At the risk of offense, Tomb Raider hasn’t been worth spending money on in a few years and it truly didn’t seem as if the series was ever going to make it back to the prominence it had in the ’90s on the Playstation. Luckily, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a delicious revamp that is likely to have the series going strong for another few years.
The very first thing you’ll notice when you see a video or play Guardian of Light is that looks almost exactly like Diablo or any RPG in that genre. There’s a isometric style zoomed out camera, which is a big contrast for a character that’s usually hyper sexualized (so much so that she was probably the only video game character to have an official breast reduction). Long time fans shouldn’t worry about the explorative nature of the better titles in the series, since this new style lends itself well to exploration and puzzle solving. The game also looks great: the environments are pretty and begging to be explored and as before the user interface tends to not get in the way.
Lara has also been known for her guns (the franchise has made sure of this) and this game is truly no different. Thinking back to how combat was carried out in the first few games and how slick it is in this installment is, is enough to make your brain melt. Combat is fast-paced and fun; Lara is fairly nimble in ducking aside and shooting at groups of enemies that pour down onto you. The screen can get pretty cluttered with enemies and with destructible environments there’s a very distinctly arcade ambiance about the game that words perfectly. The best thing about running into a boss fight is the scale. With the isometric view you get to see tiny Lara up against gigantic monsters.
The replay value is definitely there, especially for those who remember the fun of having the high score in an arcade. The very best part of the game is the co-operative experience. While the single player campaign puts everything in control of Lara herself, the co-op allows two players to work together to clear a different experience. It’s enjoyable and rightfully competitive when the scores are added into the fray. Co-op has apparently become a very standard part of games and this installment is as enjoyable as Splinter Cell: Convictions co-op mode.
Whether you’re a fan of the series or not doesn’t really matter in this revamp: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is definitely no-brainer addition to any gaming collection especially with a cheap price tag of $15 when virtually everything costs four times that amount nowadays. The only downside you’ll find in the entire game is that the story is some serious fluff.