I remember playing Tomb Raider when I was younger. Specifically, I played to ogle the beautiful Lara Croft’s buttocks and breasteses as she fought her way through enemies and puzzles (in my defense, I was a teenage boy without a social life at the time). Oh, and I suppose the gameplay was nice, though as I’ve mentioned, it was far from my main interest in the game. Over time, as I became less socially awkward, I drifted away from the Tomb Raider series. Until, that is, we received a review code for the Summer of Arcade title, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
The first thing I noticed when loading Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was the wonderfully designed menu, a feature that I am particularly…particular about. A well designed and integrated menu helps set the tone of the game experience before you even begin playing, and Lara Croft’s menu definitely sets the bar high. Alas, I don’t have the hardware to take a screenshot, but if I could, believe me dear readers, I would. For you. For you. (Read the second “For you.” out loud in a whisper, please.)
The game itself follows in the menu’s footsteps. Visually, it is excellent. From the character and environment detail, to the ripple effect on water as you run through, it’s obvious that a great deal of effort went into making a beautiful game. I enjoyed the voice acting as well. Lara Croft is satisfyingly British, as she should be, and Totec has an appropriate accent. My favorite voice acting, however, comes in the form of the game’s villain, Xolotl. The voice actor gives Xolotl a somewhat over-the-top, campy feel which I absolutely love.
The gameplay diverges from the standard Tomb Raider style gameplay only slightly, in my opinion. The basic gameplay is action mixed with puzzles, features which can be found both in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light and most other Tomb Raider titles. The main difference is the viewing angle, which in this case is a somewhat zoomed-out third-person view. The platformer style comes across well, and works beautifully. Currently, aside from the single player mode, an offline, local two-player co-op mode is available (and ridiculously fun). Online multi-player mode is coming soon via a title update on September 28th, as well as the game’s first DLC packs, scheduled for release from October through December. Generally it’s not as enjoyable playing as the non-title character, but personally I prefer playing Totec to Lara Croft herself. The basic gameplay for each is identical, but each has a special ability that the other lacks, making teamwork essential for certain puzzles and areas. Overall, the gameplay, in my opinion, couldn’t be better. I have no complaints.
The game is long, and the levels are large. There are areas to explore in levels that don’t fall directly in your path during your quest to complete the game, which adds to the length and enjoyment of the game. Each level also contains bonus challenge rooms that exist outside of the story’s plot. These challenge rooms present you with a puzzle to solve. If you solve the puzzle, you gain a reward. For a $15 (1200MSP) game, this one delivers a great experience.
-[insert DON’T JUDGE ME. here]