Lara Croft And The Tem­ple Of Osiris

EDGE - - CONTENTS - Pub­lisher Square Enix De­vel­oper Crys­tal Dy­nam­ics For­mat PC, PS4 (ver­sion tested), Xbox One Re­lease Out now

PC, PS4, Xbox One

More than four years have passed since Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light trans­posed the Tomb Raider star’s twin pis­tols and plun­der­ing ways into an iso­met­ric twin-stick shooter-cum-ad­ven­ture, but you may not re­alise it from play­ing Tem­ple Of Osiris. It’s an act of gaming ar­chae­ol­ogy as Crys­tal Dy­nam­ics digs out all of Guardian Of Light’s me­chan­ics and ideas, dusts them off, and places them in a new Egyp­tian set­ting. But that same rev­er­ence for the past guar­an­tees a solid, if un­re­mark­able, run through a se­lec­tion of beau­ti­ful tombs.

Time hasn’t stood en­tirely still for this spun-off side­line. Crys­tal Dy­nam­ics has in­creased the player count from two to four, en­sur­ing chaotic scenes as en­e­mies swarm the dual-wield­ing party and weapon ef­fects oc­clude the ac­tion. But as well as up­ping the scale of bat­tles, the larger group here al­lows Crys­tal Dy­nam­ics to build on the pos­si­bil­i­ties of the first game’s co-oper­a­tive puz­zles.

Just as in Guardian Of Light, the avail­able tools are split be­tween dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters to push co-op play (though all of them will be to hand if you work on your own). Rather than divvy­ing up four abil­i­ties, how­ever, skills are par­celled off into pairs. Lara and fel­low trea­sure hunter Carter each get a grap­pling hook that can be used to scale or de­scend sheer faces, tar­get other play­ers so that you can haul them up after you, or cre­ate pre­car­i­ous tightrope bridges across pits of gnarled spikes. The pair also have a torch that can be used to light both the way and the many gem-yield­ing lamps you’ll find in tran­sit, as well as solve some en­ter­tain­ing puz­zles in­volv­ing flammable gas.

Lara and Carter are joined by Egyp­tian gods Horus and Isis, who man­i­fest after a hasty act of Carter’s un­leashes Set, here painted as the vil­lain rather than the am­bigu­ous de­ity of an­tiq­uity. Both of the su­per­nat­u­ral pair wields a Staff Of Osiris, which re­places Totec’s spear from the first game. The staff can fire a laser beam that slows and kills en­e­mies, and erad­i­cates en­emy-spawn­ing glow­ing orbs placed in the world by the malev­o­lent Set. It can also be used to ma­nip­u­late cer­tain en­vi­ron­men­tal fea­tures such as lifts or spin­ning cogs, but as a re­sult puz­zles in­volv­ing the staff feel more pre­scribed and less sat­is­fy­ing than the spearthrow­ing in­ter­play be­tween Lara and Totec. You never feel like you’re im­pro­vis­ing a so­lu­tion to a prob­lem, just spot­ting a tex­ture and press­ing the right but­ton. Totec’s shield, mean­while, which could be held aloft to pro­vide a plat­form for Lara, is also repli­cated here in the form of force-fields which do much the same job.

There’s an arse­nal of weapons beyond the character-spe­cific tools, of course, the more ex­plo­sive end top­ping out with the lu­di­crous, arte­fact-des­e­crat­ing bazooka, and the re­turn of sticky bombs, which can be used of­fen­sively or to trig­ger switches. Gun­play is ser­vice­able, but few weapons de­liver any kind of kick, and while there are a num­ber of en­e­mies that re­quire you to change up your tac­tics – a tough, grenade-lob­bing bipedal crocodile that must be fin­ished off with a bomb after it falls on its back; a slow-mov­ing knight that wields a mir­rored shield ca­pa­ble of re­flect­ing the Staff Of Osiris’s en­ergy beam – the vast majority feel a lit­tle too sim­i­lar to dis­patch.

Tem­ple Of Osiris does at least take a step closer to Di­ablo ter­ri­tory with a vastly in­creased pool of loot to col­lect. Most of it takes the form of buff-happy amulets and rings, and a new inventory screen pro­vides a clearer pic­ture of what ef­fect the var­i­ous trin­kets will have on you – ex­tend­ing the life of your magic shield, per­haps, in­creas­ing your re­sis­tance to cer­tain el­e­ments, or ex­pand­ing the reach of your torch­light. You’re able to wear up to two rings and one amulet at any one time, and ev­ery tomb is capped off with a trea­sure room crammed full of chests that cost var­i­ous amounts of gems to open – the more you spend, the greater the chance you’ll ac­quire Rare or Epic items.

You’ll also find chests se­creted around the world that change with the sea­sons. Tem­ple Of Osiris’s cen­tral gim­mick is a large dial in the hub world that can be turned to ma­nip­u­late the cli­mate and open new routes. While you aren’t given free rein to mess with na­ture – its use is ra­tioned ac­cord­ing to the needs of the story – ob­serv­ing the changes wrought on the world each time you give the de­vice a spin is a plea­sure.

In fact, the new en­gine has made for a par­tic­u­larly at­trac­tive game all round, dy­namic light­ing and sur­pris­ingly de­tailed ge­om­e­try com­bin­ing to make tombs look fan­tas­tic. But the cam­era’s ef­forts to take all of this in of­ten see it draw out to an almost un­us­able dis­tance, ren­der­ing Lara and the rest of her party amus­ingly small and dif­fi­cult to spot in the process. Prob­lems also oc­cur else­where due to a con­certed ef­fort to stream­line ab­so­lutely ev­ery­thing. As such, puz­zles have been re­duced in com­plex­ity – there are no tomb-span­ning co­nun­drums here, just a se­ries of neatly pack­aged lo­calised tests – and boss fights pro­vide lit­tle chal­lenge. Plat­form­ing feels stodgy, too, thanks to a par­tic­u­larly over­bear­ing at­tempt to pre­vent you ac­ci­den­tally fall­ing from one.

There are flashes of bril­liance, not least in the way lev­els re­or­gan­ise them­selves de­pend­ing on the num­ber of play­ers present, and there’s some­thing ap­peal­ing about in­hab­it­ing the com­bat boots of a pre-re­boot Lara again (even if that makes Tem­ple Of Osiris feel more anachro­nis­tic than Guardian Of Light did). But while the game de­liv­ers its smooth-edged pack­age ef­fi­ciently enough, it never man­ages to raise the pulse like its pre­de­ces­sor, and like an an­cient tomb, close in­spec­tion re­veals some wor­ry­ing cracks.

Puz­zles have been re­duced in com­plex­ity – there are no tomb-span­ning co­nun­drums, just a se­ries of lo­calised tests

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.