Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a distinctive departure from 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot. That game was more grounded in reality and attempted to create a serious setting for the series. Temple of Osiris—following in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light’s footsteps—is instead a fun, more arcade-esque adventure. The whole game struck me as an attempt at making a Left 4 Dead, Gauntlet, Zelda Four Swords (pick your poison) type of game with the Tomb Raider universe, and with that in mind, it succeeds pretty easily.
Temple of Osiris begins with Lara exploring the lost pyramids of ancient Egypt, only to end up in a race against rival archeologist Carter, who is after the same treasure. Foolishly, Carter triggers a trap that unleashes the evil deity Set that is out to (of course) destroy the world, and curses both Carter and Lara. Now, the two have to try to escape the pyramids and stop Set before it is too late—a task easier said than done, since the place is crawling with baddies and other unique puzzles and traps. They do, however, find backup in the form of two other party members: the deities Horus and Isis. Together, the party of four makes its way through the temple as they obtain the body parts to revive the titular Osiris, and put a stop to Set.
The plot of Temple of Osiris is cliché and nothing special, but that was obviously the intent of its creators. The general tone is humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously. In this regard, it feels almost very reminiscent of nineties-era games, complete with fun one-liners and witty banter between the four. Overall the plot fits in with the fun arcade action of the game, and doesn’t ever get in its way, creating an experience that is light on story but heavy on action.
The action, so to speak, is presented in an isometric top-down perspective, giving you the full view of the room you are in. There are minor issues with this camera choice when there are multiple people playing at once, the biggest problem being when a player gets stuck off screen and you need to go back for them, but overall the camera works well for this type of game, and fits the action very well. The majority of fighting is done through the two joysticks on the controller; the left stick is to move, of course, while the right joystick along with R2 is for your weapon, allowing you to spin in 360-degrees and fire. Other weapons such as your staff, bombs, and stronger guns that can be found in the game, give you a complete arsenal that allows for multiple ways to fight. When you add the amulets that can be found within the game that give characters unique power-ups and special stats, it creates a pretty rounded system. I often found myself relying a lot on the bombs, personally, since they cleared out large areas of enemies and did decent chunks of damage to the bosses.
I found the action elements to be enjoyable when it came to avoiding traps and giant monsters. It was fun platforming that relied on fast reflexes and a quick wit. I especially got a kick out of some of the grappling hook’s usage in the game, and found it the most fun way to get around traps, or just find a way to get higher and grab some loot. If I do have a complaint, though, it is that when the game slows down and switches gears from avoiding traps to solving puzzles, the puzzles seem lazy and not very creative, almost like a forced attempt to switch things up from the action segments. Usually, if I got stuck I found it was just a matter of trial and error to figure out what I needed to do. I get the feeling that the team just didn’t have their hearts in this aspect of the game. This is not to say that the puzzles were awful—having them adjust accordingly to the amount of players present is definitely appreciated, but they could have been a lot more, especially given the nature of the game.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is great when played solo, but is obviously best played cooperatively with a partner. There are a multitude of ways to play, ranging from local to online play, so finding a match is never too difficult, which is great, because these kinds of games work best with others. They always bring out either the best or the worst in people, and that’s where the real fun is. Whether or not you play like a jerk and claim all the loot for yourself or actually help out the party, it is always left up to the person behind the controller. My brother and I, always the rivals that we are, usually spent most of our time sabotaging each other and trying to one-up each other—something that we’ve been doing since the days of split-screen Phantasy Star Online on the GameCube. The single player experience here isn’t any worse than the multiplayer experience per se, and the game does adjusts accordingly to if you go at it alone, so there is no real cause for alarm if you don’t have somebody to always play with; however, it does lose that unique charm that comes with playing with your friends. I would highly recommend trying to play with a friend for as much of the game as you can.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a fun distraction from the somewhat more serious games that overrun the PS4’s current line up. While short—clocking in around 5 or so hours if you’re quick—and light on content, Temple of Osiris can be enjoyed over again with friends, pretty easily. If you can get a group that enjoys old fashion top-down arcade shooting games, it will definitely be worth your time to invest in. For those looking for a single player campaign, it is still enjoyable as well, and can provide you with a great dose of nineties cheese, but loses that special something in the process, and isn’t really as memorable as when played with friends.
Food for Thought:
1. The game has some good polish, with a comic book like introduction, and some great voice acting that gives the game some needed personality. I would argue that a lot of the humor worked because of the talented voice staff behind it.
2. The plot about assembling all of Osiris’ body parts reminded me a lot of a certain mission in Shin Megami Tensei IV. This is no doubt because they are both based around the same mythology, of course, but nonetheless I couldn’t help but think of Naraku again.
3. On sabotaging other players: Planting bombs underneath my enemies was a common strategy I used on Ishaan and a few others in Kid Icarus: Uprising matches. It took the guys a while to realize they kept dying because of my well-placed bombs. *chuckles*