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Posted by drew10 on Oct 11, 2010
Review: Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light – PSN

Review: Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light – PSN

Gamings First Lady Returns and She Is Looking Good!

For a while now the Tomb Raider franchise has been on the wane in terms of sales. It is a shame really because both Tomb Raider: Legend and its sequel Underworld were both excellent games. With the new and supposed survival horror inspired Tomb Raider game still in production Square Enix have released Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light.

The first game in the series to not share the Tomb Raider name (To keep the series separate.) LCTGL is an isometric 3D platformer that takes Lara back to what she does best, raiding tombs and fighting bosses. Developed by Crystal Dynamics, the team who placed Lara firmly back on track when they took over the series, Guardian Of Light is a true piece of gaming excellence.

Lara finds herself embroiled in a 2000 year old battle between a Mayan God called Totec, The Guardian of Light (geddit?) and Xolotl the Keeper Of Darkness. Totec had defeated Xolotl, imprisoning him in the mirror of smoke and watching over the mirror as an immortal stone statue. Lara Croft sets off in search of the mirror. Once she finds it she is ambushed by a group of mercenaries who, unsurprisingly releases Xolotl. Totec comes back to life and joins forces with Lara in a bid to defeat Xolotl and return him to the mirror.

Guardian Of Light allows two-player simultaneous gameplay for the first time in a Lara Croft title. Designed with co-op in mind one player controls Lara and the other Totec. Each character has their own abilities and weapons that are needed to complete the game. However should you be a Billy-no-mates then the game is equally playable in single-player mode.

Gameplay in Guardian Of Light is brilliant. Built on the same engine as Tomb Raider: Underworld we would go as far to say that this is the best Tomb Raider game since number 2. It has all of the elements that makes Tomb Raider great whilst adding a more arcade action element to proceedings.

Lara is equipped with a huge arsenal of weapons that are collected along the way and upgraded with artefacts that will boost various attributes in our heroine. Along with her trusted twin pistols she now also carries a grappling-hook that she can use to swing from randomly placed golden rings. Totec also has his own unique weaponry including a spear which can be used as either a weapon or to stick into walls and climbed upon. Don’t worry if you are playing solo as Totec gives you the spear at the start of the game. Both characters are equipped with unlimited bombs which can be planted and detonated with the triangle button. Lara’s other weapons that she can collect include, a chain gun, flamethrower, grenade launcher and rocket launcher. All weapons use the same ammo as indicated by a blue bar at the bottom of the screen but each weapon will use up ammo at different rates. For example the rocket launcher will use all the ammo in three shots.

Each level is brilliantly designed and offers challenge aplenty. The usual running jumping and fighting is interspersed with some devilish puzzles although none that will have you throwing you pad in frustration. Each level also has one or two bonus puzzle sections, indicated with flaming faces on the door, where you can collect a new upgrade artefact should you complete the task. There are also challenges within the levels themselves that open up as you play, collect ten red skulls, break three of these open four of them, you get the idea. This adds to replay value as each level will remember what you already have collected. Going back to find the rest becomes an obsession.

There is a huge range of baddies from small spiders to giant fire demons and everything in between. Some fights will take you a many re-tries especially against the big shield demons. Not to mention the set pieces with T-rex and even a T-rex made out of lava.

Graphically Guardian Of Light is stunning and gets progressively more so as the story progresses. The lighting and textures are brilliant as is the animation on both Lara and all of the enemies. The levels all look great and are varied in their composition from jungle environments to lava-filled caverns culminating in an awesome looking decent to the final battle.

Luckily Guardian Of Light plays as good as it looks and controlling Lara around the isometric world is a breeze, jumping from platform to platform is slightly assisted stopping it from becoming fiddly and annoying, yet never so much so that it you feel disconnected from what is happening on-screen. All of the mechanics in the game work a treat and whether you are shooting, running, jumping and swinging from Lara’s grappling hook, nothing ever feels awkward.

We hope that Lara Croft and the Guardian Of Light is only the first instalment in this new franchise as we would welcome many more outings with Lara like this. Brilliant!

Also available on Xbox 360 arcade & PC

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2 Responses to “Review: Lara Croft and The Guardian of Light – PSN”

  1. NUFCRULE - Liam says:

    tryed out the demo and really like it, never played lara croft games before, its pretty good.
    also have a trial of Tomb Raider: Underworld from playstation plus this month, hope that will be just as awesome!

  2. moonhead says:

    Think I might try and sneak this one in under the Mrs’s nose already spent way to much on games over the last month or so but a good game is hard to pass up. One problem though what is that name about it sounds like a bad film name. Where has the Tomb Raider name gone

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