Lara Croft And The Temple Of Osiris

Year: 2014
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Publisher: Square/Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Genre: Action/adventure
Review Date: 1/29/16
Rating: ****

Oh, Lara, when will you ever learn? Once again, renowned adventurer Lara Croft has endangered herself and put the fate of the world in peril when she and a rival treasure hunter named Carter Bell desecrate an Egyptian tomb and unleash a reincarnated Set, who is determined to destroy the world. In order to defeat Set and break the curse of Osiris's staff, Lara and Carter have to work with Isis and Horus to resurrect Osiris by reassembling a sacred statue of him.

Just like "Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light" (2010), this is a 3D isometric run-and-gun adventure game with environmental puzzles. As you work through the game, more tombs become available and more powerful weapons are unlocked. The progression of enemies versus firepower provides a slow and steady difficulty curve, but the game never becomes overly demanding. A liberal checkpoint system makes sure you don't end up backtracking too far when things go wrong, which keeps you in the action and allows you to maintain forward momentum.

Production wise, the game is definitely a step up from its predecessor, with brand new assets and an original (although highly derivative) music score. The music is extremely reminiscent of Jerry Goldsmith's score from "The Mummy," and sets the tone of the game quite nicely. The graphics are superb, and the Egyptian architecture is stunning to observe and explore. There's a pleasant amount of variety in the various tombs, and the hub world changes with the weather and the time of day. Ammo and health are plentiful as long as you play it safe when dealing with enemies. After defeating Set, the game offers replay value in the guise of challenges, collectibles, and a seemingly endless supply of treasure chests to unlock, but I didn't feel compelled to continue playing.

While "Guardian Of Light" had a pointless and annoying co-op element, "Temple Of Osiris" has an even more pointless and annoying 4-player online multi-player element. It adds no value and makes no sense. It also pollutes the single player experience because the other characters continue to speak even though they're not physically present. The voice acting is quite good and the delightful Keeley Hawes reprises her role as Lara. Unfortunately, Carter's lines are predictably lame and Isis's endless prattling becomes increasingly irritating. Set is an egotistical and rather uninteresting villain, but at least he's not as laughable as "Guardian Of Light's" gingerbread man villain, Xolotl. Additional tombs and outfits are available as paid DLC, but I didn't feel the need to check them out, especially since the onscreen characters are so small.

Overall, "Lara Croft And Temple Of Osiris" is a fun diversion that can be completed in about ten hours. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the Egyptian ruins and taking in the beautiful scenery, even though the world map is effectively useless. Again, I find it annoying that the game is only available as a downloadable title. What's more frustrating is that there's a Gold Edition of the game that comes with a physical disc, but it's not available in the US. What's up with that?