Day 7. Tomb Raider: Legend
All the gamers whose hearts have been broken by Lara Croft can now give a sigh of relief. The nightmare called Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is over. The publisher Eidos Interactive took notice of the pleas and requests of the army of fans and released Tomb Raider: Legends that has not only an advanced graphics engine, but also a well-developed plot and cleverly designed levels. The developers from Crystal Dynamics have managed to make the process of solving puzzles, beating various enemies and searching for artifacts of ancient civilizations as exciting as in the previous games of the series.
No matter what we tried, we couldn’t make the ATI multi-GPU platform work correctly with Tomb Raider: Legend. Without an opponent, the GeForce 7900 GTX SLI becomes the fastest solution in its class whereas the GeForce 7950 GX2, which doesn’t have a direct market competitor too, easily outperforms the Radeon X1900 XTX.
As for the speeds the cards provide, you may want to reduce the level of detail if you play this game in 1920x1200 on a GeForce 7900 GTX or a Radeon X1900 XTX: 25-30fps may not be enough in the most complex scenes.
We tested Tomb Raider: Legend in its Next Generation Content mode which involves Shader Model 3.0 and produces beautiful visual effects but, as is often the case, is a heavy load for the graphics card.
It seems that not all of the effects of this game consist of math1ematics-heavy shaders. ATI’s formula that implies a 1-to-3 ratio of textural operations to arithmetic ones doesn’t work here well, and the GeForce 7900 GTX is considerably faster than the Radeon X1900 XT in all the resolutions. The gap is very small in 1920x1200, but the speeds of the cards are too low then for the results to be of any practical meaning. The same is true for the Radeon X1900 GT and the GeForce 7900 GT. The Radeon X1800 XT has one important advantage that helps it beat the GeForce 7900 GT – it has more graphics memory. This factor is important for Tomb Raider: Legend, especially in the Next Generation Content mode.
Speaking in general, none of the modern high-end graphics cards can ensure a comfortable speed in this game even in 1280x1024 resolution because the min speed is below 20fps. If you are going to play like this, you will sooner or later encounter situations when the game slows down too much and prevents you from accurately controlling the heroine.