Review: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

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Thanks, I own a TR fansite, but the game is only avalible for XBOX360 owners with PC and PS3 versions coming next month.
It's really great to see an awesome detailed review of it. :D
I can't wait to play it next month

I've had sidescrolling platforming, and the 3D, free camera variety. But top down, fixed cam platforming? I have been intrigued.

I was thinking about picking this game up when it hits PSN, but I had my doubts. Consider those doubts removed.

Oh, this may be just me, but I liked the Legend and Underworld storyline.

looks like a bad diablo

I was fully expecting this game to suck.

I got proven wrong! ;-D

Way to go, I'm buying this for PC!

Waw, this is the first Tomb Raider game that seems like it will actually be good. My past experience with the series hasn't been very good, the awful controls and camera putting me off farily quickly. While this game does take a few pointers from Diablo, that is not necessarilly a bad thing (although I still think Diablo 3 will be much better once it is released).

Unfortunately, the fact that this is only available through digital distribution automatically makes it a no-buy for me. Still, it does at least give more promise for potential future titles in the franchise.

Onyx Oblivion:
I was sold the moment I realized they weren't making a gimped solo game that forced you to babysit an AI.

One question: WHY CAN A T-REX BREATHE FIRE?

I don't recall that from any dinosaur books...

fire breathing t-rex. thats why.

shiajun:
snip

Ah, that is true, I guess i should have taken a closer look at the title. Though I guess I was more referring to the line in the video in which I believe she says that the game a good Tomb raider game.

Only thing that turns me off is the 2.02GB download. Not all of us have elites.

Sorry but if I wanna play a Dark Alliance clone...I'll actually play frickin Dark Alliance...I actually enjoy the challenge of traversing the caves and tombs in the other tomb raiders...

Hmmm i somehow get the feeling that if she'd say "i love you" there'd be less of a loving caress in it than when she said "Flamethrower" ;P

PS: Regarding the T Rex question....it can breathe fire because it's arms are to short to prepare a BBQ the conventional way....duh

This reminds me alot of Baldurs Gate: Dark Alliance 2 on xbox. Co-op, top down display with decent music and graphics. It actually looks promising right now.

Wait, a Tomb Raider game that doesnt suck?

Usually these reviews are spot on, but those are some BIG words your saying.

... Are you SURE its good? A friend told me Tomb Raider Aniversary was good. She lied. I still have the putrid taste in my mouth.

That does look damn fun. I'm rather hoping Steam scoops it up to offer.

Onyx Oblivion:
I was sold the moment I realized they weren't making a gimped solo game that forced you to babysit an AI.

One question: WHY CAN A T-REX BREATHE FIRE?

I don't recall that from any dinosaur books...

Man, where have you been? Not only that but brontosaurs can also Thunder Stomp.

Just finished this on coop with a friend, its really fun and some of the puzzles are fucking annoying but its a good game.
RPG, Minigun, and Shotgun is the best weapon combination!

I *liked* Tomb Raider Anniversary. A lot! And that's sorta recent, so it's not like all the recent games have been mediocre. At least I'm not inclined to think so.

That said when this comes to PC I'll give it a look see. Question; is there still environmental puzzle solving? I ask because my favorite moments in the series were always those moments when you first walk into a room full of spinning death-machines, endless drops, and fire-spewing traps and think to yourself 'oh shit, how am I gonna get through this one?'. Then the sense of satisfaction when you do figure it out just makes everything worthwhile.

Any of that? Or this this just straight up pew pew, pull lever, pew pew?

I'm surprised the evil unleashed isn't Lara's fault... Though for all I know she's indirectly involved in it. Which wouldn't surprise me at all.

Okay honestly, while it looks good, I'm just going to go ahead and say it...
Since when did Lara Croft become Diablo 2? From what I can see, it's a top-down isometric view action rpg (just like the Diablo series).
You collect loot, weapons, items and I'm half expecting to be able to uipgrade armour...

I'm not denying it's a good game but in all honesty, it's practically DII, dumbed down.

I recently tried Tomb Raider: Underworld. It was in the bargain bin, and I had never tried a Tomb Raider game before.

It wasn't terrible. The garphics were nice, the exploration was fun but it was a bit light on the combat. I think the main problem is that it was disgustingly easy.

Daedalus1942:
Okay honestly, while it looks good, I'm just going to go ahead and say it...
Since when did Lara Croft become Diablo 2? From what I can see, it's a top-down isometric view action rpg (just like the Diablo series).
You collect loot, weapons, items and I'm half expecting to be able to uipgrade armour...

