Rectify Season 1 Review

by Matthew Thompson (Images-SundanceTV. The Rectify website can be found here)

(This review contains no major spoilers and mainly focuses on the premise and characters of Rectify, so is a safe read for those who have not yet watched the show.)

With network season behind us save a few stragglers that will be dipping into June, I finally have the time to catch up on some shows that I missed the first time around. One that really caught my eye this past year was Rectify. When 2013 came to an end it found itself dotted across many year-end Best of TV lists. Now that I’ve had the chance to watch the first season of the critically acclaimed drama, it is easy to see why. Sundance really struck gold with their first original series on the network Continue reading

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Six Games I Need to See More of at E3

by Matthew Thompson

With E3 fast approaching, I thought I’d take a blog or two to talk about what I’m looking forward to seeing at gaming’s big show. Today I will be talking about six already announced games I want to see more of when E3 rolls around in a bit over a week from now. Here they are Continue reading

Game of Thrones “Mockingbird” Review

by Matthew Thompson (Images-HBO. The Game of Thrones site can be found here)

My clear favorite aspect of “Mockingbird” was the three visits that Tyrion received in his cell this week. I remember commenting a few weeks back that Tyrion probably wouldn’t have much to do between the wedding and upcoming trial other than some guests he’d be seeing while imprisoned, but Game of Thrones has made the most of these visits. I guess it isn’t very surprising. Tyrion has been the strongest part of the season and arguably the show as a whole to this point. And while Game of Thrones most memorable moments have come in the form of shocking deaths (Ned’s, the Red Wedding) and surprising action sequences (Tyrion’s wildfire trap in the Battle of Blackwater, Dany freeing the slaves in Astapor), placing two of the show’s brilliant characters in a room for an extended bit of conversation can deliver just as great of a scene as those flashier ones.

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“If you want justice, you’ve come to the wrong place.” -Tyrion says before Oberyn disagrees in the absolute coolest way possible.

Of course, Tyrion’s visits this week are all about him finding his champion for his upcoming Trial by Combat. His first two guests are probably the most likely candidates. Jaime knows he can’t win a fight as he is still getting to grips with his life as a lefty. And Bronn decides it is not worth the risk. But what it leads to is a much more exciting proposition. Jaime reveals that Gregor “The Mountain that Rides” Clegane will be Cersei’s champion which makes Tyrion’s final visitor, Oberyn Martell, the perfect man to oppose him. While Oberyn came here for the wedding and stayed to judge the trial and sit on the small council, it has been no secret he has had revenge on his mind. The Mountain and Tywin seemed to top his hitlist and he will go against them both in this duel, The Mountain literally and Tywin more figuratively.

Peter Dinklage was spectacular in the scene as he finally sees some hope in his dire situation, but I also can’t say enough good things about Pedro Pascal’s work here as Oberyn Martell. I may sound like a broken record at this point, but he has exceeded my expectations as the fiery Dornish Prince and this week’s powerful scene with Tyrion is just another feather in his cap. Over the past couple of years when other one-on-one fights have occured, I have alluded to one down the road that I was anticipating even more and now it is almost here. I can only hope that the show can do justice to one of my favorite moments in the series when it returns in a couple of weeks.

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The quiet moments of Sansa building a miniature version of her childhood home of Winterfell act as a nice contrast to the wild events that follow.

There was also some strong material in the Eyrie. It begins on a low-key note with Sansa building a snow castle version of Winterfell. I wish that particular part was given a bit more time to breathe. It is a serene moment before shit really hits the fan with Sansa slapping little Robin, Littlefinger kissing Sansa, and then a jealous Lysa confronting her before Petyr comes in and throws her out the Moondoor. I also kind of wish they would have waited to reveal her and Petyr’s hand in poisoning Jon Arryn until this moment like in the book. It was a chapter that really left my head spinning, but that seems like a small gripe on what was a fairly well-done sequence overall. Sansa has jumped from one bad situation to another, so it should be interesting to see what happens with her going forward.

The rest of the time this episode was spent scattered around a number of storylines. Arya and the Hound come upon a man and relieve him of his suffering. Arya also gets to kill Rorge after he and Biter attack Westeros’ favorite odd couple. The Hound later tells Arya where his fear of fire comes from which along with a rather silly scene with the Mountain reminds viewers that he isn’t the nicest of guys with his part in the Trial by Combat so close on the horizon. I enjoyed Pod and Brienne’s scenes this week as well where they meet up with Hotpie and he gives them a badass piece of Direwolf bread and tells them that Arya could very likely still be alive. It was good to see Hotpie again and both of these odd pairings continue to be a fun way to spend a few minutes each episode.

