Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light: Review Bit
|Game Name:||Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light|
|Platforms:||PS3, Xbox 360|
|Genre(s):||Isometric Action Adventure|
|Release Date:||August 18, 2010 XBL, November 22, 2010 PSN(Online|
It’s been a long time coming but the minds over at Crystal Dynamics have gone back to the drawing board with the Tomb Raider series to create Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.Unlike the 3D platformer genre that the Tomb Raider series was born (and died) on, Guardian of Light is a top down, isometric platforming shooter. As crazy as that sounds, it works brilliantly.
The story is pretty basic. Two thousand years ago, the ancient Mayan tribesmen and “Guardian of Light”, Totec, fought and sealed away Xolotl, the keeper of darkness, in a mystical Mirror of Smoke. Lara reads of the legend and seeks to find the mirror only to see that a gang of mercenaries has already found it. The mercs manage to screw things up and release Xolotl and awaken Totec. So now it’s up to Lara and Totec to defeat Xolotl, imprison him back in the Mirror of Smoke and save the world. It’s nothing to write home about but enough to set up the style of the game and the level design. Each level you are basically chasing after Xolotl as he unleashes wave after wave of his stoney, undead, monster, minions while throwing the frequent puzzle at you.
The controls are simple but implemented well enough to get the job done. Movement is quick and jumping around is easy enough. You’ll run into a few instances where you just can’t seem to get the correct angle to get where you need to but thankfully the instant respawns alleviate most of the frustration of dying. Shooting is easy and fun. Simply point the right stick the direction you want to shoot and a hail of bullets ensues.
The best feature is how you interact with the environment and use the tools given to you to solve puzzles and traverse through the levels. If you are playing solo, Lara is given a spear to throw and/or jump on, a grappling hook to scale walls and grenades to not only blow up enemies but trigger traps and move obstacles. The game gets even more fun when you join a friend. They will take control of Totec along with spear duties and he can also use his shield to block enemy fire and help Lara climb obstacles or . Lara’s play changes a bit too as she can use her grappling hook to give Totec a tight rope to cross gaps or to climb up and repel down walls. It is very clever design that changes the gameplay just enough that you’ll want to play it both ways.
The puzzles are good without trying to be overly complicated. I really like how they constantly make you think and require you to use certain tools to get the job done. Each level keeps it fresh without rehashing the same puzzle types over and over. Some levels you will roll a giant ball onto a floor plate to open a door, other levels you’ll need to use grenades to move objects around the environment and that’s just a little bit of what the game has to offer.
The variety of enemies is good and the level design is fantastic. Each level is cleverly designed with tight corridors, wide open areas, and great vertical exploration. Just enough of the environment is destructible to give you a perfect feel of power because, let’s face it, blowing stuff up is fun. The pacing is also well done. For every head scratching puzzle you will get an intense gun fight or a nail biting chase sequence.
With a ton of unlockable weapons, treasures, and outfits there is plenty here to keep you busy. You’ll find yourself replaying levels over and over again to try and beat a time limit, get a high score or find every secret. Guardian of Light is highly rewarding and just plain fun to play. If you were a Tomb Raider fan (like me) and the piss poor sequels of the past decade have turned you off of the series (Legend and Anniversary were OK), or even if you never really like the series, this is the perfect game to make you fall back in love with our British, buxom, beauty.
Brian’s 2 Bits:
Hands down this is the best Lara Croft/Tomb Raider game to come out in a while. Though i enjoyed Legends and Anniversary, Guardian of Light offers some fresh game mechanics, great graphics and Co-Op goodness. The biggest change is the gameplay which melds the adventure and dungeon crawling of Gauntlet; and the fighting and Co-Op of Robotron and Smash TV. The graphics are crisp and the colors are vibrant, coupled with some great music which mixes new tunes to already classic Tomb Raider score. The Co-Op is as addictive as anything you’ll find in a multi-player, that adds both the need to work together to get through traps and puzzles, while creating a sense of competition for points to gain weapons. Though there are glitches abound in the game, especially in Co-Op, there is nothing that diminishes the enjoyment of playing. Though there has been an announcement for a reboot of Tomb Raider, I’m more excited for the future of this Lara Croft series of games. This is a must buy.