Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - No boxshot available.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PCiPhone

Downloadable action puzzler featuring Lara Croft.

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9Out of 10
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Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light screenshot
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light screenshot

It's quite remarkable that Crystal Dynamics has been able to create a game that feels designed for solo play just as much as it does for co-op. On my first run through the studio's download-only Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, the mixture of combat, puzzles and platforming seemed built around playing alone - yet as soon as I played through the same levels with a friend, it was hard to imagine how the game had worked as a single-player experience. This is just one of the reasons why Guardian of Light is one of the most expertly-crafted downloadable titles released this year.

Played from a fairly old-school distant third-person viewpoint, Guardian of Light looks completely different to every Tomb Raider game that's gone before it. The 14 chapters here are large, sprawling environments with many areas to explore, all viewed from an isometric perspective. They look great too, as do the many enemies you'll come across over the course of the decently sized adventure. It's undoubtedly one of the most visually impressive downloadable titles on the market.

Controls aren't your usual Tomb Raider fare either, with the left stick handling movement and the right aiming, similar to how retro shooters like Geometry Wars work. Holding the right shoulder button will cause Lara to fire or throw her weapon, and the left stick will then make her strafe. Movement speed here is adequate to dodge enemy fire (a roll move helps out too), but Lara doesn't move around at a stupidly fast pace.

Weapons come in all shapes and sizes, but it's only the default pistol and spears that are unlimited. The other tools in your arsenal, which includes machine guns and a flamethrower, rely on an ammunition meter, replenished by picking up items scattered around the environment and dropped by defeated enemies. Lara can also plant bombs and detonate them from a safe distance; these are unlimited, and ideal for taking out large groups of small enemies like, but there's a small recharge period to stop you abusing their explosive power.

When playing alone the puzzles are cleverly designed, often making use of Lara's grappling hook and her ability to stand on spears that’s she’s hurled into walls, but it's when you play with a friend that things really get interesting. A second player steps into the shoes of Totec, an ancient Amazonian warrior who is woken by an army of men trying to get their hands on (shock, horror!) cursed treasure. Rather than simply being a re-skinned Lara, Totec has his own set of skills that help to make Guardian of Light one of the best co-op experiences around.

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mydeaddog's Avatar

mydeaddog

It gets a lot better after the first level, which is effectively a tutorial. I was surprised by how addictive it got, and so quickly too.

The score-attack stuff really keeps you coming back, if you're the competitive sort.
Posted 14:07 on 01 October 2010
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio

I thought the demo was okay, but really wasn't inspired by it. It all felt a bit by the numbers - push the boulder onto the switch, use the spear to climb a big wall - and the most fun I had was laughing at myself when the screen said 'Press triangle to drop bomb and again to detonate' and stupidly I did exactly that, blowing myself up!

A decent game yeah, I'd give the demo a 7. If the puzzles and combat got more interesting then I can see an 8 but to be a 9 it would have had to really grab me straight off. Each to their own though :)
Posted 13:16 on 01 October 2010

Game Stats

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
9
Out of 10
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light - No boxshot available.
  • Fun alone or with a friend
  • Great visuals
  • High scores encourage continued play
  • No online co-op yet
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Release Date: 18/08/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , iPhone
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square-Enix Co
Genre: Action
No. Players: 1-2
Rating: PEGI 12+
Site Rank: 3,857 21
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