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Level: BtB2020 - A Matter of Life and Death back home search
Author(s): BtB 2020
total rating:9.38 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adrian 6 7 7 7
Allicya 10 10 10 10
BlackWolfTR 9 10 10 10
eRIC 8 9 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 10 9 10 10
Jose 10 10 10 10
nad 8 8 9 9
Relic Hunter 8 9 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
The Snarky Lesbian 10 8 10 9
Treeble 10 10 10 10
category averages
(12 reviews)
9.08 9.17 9.67 9.58

Reviewer's comments

"From my viewpoint , this level is on the podium of this btb contest concerning looks and atmosphere. Very beautiful and immersive. Divided in three parts : exploration and puzzles in a village and mountains , an underground world very atmospheric reminding what originally Tombraider is all about, and a floating islands world. Gameplay is on the easy side , the fluency of the progression gave a good gaming experience. Only a few minor things worked less : too many objects in the village , and in the mountains the tents seem out of place and i could have done without the gunmen which does not add much. There are many details i appreciated a lot and the ending is great. This level comes from a very talented builder and will remain as a good memory." - eRIC (08-Jul-2020)

"Here's a three-parter spanning three distinct locales, preferring to utilize small, centralized hubs over sprawling maps to deliver its experience. Part one features a peaceful Tibetan village in the afternoon where Lara helps the townsfolk with a few errands that organically opens up the other town areas as she finds a way to go up in the nearby mountains. Gameplay is focused mostly on exploration and light platforming while the main highlight is the atmosphere and mood of the village itself and the surrounding mountains and caves. There is action through shooting some mercenaries, and and a chance to double the catharsis with a snowmobile which provides a fun ride through the caves and jumping some distant gaps. The little jail with the yetis was a nice atmospheric piece as well. Part two centers on a temple where the ante picks up. The platforming becomes more challenging, there are blade and spike traps to contend with, hostile wildlife, wrapped up in beautifully themed surroundings. The courtyard certainly impressed, and even the side rooms all had a unique character about them. The non-linearity of completing the tasks is also a nice touch that allows for brisk progression. This leads up to the final part, taking place in a mystic floating islands-esque sanctuary. The author went all out with the visuals and atmosphere here, creating a breathtaking landscape suitable for a finale. The temples were beautiful, the platforming enjoyable, and the finale with the dragon wrapped things up nicely. I liked the twist with freezing the dragon to plunge the dagger in the beast to slay it. Almost like a reverse-homage of TR2. While generally excellent, I felt that just as I was getting to enjoy and appreciate the mood of each part it would end. I would have liked each part to have more content and last a little longer honestly. Still this adventure is excellent and is being deemed a fan favorite of the competition. Great work!" - Relic Hunter (07-Jul-2020)

"Truly beauty must be in the eye of the beholder, because unlike La Snarky et al, this level left me somewhat cold. The gameplay was simplistic, linear and non-exacting in the first 2 levels. For me there were too many unnecessary collisions because of the narrow corridors and object placement, in all levels but especially with the dragon. The enemies were too easy to neutralize - you could even kill the yetis whilst they were 'protected' in their cages. The secrets were mostly visible & straightforward. However the ice-encased switches and yetis were a nice touch as was the wraith lading to a key." - Adrian (06-Jul-2020)

"This might have been the most fulfilling Tomb Raiding experience I've had in a while. I mean, sure, the bar is incredibly high these days, but this level in particular hit all the right notes for me. It has great looking envinronments, ranging from a small town to a massive series of underground temples to a beautiful Floating Islands-like finale. They don't all just look great, gameplay is a lot of fun and it's a lot more elaborate than usual, and yet the level design always pushes you onto the right path. The only place I found myself stuck was near the end as I wouldn't have thought of shooting the spirit, instead trying to find the proper angle to shoot what I thought was a shatterable object in the distance (it wasn't). I also thought it was neat how the mercenaries blasted their way in, which in turn caused the locals to disappear, the fight against the dragon was pretty inventive, and then the ending cutscene was brilliant. tl;dr: If you can only play one BtB-Tibet level, make sure it's this one. 100 minutes, 5 secrets plus bonus. 06/20" - Treeble (06-Jul-2020)

"Now here's an undisputed potential winner and takes its well deserved place as my favourite level in this year's contest so far. It might be a three-parter, but actually the duration is more manageable than some of the far more lengthier submissions in this competition. Every possible component is just worked out so brilliantly that you just have to admire it. The architecture is striking and impressive (this builder clearly possesses a genuine, exquisite eye for detail as pretty much no area is neglected) and together with the palpable atmosphere, this level is quite possibly one of the best looking Tibet levels around. The object usage is ingenious, the secret quest is nicely executed alongside the generous rewards, which believe me you'll need, and the gameplay remains challenging, intense and engaging throughout without causing the player to get annoyed or frustrated, with a mixture of tasks to satisfy pretty much every raider. I particularly liked the casual exploration in the opening village area, the scissor blade push puzzle, the rotating wheel puzzle and the boss fight, which served as a fitting finale to a most satisfying, brilliant, enjoyable and exhilarating raid. Hugely recommended." - Ryan (04-Jul-2020)

"Although this is split into three parts, it’s by no means of longer duration than normal for a B2B level and I really loved the totally believable progression from Lara exploring the thoroughly charming village, riding a snowmobile through the mountain areas and ending in a Floating Islands temple setting. Being composed of three separate, compact areas, rather than one huge imposing area certainly makes this a very player-friendly experience and I enjoyed it immensely. Good varied tasks to achieve, some nicely innovative touches and a fun boss ending. And how nice to see Lara going back to her hotel for a well earned rest. Lovely." - Jay (28-Jun-2020)

