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!)
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 Legend–Anniversary–Underworld Lara model even makes a return for this adventure complete with short shorts and the lovely Keeley Hawes voicing her.
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.