I'm not denying it's a good game but in all honesty, it's practically DII, dumbed down.

The game is alot more like Alien swarm than Diablo come to think of it. There's a similar control scheme, it's 3rd person and you don't level up.
What it has in common with Diablo is the isometric view, but blizzard hardly invented that.

I would like Diablo3 to control more like TGOL, but it's prolly too late to hope for a better control scheme at this stage in development.

Just how exactly is a twin-stick shooter crossed with Diablo supposed to be better than a Prince of Persia clone sans wallrunning?

I really can't see how anybody couldn't like the last three Tomb Raider games...

From my original Lara Croft game on the PS1 to the disappointing PS3 edition, I hoped they would stop. Now I need to play this one to complete my collection.

The Madman:
I *liked* Tomb Raider Anniversary. A lot! And that's sorta recent, so it's not like all the recent games have been mediocre. At least I'm not inclined to think so.

That said when this comes to PC I'll give it a look see. Question; is there still environmental puzzle solving? I ask because my favorite moments in the series were always those moments when you first walk into a room full of spinning death-machines, endless drops, and fire-spewing traps and think to yourself 'oh shit, how am I gonna get through this one?'. Then the sense of satisfaction when you do figure it out just makes everything worthwhile.

Any of that? Or this this just straight up pew pew, pull lever, pew pew?

Um...did you actually read the review? I mention the puzzles quite a lot.

Hmm.... as an arcade game it looks pretty cool but as a tombraider game its abit lacklustre.

Sure there are lots of monsters and things out to get you but having a top down perspective removes any tension or fear of these creatures and also it makes the puzzle solving and location of traps very obvious. I see this as an arcade cash-in game and not a real TR game.

Also I've always liked the so called 'bad controls', I mean resi don't change there tank system and I'm really glad, the controls give the game character and also make it that tad side more difficult and in consequence add to the tension of the game.

I will give the game a try but I'm skeptical of how much a TR game it actually is.

I'm an old school fan of the Tomb Raider series, I remember pestering my Dad to try the demo in the summer of 96, and in the end he bought the game, and we played it together mostly. I have very fond memories of the original 3 games, even if 2+3 weren't as good as the original [in my opinion anyway]

The games afterwards got progressively bland though, you just felt like you were going through the same motions after a while. I wasn't a fan of The Last Revelation either to be honest. A couple of times I got so far, realised I'd missed a key item somewhere along the lines, and couldn't retrace my steps due to areas becoming impassible, and not having a save game going back as far as I needed to go.

Angel of Darkness was just dire. Less said about it the better.

As for Anniversary, Legend and Underworld, I enjoyed the new gameplay, but didn't think too highly of the plotline. As Susan touched on it, the stuff about dead mothers was kinda meh. Didn't do it for me. I prefered the original canon. Henceforth, I think the movies are crap too >_>

But I'm definately getting this. It looks like wicked fun, and when the online co-op gets added I'll be playing that with one of my best mates!

Ubermetalhed:
Also I've always liked the so called 'bad controls', I mean resi don't change there tank system and I'm really glad, the controls give the game character and also make it that tad side more difficult and in consequence add to the tension of the game.

I love the Resident Evil control style, it was another game I played with my father when I was a kid. To this day I still enjoy playing the originals on my PSX. Although I am a general die hard Resident Evil fan anyway heh.

CLEVERSLEAZOID:
I'm an old school fan of the Tomb Raider series, I remember pestering my Dad to try the demo in the summer of 96, and in the end he bought the game, and we played it together mostly. I have very fond memories of the original 3 games, even if 2+3 weren't as good as the original [in my opinion anyway]

The games afterwards got progressively bland though, you just felt like you were going through the same motions after a while. I wasn't a fan of The Last Revelation either to be honest. A couple of times I got so far, realised I'd missed a key item somewhere along the lines, and couldn't retrace my steps due to areas becoming impassible, and not having a save game going back as far as I needed to go.

Angel of Darkness was just dire. Less said about it the better.

As for Anniversary, Legend and Underworld, I enjoyed the new gameplay, but didn't think too highly of the plotline. As Susan touched on it, the stuff about dead mothers was kinda meh. Didn't do it for me. I prefered the original canon. Henceforth, I think the movies are crap too >_>

But I'm definately getting this. It looks like wicked fun, and when the online co-op gets added I'll be playing that with one of my best mates!

