "I will be on holiday next week, don't expect any new post until...".

Also I don't quite know who this news section will interact with g+, automatic sharing and so on... so yeah... still a lot of testing.

Have fun! Play more!


Thursday, October 10, 2013


Alright, I just have to… Let’s start right away with a negative thing about this game: The title! I hate it so much if they do that. Tomb Raider, we already got a game referred to as “Tomb Raider”. It was published by Eidos in 1996 and is most definitely a game that must have its place in any videogames hall of fame of this universe. So if there is already one game with this title, what brilliant mastermind can have the idea to use the same title again? How is this possible? Don’t you have enough fantasy to come up with another title? Is it just stupid marketing? Do you even think about how much unnecessary confusion you cause with this?

As much as I would like to continue in my rage, I am done. And so are most the negative points of this game. I was kind of worried when I saw the first trailers way back: What? Lara "Teatime" Croft is going Japan? - Something like this was my initial reaction… Well, she did. I think she even looks a bit Japanese now. But ok, after all Square Enix took the franchise. I was just shocked about this and it felt strange at the beginning. But holy mother of Yamatai, I could not have been more wrong!

This game takes you back to the beginning of Lara Croft; To a young woman that is more or less unintentionally thrown into the harsh reality of the tomb raiding business. It’s not so much a great adventure as it is the struggle of a weak and fragile girl to become the keen and resolute woman we all know as Lara Croft (two big pistols included). The narrative of this game is just awesome and you feel every hit she takes, ever single scar that will forever be a reminder of her painful journey and all the sacrifices she has to make. The setting of the game could admittedly be a nudge more non-Japanese, but ok, at least it is 100% consistent. Square Enix is from Japan, so let the game take place in Japan and in the meantime also try to put some history and culture into the younger folks. Speaking about culture,... about those scars;... I just want to remark here, how absolutely interesting I find it, that Lara is portrait as a weak and almost whiny girl, in contrast to the Lara we know from our childhood. - Yes, she gets stronger and this could very well all be about the narrative, but I am seriously having a hard time thinking of any woman in any form of media that gets bruised so much. I felt like this girl really wants to fall down from everything and after falling also do her best to land in a way that makes you close your eyes. So… is it really just the story, or is this clumsy and struggling depiction of a woman a rather cultural perception? - I leave that up to you.

The game itself nails it's genre description as action-adventure completely and the balance between action and adventure is perfect throughout the entire game. Maybe at the end there are too many enemies and the game seems more like a third person shooter. Actually, I was kind of hoping for some sort of puzzle takedown… you know, when you have to climb somewhere, activate something, and in the end the rock will fall on the bad guy's head. Unfortunately we only got the “grab your shotgun and shoot everything plus occasional quick-time event”-ending. The boss fight was kind of disappointing, but realistic in a strange way… like most of the game. Seriously, I have hardly ever felt anything even close to that level of realism. But I think before I go on, I have to confess that I have played this game on a high-end PC connected to a 47 inch 3D-Television. I might be biased in every single aspect of this review because of that experience. Still I hope you trust me when I say that I also saw the game in its standard optics and also that looked more than great. Nevertheless, if you ever get the chance to experience this game in 3D, you simply must! I saw a lot of 3D things by now, some - mostly IMAX movies - were great and others were a complete waste of time. But this game, utilizing the full potential of the adventure genre as well as the setting and the action aspects, has sort of changed my life! Since I have already seen and played them, I would even go so far to state that this game in its full 3D glory is already better than anything the next-gen platforms have to over for a long time! Bravo, Crystal Dynamics, bravo!

Have you played the newest Batman games? Do you remember the riddles or rather question marks on the maps? - Well, Tomb Raider has something like that too. - A system that always gives you something to do, something to watch for. It’s neither too hard nor too easy but also doesn’t come close to the one in Batman. Unfortunately I also have to say that besides the more than occasional antique you can find hidden in a chest, there is really not much puzzle factor in that game. The game’s puzzles mainly focus on reaching the next area, which in turn has nothing to do with finding a switch or moving blocks, like in the old games. Here you basically solve the “puzzle” by finding the next gadget. To be honest, that’s kind of lame given a Tomb Raider game. I am pretty sure in this part Lara isn't diving one single time. Furthermore the game, although it takes you through several locations, is pretty much as linear as it can get. If you have cleaned a whole area (meaning you found all the small collectables), you are done with that, you can move on and you have absolutely no reason to ever go back to that region. You could go back hunting… but why? You know what? - Next time you give Lara the option to hunt and eat animals to “survive”, why don’t you give her a hunger bar, or let her health drain when she didn’t eat for a while, thus giving the hunting real meaning and not making it so obvious you just put that in to get some more play time out of the game? Yes, the new Tomb Raider is also one of these “auto-health regeneration games”… something I will probably never understand. Where is the challenge in that? Why are medpacks not good enough anymore? Just hiding somewhere for ten seconds and your invisible health bar is full again… this is so ridiculously lame!

In conclusion I cannot stress enough what a great game this new Tomb Raider is for the biggest part, how well the controls are, how interesting the story evolves and how big the replay value is. Of course there are negative things to say, but those are present in almost every modern game. Things like real health bars, to find and economize items that can heal you or give you ammunition, playing carefully, tricky puzzles, real challenges, and so on are just a few factors that get less important to the developers obviously. I almost cannot believe I am about to say this:... However, if a game is graphically so astonishing (especially in 3D), if a game simply changes your life by making you feel you are really there, you are the one crawling through the tunnels, the one sliding down the pits in the good old-fashioned Tomb Raider style,… if a game is tailored like this and drags you so deep into the adventure, I think I can even look beyond the above mentioned bad things.

You should definitely check out this game, if you haven't yet!