At her best, Lara Croft is capable of truly memorable gaming experiences. That's always been the case, whether it was through her original PS1 adventures or through her more recent reboot. But even at her worst, the brave explorer at least offers a decent way to pass the time.
That's my feeling coming out of Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. It isn't a bad game by any means. In fact, it's fairly decent. But unlike its protagonists, it doesn't take a lot of risks, making this game feel rather unremarkable.
Gods at War
The story with The Temple of Osiris sees Lara Croft and sidekick Carter stumbling onto the titular Temple, where the Egyptian god Osiris have been scattered into pieces by the Egyptian god of death, Set. The duo are quickly joined by goddess Isis and her son Horus to attempt to recover Osiris' body parts and put the god back together to exact vengeance upon Set. The story is straightforward, but not one that's helped through the game's dialogue. Lara practically sleepwalks through some of her quips, while Isis' dialogue sounds like it's pulled out of a direct-to-DVD film. It's not 'Tomb Raider' quality, but it's good enough for a popcorn flick-style narrative.
Unlike Lara's more solo-centric 'Tomb Raider' efforts, The Temple of Osiris is the second of Lara Croft's overhead dungeon crawlers, veering more towards the 'tomb raiding' aspect of her character. The tombs are filled with treasures, traps, and monsters, sprinkled in with puzzles and tricky platforming sequences.
The draw comes in playing with friends, with The Temple of Osiris offering up four-player co-op for the first time. However, in playing the game both by myself and with a partner, it's nice to see that the game acclimates itself to the number of players present. Certain puzzles will change to either require players to perform simultaneous actions or require timing-based puzzles from solo players.
Regardless of how many players join in, the puzzles range from standard to well thought-out. Some puzzles require playing around with Lara's light staff, either bouncing its beam off of mirrors for angled shots or using its light to keep time bombs from going off. Others involve other parts of her inventory, like switches that require a torchlight. Not all of the answers are clear at first glance, though, and may require some thought, though there's nothing overly frustrating with the puzzle layouts themselves. Rather, they're undone by a different problem.
Watch that first step
The Temple of Osiris' biggest issue is precision. Explorable tombs means plenty of platforming sequences, including some that require players to run to safety before the floor crumbles underneath them. The isometric view can sometimes mean characters won't always jump where they're supposed to, leading to some inadvertant plunges. This can also happen when using Lara's grappling hook to climb platforms. Trying to jump onto a platform can sometimes send her in a completely different direction, leaving her to fall to her demise.
Weapon precision isn't all that much better. It's hard to tell where weapons are aiming, so Lara can often miss her mark. This can lead to hairy situations when numerous enemies spawn in and fast shooting is required. Fortunately, the unlimited bomb mechanic is a useful one and one that proves to be more effective than most weapons. Even if they don't kill, bombs will often stun enemies long enough to adjust any aim.
While accidental deaths are problematic, they aren't completely frustrating, thanks to the game's generous checkpoint system. Falling to your death will often respawn you right at the previous point, sometimes with puzzle progress saved, to boot. Even boss battles won't force you to start completely from scratch, often saving any damage inflicted. It's not desirable to fall over a bad jump, but it's nice to see there isn't a huge penalty for it.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a passable dungeon crawler, but it's hard to peg it as anything more than that. While the tombs are mostly linear affairs, the puzzles are interesting enough to make them worth exploring, whether alone or with a friend. The boss battles are enjoyable, especially when they incorporate some of those puzzle elements. However, a short runtime of about 5-7 hours (depending on whether you take up some of the 'challenge tombs') and a lack of any real defining characteristic makes Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris the type of game you'll likely explore only once.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
- Puzzles are genuinely interesting
- Puzzles adjust themselves to suit solo and co-op players
- Solid dungeon crawling gameplay
- Jumping/weapon precision leaves something to be desired
- Weak story
- Inventory and loot feels inconsequential
Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris review: raiding with friends
I kept looking for a comparison to the predecessor. All I wanna know is, will I like this one as much as GoL?
Wife and I are playing through this at the moment. Jumping seems more finicky than predecessor. Early gut feel is there's less side tombs and exploration but some interesting twists to the puzzles.
So far, not quite as fun but seems to still be enjoyable. No regrets yet!