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“They can live in my new world or they can die in their old one.” -Dany states in Essos’ greatest dress.

The other three storylines touched on here didn’t do a lot for me. Jon and company return to the Wall where he is ordered to lock up Ghost, presumably because Alliser Thorne knows the limitations of GoT’s CG budget, and tries to convince the leaders at Castle Black to seal up the tunnel to no avail. It feels like we have been in a holding pattern up North most of this season waiting for the looming battle. Dany’s scenes came off a bit goofy to me. She sends Daario off to clean up the mess in Yunkai after they finally relieve all of that sexual tension. Jorah shows up just in time to become a little more depressed by his status as the Daenerys’ best of friends, but does impart some much-needed advice that will help things go over more smoothly in Yunkai hopefully. Finally there was a short scene involving Melisandre and Selyse which helped the show to meet its weekly quota of nudity and give us the idea that Mel has some kind of plans in store for Shireen.

A few more things:

  • Scene of the Week: Tyrion and Oberyn’s obviously. These two have been amazing this season wherever they pop up. Putting them together? Even better.
  • So we are on the third actor playing Gregor Clegane. I still think the original (Conan Stevens) was probably the best. His look fit better as the Hound’s brother and he looked a bit more menacing than the newest version. The new guy is huge though which I think makes him an improvement over the second Mountain who was a bit too skinny.
  • “Ummm… you were saying?” Brienne with the burn on Pod.
  • Missing in Action this Week: Just loads of people. Like Yara who is presumably somewhere hoping she can paddle faster than dogs can swim. And Tywin who we actually missed because he is always fantastic.

Season 4 continues to roll along with big events seeming to come every week now, something that should continue throughout the rest of the season. A week off for Memorial Day means a little longer until the next episode, but hopefully it is worth the wait!

What did you think of “Mockingbird”? Is this who you expected to be in the Trial by Combat? How do you think it will play out? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Nine New Shows to Watch Next Network Season

by Matthew Thomspon

The 2014 Network Upfronts took place this week which is kind of like the E3 of TV. In the week leading up to it, we typically hear about which current shows will be renewed and which will be canned. The Upfronts are where the networks announce which pilots they will be ordering to series and give us our first look at their 2014 Fall Schedules. There are a lot of interesting things to take away from these meetings, but the most exciting is seeing a slew of new trailers for upcoming shows. With that in mind, I have chosen the nine shows (I couldn’t decide on another to make it a nice round ten) I am most excited to check next network season. To choose these I factored in what I’ve seen of the show (in the form of trailers and clips), what I’ve heard about the show (via interviews and buzz) and the talent involved (from writers to actors). Here they are (in alphabetical order) Continue reading

Game of Thrones “The Laws of Gods and Men” Review

by Matthew Thompson (Images-HBO. The Game of Thrones site can be found here)

As I watched the intro sequence start up for this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, I was about to write in my notes how I was disappointed with the intro sequence this season. Sure we got new locations like the Dreadfort and Meereen at the start of the year, but each episode it has been exactly the same, even when swapping Dragonstone for the Eyrie would have made sense. But as if hearing my pleas, Braavos appears! The Titan of Braavos, a towering statue that straddles the entrance to the Venice-esque city, makes for an iconic monument and the rolling coin was a nice way to link the bank into our first look at this new opening location.

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The much talked about city of Braavos makes an appearance this week.

This leads nicely into the first scene of the episode which shows Stannis and Davos sailing into Braavos for their meeting at the Iron Bank. As much as I love to geek out over the intro sequence, it was even cooler seeing Braavos in the show proper. As someone who has read the source material, a lot of my joy in watching the show comes from seeing things I have read about and only seen in my mind come to life on-screen and this includes seeing new locations like Braavos. It is one of the reasons I hope we end up in places like Casterly Rock and Dorne in the show’s future which have only been talked about to this point. Just seeing how they match up to the picture in my mind would be so much fun.

