Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is one of those games I knew I would enjoy before I ever clicked on the Play button. I was expecting the sequel to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light to have all the things I enjoy, an isometric viewpoint, Lara Croft, co-op play, game play consisting out of puzzles to solve, interesting boss fights, good loot chests and fingers crossed, a bit of platforming and only a few timed “Run Away!” sequences. I received all of those things in a beautiful delightful package with no pretence.
The game play elements, the story, the loot, the weapons are all there for superficial fun. A bonus item or different weapon blows some new life into combat regularly, the variation in game play kept me interested and wanting to play just a little more all the time and although the story isn’t particularly deep, it does provide motivation for doing the things that you are doing.
The niggly aspects are few. There are a few glitches and during one level that has a series time bomb ball puzzles, the balls had a tendency to glitch the first time and never go off or just vanish and not respawn and the only solution was to die and restart from the last checkpoint. This did fix the issue, so it was a minor concern for me overall.
The co-op viewpoint stretches to always include both characters and when at its maximum restricts the movement of characters. As a result, if one player wanders off too far in a different direction, the other player can get stuck at the edge of the screen. This isn’t a bad thing, just a game mechanic to keep in mind. The negative side of this is that the viewpoint dynamically expands and collapses depending on both players which can make accuracy much harder. It is difficult to platform when the viewpoint suddenly changes due to another player’s actions. The more players in co-op, the more challenging this becomes. Playing on-line I had some serious issues with lag during 2 player co-op despite both of us playing via a reliable fast connection, which also made it more challenging to play.
Overall, I think Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a great sequel that offer 6 – 8 hours of game play in an engaging world that delivers everything it promises.
The single player game is the same as the co-operative game, except that the puzzles adapt dynamically depending on the number of players. Puzzles often require team work to solve. This makes replay attractive because the puzzles vary throughout. The only disappointment is that it is not possible to play a single player and co-op game at the same time.
There is only one save slot. Other players can join your game at any point, but I found it frustrating that I could not save more than one game at a time. I prefer playing a game from start to finish alone and to play it in co-op from start to finish together. If I want to do that, I can only do one or the other until I have completed the whole game.
Co-operative Play: 2 – 4 players
Design & Vision
It is a pleasure to play Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris because it is so gorgeously well-made. Game mechanics do not include much flash or flicker, although there is some use of fiery and bright light effects intermittently. The isometric view point caters well for anyone who experiences simulation sickness and even the running and active scenes did not present any issues for me because of it.
The text size is standard to large, the font type clear to read against a high contrast background with no animation and there is voice overs for dialogue. Some text may be on the small size, particular within the menu system. Interactive elements are easy to spot, your character is easy to spot with a coloured ring around her/him and information is always displayed in the centre of the screen and the user interface is minimal with easy to read elements. There are darker areas where it is harder to see, like in the screenshot featured above.
Playing on a PC, there is a reticule for weapons when using a mouse and keyboard that is not adjustable, but it is a good size in a yellow colour, however when switching to a controller, there is no reticule to assist aim. There are no visual cues only and some audio cues really do make it easier to play particularly where the visual cues are subtle.
Colour alone is used on occasion as an indicator. Playable characters are surrounded by a different coloured circles, the gates for story arc areas and challenge rooms are colour coded and some visual cues like the time bomb balls count down in colour (green, yellow then red).
I think Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris plays quite well for anyone who has photophobia, simulation sickness, colour blindness or a mild to moderate visual impairment.
The audio in Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris adjusted via four different sliders: music, dialogue, special effects/cinematics and voice chat volume, providing the opportunity to fine tune the sounds that are most important at any given time. I preferred turning the special effects up when playing alone and muting music and dialogue in co-op, whilst keeping special effects low and voice chat at full level.
Sound is not a requirement for playing alone at all, it plays as well with or without sound with full subtitles that can be turned on before starting the game and all information is communicated visually. There are a few instances where audio cues are convenient, such as the ticking time bombs, however there is also a visual component, in this it counts down in colours – green, yellow then red. In co-op, voice chat is essential as puzzles require time coordination and there is no text to chat option included in the game. It would be much more challenging to play and complete the game without being able to communicate with other co-op players.
