Lara Croft is back in the most emotional and personal adventure yet, continuing where Tomb Raider: Legend left off. In the third and final instalment in the Anniversary/Legend/Underworld trilogy, Lara's quest to find the truth behind Avalon and her mother's disappearance takes her from the Mediterranean Seas to the catacombs under her manor in England and to the Arctic Sea, with a couple of exotic locales in between. During her quest to seek truth, she discovers that in order to open the gates to Avalon, she'll need to recover the hammer of the Norse god of thunder, Thor, along with his belt Mejingjord and his gauntlets to wield his mighty weapon of destruction.
I'm a huge Tomb Raider fan, but I have to admit that I found Underworld to be mildly disappointing in terms of story structure and gameplay. The storyline is overall strong, but the tremendous amount of plot-holes takes away from its strength. I often found myself asking questions that could have and should have been answered along the storyline. The game starts out with Lara leaving a room in her manor, only for explosions to erupt around her. "My God," she exclaims as she covers her face from the flames. She manoeuvres her way through the burning manor and arrives in the grand foyer, and to her surprise, gets shot at by her friend Zip, in an attempt to protect himself and their butler, Winston. As Zip fires the gun at the camera, the flash of the gunshot cuts the scene, and the title sequence unfolds. Three weeks earlier...it informs us, we see Lara looking out into the fog of the Mediterranean Sea from her yacht, and the adventure begins.
As I said before, I found myself often asking questions that could have and should have been answered in the duration of the game, and to avoid spoilers, I won't mention them, but rest assured, they're painfully obvious. We learn along the way that our old friend Jacqueline Natla, who was presumed dead after the events of Tomb Raider 1/Anniversary, returns with Amanda Evert of Legend, whom are antagonists against Lara, and whom are trying to get to Avalon for their own agendas. Their antagonistic behaviour proves to be equally overly dramatic and often times petty on Amanda's part, but it proves to be an obstacle for Lara to overcome.
The gameplay is reminiscent to that of Tomb Raider Legend, but there's a significant change: Lara now moves like a squirrel on crack. That's right, ladies and gentlemen, Lara moves around like she's jittery and hopped up on the magic powder. I found it annoying that Eidos and Crystal Dynamics claimed that Lara's movements are "realistic" thanks to motion capture technology. Well sure, if I was snorting crack before my adventures, I'm pretty sure I'd jump around like that too, but Lara was not on drugs, and therefore should have manoeuvred like a normal human. Other than that, there's nothing different than Legend, which is very enjoyable.
All in all, the game is moderately fun and only deserves a single playthrough, considering the relics and artifacts to be found aren't really worth going through each level again, unless you're an OCD gamer and need to collect every item and unlock every bonus piece the game has to offer, then by all means, have fun. It's a good game, but unless you're a solid Tomb Raider fan, this game won't have much to offer you.