I have been jumping around tombs in the shoes of Lara Croft for well over 14 years now. The combination of guns, agility and a tight body has made Lara an icon to both men, and women. To men she embodies excitement, sexiness and danger. To women she is the female who is independent, strong and generally kicking some male but. No matter what you think of Lara she is one of the most well known video game characters, and now we get a port of the Xbox 360/Playstation 3 console game. Sure there has been some cuts, but compared to most ports this is a quite complete deal.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light combines agile jumping, and puzzle solving with dual stick action. The controls work surprisingly well, and the action is solid killing crocodiles, spiders and demons. Some of the puzzle solving demand quite precise jumping, and this is where we have some issues. The combination of a zoomed out perspective with twitchy controls make for some leaps of both faith, and death. As the game features plenty save checkpoints it is often a matter of less than ten seconds before you can retry the jump. Having experienced the game on the PC over a decade ago I must say that these controls are still better than those of the original Tomb Raider.
There are ten massive levels to be found in the game. At times it is hard to get to terms with the large scope of the levels, as there is no on screen map to help you out. Furthermore it is at times hard understanding how some puzzles are meant to be solved due to not seeing the bigger picture. Thankfully it is enjoyable just running around trying to find out what to do next. There are plenty of items to find, and bonus rooms to solve for extras. The game also throws a wide array of achievements for each level at you.
The presentation is quite good, and I found the graphics to be both detailed and believable. Lara is well animated, and it is only the far perspective at times posing an issue when lining up jumps. There are some slowdowns in the game, and I am having a hard time judging if it is only when enemies spawn or when the game auto saves. It is like a short hiccup, and it doesn’t disturb the gameplay.
The music, and sound effects are great. Considering the pedigree it has to be well made. You can play your own music, and keep the sound effects. There have been some reports about crackling audio during coop, but I can neither confirm nor deny those.
The game comes with Game Center for achievements, scores and online co-op multiplayer. I have not been able to set up a game, or enter a game properly yet. Granted I have not been hard at it either, as most of my friends have a completely different time of day than me. There is also local multiplayer by means of WiFi, and Bluetooth. Worth noting is that the game crashes for me every time I boot it up, and it logs into Game Center. When I restart it I have no trouble with it crashing.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a massive game clocking in at 6-8 hours of gameplay across ten levels. If you want to complete all achievements, and find all skulls you can probably get 20 hours out of it. If you have a friend in the same room the local co-op might be a blast as well, further enhancing gamelife.
I was positively surprised by the quality of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. It doesn’t feel watered down like other ports, for example Resident Evil 4. There are some slight control issues, and perspective difficulties. If you stick to it you will soon find the same kind of find ‘em all mindset that for example Lego Harry Potter induces. I hope to see a reduction in price to get more people to experience the game, and give a larger fanbase for future ports.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light $6.99
Seller: Square Enix Ltd.