Stannis and Davos discussions with the bankers in Braavos are fairly interesting. They are all about the numbers over there and seem to make purely logical decisions. But Davos gives an impassioned speech noting that Tywin is long in the tooth and without him, the realm will be in Tommen and Cersei’s hands. And that they’d be better off putting their faith in his man, the reliable Stannis. They get the money and Davos is even able to hire back his old friend Salladhor Saan to help bolster their fleet. It was definitely a good showing for Davos this week.

The sequence that follows, the season’s first appearance of Yara Greyjoy, is really the only blemish on an otherwise flawless episode. I get the point of the whole thing is to show just how broken Theon is at this point, but everything that surrounds it just doesn’t work. The random interspersed sex scenes for no reason. Yara and the supposedly, incredibly tough and armored up Ironborn being able to breach the Dreadfort, only to be run off by a shirtless Ramsey and some dogs. It all just falls flat for me sort of like Locke’s final actions last week. The main takeaways are obviously the hold that Ramsey has on Theon and that Yara has sort of given up on her brother after seeing him in that state. Ramsey also talks of using “Reek” pretending to be Theon to help him get into Moat Cailin (or at least I assume this is the castle he was talking about since Roose tasked him with taking it a few weeks back).

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Drogon is getting big!

This week also saw the return of dragons! Or at least a dragon, as Drogon comes in and roasts a goat before snatching it up and flying off with it. We then transition to Daenerys holding court as the Queen of Meereen. Here the goat herder comes to see her with a pile of charred bones, letting her know what her baby has been up to lately, and she agrees to pay him three times over for his trouble. She is also visited by Hizdahr zo Loraq who asks for his father to be taken down from on a post for a proper burial. He was one of the slavemasters that Dany had crucified and Hizdahr paints him in a much different light than she had originally imagined him. She eventually grants him his wish. These are only a couple of hundreds of visitors she had this day and gives us and her a small slice of the kind of problems she will have to deal with as the new Queen of the city.

From here we head over to King’s Landing for an extended stay for the remainder of the episode. It starts with a small council meeting, our first with a couple of new members. I love the stark contrast between Mace Tyrell’s feeble demeanor and Oberyn’s cocky attitude. This scene also helps to tie together some disparate plotlines as they all discuss various issues around the realm like The Hound in the Riverlands and Dany in Meereen. Tywin seems to have plans for both of them, but we’ll have to see what exactly those entail in the weeks to come. Post-meeting we also see a small conversation between Varys and Oberyn that helps further unravel layers of these two fascinating characters.

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“The absence of desire leaves one free to pursue other things.” -Varys tells Oberyn before glancing towards the background of this shot…

After this it is finally time for Tyrion’s trial to commence. As the three judges and Tyrion look on, a number of witnesses are marched out. Ser Meryn Trant talks about the threats that Tyrion made against Joffrey over the years. Pycelle talks of theft of poison and his belief that Tyrion was behind it. Cersei reiterates that one quote that sticks with her and how this was Tyrion’s way of enacting revenge on her. And Varys talks about some threats Tyrion made against the boy King and how Sansa may have made him more sympathetic to the Northern cause.

This is followed by a brief recess where Jaime pleads with his father to let Tyrion live and talks about something that all the viewers were thinking as they watched, that the trial is a farce, one most likely manipulated by Cersei. The two end up striking a deal. Tywin will send Tyrion to The Wall if Jaime will give up his spot in the Kingsguard and become the heir to Casterly Rock. Jaime seems to even get Tyrion to buy into the plan.

But then everything changes as the final witness makes her way to the stand. It is Shae who betrays Tyrion painting a pretty vivid picture of how he and Sansa conspired to poison and kill King Joffrey. From here Peter Dinklage’s performance takes over. As he twists in agony over his love’s betrayal and lies, he finally breaks. He confesses not to this crime, but of the one his father has held against him all his life: the crime of being a dwarf. He calls out the crowd in the throne room, talking of how he saved them at the Battle of Blackwater Bay. And finally he decides to put his fate in the hands of the Gods and demands a trial by combat just before the episode ends. Dinklage was in top form here giving one of his best performances to date and it made for one heck of an episode.

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“Watching your vicious bastard die gave me more relief than a thousand lying whores.” -One of many great quotes from Tyrion during his final speech.

A few more things:

  • Scene of the Week: Obviously the one with Tyrion’s final speech. It was incredible.
  • I can’t get over how much they have nailed Oberyn. I love everything about him in the show so far.
  • I kind of forgot we’d be taking a week off. Not next week, but the one after between episodes 7 and 8. Going to be a long couple of weeks there!
  • Missing in Action this Week: Another focused episode and I love it. No Arya/Hound, Brienne/Pod or anything up North around The Wall, but the show is better when it doesn’t spread itself too thin in a given week.

“The Laws of Gods and Men” was one of the season’s best episodes. While I didn’t care for Yara’s return to the show, everything else was fantastic. The trial and surrounding actions in King’s Landing were the star of the show buoyed by Peter Dinklage’s incredible performance as Tyrion Lannister, but the other smaller scenes across the narrow scene felt purposeful, making the most of their time this hour. This was an excellent episode that should help propel us into the second half of the season.

Game of Thrones “First of his Name” Review

by Matthew Thompson (Images-HBO. The Game of Thrones site can be found here)

“First of his Name” kicks off right where you’d expect an episode with that title to, the coronation of King Tommen. There is a surprisingly small amount of time spent in King’s Landing by series’ standards. What time we do spend there is focused on Cersei. In three separate scenes, she does her best to butter up the judges in Tyrion’s upcoming trial. While she isn’t exactly showing her truest self, some honesty does come through. Like her words about Joffrey to Margaery or Myrcella to Oberyn. She clearly has an ulterior motive this week, but it is still interesting to try to parse out what’s real and what is just her trying to push the judges in the direction she wants.

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“We don’t hurt little girls in Dorne.” -Oberyn brags more about the greatness of Dorne. “Everywhere in the world they hurt little girls.” -Cersei responds.

There are some other tidbits revealed in these conversations. This isn’t the first time we have heard that the crown is in debt to the Iron Bank of Braavos (whose name also came up in a Davos/Stannis plotline earlier this season), but we do learn for the first time that the gold mines in the Westerlands have dried up. And Oberyn like he has multiple times this season sheds a little more light on Dorne with talk of his eight daughters, Sunspear and the Water Gardens. He continues to act as a good introduction to Westeros’ southern-most kingdom. Even if that, namedropping Elia and his sexual exploits have been the focus of his role thus far, I continue to love Pedro Pascal in the role.

Since Dany’s wacky “Where are muh dragons?” adventure back in Season 2, she has been pretty much a non-stop wrecking ball, freeing slaves and sacking cities throughout Slaver’s Bay with ease. That is one reason this week’s scene, where we hear things are not all rosy in Yunkai and Astapor since she left, is such an important one. Not everything is going her way and seeing how she deals with the consequences should make her scenes a little less one-note. Her deciding to stay and rule also means another delay to her inevitable trip to Westeros. While this may frustrate some viewers antsy to see her join the main fray, I personally think her having to deal with some of the issues she has created of late should be a good thing.

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“I will do what Queens do, I will rule.*” -Daenerys says (*Just not in Westeros… never in Westeros).

Littlefinger and Sansa have arrived in the Vale and the biggest takeaway from what happens up in the Eyrie is that Lysa is a bit of a loon. She is crazy for Petyr and crazy jealous of everyone that might have come between them even accusing Sansa of sleeping with him. We also find out that she poisoned her husband Jon Arryn at the behest of Littlefinger which means the whole sequence of events of the show were put into motion by Littlefinger. So Sansa is stuck up in an impenetrable fortress with the devilish Littlefinger and the volatile Lysa. A definite situation to watch going forward.

This hour ends with a long segment depicting events North of the Wall as Jon and his party from the Night’s Watch attack the mutineers at Craster’s Keep. There is a lot to like here. It acts as a great action sequence to punctuate an otherwise low-key episode. Jon going one-on-one with Karl is fun to watch and I think it is fitting that one of Craster’s daughters who had been tortured there played a role in Karl’s ultimate demise. Ghost got his own revenge on Rast and the reunion between him and Jon was rather nice. I even thought how they represented Jojen’s visions was cool. And it was really just good to see this bunch at the Keep get what was coming to them after seeing what they had been up to all this time.

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“I saw you die tonight. I saw your body burn. I saw snow fall and bury your bones.” -Jojen mouthing off to Karl. I like to think that snow bit had a double meaning.

What I didn’t really like during this final sequence was Locke’s plan. Locke seems like a pretty resourceful guy. He gets himself inside Castle Black, buddies up with Jon and even does a bit of spying on him. He manages to get himself in the party headed to Craster’s and gets to be the one to scout things out despite only being a recruit. And then his big plan is to run off with Bran slung over his shoulder? Ignoring the giant wall that would be in his way or the fact that Jon would likely find out about this from Jojen and company? It all seems a little silly. He probably would have been better off letting Jon take Bran back to Castle Black and then trying to steal off with him in the night. So now it just feels like for Bran’s journey to continue North as intended, Locke became a bit of a moron all of a sudden. This really isn’t a big gripe in the grand scheme of things, but after watching it, I was just left scratching my head a bit.

A few more things:

  • Scene of the Week: I’ll take the fight between Jon and Karl. I liked seeing Karl’s two dagger style and it reiterated the idea that Bronn showed Jaime a week ago, sometimes you have to fight dirty. This is one of those weeks where there isn’t an obvious choice for me for best scene though.
  • There were some other small scenes this week that added some comic relief to the episode. Pod’s issues with horses and cooking rabbits for Brienne plus Arya’s harsh lesson about water dancing and armor from the Hound were good for some laughs. It shows these two pairs can be a lot of fun even if not a whole lot happens.
  • I liked the way the show transitioned from Cersei to Arya’s list.
  • I still remember seeing the Eyrie for the first time on the show and I still love the look of it.
  • I’m going to try to make these reviews a bit shorter. They’d been getting out of hand, but that means they might be a bit less exhaustive as far as covering everything. This one feels like a good step in the right direction.
  • Missing in Action this Week: A bunch of people and more if you exclude those who just appeared with no lines in the opening scene. This is only the third episode in the series without Tyrion apparently.

“First of his Name” is another solid entry in the fourth season of Game of Thrones. I think for me personally it was a little lacking compared to other episodes this year as far as really standout scenes go. The ones that stick with me like Arya and the Hound’s scene from the premiere. Or even something less action-packed like Oberyn’s conversations with Tywin and Tyrion so far this season. It was still an enjoyable hour though with some impactful reveals. And I still can’t wait to see where the back half of this season brings us.

What did you think of the latest episode of Game of Thrones? Let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!

Ninja Gaiden 3: Razor’s Edge (PS3) Impressions

by Matthew Thompson (All images courtesy of the NG3: Razor’s Edge page here)

There was a time I was excited for Ninja Gaiden 3. The first modern Ninja Gaiden contains my favorite combat component in gaming. And Ninja Gaiden 2 is right behind it. Some people love Devil May Cry or more recently Bayonetta, but I still swear by Team Ninja’s reboot of the classic Tecmo series. So of course, why wouldn’t I be excited for the third entry in the series? Well the more I saw on it, the more bummed out I became. They seemed to be going the wrong direction with the latest game and when reviews and other gamers’ impressions of the final product rolled out, I decided to skip it altogether. Now, years later I finally made some time to play through Ninja Gaiden 3 via the Razor’s Edge remake on PS3 and I’m sad to say that many of my fears were warranted. Even with the tweaks found in RE, Ninja Gaiden 3 doesn’t come anywhere close to its predecessors Continue reading

TV Show Power Rankings: May 4, 2014

by Matthew Thompson

I’m back with another set of TV Power Rankings where I check in with what I believe are the five best shows going at the moment. These are very much a “what have you done for me lately” kind of thing, so they put the emphasis on the past month or so while still looking at the season as a whole. A bad week or short hiatus is enough to drop you a few spots while one spectacular episode can give you a boost. With that said here are my latest rankings (Note: The number in parentheses is their rank in the previous rankings. If they were not ranked, I put NR for Not Ranked. If you’d like to see my previous TV Power Rankings they are compiled here. These do contain some spoilers for the shows in question, so if you are not caught up on one of them it is best to skip the description) Continue reading

Ten Older Elements That Need to Return in the Next Tomb Raider

by Matthew Thompson

I was not the biggest fan of last year’s Tomb Raider reboot. On the one hand, it is a pretty solid cinematic action/adventure game. It even brings in some new elements to series I really like. On the other hand, it simply gets too far from what makes Tomb Raider as a series special to me. It has already been confirmed that this newest version of Tomb Raider will be receiving a sequel. I feel if they can meld some of what made this most recent game good with elements from the more classic entries in the series, we might have something special on our hands. With that in mind I’ve come up with ten elements from older Tomb Raider games that I’d like to see return in the sequel to TR’s 2013 reboot. Here they are Continue reading

Best of 7th Gen: #21-Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

by Matthew Thompson (All images courtesy of the Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light page found here)

(I am counting down my 25 favorite games of the last console generation. I explain a little about how I put the list together in this introduction. And you can see a collection of all my articles on the Best of 7th Gen compiled here.)

