Times are tough for Lara Croft, having been recently thrown wide-eyed and wobbly-kneed into a rebooted Tomb Raider universe, and charged with learning her key tomb raiding skills from scratch. After contending with wild animals, wilder people, and an island comprised entirely of ruins that collapse as soon as they’re climbed on, Lara is badly in need of some therapy.
While fans of the herione wait for Rise of the Tomb Raider, another sequel is on the way in the form of Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, a four-player co-op title that acts as a follow-up to Crystal Dynamics’ 2010 two-player co-op game Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Game Rant got the chance to take Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris for a spin on the PS4 at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, with three other players present to complete the co-op experience.
The group configuration of Temple of Osiris should be familiar to those who played Guardian of Light, which allowed players to take on the role of either Lara or an ancient Mayan warrior called Totec. In Temple of Osiris there are two human characters – Lara and her fellow tomb raider Carter Bell – who are joined in their quest by fallen Egyptian gods Isis and Horus. The gods and the humans have different abilities, but a combination of both is required in order to progress through the game. For example, the human characters have grappling hooks that can be used to climb or create tightropes, and the gods can generate shields for others to jump on or hide behind.
Each player is assigned a color which appears in a ring surrounding their character, and also makes the front panel of the PS4 controller light up with that color, which makes it easy for everyone to find their correct controller after taking a break. The camera is zoomed out far enough over the 3D isometric maps that discerning different characters on the screen purely by their appearance can be very tricky, so keeping an eye on the colored circles is essential for keeping track of your character.
Loot can be found in abundance and players can customize their characters with various weapons and accessories to help give them an edge over the enemies in the game. In some cases this treasure has to be uncovered through the use of bombs, which are fun to throw down but are worth using with care; no one wants to accidentally blow up their teammate. The items that can be acquired this way (rings, for instance) will usually have both a positive effect (such as adding a fire element to attacks) and a negative one, requiring players to think carefully about just how badly they want that extra ability.
The weapons and bombs aren’t just used for careful archeological digging, however. The basic enemies encountered during the demo were the adventure game standard living skeletons and giant insects, and didn’t present too much of a challenge unless they all mobbed together. Aiming is locked to the right analog stick and weapons can be raised by pushing the analog stick in any direction. This allows for some smooth, simple combat gameplay, though it would have been good to face off against some more challenging enemies.
The puzzles encountered during the hands-on demo mainly involved working together to traverse the map using the different characters’ abilities. At one point we encountered a sunken statue surrounded by four weighted platforms (no points for solving that one). Overall the action was generally quite fun, but only really picked up when a boss showed up and all four players were forced to flee from it along a path filled with various moving deadly traps. There were multiple deaths and a lot of laughs.
The cutscenes in Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris lack the CGI polish of the game’s big-budget sisters, but the simple artwork nonetheless works well to convey what looks like a fairly simple narrative, in which Lara and Carter are recruited in Iris and Horus’ long-standing war against Set, Egyptian god of the underworld. The demo ended with a stand-off between the four heroes and a giant scarab beetle, so it looks like fans of big boss fights have a lot to look forward to.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris will be available to download for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on 9th December, 2014.