Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, trolls like an Egyptian - Games Weekly

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, trolls like an Egyptian

I didn't get to play Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light but am told it was pretty excellent. Having just blitzed through a brief hands on session with its sequel, Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris, I’m inclined to believe that's true. Big picture wise, the two games pretty much identical: isometric co-op dungeon crawlers with a heavy emphasis on collaborative puzzle solving. Osiris enjoys a number of clear advantages over its predecessor, though. Two of them, in fact.

More players = more fun. Everybody knows that. Temple of Osiris supports up to four-players at once, which Borderlands and Diablo have proven is the optimal number for co-op fun. During my hands-on session I was joined by Wilks and Alex, with me controlling Lara and Wilks and Alex controlling the Egyptian gods Isis and Horus respectively. (Or possibly vice-versa I don’t remember.)

The story is enthusiastically absurd in the classic Tomb Raider way. Something about ancient Egyptian curses and a magical artefact broken into x number of pieces. Nobody cares. The point is that this is blue tank-top Lara strutting her stuff, improbably acrobatic and stacked to the dickens, traipsing through trap strapped tombs (say that three times fast) and getting into gunfights with everything from giant dung beetles to glowing ancient deities. It’s great.

They've even got Keeley Hawes doing the voice again.

 Raider experience combat, exploration, puzzle-solving are present in Temple of Osiris, but in radically altered forms. Combat is frantic and explosive, a bit like Gauntlet but with fewer enemies.

Puzzles seem to be mostly environmental and involve a fair amount of careful co-operation, with Lara and her godly comrades combining their unique abilities to navigate spike-filled pits, corridors abuzz with shark-toothed circular saws, and other standard archaeological death traps.

As with all truly memorable co-op games, trolling your so-called “partners” is half the fun in Temple of Osiris. As Lara Croft, it often fell to me to ferry stranded teammates across perilous chasms using my trusty grappling gun, which as it turns out isn’t so trusty after all. And the best thing is that there doesn't appear to be any real penalty associated with death, so there’s nothing to stop you from torturing your friends and family until they snap and break something. Like your nose.

Although co-op is clearly the focus, it’s possible to play through Osiris solo and thankfully it doesn't involve teaming up with a maddening AI-controlled partner. Instead, the game simply changes depending on how many players there are, redistributing items and tweaking level design as necessary. It’s clever and appreciated and just one more reason to keep and eye on this game, which came out of nowhere for me and is now one my most anticipated upcoming releases.

But then I do like myself a good trolling.

Sequel to last year’s apparently not quite successful enough (according to Square Enix) reboot, Rise of Tomb Raider was revealed in the form of a teaser trailer at the Microsoft conference at this year’s E3. Not a lot of is known about it yet save that it's an Xbox One exclusive and that Lara apparently has need of a therapist now. It’s due sometime in 2015.

Osiris is the Egyptian god of the afterlife and is typically depicted as a tall priestly looking guy with flowing white robes and green black skin, the latter symbolising rebirth in Egyptian cosmology. Isis, the goddess of health, marriage, and love, is Osiris’s sister/lover (don’t ask). The Jackal-headed Horus, god of vengeance and war, is their son. So there you go: you’re all caught up now.

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