Looking back to 2014 with Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris

Xbox One

There’s no doubt that Lara Croft is a British gaming legend. For over 20 years she has been exploring the world for weird and wonderful artifacts. I remember playing through her adventures when I was young, and being bedazzled by the globetrotting nature of the games. The stand out for me was, and still is, Tomb Raider II. For me it had an unrivalled mix of great locations, impactful characters and strong storytelling. I mean, the final boss is a dragon, what’s not to love? 

For me Tomb Raider has always been a skilful mix of reality and fantasy, and how the two worlds intertwine for one young British explorer. Today the franchise has evolved fundamentally, and it’s safe to say the latest outing, Shadow of The Tomb Raider, was a bit of a letdown in an otherwise strong series of games. We are all wondering what awaits for Lara, and are firmly focused on the future.

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It’s a shame then, that some will have missed out on the brilliant spin-off title, Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light, released way back in 2010. Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris was the sequel to that game, and just to highlight their departure from the main series, both omit “Tomb Raider” from their titles.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a top-down action-adventure game, inspired by arcade games and adopts many of those elements. Lara is once again voiced by Keeley Hawes, and enlists the help of three other adventurers to defeat the evil Egyptian god, Set.

In the game, you tackle different tombs via your hub world, each typically taking 20 – 30 minutes to complete. As well as this, you’re scored during each one depending on all sorts of things, from completion time to secondary objectives. These are just a few more reasons why the game has an arcade feel, as well as being much less story driven that Lara’s other adventures. It was very much a “jump in and play” vibe, not a “get sucked in for hours and hours at a time” one.

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Lara was pretty difficult to control, light on her feet to the point where she would hop, skip and jump into flames all too often. The jumping was also a little off, meaning Lara would, at times, elect to just hang off the edge instead. The camera angle made it difficult to judge jumps as well, so in short you would be dying an awful lot. Thankfully then, the game autosaved your progress pretty regularly.

Something unforgivable about Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, was not allowing you to return to the hub world if you accidentally entered a tomb you had already tackled. As it isn’t overly clear if you’ve beaten it or not, especially if you’ve had a break from the game, it was especially frustrating that you were forced to play through it again.

What was good to see in Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris was the return of the co-op mode, both on and offline. It also had a few DLC packs added to breathe new life, in the form of tombs and customisable options, to keep players interested. Sadly, despite both games being billed as being a “spin-off” series, a third has never transpired. It’s a shame, as both offered something different but ultimately enjoyable for Tomb Raider fans.

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Lara Croft and The Temple of Osiris was a little more open than its predecessor, and in some ways suffered for it. It had greater ambition, but this exposed issues with the controls and made some parts of the game utterly frustrating. If I’m being honest, I never completed it fully like I did the first game.

It looked great, however, with loads of tantalising shiny colours and effects to show just how the tombs were dripping with treasure. When you collect gems there’s still the ever familiar pickup chime from the original games. Hearing that sound filled my heart with joy, and it ought to do the same for you. Otherwise you’re pretty much dead inside.

Although not quite as impactful as its predecessor, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris was a decent adventure, if a bit on the short side. I would recommend starting with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light if you’re a fan of the intrepid explorer, but if you have a few quid to spend, you should also go check this out.

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