Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a more than competent follow up to Guardian of Light that tells an independent story, and improves on elements that make the game stay fresh and interesting throughout the experience.
A tale of adventure and trespassing
Immediately upon launching Temple of Osiris I felt a sense of home. In a similar vein to the classic and personal favorite Gauntlet series, an isometric action game which finds you raiding tombs in ancient Egypt. We, as Lara, are transported with our buddy Carter via an ancient curse to the ancient world of Egypt. We meet with Isis and Horus, and must piece together the remnants of shrines within titular temple. We are fighting the ancient one Set, who wants to invade our world with his growing power. We clearly won’t stand for that, and with the help of Carter, Isis, and Horus, set out to different shrines and temples in the land to diminish the storm god.
It doesn’t take long for the game to get going, immediately picking up the action and in a very familiar fashion. Moving with the left stick and aiming with the right, player one is Lara clad in her classic outfit of a blue tank top and shorts. We also get the familiar handguns right off the bat, and are treated to some quick tutorials on the games systems.
The systems within the game are fairly in depth, offering amulets and rings to boost your stats, as well as a pretty large arsenal of weapons to find throughout your adventure. Picking up gems throughout stages rewards with chests at the end of each stage with more rings and amulets. These amulets and rings grant our adventurers certain perks like additional attack damage at the penalty of lower defense as one example. Good to see is that rings are plentiful and lend themselves to more intense attacks and with a few friends on screen with fully upgraded attacks, the scene is simply chaotic. The more gems, the better the loot. A simple but addictive hook that will surely find you blowing up walls and rappelling around stages to find secret stashes.
Upgrades are an integral part of progressing with ease in Temple of Osiris, and littered throughout the ancient world are upgrades to ammo capacity, health, and damage to be found. These pickups present other small puzzles throughout the game in how to get to the upgrades. More than a few times we would stop and figure out the best way to attain the upgrades, and fail a few times, falling hilariously to our deaths before finally getting the upgrade.
Familiar feels, with facelift
Early on we find our heroes running from a giant crocodile god, and this section gets across the feeling of this game very well, it’s fresh, fun, and exciting. We find our heroes fleeing from other enemies like a giant cobra, or the massive beetle god atop a rolling boulder. These sections mix up gameplay, and provide some interesting challenges to keep your eyes on while fighting said bosses. I truly enjoyed seeing what was coming next, and what wrench the game would throw in the gears to make me change tactics.
The environment is fitting, the soundtrack driving, and the enemies well varied. Enemies are constantly being introduced and most have a unique way of dealing with them, bugs are in huge numbers but easily killed, while shielded enemies and crocodile warriors need to be bombed to do real damage. These small touches make the game more challenging, and more chaotic with more players.
We find ourselves solving puzzles along the way, most early on are easy enough, and get progressively more challenging as well as interesting. Some challenges will indeed be easier with a few friends, and ultimately the game needs to be played with friends to fully enjoy and appreciate it.
The puzzles themselves are satisfying, sometimes taking a moment to step back and explore what the solution might be. This might frustrate solo users, as the co-op experience inherently lends itself to “IT’S OVER THERE STUPID!” moments. Some of my favorite moments in Temple of Osiris were when my buddy would “try something” and it didn’t go according to plan. Just as in any other co-op game, the moments of idiocy are what make me laugh, add to the value, and overall make memories worthy of saying “that game reminds me of the time…”
Temple of Osiris is a four player co-op title. I don’t mean to simply state box facts, but more mention that in respect to how the game should be played. I initially launched up in a single player session, but found that while enjoyable, the experience was lacking. I then spent a majority of my time cooperatively, and have indeed settled on the fact that the experience with friends is miles beyond single player. As mentioned above in this review, moments of sheer joy erupt when you and a friend are able to take down a boss together, compete to find the upgrades first, and find new weapons to murder beetles. I would caution that playing Temple of Osiris isn’t bad, or even a not-fun experience, but should definitely be one of the best couch co-op games of the year.
Exploring the temples and lands of Egypt with friends also lends itself to a wider angle on the camera, and while this might sound either like a hindrance or strange mention, the camera pulling back allows players to appreciate the detail in environments and effects going on around them. This appreciation of the happenings around lends itself to immersion and ultimately makes the whole experience just that much better.
The Bottom Line
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris proves a great downloadable title for your collection. It’s not only a great Tomb Raider game, but a great isometric in the vein of Gauntlet that keeps your interest, and easily pushes you along without dragging. The puzzles are interesting, enemies fascinating, and environments very well done. Cooperative is all but in the title of the game, and should be enjoyed with friends, ideally in the same room to get the full joy of screaming at each other and pointing to treasure. In short, Temple of Osiris is worth it.