Tomb Raider is a series going in two separate directions. On the one hand, you’ve got the new, more grounded, vulnerable, but ultimately murderous Lara from the big budget reboot and the upcoming Xbox One (timed) exclusive, Rise of the Tomb Raider. On the other, you’ve got the download only, isometric, multiplayer-based, Guardian of Light.
While the latter is fundamentally unique in terms of its perspective and gameplay, in terms of tone and aesthetic, it’s the download only titles that remain true to the history of the Tomb Raider series. From its questionable voice acting, rather silly story, emphasis on the supernatural, and of course, Lara’s green vest top, Guardian of the Light and the new, Temple of Osiris continue the traditions that made Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series quite so popular in the first place.
Yes, it’s strange that Square-Enix would essentially split the Tomb Raider brand by creating two separate series that are so tonally and aesthetically opposed from one another, but you know what, it totally works. The ‘new’ Lara simply wouldn’t fit within the confines of an Isometric action game of this type whereas the ‘old’ Lara, what with her rather ridiculous attire and her aptitude for dual wielding weaponry is a much more natural fit by comparison. Most importantly, she also feels much more at home fighting alongside ancient Egyptians who make up two of the four playable characters this time around.
Speaking of four players, beyond the shift from two to four and the obvious graphical upgrade, Temple of Osiris is actually very similar to 2010’s, Guardian of the Light. The movement is a little more, I dunno, ‘skatey’ this time around and platforming isn’t quite as tight as a result, but for the most part, Temple of Osiris feels like a four player re-run of the original……albeit a very pretty one.
That’s not a bad thing though as Guardian of the Light was surprisingly fantastic and, despite a handful of issues, the same is true of the sequel. Yes, the movement isn’t as tight and the need to incorporate four players has meant that the puzzles aren’t quite as interesting this time around, but for the most part, Temple of Osiris is a well-made and highly entertaining follow up.
The obvious draw is the additional players and yes, playing through the game with three friends, preferably via local multiplayer, is certainly a lot of fun. Puzzles scale automatically based upon the number of gamers involved and enemies, while rarely all that challenging, do offer up enough in the way of sheers numbers to ensure that all players have to stay on their toes. The big improvements though come in the form of the gunplay and the absolutely fantastic boss battles.
Sure, character movement remains an issue (why it was changed I will never know), but that is more than made up for via the combat which feels noticeably more refined and rewarding this time around. It really is the boss battles that steal the show though – imaginative and imbued with an entertaining combination of action and puzzle based requirements, the boss battles throughout are some of the finest I have come across in quite some time and are unusually brilliant for a non-Japanese developer.
The story about ancient evil and Egyptian Gods is as throwaway and ridiculous as you might expect, and while character control has taken an odd turn for the worse, just about everything else in Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is of an extremely high standard. From the great gunplay and genuinely brilliant boss battles to the top notch visuals and enjoyable multiplayer puzzles, this really is a worthy successor to the equally fantastic, Guardians of the Light and subsequently amongst the finest co-op games available on current-gen consoles.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Microsoft Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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