By Jaran Chance
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Developed by Crystal Dynamics and released in late 2014, is the second entry in Tomb Raider’s spin-off action adventure Lara Croft series following up 2010’s Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
The Lara Croft games, unlike Tomb Raider, are action-adventure twin stick shooters with isometric camera angles. The iconic tomb raiding and puzzle solving that fans have grown to expect are still present but with a classic arcade game inspired twist. The emphasis is placed heavily on cooperative gameplay much like great arcade games of the past.
Lara and her rival treasure hunter, Carter Bell, upon discovering the staff of Osiris triggers a trap which awakens the evil ancient Egyptian God Set and marks them both for death. The staff also frees the ancient Egyptian gods Horus, Osiris’s son and his wife, Isis from captivity. The four share a common goal in defeating Set so they must work together to collect the scattered pieces of Osiris’s body and defeat Set.
Players can navigate through Osiris’s Temple, and the surrounding tombs with friends or without and the difficulty will scale accordingly. The actual puzzles and strategies will differ depending on the number of players. Some puzzles may require Lara to move a sphere and compress a switch in order to progress but in multiplayer will remove the sphere and add obstacles requiring players to coordinate abilities.
Like Diablo and countless other isometric-camera adventure games, the Lara Croft games feature collectible loot with differing stat bonuses to increase players’ rate of fire, reload time, etc. Though the combat and gear are both fairly dull and unessential. Every instance of combat just serves as a segue to the next puzzle; even the boss fights are far from challenging. The gear has no substantial effects besides the multiplier bonuses which give abilities like Multishot and stat modifiers when a player successfully avoids damage for a length of time. It was an interesting call to include gear, but the stat bonuses hardly influence the far too easy combat. The idea presumably was to have the puzzles stand at the forefront of the game, but it’s silly for players to go through the trouble of customizing a character when the changes have little to no effect on the combat.
The story is not the most exciting one, but it gets the job done. The characters are fun to get to know, and the Egyptian lore is educational and intriguing.
Each of the nine temples features their own types of brain-bending puzzle solving, introducing new mechanics to solve them. The intricate level design and differing puzzles for solo and co-op play make for a fresh experience worth investigating.
The real success of the game is not the combat or the character customization; it is simply the way that Crystal Dynamics created an immersive cooperative Tomb Raider experience channeling the energies of arcade classics.
Pick up Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris for a fun multiplayer experience, online or couch co-op, or for a quick solo Tomb Raider-esque puzzle solver. Solving the puzzles of Temple of Osiris can be fulfilling playing with friends or alone but don’t expect any ground-breaking new concepts or mechanics to be introduced with this title.