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During the Square Enix press event during the 2014 New York Comic Con, I had the opportunity to play a guided co-op demo of the upcoming release Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris on the Xbox One. This adventure game is the follow up to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, which was digitally released for Xbox 360, PS3 and other platforms in 2010 and is one of the best-selling digital game releases ever. Both “Lara Croft” games were developed by Crystal Dynamics and distributed by Square Enix.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was the first game in the Tomb Raider series that did not have the T.R. nomenclature and with the Temple of Osiris Square Enix is trying to have a secondary brand of digital games with the Lara Croft names, separate from the major releases with the Tomb Raider name, such as the 2013 reboot. Like Guardian of Light, Temple of Osiris has a throwback, arcade feel to the gameplay. The emphasis isn’t on story and cut scenes (although there are some of each), but interactive levels, puzzle-like runes, collecting loot, and destroying monsters. When I originally played Guardian of Light, I was impressed by how much fun I had with the game, one that was more enjoyable than a number of longer, more expensive, and higher profile releases.
One of the biggest differences between Guardian of Light and Temple of Osiris is obvious right off the bat. With the difference of a few years and a new set of consoles, the graphics and visuals on Temple of Osiris are much improved from Guardian of Light. In Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, the playable characters include Croft, rival archeologist Carter Bell, gods Horus and Isis. Croft and Bell use normal weapons (which you upgrade throughout the game) while Horus and Isis have magical weapons. In the co-op mode, it’s possible to combine a team’s assault, utilizing the different strength of each character’s weapons.
Like in Guardian of Light, you try to make it through levels by defeating creatures and advancing to the next room in the temple. In the demo, we were confronting by beetle-like scarabs that would come from all directions as well as a rapidly-collapsing floor (a reprise of a level from Guardian of Light). The ultimate goal is to defeat the evil god Set. In some ways, Temple of Osiris will be familiar to those who have played Guardian of Light. The way you attack and navigate through levels is similar. Also, there appear to be many opportunity to climb and jump through treacherous areas and solve in-game puzzles.
Although the demo was relatively brief (through two levels) and guided towards certain goals, I saw that Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris looks to be a fun sequel to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Square Enix seems to be going for a “same but different” feel for the game, making it like the previous game enough that fans of that game can easily jump in and feel satisfied while making it different enough to not feel repetitive. Through the demo, it was clear that Temple of Osiris would be similar to Guardian of Light but with different environments, monsters, and types of puzzles. The test for Temple of Osiris will ultimately be from how different and unique it feels and whether the game is fun and engaging throughout the entirety of its levels.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris will be digitally released for the PC, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4 platforms on December 9th.