Good ol' Tomb Raiding as it used to be, and then some!
Find this, use it to unlock that, go down there - find that, come back, use it here to unlock that, go on, use this switch, etc..
The one thing I wanted after the linear disappointingly short and linear TR legend and Hub levels. In TR:U, it's Hub-a-plenty. Every level (with the exception of one) was a hub-level.
Those are the sort of puzzles I was after! Looking for keys and switches to open doors. Sure, they're not the most brain-taxing 'puzzles' out there, but damnit - they're so Tomb Raider! The difficulty level is just right. The puzzles themselves aren't that hard, but the locations make up for that by having you actually search and plan out your routes around areas.
There was so much exploring to be done! The levels were huge .
The action has been brought back to the middle of the room, as opposed to around the walls. It's much better than it's two predecessors, Lara's expanded move-set means there's much more to do than ledge-hop and swing on poles.
The game isn't constant ambience with music cropping up at "reveal" moments as it was in the older games and TR:A - it was quite the blend between legend and TR:A.
Yes, you've got the places with the good ambience silence and noises in all the right places. Then you've got the 'Epic music' parts when a score will kick in towards the ends of the levels, which pretty much signalled that you've done everything you needed to do and you needed to get out of there ASAP before something blows up or someone gets away.
Even though the levels were big, the game still felt too short.
Take a couple of years, and give us a longer adventure! The gameplay was absolutely brilliantly Tomb Raider, we just need more of it at a time!
Admittedly, there are some unfortunate camera issues - mainly when Lara's in a tight space, the camera will go all wobbly. Motion-sickness-sufferers beware of that!
Some have experienced bugs in the game, but I guess I got lucky again as I did with the Angel of Darkness, and didn't experience a single buggy problem.
I'm more than happy with TR:U. The series is finally properly back on track after the last couple of years - third time's the charm with Crystal Dynamics it seems.
Roll on TR9!