Lara Croft: GoL. My review.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light arrived as the last of our summer of arcade games, as our summer comes to an end once again. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light may not carry the "Tomb Raider" name, but as you play you will notice that it stays strong in the elements of the Tomb Raider series.
The game includes 14 levels of campaign that you can play in single player or co-op with a friend. As we all aware the game currently supports local co-operative play but as of September 28th the online co-operative play will be patched in to coincide with the PC and the PS3 release of the game. Nonetheless, the single player mode is perfectly playable and offers more than enough for the arcade value of 1200 microsoft points until the online co-op arrives.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light uses a fixed camera that adapts to each area you're in, allowing you to see everything that you need to see. Basically, if you're into finding everything, you will have to search every area on the level very carefully. The game itself is accurate and you won't find yourself slipping off edges or jumping the wrong way automaticaly, although it can become a little bit annoying getting the jump aim just right in very narrow areas and some "hidden" sections in the game.
You will notice many slight differences when you play co-op after playing the single player mode in how you get around places, reach high ledges, and puzzles. It's fun in both modes so you wont find yourself limited in the experience at all. Lara Croft: GoL is based of heavy combat and various puzzle- solving, it has 27 weapons to find as you play but about half are just about visible. The same can be said for ammo and health upgrades which are scattered throughout the levels. Apart from weapons, ammo and health power ups, every level has 10 red skulls to find, adding yet another completed task for the various quests that you get per level and gives you a nice score boost.
The controls can be a little tricky at first, you use the right stick to aim at your targets and the right trigger to shoot at them, the
other buttons are reserved for a quick switch on your equiped weapons, or for the use of the grappling hook if your Lara, or the shield if your Totec. For the most part is cool, I understand the basis on why they have chosen to use the controls as they are, it may need getting used to though.
Although i do feel like it could have been slightly more fine-tuned. Just because even though is rare there are a few shots you need to make in the game that requiere more adjustment time than should be necessary, and if you want to fire a lot of enemies at once it can become slightly tricky.
When it comes to the grapple, it uses an auto-aim system so you shouldn't have any issues catching your target. Although getting onto some ledges while using the grapple sometimes doesn't work as it should, and you may find yourself in a spiky pit and trying the maneuver again. Still this issues are very minor and they don't bring the experience of the game down, rather than act as a minor annoyance to say the least only at times.
The puzzle-solving element of the game differs from the Tomb Raider series in the sense that everything is easy to understand, sometimes you will have the mind boggling moments but after a few moments you know what has to be done, and often just takes some exploration time to solve the puzzles, even though at times it may look complicated you will see a resolution in mere seconds. The key often lies in two of your main items, often combined with timing, so you'll want to keep that in mind. Specific elements of the puzzles will be used more than once, but nonetheless the game manages to keep things fresh by adding a new trick or a slight variation on the puzzle design, the difference between this and the Tomb Raider series, is that in Tomb Raider I would often find myself stuck with no idea what to do, but in Lara Croft: GoL this didn't occur.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light will last you approximately 7 hours on a normal difficulty run, there are a lot of artifacts to collect if you love achievements and unlocking other hidden extras. For 1200 microsoft points I'd say is worth the money, my only downside is once you get everything, specifically the best weapon in the game, that you will find at the end by completing a level quest, is not so much to go back to, other than collecting everything to get that one desired achievement. But to say the least, the developers have brought together a really nice game, with solo and co-operative play, detailed achievements, score/time tracking, there is sure many hours of fun with Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light