Input and Touch
A moderate amount of precision is required to play. Combat is quite easy most of the time and in co-op particularly, the difficulty level is such that even if one player does no damage, the level can still be cleared without any major issues. Die in co-op and you can respawn on another player after a few seconds, providing the ability to skip past particularly tricky scenes that require a high level of accuracy. In co-op, if you can move your character, you can play. In single player it is essential to be able to platform, carry out timed jumps, barrel roll to dodge and aim reasonably well to hit a specific target.
Timing is an essential skill in many components of the game. There are a few run-for-your-life sequences that took me across an obstacle course as either the path crumbled behind me or something big and bad chased me. These were much easier than in norm and quite generous in both time and damage taken, but they are most definitely timed and there is no way to bypass them. Some puzzles have a timer element in them as well and some area of effect damage makes it vital to notice your environment and move quickly. In single player co-op this does present somewhat of a challenge, whilst in co-op other players can usually help compensate if one player is struggling with the timed events.
The physical controls for a controller is standard – left analog moves the character, right aims the weapon with Jump, Roll, Bomb and Interact button presses as well some special abilities or weapons attached to the triggers. The keyboard and mouse keys are fully remappable. Controls are simple and easy to use and firing is done by holding down, no repeated or simultaneous presses is required, although it is possible to walk and aim/shoot, it is not a requirement. Barrel roll, stand in one place, aim and shoot, repeat works just as well.
The game saves automatically with only one save slot. It can be paused at any time if you need a break.
Ease of Use
Important text like dialogue is provided as both text and audio. Some reading is required to navigate the menu and follow the tutorial, however the tutorial does contain both demonstration images as well as written instruction. Menu text is brought up by the player and remains until the player closes the menu. Tutorials text remains until the action it illustrates is carried out successfully. Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris has a clear linear narrative structure that is easy to follow and understand.
Numeracy is not much of a requirement, however some basic understanding of math and currency is essential. Gems are collected and loot chests can be bought for 250, 500 or 1000 gems. Gear and weapon upgrades are not number based. Weapons have 3 sliders to indicate power, fire rate and ammo consumption and gear have set plus and minus points. Both of these are also highlighted with colour – red indicating negative qualities.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is not particularly complex to play. Progress is mostly linear, there are no quest logs and the loot is more for fun than any practical requirement. I think the whole game can be played without ever opening the inventory. The puzzles are reasonably complicated, but on the easy side for experienced puzzle game players. I found them easy to complete and often wished they were more complicated. There is a clear delineation between the main story arc elements and bonus content like challenge rooms – the entrances glow in a different colour.
There is only one difficulty level. If it is too easy or too difficult, bad luck. Disappointingly, Lara has a tendency to solve the puzzles for you by stating the solution at the start and the camera angle will often focus on important elements. In combination, these two ‘helping hands’ do much of the work for you and we were often left just carry out the manual labour instead of actually having the opportunity to figure it out for ourselves. Hints like cannot be turned off in the settings, players are stuck with them.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris provided me with two long evenings of co-op play that was mainly unadulterated fun, except for a minor niggles caused by lag, a handful of glitches easily solved by dying and a changing camera angle that kept resulting in death at one or two pivotal points. I thoroughly enjoyed playing it. It is just my sort of game and it was just what I was expecting, which turns out to be both a bad and a good thing. I don’t mind familiarity in sequels, particularly toward the end, a little variety or a small plot twist would have been welcomed.
I found it a generally accessible game to play with different visual issues, including a mild to moderate visual impairment because the vital visual elements are well designed and highly visible or comes with an audio cue. I think the only obstacle for deaf players or anyone with a significant hearing impairment is that there is no text chat option for co-op, but the game itself is accessible regardless of being able to hear, hear well or not. Co-op is particularly accessible for anyone with a physical disability that affects precision and timing as other players can assist and even when they can’t, players can respawn on any other character after a short gap with little penalty.
It is a game that is easy to play and some regards, possibly a bit too easy. There is little incentive to complete challenge rooms for upgrades when they are stylistic really rather than particularly useful and when puzzles are solved by the characters telling players exactly what to do, it becomes a little less fun. It isn’t deep, it isn’t daring, but it is great fun to play, particularly with friends.
Product: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris | Developer: Crystal Dynamics | Publisher: Square Enix | Platform: PC, PS4, Xbox One | Genre: Action Adventure | Players: 1-4 | Version: Europe | Release Date: 9 December 2014 |Content Rating: PEGI 12, ESRB T (Teen)