LARA Croft returns in a breezy arcade-style stocking filler for Tomb Raider fans
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Platform: Xbox One (reviewed) / Playstation 4 / PC
WITH the next Tomb Raider game proper not due out until next year as a timed Xbox exclusive, this downloadable title is a stocking filler from Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix. An isometric platform puzzler which follows on from Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, the game is essentially a diluted compilation of familiar Tomb Raider tropes, in turn influenced by the popular Lego series. Although the experience is brief - it can be completed in around five hours - there is ample variety to make the compact package a worthwhile stopgap.
The premise of the adventure is delightfully airy and harks back to the franchise’s first outings in the original Playstation era. Revolving around ancient Egypt and cursed Gods, Lara and her team break into a temple only to discover - unsurprisingly - that a torrid time awaits them. This is no origins style story that seeks to explore the backstory of one of gaming’s iconic characters. It is a skit with little substance, with the focus firmly on the gameplay.
Co-operative play sees the puzzles become before difficult, requiring teamwork
The game is passable enough in single player but is best played in co-operative multiplayer, with up to four people able to join in. Depending on the number in any one game, Temple of Osiris will up its difficulty, meaning that your squad members become increasingly interdependent on one another the more of them there are. The environmental puzzles - a flurry of levers and switches - do not pose a stern test for anyone who has played previous Tomb Raider games, but even so, solving a challenge tomb with a quartet duly brings a light moment of relief as the players descend into a room full of glittering treasure, scrambling to loot the proceeds in a Diablo-inspired free for all.
The mechanics are largely sound without offering anything remarkable. The twin stick combat system is responsive and fun to use and the mixture of fighting and puzzles is best married during the boss battles, which require some thoughtful teamwork. Generally, the isometric camera viewpoint does a good job of accommodating four player action. However, the vantage does have its drawbacks, not least in the way it makes jumps that are already hazardous even more difficult to judge, leading to frustrating deaths.
It does not reinvent the series but complements it
In the Tomb Raider canon, Temple of Osiris is not significant. It is a throwaway game designed for a quick, breezy co-operative playthrough and it is not a game you are likely to revisit often upon completion. That said, when it works well and the action flows, it is a reminder of all the fun aspects of Lara Croft’s adventures. It does not promise to reinvent the series, simply to complement it, a job it does well.
TIPS AND TRICKS:
Take your time with some of the more hazardous jumps. It is best to line up your character before taking the leap.
The magic staff is an interesting weapon but incomparable to the power of Lara’s gun when you are looking to clear a room of enemies quickly.
Combat in Temple of Osiris is not taxing but if you are struggling, try collecting to gems to upgrade your offensive capabilities.