NYCC: Hands-on with Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light provided the fun “couch co-op” kind of gaming that is slowly making its way in the rearview as online gaming continues as the norm. At an event in New York yesterday, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics allowed some time with their follow-up: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. It aims for the same kind of fun as its predecessor, harkening back to multiplayer arcade games like Gauntlet amidst a third-person, isometric camera view. It also interestingly keeps the same ‘adventure serial’ tone of previous Tomb Raider titles after the darker atmosphere of the 2013 reboot. The setting shifts from Central America to Egypt, and this time four players can join in on the fun from the previous game’s two, which makes for some chaotic fun.

The demo featured four playable characters: Lara Croft, her rival Carter Bell, the goddess Isis, and her son Horus, each with specific abilities that will assist (and possibly hurt) other players. The demo had us run through an Egyptian catacomb littered with traps and plenty of enemies that will require players to keep track of their characters’ on-screen location. Lara and Bell come equipped with pistols and firing on giant scarabs felt like playing a version of Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy. Pistols will never run out, but larger automatic weapons will.

lctooAmusingly, Isis and Horus can also run around the map firing a submachine gun. The four-player dynamic allows players to take advantage of one another to progress (which might be prudent to find red skulls). For example, Isis and Horus can create energy shields to protect Lara and Bell, or provide a platform to get to higher ground. Meanwhile, Lara and Bell can fire grappling hooks (provided a golden ring is nearby to latch onto) to climb or as a tightrope for Isis and Horus. Isis and Horus can fire beams from their staffs, while Lara and Bell light dark areas with torches. The representative also stressed that level design will accommodate the number of players in a session as well as feature weather and time-of-day customization.

The session also demonstrated the competitive (and griefing) aspects of Temple of Osiris. Though players will work together to overcome obstacles and take down enemies, the map is littered with areas to explore to collect gold for points as well as treasures that can assist the entire team or give an individual character a boost in skill. There are also moments will you’ll need a player’s help to traverse, say, a spiky pit, and hopefully your partner isn’t the type to retract the grappling hook!

After several moments of rolling under rotating spikes and outrunning collapsing platforms, players who have collected enough gold and silver will find themselves in a treasure room that will allow them to open a certain number of treasures depending on how much they collected. The demo ended from there with a cut-scene that showed off one of the game’s bosses.

The demo was overall easy to pick up and play, and allowed players to customize their needs on the fly. It doesn’t look like a massive visual bump from the last game, which released in 2010, but I quite enjoyed the environment design of that particular map. Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris will launch on December 9 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.

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Gustavo Lazo Twitter: @derekstruble