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Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (PSN/LIVE/PC)

Written by funkyellowmonkey (GP) on . Posted in Video Games

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Crystal Dynamics has created a whole new experience specifically designed for the digital market. Players will take control of Lara and an ancient warrior named Totec in an isometric adventure through sprawling landscapes, perilous puzzles and epic boss battles. Built with two player co-operative multiplayer in mind, players, however, can still experience the game as a solo adventure.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light follows Lara as she goes in search of the Mirror of Smoke, an ancient artifact located in a ruin known as the Temple of Light. When she finally reaches the mirror, she is ambushed by a mercenary army who takes the mirror and release an evil entity. Also awakened by the incident, Totec, The Guardian of Light joins Lara as her unlikely ally to save the world from never-ending darkness.

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Lara's back, and in a totally new perspective - literally!...

OK, we all know the story of Ms Croft, the most talked about female gaming character around. Well, since her last outing in pretty much all of her titles that were in the third-person viewpoint, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light brings a new fresh lick of paint to the current proceedings.

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Firstly, the view of the title is presented in isometric form (yes, just like the classic that was Diablo). And secondly and probably the most exciting of all - is that it now encompasses co-op play! A first for the franchise if I'm correct. The game can played in single mode but the fun really hots up when you have a buddy around to play with.

Everything we have come to know from her previous outing is all detailed in isometric form now and it looks pretty damn impressive to say the least. From the booby-trapped bound terrains and platforms, fiery spiked pits to the famous rolling boulder scenes - it's all intact along with the fiendish puzzles that we all love from the series!

In co-op mode, you and your buddy get to dish out the damage on the many evil doers scattered through the levels. There are quite a few levels to get through and some of them are quite lengthy, luckily there is a great checkpoint saving system within the game and it works like a dream, play a few levels or midway through a level and quit the game whenever you see fit - next time you return, you just pick of where you left off from. For replayability there are puzzle rooms which, yes, you've guessed it, you solve puzzles to unlock rewards and such.

The puzzles are in co-op play are not just your ordinary bog-standard type, no siree, they are in fact, specially designed for co-op play! You see, you and your partner will have to solve the puzzles co-operatively, you could be helping your partner across flaming pits of death to giving a leg-up over moving platforms of doom that will eventually see your demise if you don't work out the answer in time!

For a downloadable title, the graphics are nicely detailed with impressive lighting effects along with great character animation and enemy models. Scenery, buildings and terrains are nicely done too. Music and sound effects are top of the range with the famous tomb raiding jingle sounding off whenever an item of worth is discovered and collected.

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Overall: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light not only brings back the magical spark of the initial games back in the days, but also puts it into a new light with the new isometric view and the most excellent co-op mode. Along with a load of puzzle rooms to get through with the many and varied challenges each stage has to offer, the game will keep you going into the wee hours of the day. Hopefully, there will be more adventures from Ms Croft in this guise!

8.8/10

Pros
+ Top notch graphics and presentation
+ Great sound effects and music
+ Many varied and challenging stages
+ Puzzle rooms are awesome
+ Co-op mode is a blast
+ Plenty of replayability

Cons
- Can be a bit tricky when it gets too busy with enemies all over the place

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