Lara Croft is back! Well, kind of. It is another Tomb Raiding adventure with everyone’s favorite…er…tomb raider but things are a little different this time around.
Most especially, the dramatic change in game play style from a third person adventure game to a top down Gauntlet style co-op heavy action game. The change while vastly different, turns out to be a pretty good thing.
Guardian of Light also marks the first Lara Croft title not falling under the Tomb Raider brand and the first digital download release in the franchise.
This go around Lara must team up with Totec, a 2,000-year-old Mayan warrior to defeat an evil spirit called Xolotl and his demonic minions to reclaim the mysterious Mirror of Smoke.
In the co-op mode you can choose between Totec and Lara but, inexplicably, there is no online support for the game yet so you can only do co-op with your friends. Rumor is this will change soon, and to be honest, it doesn’t bother me all that much so I didn’t detract from the score at all. I prefer solo play to co-op anyway, especially if I have to rely on the other person to do something to solve a puzzle. That said, the co-op is pretty fun and takes the Tomb Raider franchise to another level. Lara and Totec need to utilize each other’s skills in order to progress. In the Single player, Lara is on her own so there is no troublesome A.I. to worry about.
I did spend most of my time, we’re talking hours, in the single player campaign. It is insanely addictive and a lot of fun. It took me a few minutes to get used to the controls but once I had it, there was no stopping me. Even as the clock approached midnight and I began the “just one more level” routine that so many gamers are familiar with, I kept going.
The game play is fun and exciting with great controls with just a minimum of learning curves. The story is strong and Lara is in top form. The visuals are gorgeous with the backgrounds of each level looking stunning and very detailed. This goes for the cut scenes as well. They’re flawlessly done with almost no load time.
Guardian of Light brings another new feature, point based unlockables. If you rack up enough points from defeating enemies or collecting various gems and items, you can unlock powerful relics to boost your attacks, defense, etc.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a welcome evolution to the Tomb Raider franchise and I enjoyed every moment I played. I got frustrated, but it was the good kind of frustration, the kind you want to try over and over to overcome. Fun and interesting puzzles, challenging maps, exciting boss battles, Guardian of Light delivers it all.
I do hope we get to see more of Lara in this type of game play but also in the more traditional styles. There are plenty of Tomb Raider stories to tell no matter the game play style they choose to use.
Either way, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a wonderful and welcome addition to the franchise and truly breathes a breath of fresh air into a character who is nothing short of iconic.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Violence. This game can also be found on: PC and Xbox Live Arcade .