Ubermetalhed:
Also I've always liked the so called 'bad controls', I mean resi don't change there tank system and I'm really glad, the controls give the game character and also make it that tad side more difficult and in consequence add to the tension of the game.

I love the Resident Evil control style, it was another game I played with my father when I was a kid. To this day I still enjoy playing the originals on my PSX. Although I am a general die hard Resident Evil fan anyway heh.

I like you. You have good sense and I agree with Last revelation, when you missed something it was near impossible to go back for it. Although I disliked the newer games as they were dumbed down way to much and the remake of TR1 was... abysmal.

CLEVERSLEAZOID:
I'm an old school fan of the Tomb Raider series, I remember pestering my Dad to try the demo in the summer of 96, and in the end he bought the game, and we played it together mostly. I have very fond memories of the original 3 games, even if 2+3 weren't as good as the original [in my opinion anyway]

The games afterwards got progressively bland though, you just felt like you were going through the same motions after a while. I wasn't a fan of The Last Revelation either to be honest. A couple of times I got so far, realised I'd missed a key item somewhere along the lines, and couldn't retrace my steps due to areas becoming impassible, and not having a save game going back as far as I needed to go.

Angel of Darkness was just dire. Less said about it the better.

As for Anniversary, Legend and Underworld, I enjoyed the new gameplay, but didn't think too highly of the plotline. As Susan touched on it, the stuff about dead mothers was kinda meh. Didn't do it for me. I prefered the original canon. Henceforth, I think the movies are crap too >_>

.

Shhhh....we don't talk about the movies. Or Angel of Darkness. Ever.

What the HELL??? "The Guardian of Light"? Those bastards!! They stole the title of my freaking script!!! You've got to be KIDDING me!!!

Wow... just wow... This looks epic!

Susan Arendt:

The Madman:
I *liked* Tomb Raider Anniversary. A lot! And that's sorta recent, so it's not like all the recent games have been mediocre. At least I'm not inclined to think so.

That said when this comes to PC I'll give it a look see. Question; is there still environmental puzzle solving? I ask because my favorite moments in the series were always those moments when you first walk into a room full of spinning death-machines, endless drops, and fire-spewing traps and think to yourself 'oh shit, how am I gonna get through this one?'. Then the sense of satisfaction when you do figure it out just makes everything worthwhile.

Any of that? Or this this just straight up pew pew, pull lever, pew pew?

Um...did you actually read the review? I mention the puzzles quite a lot.

You said:

The core of Guardian of Light is in keeping with Tomb Raiders of yore, but in most ways is pared way, way down. The controls are elegantly simple: everything you do - jumping, aiming, shooting, using your grappling hook - is done with a single button press. The complexity of the game comes from the brilliantly intricate level design and how Lara's abilities can be combined to solve the environmental puzzles. Throwing a spear into the wall provides a makeshift ladder; detonating a bomb in the right spot will send an enormous boulder flying onto a ledge it couldn't otherwise reach.

Which sounds fantastic except for the 'pared way, way down' which kinda makes me nervous as such a fan of the original games platforming. And I'm asking to what degree this is present in the game, or if puzzles are now more of an occasional encounter rather than the main focus. I ask because gameplay video of this game look very Alien Swarm style, which itself had the occasional puzzle as well but which was more combat focused than anything else. Whereas Tomb Raider has ever been a series about impossible leaps of faith and dodging spinning saw blades like a hot Indiana Jones in Last Crusade.

My question is does this Tomb Raider still give that same sense of high-flying cerebral adventure, or is is now more of an action game with the occasional puzzle to pace things out? Perhaps I should have phrased that better.

Look at it from my perspective: My favorite part of the whole series is by far the Greek temples in the original game (And Anniversary by extension) wherein you don't find a single opponent but are instead faced with a series of ever more elaborate themed rooms based after the elements of whatever Greek God the room is dedicated towards. Death Traps and quick-loads aplenty, but when it was finally all figured out it just felt good. And I loved it!

Susan Arendt:

CLEVERSLEAZOID:
I'm an old school fan of the Tomb Raider series, I remember pestering my Dad to try the demo in the summer of 96, and in the end he bought the game, and we played it together mostly. I have very fond memories of the original 3 games, even if 2+3 weren't as good as the original [in my opinion anyway]

The games afterwards got progressively bland though, you just felt like you were going through the same motions after a while. I wasn't a fan of The Last Revelation either to be honest. A couple of times I got so far, realised I'd missed a key item somewhere along the lines, and couldn't retrace my steps due to areas becoming impassible, and not having a save game going back as far as I needed to go.

