Review Price to be confirmed
Coming to Xbox one, PS4 and PC
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris release date: December 9
Introduced as the follow-up to the 2010 Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, this new game is the first Tomb Raider spin-off to launch on the Xbox One and PS4.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a four-player co-operative adventure that aims to give players a taste of the “fan favourite”, old-school Tomb Raider. Developer Crystal Dynamics believes that this title can co-exist alongside AAA titles like the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot and the upcoming 2015 Rise of the Tomb Raider, as although they are the same franchise, they offer players very different gameplay mechanics.
If you played Guardian of Light, Temple of Osiris offers a very similar gameplay style, but ups the original two-player co-operative to a maximum four players.
Immediately, the game is looking a lot more polished and Crystal Dynamics promises that the entire title has overhauled visual effects in comparison to the original. Thanks to the power of the Xbox One, PS4 and PC, the developer has introduced water-based puzzles too, with realistic ripple effects. Plus, like the majority of new-gen titles, you should expect more lighting and shadow realism from Temple of Osiris too, complete with full 1080p HD visuals.
The game’s premise is that Carter Bell, a rival explorer, has reached the Temple of Osiris before Lara. But, thanks to his eagerness, he’s managed to set off a trap that unleashes the ancient evil ruler of Egypt – Set.
To defeat him, Lara and Carter must team up with Isis and Horus, from Egyptian legend, to find the broken pieces of the statue of Osiris. Set has chopped up the statues into dismembered body parts, which the team must reassemble to gain the power to put Set back in the underworld.
Now, although the game is best experienced in a team of four, the game can be played solo or with a few characters missing. The puzzles found in each tomb will be adapted to the number of players currently travelling through it. This means there’s a ton of replayability there, experiencing each tomb with a variety of player numbers.
In terms of controls, you’ll need to use the right stick to aim and right trigger to shoot. This is the same for all four playable characters. But, each has their own skills that must be used to solve puzzles.
For example, Lara and Carter have a torch that they can use with LB to light things. Certain tombs will be dark, or you can use the torches to light up braziers scattered in the tombs to collect gems.
Isis and Horus have the Staff of Osiris. This can be used to shoot at golden glowing orbs and stop the enemies pouring out of them.
As with the previous Guardian of Light title, you can smash pots littered around the map to release gems (which can be collected to unlock treasure chests at the end of each level), ammo and health packs among other items.
You can also press Y to drop a bomb on broken patches of ground to find additional loot. These also come in handy when having to flick remote switches, as the bombs can be remotely detonated. At one point we let loose a bomb in the flowing water, which travelled under a gate to flick a switch further downstream. The water really adds another difficulty dimension to the puzzles, making this adventure appeal to the more mature gamers looking for a brain workout.
Bombs are necessary for taking out tougher enemies. But watch out, because the bombs will do damage to your teammates. They do leave a coloured ring on the floor showing the blast radius though, making it easier for them to get out of the way before the blast.
We particularly like the brief cinematic moments, where you’re taken from the top-down asymmetric camera view to closer into the characters. It’s here you can really see the detail and enhancements made between the two games.
We played through two levels in our GamesCom demo and actually found some of the puzzles pretty taxing. There's a load of collectables, character play style customisations and upgrades to make if you're looking for a game with a little more than the basic level gameplay.
For example, Amulets can be used to share powers across all four players. Once equipped and the power meter has filled up, you can use them for enhanced damage or other perks. We tried out an Amulet that set enemies on fire, allowing you to dispatch them a lot quicker.
Don't forget to make use of your character's roll ability, by pressing the X button. If you're playing as Lara, continuously pressing the X button makes you roll, cartwheel and more in classic Lara style.
We're still not convinced that a game like this really needed Lara Croft branding, but it's a game that offers something a little different for Xbox One and PS4 gamers. The four-player co-op is very easy to pick up in terms of control, but will require a little more thought to complete the puzzles.
For true Tomb Raider fans, this is bound to be a great stop gap to keep you busy for a while until Rise of the Tomb Raider launches some time in 2015. We don't see it being a best seller, but it's truly enjoyable with a gang of mates.
Read more: Xbox One vs PS4