sammo21's Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Xbox 360 Games Store) review

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Definitely Walk Into the Light

Tomb Raider what does that bring to your mind at first: Large chests (literally on both counts), British accents, destroying the fauna of foreign countries, or being Indiana Jones with much finer thighs?  If any of those come to mind, you are definitely thinking of Tomb Raider...or my custom "sexy time" DnD campaign.  Now, let me throw some things at you and you tell me if you think these represent Tomb Raider:  isometric view, two stick shooter style combat, an upgrade system similar to last year's Shadow Complex, multiplayer co-op, and challenge based unlock system?  If you "No Sammo21, these do not make me think Tomb Raider" then you are still right.      

This is the first Tomb Raider game to drop the standard title and just stick with the protagonist's name, Lara Croft.  Rightly so as this is no Tomb Raider game but a completely different creature that I enjoyed more than any TR game in the last decade.
As I mentioned about, you play in the top-over isometric view and control the characters similarly to games like .Burn Zombie, Burn. You might think that the exploration aspect of the game series would be lost, but that is very much not true.   You still have access to her grappling hook and the game is setup in a way that actually encourages exploration more than any previous game as you not only can find collectibles but also stat upgrades for weapons, life, and a buff style system.   Weapon upgrades are fairly standard, but as in Shadow Complex are really fun to obtain and they become useful the more you find.   Weapons are fairly standard, but you do get a spear that works as both a weapon and useful in exploration as a climbing tool.   

 The graphical engine looks good but when the in-game cut scenes are rolling the characters have no lip syncing animations.   This is not a big deal really, but it might ruin some people’s experience of the cut scenes.   Also, a lot of the voice acting is generic at best.   Not that any previous TR game has excelled here, but I’m just pointing that out.  

I cannot comment on co-op as the game is incomplete (missing online co-op until next month) and I haven’t had anyone over for same screen, so the only thing affecting my score is the lack of online co-op.  Frankly, I have enjoyed what I’ve played so far.   This is a fitting end to the “Summer of Arcade” on Xbox Live this year and can be argued as the best title (though I wouldn’t agree).   The game is worth playing for sure, whether or not you even care about Lady Croft.

Note:   360 purchasers will get the first round of DLC for free because of the online co-op snafu.   Online co-op will be made available in late September.  Also, this review was edited to correct some grammatical problems here and there.

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