PlayStation 4 Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Review

Article first published as PlayStation 4 Review: ‘Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris’ on Blogcritics.

Lara Croft, The Temple of Osiris, Tomb RaiderLara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is the sequel to the 2010 hit, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.  While the core series is experiencing its second reboot, with Rise of the Tomb Raider due out next year.  The new Lara Croft series features an isometric camera and features arcade inspired, cooperative gameplay, with The Temple of Osiris now offering a four player local or online option. While the game doesn’t match the cinematic experience of 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot, Temple of Osiris and its Egyptian theme holds its own on the Playstation 4.

It’s important that you don’t go into Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris expecting a third person adventure, like the other Tomb Raider games.  Crystal Dynamics’ Lara Croft games are similar to the classic arcade game, Gauntlet and the console version of Diablo, but require quick reflexes to solve the action-based puzzles. Similar to games like Left 4 Dead, Temple of Osiris will let players take control one of the four characters.  New to Lara Croft is a dynamic four player multiplayer that actually adapts the gameplay to how many players there are.

Lara Croft, The Temple of Osiris, Tomb RaiderLara Croft and the Temple of Osiris pays homage to the campy pulp fiction that the adventure game franchise was born from. This time, Lara Croft adventures put her in Egypt, where she joins forces with rival treasure hunter, Carter Bell, and imprisoned Egyptian gods Horus, and Isis. Together, the team must recover the fragments of Isis’s murdered husband, Osiris and stop his brother, Set from enslaving the world. Isis and Horus do have unique powers unless you’re playing the game solo.  In this case Lara is armed with both her standard dual pistols along with a staff that shoots an energy beam.  Because of this construct, Carter is not available in a two player game with Lara.

Lara is well equipped from the beginning, in Temple of Osiris. She starts off with her pistols, an endless supply of bombs, and a grappling hook, though the shooting might take some a while to get used to.  It’s almost like a Geometry Wars scheme where you pull the right trigger and press a direction with right stick. While it might not be a typical control scheme for an adventure game, once you get used to it, it’s pretty effective. More powerful weapons and power-ups can be found and earned throughout the game.

Lara Croft, The Temple of Osiris, Tomb RaiderAs for your two Egyptian counterparts, in Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, Horus and Isis, they have the Staff of Osiris, which serves as a weapon, albeit underpowered, but with infinite ammunition, as well as a tool for solving puzzles. They also have a Sonic the Hedeghog-like shield that they can activate, that Lara can jump on top of, to reach higher locations. Speaking of Horus and Isis, The Temple of Osiris plays pretty fast and loose with Egyptian mythology, so don’t try to pass off what you hear and see in the game as you being well-read.

Lara Croft, The Temple of Osiris, Tomb RaiderLara Croft and the Temple of Osiris isn’t like many other isometric camera games, in that it is very action oriented and for better or worse, there is a fair amount of platforming to be performed. The platforming is actually where the game can be inappropriately difficult, hampered by an immovable camera. The camera can also be a hindrance when players get too far apart and camera pulls up.  It makes it difficult to see what you’re shooting at or to find those collectibles scattered all around. Unfortunately, any fix to the camera system would likely make the puzzles even more challenging.

As a downloadable arcade game, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a gem, and probably a must have for Playstation 4 and Xbox One owners.  If for nothing else, there aren’t many titles on the new systems that offer local four player co-op.  While most playing partners will probably play it straight, the drop in/drop out option can be used competitively.  As long as both players have PSN IDs, the progress and loot will carry over to their game. Temple of Osiris isn’t a huge leap from The Guardian of Light, but it’s still a fun, if not somewhat short game, and unfortunately Crystal Dynamics hasn’t ported the original game over.  It would have been nice to have the two games bundled together on the new system.

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