Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4Also available on PC and Microsoft Xbox One
When gamers think of Lara Croft and Tomb Raider, the majority of people will reminisce about the classic PS1 titles or look back on the 2013 reboot. However back in 2010 Square Enix attempted to slightly shift this perception with the release of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, a co-operative action game with a fixed isometric camera. Now four years later, developers Crystal Dynamics are back with a sequel called Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, which brings the co-operative experience and isometric camera to the PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. So, have Crystal Dynamics discovered a pot of gold or a stinker? Here at The Digital Fix, we think they’ve uncovered some riches.
Much like its predecessor, Lara’s latest isometric adventure is light on story. When Lara Croft and a rival treasure hunter named Carter Bell discover the magical staff of Osiris, they also accidentally awaken an evil god called Set. Upon his awakening, the two treasure hunters are joined by Osiris’s wife and son, who all band together to stop Set’s evil plans by recovering fragments of Osiris which are littered throughout nearby tombs. The story here isn’t exactly gripping and it won’t get you thinking past its ending, but it gets the job done. Obviously we can’t expect a big and engaging story we see in the Tomb Raider games released at retail, but if a third game is made in the same vein as the previous two, then the story is definitely an area for improvement.
If you participated in Lara’s previous isometric undertaking, then you’ll feel right at home here. The basic formula stays the same with movement and aiming mapped to both thumbsticks, with shooting requiring a tap of the right trigger button. You’ll begin the game with Lara’s classic set of handguns, but before you know it the player will be building up a large arsenal including a sub-machine gun, shotgun, flamethrower and even a rocket launcher. The spear from Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light is replaced with a magical staff this time around, which can fire a laser beam. Not only can the staff kill enemies, it can also manipulate the environment within the tombs. You’ll be able to raise platforms to reach new areas, slow down the timer on a ticking time bomb and decelerate the speed of a cog so Lara can slip by it unharmed. Lara’s staff is a neat little addition to an already impressive list of weaponry, and the controls complement this by feeling natural and easy to use. Rest assured, you’ll be able to deal with foes the way you want to without any troubles.
Every one of the nine tombs within the game comes with its own distinct puzzling feel, including many that base themselves around a particular theme or method of tackling its puzzles. The three tombs that stood out the most for us were one that uses mirrors to reflect and direct light to certain places within the level, another where the player is tasked with heating water up using the environment around them, and finally a tomb which tests the player in their navigation skills as they try to avoid a deadly gas. Furthermore, these themes are incorporated into the boss battles at the end of each tomb. We previously mentioned the tomb that uses mirrors to direct light, and this is integrated into that tomb’s final boss, where the player must use both the light and mirrors to defeat it. While none of these themes are new to videogames, or even Lara Croft games, they help to break up the gameplay a little and keep the player guessing about what they’ll be doing next.
The main collectables in the game are gems, and they tie into a whole host of other elements. Spread throughout the game’s hub world and at the end of each tomb are chests, which use gems to unlock them. The player collects gems off every enemy killed and pots which can be destroyed to collect the gems inside. Once the player amasses enough gems to unlock a chest, they’ll gain the ring or amulet inside. Rings act as perks, and they can give boosts to a variety of stats, from an increase in the player’s attack damage to a bigger blast radius for Lara’s bombs. Every perk comes with a kickback though, such as limiting your usage of a perk to a certain time of day, so you must choose carefully. Amulets on the other hand benefit both you and anyone you’re playing with, but only activate after killing a certain number of enemies or collecting the required number of gems. Unfortunately their effects run out quite quickly, so they may be forgotten about in the heat of battle.
Gems also play into the points challenge every tomb has, which is split into three tiers: bronze, silver and gold. Gems are the main contributor to your points tally, but you can also boost your score further by completing side objectives within the level. These optional objectives range from completing the level within a certain time, killing a certain number of enemies in a specific way, to getting a high number of kills with a certain gun. The points challenges and side objectives promote replayability and give players something extra to do after they complete the game’s six-hour campaign.
One of the game’s biggest draws is that it can be played in its entirety with up to three friends in drop-in/drop-out co-op. Tombs are actually altered depending on how many people are playing at any one time, with switches moved to different areas, paths that were once clear in single-player were blocked, and some orbs removed completely. This all works to promote teamwork and communication between you and your friends, and is the best way to experience the game.
As well as the nine tombs to explore, there are also five tomb challenges for the player to complete. These challenges take place in tombs separate from the main game and are generally quicker to finish, but they still offer loot such as guns and gems. Upon completion of the game, players can go back and visit all nine main tombs and the five challenge tombs to try and obtain rarer loot from chests and complete any side objectives they may have missed. All of this works to make sure the player has something to do once they’ve completed the game’s story missions.
Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris is a worthy follow up to its 2010 precursor and expands on everything that was put in place in the Guardian of Light. Whether experienced in single-player or in four-player co-op, the game is a lot of fun and always keeps the player guessing about what they’ll be doing next. While the story does leave a lot to be desired, the fascinating tombs and user-friendly controls make up for it and create an enjoyable experience that anyone who is a fan of Lara Croft could appreciate. If you’ve already finished all of 2014’s blockbusters and are looking for something to play over the Christmas period, look no further than Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris.