The Games of E3: Five More That Caught My Eye

by Matthew Thompson

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

As I mentioned a couple of blogs back, I sort of ran out of gas doing all these E3 blogs. So for better or worse, I decided to throw the final handful into one blog here. But that is not to say these are necessarily lesser titles than the ones I’ve talked about so far. When I made up a top ten post-E3 for some forums, a few of these made the cut. Anyway, here are the last five games that really caught my eye at E3 2014 Continue reading

The Games of E3: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

by Matthew Thompson (Images-Sony, this game’s  site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

Uncharted 4 1

While I was hoping for a trailer featuring some snippets of gameplay, the teaser that Naughty Dog unleashed of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End at E3 was enough to have me frothing at the mouth for more on Drake’s next big adventure. Obviously the first takeaway is just how beautiful the graphics are. From the tiny details seen on Drake’s face to the lush jungle environments, this trailer made it clear that Naughty Dog will be continuing its legacy of top-of-the-line visuals on the PlayStation 4.

It also gave us our first peek into the storyline. Between the dialogue featured in the video and the following description from the game’s website, it seems to be going in the direction I’d have wanted it to:

“Several years after his last adventure, retired fortune hunter, Nathan Drake, is forced back into the world of thieves. With the stakes much more personal, Drake embarks on a globe-trotting journey in pursuit of a historical conspiracy behind a fabled pirate treasure. His greatest adventure will test his physical limits, his resolve, and ultimately what he’s willing to sacrifice to save the ones he loves.”

I love that they aren’t ignoring the message behind Uncharted 3. There Drake learned the toll his lifestyle was taking on those around him. In Uncharted 4, we’ll see an older Drake one who left his treasure hunting days behind him for some time and had to be pulled back into things through something he seemed to be unable to ignore. Some people seem to think we are headed in a very dark direction. Certainly some of the lines and the subtitle might point in that way. I think it may be a bit darker, but I also don’t think the developers have forgotten the light-hearted charm that is such an integral part of this series.

Not much to glean from a gameplay standpoint by the trailer, but they are certainly saying the right things in the above interview and with Bruce Straley at the helm, I have faith it will deliver on that end too. The one thing that they said that I really liked was that they would be expanding the options for how Drake can approach combat, exploration and traversal. That may seem like an obvious next step for a lot of sequels, but that doesn’t mean they always take it. So I look forward to how they are expanding Drake’s moveset and methods for handling these various components.

Uncharted 4 is still a ways off, but I can’t wait to see more on this game leading up to release and of course to play it for myself in 2015.

Resogun Review

by Matthew Thompson

If you’ve played any of the Super Stardust series over the past handful of years, you’ll find yourself instantly familiar with Resogun. Housemarque’s latest twin-stick shooter has you zooming around in a spaceship shooting anything in sight just like its previous series. It features a similar boost mechanic that lets you zip around levels at high speeds destroying any enemies in your path. Screen-clearing bombs can be unleashed to get you out of a jam as well. Despite the obvious similarities, Resogun features numerous tweaks and differences that amount to a superior experience and a fantastic launch title for the PlayStation 4 Continue reading

The Games of E3: Sunset Overdrive

by Matthew Thompson (Images-Insomniac Games, this game’s site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

Sunset Overdrive 1

Every time I see Sunset Overdrive, I love it even more. It is exactly the kind of new IP I wanted to see from Insomniac and it really seems to play to their strengths. Its vibrant colors and wacky weapons remind me of my favorite series of theirs, Ratchet & Clank. But it is not simply a copy of that game. Sunset Overdrive brings with it a very different style and the open-world and traversal should help it stand on its own. I’ve always loved the idea of a game closely marrying its platforming and combat components. Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones did this by incorporating platforming into a stealth kill system that helped you bypass lengthy melee encounters. The Uncharted series had shootouts breakout while climbing and allowed you to use the verticality of the level designs to get the angle on enemies. But Sunset Overdrive seems to really take this to another level. You are constantly moving as you grind on rails, bounce off canopies, and slide down ziplines all the while taking on hordes of enemies throughout the city. And the newly announced 8-player co-op mode sounds like a blast too. Above all, Sunset Overdrive just looks like a ton of fun. I’m not sure when I will get an Xbox One, but I am so excited to play this game once I do.

Sunset Overdrive 2

A few more things:

  • This is the highlight of the Xbox One’s current exclusive line-up, but I thought MS had a great showing at E3. The Master Chief Collection looks to pack so much content. New exclusive announcements like Scalebound and Crackdown were welcome. And they had a good mix of attractive third-party games to show off as well. And I loved the pacing. They said it would be wall-to-wall games and it really was. I have a couple more games from their showing I will talk about at the end of my Games of E3 series, but their whole conference was really good.
  • On that note, I have sort of run out of gas on these blogs. So I will do one more post focusing on a single game and then throw the other handful of games I didn’t get to into one more blog. Nothing against those games, I just don’t think I have six more of these in me and I want to get back to some other gaming topics and away from these daily posts. So those will be up in the next few days! Then I will get back to talking about stuff I’m actually playing.

The Games of E3: Mirror’s Edge

by Matthew Thompson (Images-EA, this game’s  site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

Mirror's Edge

Other than Uncharted, there was no game I was more excited to see at E3 than the new Mirror’s Edge. I honestly wasn’t expecting much of a showing since I figured the game was a ways off and it was probably not on top of DICE’s priority list, but then EA started talking about it the day before E3 and I figured maybe we were seeing more than I had expected. But I guess we weren’t.

EA had this really odd presentation where they decided to show off a number prototypes and really early looks at games. I’m not sure why exactly. They aren’t trying to sell a console like Micorsoft, Sony or Nintendo, so letting people know stuff way out in the future doesn’t seem really necessary. Maybe for things like Mirror’s Edge and Stars Wars Battlefront they didn’t want it to just disappear for a couple of years and have fans thing they were being “Last Guardian-ed” (it’s a verb now). But it certainly made a lot less sense for stuff like Mass Effect, Bioware’s new IP, and Criterion’s next game.

Having said that, I like what little we saw of the new Mirror’s Edge. It makes me think the developers are at least headed in the right direction. They talk about expanding Faith’s moveset which should in turn make for improved level design. In the video above you can see one of the new moves, where Faith grabs a vertical pipe and uses it to swing around a corner. It is crazy how excited a little thing like this could make me, but as someone who put hours upon hours into mastering the mechanics of the original game I can already see the potential of it. Being able to move around outside corners really opens up some new traversal options. Assuming it is one of many new additions, I could really see the core movement mechanics being improved here.

The other big thing they talk about is how combat has been tweaked so that it will not slow you down as much. The bigger encounters in the first game really were its lowest points. It ruined the flow and joy of zooming through levels. So this is definitely a step in the right direction. The little tidbit they showed of Faith quickly dispatching enemies without losing her momentum makes me confident that this is more than just talk.

Mirrors Edge 2

Mirror’s Edge is obviously a long ways off, but I think what they revealed at this E3 was encouraging. Their priorities seem to be in the right place and that will have to be good enough for me until I get another look at the game.

A few more things about EA’s Conference:

  • I really enjoyed all the conferences at E3 except EA’s. Part of it was all the prototype/concept presentations, but other than Mirror’s Edge there really wasn’t anything that I was personally excited for.
  • I do like Criterion, so I will certainly keep an eye on their new IP, but I’m not sure it looked all that appealing to me either. The varied vehicle types are cool, but I’m not really sold on the first-person perspective. Worth keeping tabs on though.
  • Chuck from The Sims and the phrase “All the feels!” were also a couple of the most cringe-worthy moments of E3 as a whole. Reading my timeline on Twitter react to it was more entertaining than the conference itself.

The Games of E3: Mario Maker

by Matthew Thompson (Images-Nintendo, this game’s E3 site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

Mario Maker 1

Who wouldn’t want to try to make their own Mario levels? I know I would and have wanted to for some time. Nintendo will be giving us the chance to do just that with its new Mario Maker game for the Wii U. The demo shown at E3 looked pretty stripped down, but it was enough to make me salivate at the possibilities. The Wii U’s gamepad is such a perfect fit for this and looks to make this as user-friendly as possible. I love some of the small touches available here like the ability to switch into play test mode at the touch of a button or how that play session can be turned into a ghost of sorts to make it easier to fine-tune your level layouts. The demo even allowed for a quick switch between the retro graphics of the original Super Mario Bros. or the HD look of NSMB U and the game’s producer indicated that there will be more to choose from in the full game.

And that is kind of what excites me the most about this, all the options it could have. Imagine a game that let us choose not only which artstyle to use for a level, but which game’s power-ups or abilities. Let us mix and match allowing for wall-bouncing in a Super Mario Bros. 3 artstyle. Let us create our own overworld maps. Give us a music editor. I’m not expecting all of this in Mario Maker. They should first nail the creation aspects and the ability to share them with other gamers. But there is always a sequel or expansion to add some of these other ideas in and I hope Nintendo isn’t afraid to go all out eventually.

Mario Maker 2

On top of being able to try my hand at creating levels in my favorite 2D platforming series of all-time, this will also give me access to some new Mario levels whenever I want. Even if I never take to the editor whenever I have the itch for some new 2D Mario action, I can try my hand at some of the community’s creations. There will undoubtably be some talented people using this game for all its worth and giving others new challenges to take on all the time.

I know people have been making their own Mario levels for years on PC, but the idea of Nintendo embracing the idea and putting it on the Wii U (which seems like an excellent fit for it) is an exciting prospect. I just hope they don’t hold back too much and allow the kind of freedom that a Mario Maker really needs to excel.

Game of Thrones “The Children” Review

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

“The Children” picks up right where last week’s episode left off as Jon Snow heads through a field of the dead to find Mance Rayder in hopes of putting an end to their battle. The two converse about those they lost like Grenn and Mag the Mighty, drinking to their fallen brethren. Just when things get heated and Mance realizes Jon’s true intentions for his visit, Stannis and his army rides in taking down Wildings and saving the Night’s Watch. I figured this was how last week’s episode would end, but I guess it works just as well here. I suspect maybe it would have made “Watchers on the Wall” feel even more similar to “Blackwater” if Stannis rode in at the end to save the day like Tywin had a couple of years ago, but who knows the real reason. Regardless I think splitting it up was ultimately fine.

Game of Thrones The Children 1

There were some great overhead shots of Stannis’ forces collapsing on the woods and Mance’s army.

I haven’t really cared for the show’s portrayal of Stannis, but he certainly gets a little time to shine here. I especially loved the moment where he walks towards Mance and doesn’t react as a Wildling takes a run at him whom is then easily dispatched by one of Stannis’ knights. So now Stannis is at The Wall and the battle between the Night’s Watch and Mance’s army is over. This is a development that should really shake things up in the North and Stannis’ presence means the stories told up there have a larger tie into the fight for the Iron Throne. Giving more connections to some of the disparate storylines told in Game of Thrones can only be a good thing.

We also head even further North for a rare sighting on this show: a scene that actually pushes Bran’s story forward. It features a pretty crazy fight that includes skeletons, Bran warging into Hodor, the death of Jojen Reed, and a filthy looking kid throwing some firebombs. It is all a little out there, but it makes up for any leaps my mind had to make by just being a ton of fun to watch. The child they run into is actually one of the mythical Children of the Forest. Along with our first sighting of the Children, we get our look at the three-eyed raven in his human form. I’m not sure either of these characters lived up to their descriptions in the books. Obviously there are limitations in TV. The Child I can live with, but I was hoping the three-eyed raven would look like more than an old man sitting in some roots. Still this is a significant step forward for Bran’s journey. He has reached his destination under the great weirwood tree and the old man has promised him he will fly. Whatever that means will have to wait until next year, but it is a good stopping point for Bran this season.

Game of Thrones The Children 5

Meh…

Meanwhile in Meereen, things are not going swimmingly for the new Queen. Daenerys has two visitors. One a former slave who admits he would like to return to his former life as he preferred it to his current situation. Another man comes and shows what Drogon has been up to, revealing the charred bones of his three-year old daughter. In a sad scene, Dany is forced to lock up Viserion and Rhaegal though Drogon is still unaccounted for. After a couple of seasons of Dany taking whatever she wanted, she has begun to stumble in her attempt to rule. These feel like necessary bumps in the road though if she ever wants to rule Westeros. Better to learn these lessons now I suppose.

I had an idea where Arya’s journey would likely end this season, but I was curious how she would arrive there after recent developments on the show. Things have been shifted around a bit which has resulted in Arya and The Hound spending a lot more time together this season. While they have been in a bit of a holding pattern as they wandered around, they sure made things entertaining as hell in the meantime. They’ve been a riot together and while I am sad to see it come to an end, it did so in spectacular fashion in “The Children” involving an absolutely brutal duel between Brienne and The Hound. Game of Thrones have really stepped things up this season in regards to its fight scenes and this battle was just another example of that.

Game of Thrones The Children 3

This thrilling sword fight between The Hound and Brienne turns into a vicious brawl by the end.

I was really impressed with both Rory McCann and Maisie Williams’ performance in their final scene together. As The Hound laid dying after his fight, he is trying anything he can to get Arya to help end his suffering, but she chooses to walk away and leave him there. From here, she ends up using the coin she got from Jaqen H’ghar back in Season 2 to sail over to Braavos. The brief interaction with her and the Braavosi captain who grants her passage is a pretty fun sequence itself. Her sailing off is actually how the episode ends. It was not the ending I expected, but a nice one nonetheless.

That wasn’t all that happened this week though. I have been saving the events in King’s Landing for last. I’m not sure either of the Cersei scenes worked all that well for me. Due to what I chalk up to some questionable directing earlier this season, I feel the Cersei-Jaime relationship has been a bit muddled over time. I’m still waiting for them to get their arcs back on the right track, but it seems that will have to wait for next season. This week’s scene feels almost like them taking a mulligan on some of the changes made in their relationship in Season 4. The Cersei-Tywin scene fares better, but I think knowing what was coming made it seem a little inconsequential. I suppose it was neat seeing her throw Tywin off his game a little bit and gain the upperhand regardless of things going forward.

Game of Thrones The Children 2

“I am your son. I have always been your son.” -Tyrion’s fitting final words to Tywin.

The main event though is Tyrion’s sequence this episode. It starts with Jaime freeing Tyrion from his cell. He plans to lead him to Varys who will help him flee the city. After the brothers say their goodbyes, Tyrion takes a detour towards his father’s quarters. Before meeting up with dear old dad he gets a surprise: Shae has been sleeping with Tywin. This leads to a confrontation and after a struggle, Tyrion killing Shae. From here, Tyrion marches to find his father, picking up a crossbow along the way and finds Tywin in the privy. Tywin tries to calm his son down, but to no avail and he ends up with two bolts in the chest. After this, Tyrion along with Varys head out on a ship to parts unknown.

This is obviously a hugely pivotal scene for the show. Love him or hate him, Tywin was running things, so his death with ripple out and affect things in King’s Landing and all of Westeros. With him also goes the special performance that Charles Dance put in as the Lannister patriarch. He will certainly be missed. This sequence also sends a couple of King’s Landings biggest players over the course of the series, Tyrion and Varys, elsewhere for some period of time. I think the events themselves were handled pretty well overall, but lacked some of the punch of the book version. Tyrion is given some extra motivation for these events there that really help. Tyrion admittedly has plenty of reason to want Tywin dead, so there is no issue there. The added bit in the book just makes it all a bit more powerful. The only other thing I didn’t love was Shae’s part in the whole deal. She’s a character that never fully worked for me and that continued to be true even in her final moments.

Game of Thrones The Children 4

I loved the twist on the intro theme that played as Arya sailed off in the final scene of Season 4.

A few more things:

  • Scene of the Week: I wouldn’t have imagined me saying this going into the episode given the larger events taking place, but Arya’s stuff was my favorite this week. I’d probably pick The Hound’s death scene as the best, but the fight and her exit from Westeros were all fantastic. Go Arya!
  • Qyburn had a short bit this week doing what looks like some Frankenstein shit on The Mountain.
  • As a big fan of Ygritte and her relationship with Jon, I enjoyed the sendoff she got this week. It was nice. There were some other scenes too like a funeral at Castle Black where Mel is eyeing Jon and a talk between Jon and Tormund about Ygritte. Jon cannot escape those redheads.
  • For someone who walked all over Westeros in search of the Stark girls, I feel Brienne did an absolute shit job looking for Arya after the fight. Didn’t think to look in the area where you knocked her new friend The Hound?
  • I was a little bummed the Epilogue of A Storm of Swords wasn’t included this week at first, but in hindsight, it may not have felt right here. Hopefully they can set it up properly and still do it next year. If they decide to cut it from the show completely, I’ll be bummed.
  • Missing in Action this Week: Sansa/Littlefinger plus the Boltons/Theon were all MIA this week. It was a packed episode even with the extra running time, so we were certainly fine without them.

I thought this was an extremely satisfying season finale for Game of Thrones. There were some notable omissions from the source material here that made some of the book passages a little stronger, but just looking at “The Children” as a TV episode and one meant to close off the fourth season of HBO’s fantasy epic, I think it largely delivers. Not only is it filled with big moments, but most of the storylines feel like they have wrapped up in a satisfying way while still giving viewers plenty to think about until next season rolls around.

That will do it for my reviews for the season. At some point in the offseason, I plan to talk about some of the events I look forward to in Season 5 or maybe even do a bit of an overview of Season 4, both of which would lean more towards those who have read the books. I’d like to thank all the people who read, liked, and especially those who commented on these reviews. Interacting with other fans and hearing your thoughts on the episodes is what made this so much fun.

So one last time, make sure to leave your thoughts on the finale or the fourth season as a whole in the comments below. Predictions for next year are also welcome. And thanks again for reading!

The Games of E3: LittleBigPlanet 3

by Matthew Thompson (Images-Sony, this game’s  site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

LittleBigPlanet 3 2

The most surprising thing to come out of the Sony Conference for me was the announcement of LittlBigPlanet 3. While rumors have swirled about its development for a while now, it had not really crossed my mind as far as possible E3 reveals. It will be releasing for both PS4 and PS3, but I am still happy I’ll have another PS4 game to play from Sony this fall.

The most exciting new addition to LBP3 are three new playable characters. Along with Sackboy, there is now Oddsock (a four-legged companion who can run fast and bounce off walls), Swoop (a bird who can fly around picking up things in the environment or even carry other characters) and Toggle (who can switch between small and large to help solve puzzles and reach new areas). As a huge animal lover, the idea of Sack-animals is fun on its own, but these also open up all sorts of new options throughout the game. Their abilities give new life to the game’s level designs. It opens up new paths for LBP‘s community to explore when creating levels. And it means more creative cooperative play since players may have different abilities than each other at certain times. Even stuff like costumes get a fresh twist with the new characters’ various shapes and sizes.

LittleBigPlanet 3 1

There are other tweaks that should help move things forward for the series as well. These include new power-ups and Sackboy’s ability to climb on walls. And now the levels can have up to 16 layers of depth as opposed to the usual three which should make creating new gameplay ideas easier for both the developers and users alike.

I’ve always enjoyed the LittleBigPlanet series. It’s one I really thought could take a big step forward with a move to a new console generation. Maybe into 3D space perhaps. This probably isn’t that next big step, but there are enough tweaks here that I believe LittleBigPlanet 3 will feel fresh even after a handful of titles in the series over the last six years. And it looks as fun and charming as ever which doesn’t hurt at all.

The Games of E3: The Legend of Zelda (Wii U)

by Matthew Thompson (Images-Nintendo, this game’s E3 site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

The Legend of Zelda Wii U 1

The look we got at the next Zelda game at E3 was short, but oh boy was it sweet! If you have talked to me about Zelda over the past few years, you have likely heard me grousing about Nintendo’s handling of the overworld lately. Ever since Twilight Princess, Nintendo has seemed to be avoiding creating a large fully explorable overworld in the series again. The two DS games broke up the world into chunks and had you using a boat or train to get from area to area. Skyward Sword tried something new for the series giving pieces of the overworld more depth. It was a good idea in theory, but lacking a little in the execution department. And the overworld still felt very segmented like the DS games. A Link Between Worlds returned to the classic overworld design, but re-used a bit too much of A Link to the Past‘s map for my liking. So my big wish for the new Zelda was a big, fresh overworld to explore in three dimensions on foot or horse. No broken up world. No weird vehicles required. And lucky for me, that is exactly what Nintendo is doing.

The Legend of Zelda Wii U 2

The Legend of Zelda won’t be releasing for the Wii U until 2015, so this was an early look, but Aonuma was saying all the right things. He’s going to give us a big open world and let us explore it how we want. And the brief glimpse we got of that world was really breathtaking. The new artstyle is better than I could have imagined and the shot of Link sitting on his horse in the middle of a large field, grass swaying, mountains off in the distance… it was just beautiful. It depicted a world that was begging to be explored. I was also impressed with some of the animations and designs shown when Link and his steed were chased off by a monster and he broke out his trusty bow.

There wasn’t much else to take away from this new Legend of Zelda‘s initial showing at E3, but it excited me all the same. I like where this thing seems to be headed and I can’t wait to see more.

Another Zelda E3 note:

  • Hyrule Warriors looks like a lot of fun. I love the way they are incorporating all the series items, weapons and characters into Dynasty Warriors-style gameplay. Zelda was confirmed as playable, an expected but extremely welcome piece of news, and so was Midna! Twilight Princess is my favorite game in the series and I love Midna, so this was great news.

The Games of E3: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

by Matthew Thompson (Images-Square Enix, this game’s  site can be found here)

(I was trying to work out how to discuss E3 this year (Note: I was not there, just watched it from home) and I’ve settled on rolling out about 10-15 small blogs over the next two weeks. Each will focus on a game shown or announced at E3 that caught my eye and will be presented in alphabetical order. I will include some other impressions when appropriate as well. You can find all of these blogs archived here. Enjoy!)

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris 1

It was just a month ago that I named Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light the 21st best game of the 7th generation of consoles. In that same blog I said it is too bad we will never get a sequel. I mean Crystal Dynamics said as much about a year ago. So that is why the announcement of Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is such a pleasant surprise. Admittedly, the news of this game leaked out a bit before the actual reveal at E3, but that didn’t dampen my excitement of seeing it for the first time at all.

Much like I mentioned with Far Cry 4, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris does not try to reinvent the wheel. It is an evolution of the formula set up by Guardian of Light. This is a downloadable arcade action/adventure game. It uses the same isometric viewpoint as GoL and has similar cooperative play. But there are tweaks to the formula that will help mix things up. The biggest is the addition of two extra players so up to four buddies can play through Temple of Osiris together in any combination of online or off. Lara can be joined by a rival archeologist, Carter Bell, and two mythological figures, Horus and Isis, who will function similar to the way Totec did  in the original game. The explorers have the grapple and now torches to help aid in puzzles and exploration while Horus and Isis have a staff and the ability to create a protective barrier around themselves. All these are combined to create interesting cooperative challenges that require the players to really work together. And just like in its predecessor, the puzzles will scale to how many people are playing at any given moment.

This newest game in the Lara Croft sub-series is expected to release on PS4, Xbox One and PC which is said to allow for no load times and obviously prettier visuals. I think it shows most in the lighting via torches and new versions of the balls used for various puzzles. I guess I wouldn’t be surprised to see this ported to other systems, but it does look like the current gen versions will benefit with some changes regardless.

Another thing I love is how this release will have a lot of the more classic Tomb Raider components, ones that seemed to be pushed to the side while trying to make for a more grounded reboot. This includes fantastical elements like the towering scarab enemy shown in the trailer above, but also more integral things like having to think your way through navigational puzzles as well as tricky platforming sections. Or as the E3 demo showed off, a little of all three as you quickly jump and roll about as a giant, alligator-esque beast chases you all the while dealing with devious traps, falling platforms and even some possible griefing from your partners. The LegendAnniversaryUnderworld Lara model even makes a return for this adventure complete with short shorts and the lovely Keeley Hawes voicing her.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris 2

The move to an Egyptian location is another plus for the game. What they have shown of it so far looks like a lot of fun. It is a setting I really enjoy and the way this one delves into Egyptian mythology should make for a cool romp with plenty of crazy enemies and interesting locales. And tombs! They are always a good thing to run into when you are playing as Miss Croft. I even enjoyed the little bit of music featured in the trailer.

I will talk more about Rise of the Tomb Raider soon, but regardless of what direction that game goes in, I am glad I will have Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris to give me more of the classic Tomb Raider game I crave. Sure it is not quite the old-school Lara adventure I covet, but it looks to be a damn fun tomb-raiding experience in its own right, one I expect will help scratch that TR itch while I see where they head with the mainline series next.