Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Lara brings some friends in this four-player co- op puzzler.
Meet Lara Croft, Temple Raider. In a bid to distinguish the tortured and torn-vested heroine of last-year’s thirdperson actioner from this incarnation—an aqua-blue tank-topped treasure-hunter here by her own volition and not just because her boat sank—tombs are out and temples are in.
When Croft and her professional rival Carter Bell enter a particularly massive mortuary in Egypt and pinch the Staff of Osiris, they unwittingly unleash Set, the God of Chaos, who marks them for death. Fortunately they also release (again, unwittingly) two slightly friendlier gods from thousand-year incarcerations, Horus and Isis. The four team up with the ultimate aim of resurrecting Osiris, the only one with the power to defeat Set and remove the curse.
Owing to drop-in four-player co-op both on and offline, these temples are much more elaborate than anything in 2010’s Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. As explorers, Croft and Bell can use whips as tightropes, as well as swing from perches and rappel down walls.
They also have infinite bombs: press Y to drop one, then Y again to detonate. As gods, Horus and Isis are more magically inclined. They can conjure bubble shields that protect them from attacks and boost partners to high ledges.
When Croft and her rival pinch the Staff of Osiris, they unleash Set, the God of Chaos
It’s an isometric world designed for four but versatile enough for one. “We’ll outfit Lara so she can solve puzzles on her own,” says Scot Amos, executive producer. “But as more players join, the layout of an area or even the type of puzzle... will change.”
Although it is on a bigger scale than its predecessor, it’s equally well-paced. After a sedate bout of puzzling, in which a partner and I roll balls onto switches, comes a backs-to-the-wall battle against hordes of scarabs. Once they are dispatched, the boss arrives, a croc-headed hippo with a feathery mane. He pursues us over a crumbling bridge where split-second timing is required to jump chasms and roll under spiked traps.
“A loot system now with rarity levels, customizing player abilities with gear, an all-new Staff of Osiris as a device that lets you affect puzzle elements and laser enemies, and elemental special effects for weapons and resistances—these are the primary game changes,” says Amos.
With double the amount of playable characters, it’s sometimes hard to differentiate your cartwheeling cartographers amid the firebolts and skeletons. As long as Crystal Dynamics gives each person a specific role— one example I saw being player one solving a mirror puzzle while player two protects them—then I look forward to another perfectly-pitched co-op adventure. Just remember not to call her Tomb Raider.