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I still remember seeing the first media for Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and finding myself a little disappointed. When rumors suggested a new downloadable spinoff of one of my favorite series, I was excited just like many would be in a similar situation. My mind imagined something like Ratchet & Clank’s Quest for Booty. A game that retained all the production values I had come to expect from Tomb Raider, but whose adventure wasn’t as grand as Lara’s typical outings. Maybe something along the lines of Underworld’s excellent DLC Beneath the Ashes, but meatier.

Of course, my first look at Guardian of Light showed something very different. I questioned how the franchise would work with GoL’s isometric perspective. And I have been known to make a stink about Lara Croft having friends around or even just someone yapping in her earpiece, so why would I want to actually play alongside another player? Nothing about this reaction was really fair, but it was how I felt nonetheless. Fortunately when I finally played the game, I was completely won over. My concerns seem silly in hindsight as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light delivered a unique experience that managed to feel like a part of the franchise with its own twist and probably the perfect blueprint for how to deliver a downloadable spinoff of a larger franchise.

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Despite being a big departure from the mainline Tomb Raider games, I love that it retains the core elements of the series. Combat takes on a much larger role here, but traversal, exploration and puzzle-solving haven’t been abandoned. And more importantly they haven’t been dumbed down. This game isn’t afraid to challenge the player in these areas, they just do it in different ways than TR players are accustomed to. From this standpoint, I think Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light feels more true to series it spawned from than the recent Tomb Raider reboot.

Some games are more fun with a friend and merely dropping an identical character into the mix so your buddy can play alongside you can be a blast, but I love when a developer approaches co-op in a more interesting way which is definitely the case here. Lara is joined by Totec, the titular Guardian of Light, as they try to put a stop to Xolotl and his army of darkness. While both characters have similar abilities particularly in combat, a couple of things set them apart. Totec can throw spears which can be used as a standard weapon, but can also create places for Lara to hop on when thrown into walls. His shield can also protect her from projectiles and be used as a way to boost Miss Croft up to higher platforms. Lara on the other hand has a grapple which can be used to run along walls and create tight rope bridges. It can also connect to Totec himself. That really only scratches the surface of what they can do, but it illustrates an important aspect of the game: these characters need each other to progress. It makes for some very clever cooperative puzzles and platforming as you figure out how to manipulate these tools to get through various spike-filled mazes, cross hazardous pits or get to that out of the way treasure.

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For a small downloadable game, there is a ton of content here too. On top of a 6-8 hour campaign that is actually quite fun even played solo, the game has a myriad of unlockables. These can be obtained through a number of different means from time trials to score challenges to exploration of the environments. There are even some other odd objectives that task you with an outside the norm way of handling certain situations (like playing “jump rope” with a certain trap for instance). And it doesn’t just unlock a useless trinket either. You’ll get new weapons, health upgrades and even artifacts that grant you new abilities like a spread shot for your weapons or a larger radius for your bombs (another key item used in the game’s puzzles and combat scenarios). This makes tracking everything down a little more rewarding than it would feel otherwise.

The game isn’t afraid to mix things up either. Some levels are open hubs with multiple objectives while others feel like linear obstacle courses. The platforming will have you scratching your head trying to find your way around a room at one moment and hopping along a collapsing bridge the next. You’ll explore ruins scattered across jungle areas as well as dark, dusty tombs. There are even some boss fights, some bested through pure firepower, others by setting off traps. All this will help keep you on your toes and prevent things from getting too stale.

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In the end, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light didn’t give me what I initially hoped for, but what I ended up getting was something much better: a unique spinoff that leveraged the core elements of the Tomb Raider series in a new exciting way without losing the essence of Lara’s classic adventures in the process and one of my favorite downloadable games of the last generation.

A few more things:

  • I mentioned in my intro blog that I was using a general rule of one game per series for this list with a few exceptions. This is one of those. I figured allowing a spinoff and a more traditional Tomb Raider game on this list was fair. So this isn’t the last we will see of Lara in my top 25 games of last gen.
  • I’d love to see a sequel to this game or something similar from Crystal Dynamics, but it seems like this was a one time thing.
  • Clue for #20: It is one of the few games I’ve ever actually bought downloadable costumes for.