For those who remember Lara’s last digitally exclusive title Guardian of Light, they’ll no doubt have a recollection of increasingly frustrating levels that when solved with a friend felt rather rewarding. Now we are set to discover the follow-up adventure for Lara, hoping to find more puzzles and great co-operation than ever before. Will we find that Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris shines like an ancient jewel or could it be more like smoke and mirrors?
Lara Croft has arrived in Egypt to explore the Temple of Osiris, only to be pipped to the post by her over-eager rival Carter Bell. Carter can’t control himself and goes straight for the Staff of Osiris, thus triggering a chain reaction of events that leads to curses all round and an evil God named Set being unleashed. It’s time to resurrect Osiris by finding his fragments scattered throughout with the help of Horus (Osiris’ son) and Isis (Osiris’ wife) who have also been awoken.
What is clear from the outset is that you’ll have to have your brain in gear, as the deeper you delve into the game the more difficult the puzzles will get. These could be manoeuvring bombs to break down walls in your path, placing balls on switches and sometimes even positioning mirrors to deflect beams. Compared to the previous game though they never feel anywhere near as long and drawn out, in fact even the difficulty isn’t all that and logic gets you to a solution after an attempt or two.
Obviously there’s a little more to it than just solving problems, the small matter of enemies in many shapes and sizes need taking care of. Although just a mere adventurer, Lara is kitted up for a fight with her pistols, a staff and other weapons picked up along the way to decimate the various skeletons, bugs and crocodiles on legs. It keeps the killings fresh being able to use grenade launchers, carbines, shotguns etc. but they won’t just be handed to you, oh no you’ll be made to earn them after navigating your way through a tomb and also by completing level challenges that are set.
The boss levels are what should be battles of epic proportions, given you feel slightly outmatched when you see their sizes. Once you realise how to even the odds it’s just a case of rinse and repeat until they come tumbling down.
Lara and her band of merry men and Gods will move tomb to tomb in search of the pieces needed to bring Osiris back to life. Although in single player the rest of the gang will just stand on the spot and leave you to it. Teamwork isn’t in the A.I.’s dictionary, however not all is lost; you just need some company which can be found online and locally in your own home. This takes me nicely into the co-operative side.
The most anticipated feature this time around was increased co-op capacity for up to four players, surely with four minds merging then it’d be the ultimate easy mode. Well thankfully the game scales in difficulty dependent on the amount of players and it’s noticeable where, if you’re going solo there may be one pressure switch but with two, three or four there’s more to it. The designing of levels to accommodate accordingly without compromising on the original ideas gets my highest praise, it really is a job well done.
I give praise with one hand but sadly have to swipe it away with another, especially for the online side. There are no search parameters, if you want to find a game to join they could be anywhere in the story, as I found out when I was shoved straight into a battle with the biggest baddie in the game, Set!
What also becomes a pain in the backside is when people join and leave the game it’ll instantly reload the checkpoint. There was one level where we couldn’t get past the first checkpoint due to this problem, leading me to think that it’s a game best played in a private lobby with reliable people (there are some out there as I found, eventually). That all being said, the entire game is greatly enjoyable when it’s locked down and there are no greedy partners who care more about collecting gems than helping keep everyone alive.
That’s almost everything except for the collectibles to find that need a keen eye to see, treasure chests to open and player customisation. Not only can a player customise what’s in their weapon slots but choosing which amulets and rings to use could have generous benefits in damage boosts and various other helpful perks for you and your team to thrive on.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is full of puzzles to solve, enemies to defeat and a mean God to put to rest. Gone are the frustrating attempts over and over to make progress in a level, instead it is replaced by the frustration of the online setup. I can’t deny this is a decent single player game; however it is much better in co-op when you get past the annoyances.
Factoring in that it only took me and a new found friend just over three hours to finish the story, it might be overpriced. Sure there’s replayability in the form of meeting the challenge objectives but not everyone enjoys going over old ground.
This tomb raiding experience isn’t too different from the Guardian of Light; hence if you loved that then this is surely worth a gander. For those who found the previous one too tasking this is much kinder on the mind.