Developer(s) – Crystal Dynamics
Publisher(s) – Square Enix
Developed after the Tomb Raider re-vamp of 2013, and taking just over a year to complete, Lara Croft & the Temple of Osiris introduces an extremely different style of gameplay to anything I’d ever seen prior in the Tomb Raider series in the form of an isometric top-down combat oriented adventure RPG, reminiscent of the likes of Diablo, Baldur’s Gate, or the original 2 Fallout games. Personally, whilst this isn’t the first Tomb Raider game like it (that being Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light), it was my introduction to this different style, and I was pleasantly surprised by how good this game is, and while it does have its faults, especially for a game of both its calibre and potential, I found myself enjoying it more than any of the classic games.
Graphics – 8.5/10
Conceptually, the game looks excellent, taking place in an ancient Egyptian tomb, and featuring a multitude of mythical creatures and enemies for Lara and company to contend with throughout, and featuring some very attractive-looking scenery. Although the game was developed using seventh generation graphics, it still looks to be in stunning detail since everything is viewed from distance during gameplay; a technique commonly used in games of this kind. Up-close during cut scenes the visuals may look a little bit outdated, but bearing in mind that it only took a year to develop, they still aren’t bad considering.
Gameplay – 9/10
The concept of gameplay makes it much more addictive and enjoyable than any of the classic Tomb Raider games in my personal opinion. As well as an engrossing main quest, there are also side quests to undertake throughout, as well as the facility to upgrade Lara’s equipment, adding a strong RPG element to it, as well as the extra replay value to be had in revisiting different areas of the game in order to pick up as much treasure as possible in order to open the various chests throughout and upgrade equipment to it’s fullest.
Controls – 10/10
Another huge advantage that this game has over it’s many classic predecessor that many gamers seem to hold in high regard is that the control scheme is infinitely better. Since it involves a completely different style of play, it isn’t marred down by the same issues the original PlayStation games had during the time gaming was in the middle of the 2D to 3D transition back in the late 90s, and combat is handled just as well as any other game of its kind.
Lifespan – 4/10
The biggest drawback to this game is that despite what replay value there is to be had, it can only take around 4 to 6 hours to complete to 100%, which is way below par compared to other games of the genre; especially Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance and the original Diablo. If Crystal Dynamics ever contemplated making a third Tomb Raider game like this, it would be simple to improve on the formula. All they would have to do is make it in the typical fashion of how a sequel is normally made; bigger and better. But unfortunately, this game doesn’t last anywhere near as long as it had the potential to last. Personally, if I had to wait longer than a year if it meant playing a longer game, I would have gladly waited patiently for it.
Storyline – 7/10
The story of the game follows renowned explorer Lara Croft, as she and a fellow archaeologist Carter Bell stumble upon the temple of the Egyptian god Osiris and attempt the recover the god’s fabled staff. After finding it, they find themselves locked within the temple, but inadvertently releasing Horus and Isis; the last of the old gods imprisoned by the god of the underworld, Set. Lara and her three companions venture through the temple in order to resurrect the god Osiris, and thus prevent Set’s return. The plot itself is fairly solid and intense, but I found that bar the mild humour that the character of Carter Bell brings to the table, the voice acting was just a little bit off in my opinion. But overall, it doesn’t do too much to make the story impossible to either follow or enjoy.
Originality – 6/10
Though the overall idea may be relatively new to its respective franchise, it’s nothing new to the gaming medium overall. Isometric RPGs had already proven to be a popular style of play among gamers, and whilst there is certain elements that make this title stand out among the rest to a certain extent, it’s more evolutionary than revolutionary. Regardless, it was a breath of fresh air to me, having tried to contend with so many bad Tomb Raider games in the past, and I would like to see it expanded upon in the future.
Overall, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is to date the best Tomb Raider game I have ever played; bar my completion of the Tomb Raider re-vamp, as well as the release of Rise of the Tomb Raider later on this year. It’s certainly a cut above all the classic games that helped to bring the franchise into prominence, and I would recommend it to fans of either this genre, or fans of the series, as well as newcomers.