Excerpt: It's quite remarkable that Crystal Dynamics has been able to create a game that feels designed for solo play just as much as it does for co-op. On my first run through the studio's download-only Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, the mixture of combat, puzzles and platforming seemed built around playing alone - yet as soon as I played through the same levels with a friend, it was hard to imagine how the game had worked as a single-player experience.
Conclusion: I for one hope that Crystal Dynamics, Eidos and Square Enix take the lessons learned from this title and apply them to the next disc-based Tomb Raider title, but while we wait for that this is a game well worth experiencing.
Excerpt: I still remember when the first Tomb Raider came out on the original Playstation. Sure, we all ran out and bought the game because of the buxom Lara Croft, but what kept is around was the gameplay, which was a nice mix of adventure and puzzle solving. Oh, and a dinosaur. Can't forget that.
Conclusion: Presented in a gloriously isometric manner, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light doesn’t need Lara Croft – it creates a big time, engaging action action-adventure experience that stands on its own merits. Whether or not the game needed an iconic character to succeed is irrelevant; it’s absolutely loaded with well-crafted dual stick gunplay and an adventure worthy of a full retail game.
Excerpt: Lara Croft is an icon of the industry but she has been mostly non-existent this generation. It seems Crystal Dynamics is working on a full-fledged installment for release some time next year – yet to be confirmed – but in the meantime, we’ve got a downloadable iteration of Lara’s latest.
Summary: In Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, you see the titular leading lady from a whole new perspective. While the isometric camera angle shows off less of the iconic character than you may be used to, the game boasts the same engaging mix of exploration and combat that has long been the hallmark of the best games in the series.
Pros: Slick, satisfying combat, Lush levels encourage exploration, Enticing challenges spur replayability, Clever puzzles, Great cooperative play