Lara has seen her share of ups and downs over the years but the franchise is clearly on the upswing as the series reboot, “Tomb Raider”, was a smash hit when it arrived on last gen consoles back in 2013. The success train continued to roll when the definitive edition dropped on next gen consoles earlier this year. Unlike “Tomb Raider” nobody expects Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris to generate the same amount of buzz and even the same kind of experience “Tomb Raider” did. Even if it wanted to, it can’t; the reboot was just too good.
Of course the comparison isn’t really a fair one because Temple of Osiris is a completely different kind of gaming experience all together. Many will simply pass over Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris this holiday season and when they do, they are making a mistake as this was one of more enjoyable twin stick puzzle solving games I have played in recent memory.
It isn’t the story, visuals, sound or even the core gameplay itself that makes Temple of Osiris special, but rather it is how the game forces you to work with others. All this takes place in a nicely detailed four player coop environment as you battle hordes of enemies and solve intricate puzzles scattered throughout the 8 to 10 hour or so campaign. Temple of Osiris plays out like its 2010 predecessor, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. In fact it almost feels a little too familiar as you solve those challenging classic Tomb Raider puzzles, unlock bad ass weaponry and grapple your way past environmental obstacles. The gameplay is nearly identical but there are some new wrinkles added to the mix making this twin stick Lara game feel fresh and new.
The story offers up a nice backdrop to the gameplay but just don’t expect much in terms of character plot line or riveting dialogue. As the plot line goes, Lara Croft is on yet another journey to an Egyptian Temple where she happens to run into archaeologist Carter Bell who is also looking for the mythical Staff of Osiris. When they arrived at the Temple they discover that it was a prison for Horus and Isis. They also soon discover that the Temple was a trap. Eventually they find themselves in a position where they must recover all of the pieces of Osiris from the Temple. With the goal of assembling all the pieces back together so that their souls aren’t consumed by Ammit, the Devourer of the Dead.
As you would guess with each level you complete, you gobble up a piece of the Osiris moving you once step closer to saving Lara and her friends from doom. The game’s story is mostly predictable and I never found myself becoming too attached to any of the characters. The real enjoyment of the game is experienced in classic couch coop style. You can play solo but to put it bluntly, it’s just not as fun. The more players you play with the more enemies you encounter and the puzzles become a little trickier. In other words, puzzles and number of enemies automatically scale depending on how many people are playing. Playing with 4 players is chaotic but it’s a heck of a good time!
The puzzles ramp up in terms of difficulty early in the game which at first was frustrating. I would have preferred a more gradual progression. We went from super easy to incredibly difficult in the span of about 15-minutes. Quite often I found myself stumped relying heavily on my coop friends to solve those puzzles (yes, they are much smarter than I). Yet working together to solve the puzzles is highly enjoyable and incredibly satisfying when you eventually solve them.
Temple of Osiris loot system is impressive as you will collect gems that eventually unlock chests that grant items which can increase such things as your weapon damage, your defence, health, and special attacks. Granted it doesn’t hold a candle to Destiny’s loot system but for a $25.00 dollar downloadable game, Temple of Orisis isn’t too bad as far as loot is concerned. Is there some room for improvement? Absolutely but we’ve seen a lot worse. The upgrades however feel significant as by the time you reach the half way point you feel like a menacing killing machine.
The combat in the game is enjoyable and just like we did in Guardians of Light you tend to fight enemies in waves. Facing hordes scarabs, sword wielding gators and other hordes of enemies from the Egyptian underworld is a romp. Each of the four characters in the game have unique powers with various weapons assigned to you d-pad. Swapping between weapons is easy and fluid. While the dual pistols have unlimited ammo supply; weapons like the shotgun, sub machine guns and grenade launcher are seriously light on ammo, running out far too quickly. Otherwise I was satisfied with the amount of weapons and how they felt in the game.
The fun factors is sky high when you encounter those big epic boss battles, banter with your buddy while navigating your way across tightropes, and do anything at all costs to avoid traps. Some of the camera issues can make it difficult to gauge depth during some of those platforming sequences but given you can die an endless amount of times I never found my repeated failures too discouraging.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was a sleeper downloadable hit of 2010. Crystal Dynamics have unquestionably done it again as Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is quite easily one of the best twin stick puzzle solving cooperative action games we have seen on next generation consoles to date. Granted it is not without some flaws, annoyances and price point appears a tad steep but at the end of the day this Lara Croft does the franchise proud.
***This game was reviewed on the Xbox One and a code was provided by the Publisher***