Lara Croft is back. And while we haven’t exactly been terribly excited about any Tomb Raider games since the original two or three Playstation games, we’re just glad to see the buxom heroine star offer another solid, fun title after 2008’s good but not spectacular Tomb Raider: Underworld.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light for the Xbox 360 and the PS3 is actually an offshoot from the main series, with the game’s isometric camera angle being the first primary indicator.
If you were one to play the Tomb Raider games only to check out Lara’s behind, then you probably will hate the new camera angle a bit. The new camera is not just for show though, as it gives the game more of an action-shooter feel.
And indeed, this game is one of the more action-packed Tomb Raider games we’ve ever played. Combat, though simple, is never boring. The brisk pacing of the game sets you up with tons of battles with baddies that you just never get tired of shooting.
The ways to shoot them, or rather the guns that you can use to shoot them are very varied too—pistols, shotguns, rifles, a spear and even ancient artifacts—which partly ensures that the action stays fresh.
A power meter also fills up too by having Lara avoid damage, which can then be unleashed for specific bonuses such as improved attack power or enhanced speed.
Those bonuses are especially invaluable when trying to set high scores or completion times for the stages. Accomplish these extra game challenges, and the game rewards you with even more guns to play with.
In Tomb Raider games, action is always just half of the equation, with exploration being the other half. And what fun it is to explore the beautiful nooks and crannies of the stages of this game. The visuals are lush and the environments carry a pristine quality.
Exploration is challenging but never tedious, and not because you have to face bad guys but largely because of the puzzles you need to solve. The puzzles are woven seamlessly with the layout of a specific stage, and don’t feel like they were put in there just for the sake of having some sort of exploration puzzle in there.
For the first time in a Tomb Raider game, a cooperative multiplayer mode is implemented with the second player taking control of an Ancient Mayan warrior called Totec, who offers a different play experience from Lara.
The presence of Totec does alter the playing experience, so if you could find a pal to play with, this is a nice addition too that adds a ton of replay value to the game. Too bad you can’t play cooperatively online as the game’s developers have failed to add that.
Overall, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, more than just a solid game, is another sign that the series is back with the elite franchises of the gaming landscape. Here’s to hoping that Lara Croft continues this mean streak.
WORDS BY: GELO GONZALES
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