Tomb Raider was an excellent reboot of the mainline Lara games, but there are a few fans of the spin-off release, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. It was a game that offered a purer experience that had more in common with the original Tomb Raider than anything since, mixing action with plenty of puzzle solving and most importantly, the raiding of tombs.
It was a game that was received really well by both critics and fans alike, but it never seemed to do as well commercially as the high review scores suggested it should. However that hasn’t stopped a follow up for current gen consoles and PC. As this time Lara (and Carter Bell) are is joined by Osiris and Horus to defeat the evil god Set.
This is a story that is set up purely to play to the games strengths and make the 4 player co-op make sense. It doesn’t do anything spectacular and won’t remain with you forever, but as far as stories go for setting up puzzles and fights…Yeah it is perfectly acceptable.
It isn’t the story we came for though, it is the wonderful gameplay, which is back in full force from the original, but has been tweaked and improved from the bottom up. As with Guardian of Light, Temple of Osiris is best played with friends in co-op, but what you have here is something that works dynamically based on how many are playing.
The last effort was clearly designed for co-op which made it a bit dull in single player, here though there has been care and attention put into any type of playthrough. Single player has many strengths and is perfectly playable and fun, but when you add extra players, there is a dynamic change to the way levels play out.
It is a clever system that does a great job of adjusting how the game is played and how puzzles are solved, as well as how enemies are tackled. What this does is ensure that the game isn’t just a single player game with co-op options, nor a co-op game which has had some single player options shoe-horned into it.
It goes beyond just changing how puzzles are solved and that sort of thing, the loot pickups also have different effects based on how many are playing. Aside from personal pickups, that effect your own character, there are group loot items, that affect everyone that is playing and rather than simply being just shared health and gems, it does something with the way weapons work.
If one player picks up a loot item that allows them to use a spread shot and another gets one that gives them fireball shots, the two will combine to give you spread fireball shots. Which is utterly fantastic, as are some of the combinations you can create throughout the game. These aren’t just endless though, as taking damage will also restrict their use which keeps them just about perfectly powered.
It’s not just the various pick ups that impress. Each character has their own set of abilities, with Lara and Carter having a similar set, then Osiris and Horus also having similar, but again with each having their own signature also. It means that again the balance spot on no matter how many players you have.
That is the thing that really impresses with Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, it has wonderful balance throughout. Sitting there enjoying the game on your own, with others in the same room, with others online or even through PS4’s Share Play feature. All these options will see the age of co-op games rise to the top and this is a great example of how good it can work.
It’s not the longest game you’ll ever play, but it is a game you’ll be happy to go to time and time again. Because aside from the main missions, there are various collectibles, extra dungeons and reasons to go back to beat all the objectives and challenges. Do it on your own, then do it all again with friends and again with other friends. There will also be some DLC (as there is a season pass) that will hopefully also add more for you to enjoy.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a fantastic game. It doesn’t matter one little bit if you are a long time fan of Lara, or not, just the game alone is worthy of your time and the co-op is some of the most enjoyable you will experience. A wonderful end to 2014.