Crystal Dynamics designed Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light primarily as a cooperative game. In this Central American adventure Lara has a friend, Totec. Two thousand years ago, Totec sealed away Xolotl, an evil overlord with the Mirror of Smoke. Lara has been tracking the artifact and is right about to acquire it when the game begins. Before she can get her hands on it, mercenaries take it, which releases Xolotl and puts the whole world in danger. Totec awakens displeased at the situation and suspicious of Lara.
Lara is armed with dual pistols and a grappling hook. Totec’s default weapon is a spear. He also carries a shield, which Lara can use as a makeshift platform. Since each character has their own abilities, players have to work together to reclaim the mirror. Let’s see how these work with one of the game’s puzzles.
In the picture above, there is too much empty space between the platforms to clear with a jump. However, Lara can use hook her grappling line to the golden ring to wall run to the other side. After she safely lands, Lara can toss a rope over to Totec, which he can use to walk over. While demoing the game, one team member mentioned “trust” as an element they want players to build while playing the Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. This next solution requires a ton of that. Alternatively, Totec can carry Lara on his shield while leaping into the abyss. Lara can vault off Totec’s shield, land on the platform, and toss the grappling line to Totec as he is falling to his death. Time it right and you get across faster. Miss and Totec blinks out of the game for a few seconds before respawning. Puzzles are designed with multiple solutions and Crystal Dynamics hopes players will experiment to figure them out.
Another puzzle in one of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light’s optional challenge dungeons uses Totec’s spears as ground to jump on. But, hey, this game isn’t all puzzles. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light has its share of isometric shooting action. When enemies appear, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light acts like a twin stick shooter where you fire bullets or spears with the second analog stick.
What happens if you play Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light alone? Totec is out of the game. A computer controlled character doesn’t replace him. Instead you have a super powered Lara adventuring solo. Lara acquires Totec’s spear and other items to hit switches.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light will only be released as a digital download for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PCs. Pricing isn’t finalized, but Crystal Dynamics is shooting for the $15 mark and a summer release.