Lara Croft And The Tem­ple Of Osiris

A gem of a game

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Videogames / Miscellaneous -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

For­mat re­viewed: PS4 Also avail­able on: Xbox One, PC Pub­lisher: Square Enix

For­get about

Lara Croft’s frowny­browed emo­tional slog on Com­ing- of- age Is­land – this is what Tomb Raider is about: dual pis­tols, de­li­cious plun­der and dis­turb­ing the rest­ing places of the dead. The se­quel to 2010’ s Guardian Of Light ex­pands on all the good stuff, and even lets you bring two more friends along to help. And by “help”, we mean mer­ci­lessly be­tray for gems. Lovely, sparkling gems.

The story is a short­cut to adventure: cursed tem­ples, magic staffs and an­gry deities. Lara ( again voiced by a won­der­fully plummy Keeley Hawes) and her ri­val relic- thief Carter team up with Horus and Isis to take on Egyptian god Set. It’s bob­bins, and it ab­so­lutely doesn’t mat­ter. Any­one who loves this mythol­ogy will en­joy the fluff – so ba­si­cally ev­ery­one, then – but the whole thing is just a rip- roar­ing ex­cuse for fun. Rip- roar­ing just means “good”, right?

This has more in com­mon with Su­per Mario 3D World than it does with the trou­bled- mil­lion­aire histri­on­ics of Tomb Raider. Ev­ery­thing feels sat­is­fy­ing: there’s a tac­tile chunk­i­ness to all that you do. Se­condly, it’s a crack­ing mul­ti­player ex­pe­ri­ence. There’s am­ple op­por­tu­nity for fun back­stab­bing: zip- lines can be re­tracted un­der­neath your tightrope- walk­ing bud­dies, send­ing them plum­met­ing onto spikes, and pil­lars can be mag­i­cally raised, trap­ping them in crocodile­in­fested wa­ters.

More than any­thing, it’s the puzzles which stand out. Find­ing new brain- teasers is ex­hil­a­rat­ing, be­cause you feel a real sense of sat­is­fac­tion when you solve them. Bet­ter yet, puzzles are folded into ev­ery part of the game: all the tombs are reached via a cen­tral hub, and even this is given an ex­tra twist; day- night cy­cles and shift­ing sea­sons mean it’s dif­fer­ent ev­ery time you visit it.

As well as the puz­zling, there are gen­uine in­stances of thigh- slap­ping adventure which per­fectly cap­ture the In­di­ana Jones feel­ing of fran­ti­cally flee­ing from an­ti­quated death­traps. It’s rare for a game to so to­tally nail a feel­ing of peril with­out pep­per­ing you with re­peated deaths, but this man­ages it.

When all th­ese things com­bine, like the scat­tered body parts of Osiris him­self, it forms a pos­i­tive ce­les­tial whole. Matt El­liott

“Um… fancy a pint?”

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