2010 Reviews

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

  • Review Date: 2014-05
  • Release Date: 2010-08
  • Developer: Crystal Dynamics
  • Rating: 6.5

Crystal Dynamics have taken a step in another direction with the Tomb Raider franchise, adding some life into what has so far been a good nine games that are essentially the same thing - third person puzzle/adventure games. This time a fixed isometric camera view, like an arcade platform-shooter. It may be a spin-off, but it doesn't really stack up to the main series. The gameplay is dumbed down, the story is non-existant, graphics are good for what they are, but definitely can not be compared to 2008's Underworld.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is simply a good, fun game for a couple of Sunday afternoons (it's several hours long), but it feels like what it is, a brief side adventure while Crystal Dynamics work on 2013's reboot.

As I said, the story is very brief. Starting off with static hand-drawn 2D scenes for it's cinematics, Lara's accidentally released some sort of demon and his army, who she now has to stop. Predictable, same old Lara story, but I guess that's what Tomb Raider is all about so what does one expect?

The levels are all nicely detailed, but oh boy sometimes I wish I could just switch that camera back to first person instead of the distant overhead shot. I feel it separates from the story in some way, you're just a director, not actually in control. But the levels don't come with the beauty of a full triple A Tomb Raider title. It's really only adequate. Also the level designs and layouts are quite clearly computer game levels, not realistic environments. But that's been a problem with most Tomb Raider games.

The gameplay is a mix of simple puzzle solving and shooting. The shooting was fun, but could become quite repetitive after a while. The instant deathtraps get very annoying as well, that's one of the biggest niggles in this game. Especially the finale which had me rage-quitting. Fortunately, checkpoints were in close succession. Never did I have to repeat too much after a random mistaken death.

Honestly, I preferred the puzzle sections over the shooting. However the puzzles weren't as advanced as seen in previous games. Mainly pushing buttons, moving giant balls around, the odd bit of grappling.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light