Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC
Genre: Action Platforming
I love a game that does something different. It doesn’t have to be original, just do something that not every developer and their dog is currently flogging to death. So when Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was released, I was over the moon with it. It reminded me of the isometric action-RPGs of yesteryear, but with Lara Croft, guns and a focus on co-operative puzzle solving and combat. It was and still is a fun downloadable romp.
It was inevitable then, that Crystal Dynamics would try to catch lightning in a bottle twice with a sequel to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. When ‘Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris’ was officially announced, I once again found myself excited for another arcade Lara Croft game. This time however, players would be able to team up with up to three other players for 4-player co-op gameplay, and what could be better than that?
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is finally out, and while it is a fun and serviceable game, a lot of the charm that made the first one a must-play title is missing. Sure, 4-player co-op can be fun, but a lot of the previous game’s charm seems to be missing, with an engaging story replaced by a very goofy one reminiscent of an 80’s Saturday morning cartoon, and I don’t mean a fun one like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, I mean a goofy one like Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos.
The story feels rushed, and rushed from the get-go. Not much is explained but to be honest, the real fun is in the gameplay, not the rather horrid voice acting and by-the-numbers plot. Lara Croft is exploring tombs in Egypt. She encounters rival treasure hunter Carter Bell and while there, they uncover an ancient artifact known as the Staff of Osiris. Unfortunately for them, it also unleashes Set, a demi-god who aims to destroy the world (or enslave it, the game didn’t exactly make it apparent). With their new-found companions Isis and Horus, they have to recover the pieces of Osiris, resurrect him, and foil Set’s plan, bla bla bla.
While I wish the story had a little more going for it, the gameplay mostly makes up for the lack of a decent story. Each players has different abilities in their arsenal, from Lara’s grappling hook gun to the Staff of Osiris itself, each player will have their chance at being integral to defeating a boss, solving a fiendish tomb puzzle or providing an advantage in combat.
Now while I have made mention of the story being somewhat weaker than the previous Lara Croft game, the puzzles themselves have actually gotten quite challenging, even to players who have previously conquered Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. One puzzle in particular, saw my friends and I having to raise a large explosive ball over different obstacles, launching it precariously across spiky pits and reaching its goal within a very strict time limit. It probably took us at least half an hour of trial and error before we beat it, and felt quite rewarding once we did. I’m thankful that there can be a game with gameplay that doesn’t always hold the players hand and all but guide them through difficult gameplay.
Combat-wise, things are identical to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Movement is controlled by the left analog stick, with aiming on the right. The right trigger shoots but players can also evade attacks by rolling, lay down explosives (which can hurt themselves and other players) and more. Ultimately though, the action doesn’t truly offer a challenge until the game’s various boss battles, which can sometimes prove quite difficult -and make the game feel somewhat inconsistent. Once again, I appreciate the game not holding players’ hands, but a gradual increase in difficulty would have been preferred to an out of nowhere difficulty spike.
For a game designed around the idea of four-player multiplayer, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris manages to have frequent hiccups that stem from that very feature. More often than not, the game’s camera can’t actually zoom out enough for players to roam around the temple comfortably during puzzle sequences. The edge’s of your screen will act as a fence or wall of sorts, meaning that you can’t disappear of screen even for a nanosecond, and that your fellow players will have to co-ordinate their movements to move the camera for you – this is a nightmare with players who don’t have a chat mic.
- Puzzles are both challenging and entertaining
- Four-player arcade co-operative gameplay
- Story is barely present, and when it is it’s downright woeful
- Four-player gameplay can be frustrating
Overall, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is an enjoyable title, but one that doesn’t feel as though it has progressed from the first entry in the series. Gameplay is largely identical to the first game, but the story isn’t even close to the same level, meaning the game isn’t as entertaining overall as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was. Still, if you’re after a four-player action romp with challenging puzzles, it might be worth checking out Lara Croft and Temple of Osiris.