Review: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris (PS4)

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Title: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PlayStation Network Download (2.7 GB) / PSN Season Pass Bundle (2.7 GB)
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Publisher: Square Enix
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Original MSRP: $19.99/$28.99 Season Pass Bundle (US), €19.99 (EU), £14.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: T
PEGI: 12
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is also available on Xbox One and PC.
The PlayStation 4 download version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Apart from a name that is way too long and has a silly acronym LCatToO, I had fun with the latest Lara Croft adventure but like many things in life, this is better with friends.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

I did encounter one game breaking bug that had our characters appear below the floor after a cutscene and unable to leave, even after re-loading several times. Thankfully it was near the start of the game so it didn’t annoy me too much. On several occasions we did encounter cutscenes without any speech which then failed to open up the next section of the game, forcing us to quit and reload from the last checkpoint.

What happens when you have no friends or family around and you don’t like playing online with random people? Crystal Dynamics has you covered. You can play the entire game on your own, which admittedly isn’t as much fun as many of the puzzles change to suit the solo player, so it loses most of its charm. That’s why I played the entire game with my wife.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

You don’t need to have played the previous game in this series as it’s all explained during this one. The control schemes are very similar in both titles which will help people who played the first. Either way it’s all slowly explained during the first level or so as well as any time a new ability is needed. I’ve noticed that some of the controls are what makes this series so much fun. Like using a grapple and rope to cross a treacherous pit of spikes and having your team tightrope across whilst you hold the one end., or setting off a remote bomb that launches an object to a higher platform. If you’re one of the imprisoned gods you can command a sunken stone pillar to rise from an alligator filled moat allowing everyone safe passage across or you can make a protective bubble around yourself which your team can also use as a makeshift platform. One particularly satisfying moment was spotting a treasure on the side of a bottomless pit and using a teammate to hold the rope while I rappelled down and recovered it.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

When you have a good team working together the ingenious puzzles feel infinitely rewarding when you all solve them. That smug satisfaction can however quickly descend into fits of laughter as a mistimed remote bomb sends a fellow teammate skyward and into a painful death, or an accidental release of a tight rope kills everyone except the person holding it. So many ways to die or accidentally kill your team makes this game a crazy delight.

You’ll all acquire different rings during the adventure and when equipped they’ll buff certain attributes and often diminish others. For example one ring gives the player stronger firepower but also takes away some strength. They can change the tide of some battles and come in very handy. As does the large assortment of weaponry that can be assigned to three of the analog buttons. The fourth is locked to either the dual pistols or staff, depending on the character. While the standard locked weapon has an infinite supply of ammo, all the rest need topping up but seeing as many enemies and breakable objects leave the blue ammo containers behind I wouldn’t worry about the supply drying up too quickly.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Depending on the amount of players, their puzzle solving, and shooting skills, this game can be quite long. Having sunk several hours into a co-op game over the last few days and only just reaching the last area it definitely has enough bang for its buck. Then there are the challenges, collectibles, and optional tombs to raid, which are well worth doing, not just for the extra weapons or treasures but because they’re fantastically well thought out and deviously clever in their design.

Visuals:
Crystal Dynamics knows how to make a good game look great. Pour tons of particle, smoke, dust and lighting effects into a detailed and partially destructible environment. Then add even more details like snow, rain, loads of fire and even some wildly over the top hair physics, which needs to be dialed back a few notches on the menu screen. Throw in some humongous bosses wreaking havoc and a deluge of smaller enemies trying to bite, shoot, or stab you and your team. Oh, and why not make some of those detailed little devils summon lightning or leave a trail of fire in their wake and you might be close to picturing the insanity going on from one area to the next.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Every moment that my wife and I played this game we never once saw any slow down or dips in the frame rate. Even when the entire screen was filled with action and effects, the game blissfully carried on like it was just another afternoon stroll in the park. We began to notice some nice little graphical touches, like our characters not always achieving a perfect landing when making a jump or treading water when left to idle in a freezing moat. Even the rope bends around obstacles and ever so slightly snags when it rubs on a ledge. Having said that, the engine isn’t perfect and on two occasions resulted in a funny death and briefly being caught on some scenery.

The camera stays in an isometric view and pans in or out depending on character or event locations. I did occasionally find the camera centering on one particular character a bit too much, leaving the other to try to catch up. There is also a small problem with the four player co-op insanity, which often led to people losing or confusing their characters amid the explosions, gunfire, and swarms of enemies.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Audio:
Keeley Hawes reprises her role as the voice of Lara Croft. The English actress is most famous for her roles in the UK TV series Ashes to Ashes and Spooks. Along with a great voice cast and excellent music we all enjoyed the audio. It also has some great sounds effects like the satisfying thud of some high-caliber bullets being emptied into bone chilling screaming enemies. Even the classic grunts and groans from our old friend Lara are still here.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is best played with friends. With two to four player co-op fun either online, in the same room, or a combination of both. Each player picks a character and if there are only two players then one has to be one of the imprisoned Gods, Horus or Isis as they have a slightly different skill set to Lara and Carter. Every game I played online it was smooth and without any lag or problems. It did get slightly annoying when a couple of people left or joined the game as each time it returns you to the character select screen. Its saving grace being it returned you to almost the same point you reached. But that’s the price you pay for playing a drop-in and out online game I suppose.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris

Playing with friends makes this game immensely more fun as the accidental murders of teammates is easily laughed at and the communication isn’t one-sided. There is voice chat but just like most other games, random people don’t talk. Communication being the key to enjoying this game, from solving puzzles, asking to be revived, or even just laughing at your team’s occasional misfortune. The difficulty and complexity of the problems change depending on the amount of players so finding a good bunch of teammates can make this game fantastic.

Conclusion:
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris has got a few flaws but nothing that stops it from delivering a fun and exciting co-op game. While it is possible to play the entire game on your own I strongly advise against it. It becomes a boring, easy, and lonely waste of a great game. Amazing and silky smooth graphics show off the highly detailed world. Stunningly large and memorable bosses together with expertly crafted puzzles makes this game a joy to play, as long as it’s not on your own.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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  • London Rhodes

    I really enjoyed the first game in this series. However I was disappointed to see they didn’t change the way the point system works from the first game. I don’t understand why they would give this coop game a competitive scoring system. The way they have it setup its almost impossible to get the silver and gold point rewards in coop. The reason it’s impossible is you have both characters running around the level competing for gems. They should have either added a lot more gems to the levels or made the point system shared between players. Preferably the latter.

    • ChazzH69

      I know why they did it but I agree, it does seem counterproductive when your trying for some top scores.