Angel of Darkness was just dire. Less said about it the better.

As for Anniversary, Legend and Underworld, I enjoyed the new gameplay, but didn't think too highly of the plotline. As Susan touched on it, the stuff about dead mothers was kinda meh. Didn't do it for me. I prefered the original canon. Henceforth, I think the movies are crap too >_>

.

Shhhh....we don't talk about the movies. Or Angel of Darkness. Ever.

Wow, I got quoted by a Senior Ed., I feel special!

Anywho, I got this game last night, and my god its fun! The balance between fighting and the puzzles is spot on, and the challenges definately add to the playability.

The Madman:

You said:

The core of Guardian of Light is in keeping with Tomb Raiders of yore, but in most ways is pared way, way down. The controls are elegantly simple: everything you do - jumping, aiming, shooting, using your grappling hook - is done with a single button press. The complexity of the game comes from the brilliantly intricate level design and how Lara's abilities can be combined to solve the environmental puzzles. Throwing a spear into the wall provides a makeshift ladder; detonating a bomb in the right spot will send an enormous boulder flying onto a ledge it couldn't otherwise reach.

Which sounds fantastic except for the 'pared way, way down' which kinda makes me nervous as such a fan of the original games platforming. And I'm asking to what degree this is present in the game, or if puzzles are now more of an occasional encounter rather than the main focus. I ask because gameplay video of this game look very Alien Swarm style, which itself had the occasional puzzle as well but which was more combat focused than anything else. Whereas Tomb Raider has ever been a series about impossible leaps of faith and dodging spinning saw blades like a hot Indiana Jones in Last Crusade.

My question is does this Tomb Raider still give that same sense of high-flying cerebral adventure, or is is now more of an action game with the occasional puzzle to pace things out? Perhaps I should have phrased that better.

Look at it from my perspective: My favorite part of the whole series is by far the Greek temples in the original game (And Anniversary by extension) wherein you don't find a single opponent but are instead faced with a series of ever more elaborate themed rooms based after the elements of whatever Greek God the room is dedicated towards. Death Traps and quick-loads aplenty, but when it was finally all figured out it just felt good. And I loved it!

Good question. The video does lean heavily on the combat, but I would say the game is about 50/50 between puzzle solving and killing things. The puzzles aren't on such a grand scale, I don't think - or perhaps it just seems that way because Lara is so tiny - but I found them to be quite clever and satisfying. You're not fighting for your life every second, there are plenty of occasions when you're just sort of standing there, staring at a switch, trying to figure out how to throw it.

The challenge rooms are all self-contained puzzles as well. They're usually relatively simple - though in some cases the challenge is just figuring out how to reach them.

I'd urge you to at least try the demo, so you can see if the ratio of brain to fingers works for you.

Susan Arendt:

Good question. The video does lean heavily on the combat, but I would say the game is about 50/50 between puzzle solving and killing things. The puzzles aren't on such a grand scale, I don't think - or perhaps it just seems that way because Lara is so tiny - but I found them to be quite clever and satisfying. You're not fighting for your life every second, there are plenty of occasions when you're just sort of standing there, staring at a switch, trying to figure out how to throw it.

The challenge rooms are all self-contained puzzles as well. They're usually relatively simple - though in some cases the challenge is just figuring out how to reach them.

I'd urge you to at least try the demo, so you can see if the ratio of brain to fingers works for you.

My thanks for the reply, that's just what I was wondering and I'll certainly give the game a try when it arrives on the PC. It's nice to visit a site where if you ask a question about a review you actually get a response.

Thank you!

Vault Citizen:
I know that no online co op is a drawback but given the choice between only online co-op or only local play I'd rather take the latter.

AMEN to that. We need more emphasis on couch co-op, not less. My roommate and I are definitely going to play this.

I'd love "drop-in" style co-op, a la RE5, that can support both online and offline.

Trifixion:
Ah, so Lara has apparently moved to the world of Sanctuary...

Yeah it looks very Diablo-ish!

J-Dude:
What the HELL??? "The Guardian of Light"? Those bastards!! They stole the title of my freaking script!!! You've got to be KIDDING me!!!

I hate it when that happens too (oh trust me, it's happened a lot).

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