Do you remember playing Diablo III or Tomb Raider and thinking “Wow, it would be so amazing if they could make an isometric Lara Croft game!”? No? Well, you’re not alone.
At first glance, you might think that our world-travelling, mystery-solving heroine would be ill-served with a gameplay style more suited to hack-and-slash games. But Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a game that does away with the button-mashing clichés that have become synonymous with that perspective, and offers an adventure that stays true to the strengths of the Tomb Raider franchise – exploration and puzzle solving. Of course, you’ll slay plenty of undead beings and magical monsters on your way through the story, but that isn’t the primary focus of the game. It’s an old-school take on Lara Croft’s adventures and it works, for the most part.
It’s hardly a surprise that a game which has “Temple of Osiris” in the title is steeped in Egyptian mythological themes. Osiris’ evil brother Set makes an appearance as the main villain in the story, although most of his appearances are anti-climactic. Several times during the game, Set appears, renders your screen sepia-toned, and informs you that even though you’ve just beaten a boss, your journey is far from over.
On a broad scale, the plot revolves around collecting pieces of a statue that can restore Osiris to his original state. Yes, that does mean you’ll be fighting your way through the undead, solving puzzles and jumping chasms for parts of a foot, a hand or other body parts. As you can imagine, when you are rewarded with said object after several minutes of exploration, it’s hard to feel satisfied. The game’s dated graphics do nothing to cover up the shortcomings of the story either. This isn’t to say that Lara’s latest adventure looks bland – you have detailed maps, lush forests and raging rivers which are all equipped with their fair share of traps and obstacles. It just seems like a game that would have come out on the previous generation of consoles.
While you can choose to journey through the storyline on your own, Temple of Osiris is most fun when you are playing with some friends. The game smartly adjusts to the number of players that are present by altering the environment so that you can solve the puzzles it presents you with, irrespective of how many people are playing the game with you. When you are with friends, you have to work together to solve puzzles. You fling your hook across a river or a valley, and your friends cross it. You cover yourself in a gleaming bubble (Yes, seriously) and your companions bounce of it to reach otherwise inaccessible areas.
The game keeps the action fairly fresh throughout its runtime. Just when you’ve finished a section of intense exploration, you’ll be presented with a high-octane combat sequence or a thrilling chase. These set-pieces provide some of the game’s most enjoyable moments, where you and your friends have to make decisions on the fly to help each other escape whatever is hunting you. Different environments require different strategies to conquer. Some might require your entire party to stay close together, while others may require a bit of scouting to find the correct method of approach.
The game doesn’t offer you overly complex puzzles, which is great for newer players. You’ll feel just smart enough to have solved whatever the game throws at you. The puzzles which require the team to work together are a lot of fun to solve. Boss fights also require your party to complement each other, fending off minor enemies that swarm you or springing traps and dropping projectiles onto the boss while you have him distracted. The combat sequences aren’t very difficult. You’ll have the standard video-game arsenal of pistols, shotguns, grenades and assorted items to progress through the story. As you progress through the game, you’ll earn in-game money which will allow you to upgrade your abilities and buy new weapons.
Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris isn’t the most complex or deep game in the Tomb Raider series, but it’s a fun diversion nevertheless. It has its fair share of bugs and online play glitches. The co-operative mode is a lot of fun and makes for some entertaining times with friends. The Egyptian angle to the story is mostly there as a prop, as you’ll learn when you play through the game. Unfortunately, the visuals don’t look like they belong on the PS4 or the Xbox One. With some bug fixes and control improvements, this game could be much more fun. It isn’t the most polished adventure, but Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris offers enough varied gameplay sequences and clever platforming to keep things interesting, even if you’ve never heard of the Tomb Raider franchise.
Game Score: 7.4 Out Of 10