"This level consists of three independent parts, but when viewed together, they tell a coherent story. It begins in a Tibetan village, where Lara, after some tasks she has to master, finds her way into the second part, an abandoned and hidden village, to finally land in the third part in a parallel world with floating islands. All three parts are well designed, the lighting and the music are well balanced. The game can be played smoothly without having to make many detours. There are no difficult tasks, so that every player gets his money's worth. The third part had some weaknesses in the gameplay, but they didn't bother you after you found the right way. I didn't find the boss fight in the third part so well designed, though, because Lara, regardless of the generous time for the timerun, still hit everywhere. There were too many objects arranged in a small space, which actually only disturbed. A simple level that is recommendable for everyone." - nad (26-Jun-2020)

"Well, really loved this one. It reminded me a lot of the tr2 classic in many moments. It has that classic atmosphere that i loved. My favorite level was the second, i found the looks of the cave quite impressive. Secrets very difficult to find, just got three and i saw that the room near the end had lots of slots to place the secrets. I like the idea of Lara going to some kind of a spiritual realm, very creative! One of the best tibet levels i played so far. I really love floating islands of tr2. I found that sometimes new features in this level made it confusing to play (its a minor factor) but i needed time to figure out the thing with this floating white soul to get the key in the floating islands. I had some difficulties in the final boss too... I wanted to use the dagger like the tr2 but i had to try some times to get it. The problems are very feel, the game is incredibly good! I guess theres no need for point deductions in this one. Congratulations! Highly recommended!" - Allicya (26-Jun-2020)

"It's very good game with 3 levels. First was in beautiful village. Village was really nicely decorated. I like idea of trade with villagers. And also like when the thugs blow up the building. We have also occasion to ride with snowmobile. Second level was placed in undergrounds with beautiful buildings. There we had many puzzles. Third level was set in floating islands. There we have also battle with boss that is ingenious. All of this was very nicely textured and lighted and atmosphere was very good. I got 2/6 secrets and completed this in 1 hour and 34 minutes. Definetly reccomended. Thanks!" - BlackWolfTR (25-Jun-2020)

"Here's an amazing set of three levels that looks and feels great from the start to the finish. I must say I rather liked the very first one, set in a lovely Tibetan village (where Lara gets back to in the end, so she can take a long nap after so much adventuring). Things get heavier and somewhat more confusing in the second level, set in underground spaces and buildings, and then even more in the last one, of the floating isles kind. It is all excellently crafted and I can't really fault it in any department except for a couple of events: a) At the end of the first level, when Lara has to cross a gap on her snow bike, the ledge she has to get to isn't entirely solid, so she has to try a bit until she finally lands safely; b) In the last room with the dragon (thank God the beast isn't extremely dangerous), during her run to use the dagger on the dragon, there are a few objects around that make her collide, hence rendering it difficult to get to the spot in which she has to be to put an end to that loud abomination. That's where my 9 in objects comes from. But other than that, it's a total winner. Lovely." - Jorge22 (24-Jun-2020)

"This was, without a doubt one of the best Tibet levels I have played so far, and what a sight to behold this level set is. The atmosphere and themeing, while in line with the rest of the BtB2020 Textures, feels completely unique to me. While my previously most beloved Tibet-style level has been Phryne Croft's The Discovery, that one had still been relatively typical in terms of theming. This set however would go from a mountain village calm to temples of spirit and tranquillity. And tranquillity is something I haven't really felt in a level at all yet. Both the first and last level (3 Levels) excel at this, and it was thoroughly enjoyable and unique. All these places seemed to actually been build by a different culture (as opposed to areas in my beloved TR1 and 2, that tend to not differ much in their thematic structuring. I apologise for not being able to explain this well, but these levels just seem to have a special kind of respect to them, they feel warm, peaceful, spiritual, tranquil. And the soundtrack absolutely helps in that. Amazing, really really amazing. Now the action is, as the nature of tranquillity seems to suggest, more on the thinner side, but that makes sense both from a thematic sense as well as gameplay, meaning I did not get bored at all. And I'm a TR2 knucklehead, I normally need my shootie bang bang or I'll start drooling. This is just so beautifully calm. The first level having some bandits in the end and the second level occasionally having the odd snow leopard to come play. I would absolutely argue that, despite my love for more action and dislike of puzzles, the placement of encounters and the flow in general works thematically well and is an easy 10 points for me. Additionally I admit, this level set's take on the "Floating Isles"-archetype is very unique, and it is stunning to me that this archetype can create both a feeling of void and horror (Feder's Templar's Secret) and peace and tranquillity (this level). The range is just so inspiring. I would wholeheartedly recommend this level set, as I enjoyed it immensely. Only thing that keeps distracting me is the weird walking animation Lara has in this set, where she hops up and down constantly, but that is not a fault of the level and did not go into the Review Score." - The Snarky Lesbian (17-Jun-2020)

"I only played a couple of levels, but I think this one will be in the first places of the contest. Really a professional work with a lot of effort behind; not a single level but no less than three mini-levels very laborious to play. I thought it could be complex, but once you start and explore the different areas, there are enough hints so the gameplay gets fluid enough to keep the interest. The secrets are really hard to find (I only found 2); the architecture is fantastic and the textures very well applied. The enemies are very well balanced, and the final battle with the dragon reminded me the final level from TR2, not too hard this time. There's a balanced use of cameras and sounds too, creating a cool atmosphere. Maybe some of the sections deserved a 9, but in the end I didn't have to ask for help in the forum and the mini-adventure entertained me a lot several hours. Excellent work you can't miss." - Jose (16-Jun-2020)
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