It must not have been sitting well with LucasArts to see a game franchise that was once credited for spawning Lara Croft being thoroughly surpassed by her. I'm sure the developers went to work on Infernal Machine with the goal of unseating Ms. Croft from her throne. Unfortunately, it could also be possible that like every other developer in the world these days, they looked at the success of Tomb Raider and decided if they locked themselves in a room with Tomb Raider I, they could make a clone and watch the money roll in. My proof? How about the fact that the game plays as awkwardly as the first two Tomb Raider games? As Chi mentioned, all the problems that plagued Lara also plague Indie and he just doesn't have the 'assets' to distract players like Lara does.
Chi mentioned something that really only occurred to me after I stopped playing. I was so caught up in playing through as much of the game as I could for the review that I never felt any urgency or purpose in what I was doing. With so few cut-scenes and dialogue, I was really just going from point A to point B climbing walls and solving puzzles. It was never about stopping the Russians but more about getting to the end of the level. To compound this distance the game keeps from the player, I felt like I was lead around on a leash. Not just in terms of the story but in the levels themselves, everything seemed 'too prepared' for me to use. If I needed to get to a ledge, there just happened to be a collapsed column there for me to jump off of. And what has been a peeve of mine sine I first played Tomb Raider is the location of keys and other items to help me progress through levels. Why is it that keys and other artifacts are always placed so far apart? Would the indigenous people who populated these tombs and temples be so stupid as to put things they needed to get around the place so far away from each other?
Combat in Infernal Machine was also a let-down. Even with an auto-aim feature, locking onto enemies can only be done in close proximity. If I saw an enemy, I would have to get close enough to shoot him, but the problem with that is that he was also close enough to shoot me and his aim was also much better. This aspect of the game sort of negated the use of what should have been THE reason to pick up Infernal Machine: Indie's famous whip. I was dying to use it to knock weapons out of the hands of enemies, grab things for swinging, and even to hit things from a distance. It takes so long for Indie to actually use it that I was often left wide open for attack. In fact, the whip is basically only good for climbing and that being the case, Indie would be better off carrying around a strong rope rather than trying to impress the women with his oh-so-cool whip.
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