Game: Tomb Raider: The Temple of Osiris
Platform: PS4, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher/Developer: Square Enix/Crystal Dynamics
Score: 8 out of 10
Synopsis: Lara Croft has discovered the Tomb of Osiris, but in doing so has been marked for death by the Egyptian eater of souls. Now she, Carter Bell, Isis and Horus must all combine powers to defeat Set and restore Osiris to life.
Up, Up: I've been very bitter about the fact that the next main range Tomb Raider game was not coming to PlayStation. Frankly, this sequel to Guardians of Light felt like a cheap consolation prize, and I was prepared to hate it.
Surprisingly, it's an amazing game. The top-down gamplay is instantly engaging to the old Gauntlet and Smash TV player within me, though I'd have to admit that Temple of Osiris does it much better than any game of that type I've ever played. There's hints of the main range, of the Batman Arkham games, even CD's own Legacy of Kain in the gameplay that makes it an instant hit to play. You can dive right in and love it, and it maintains the ridiculousness of the pre-reboot games for those who miss old school Croft.
Down, Down: Last year's Tomb Raider was the best of the series. No argument. Rhianna Pratchett told an unbeatable story, and it was my favorite game of 2013. Temple of Osiris is not and will never be as good, but it is better than no more Croft period on PS4.
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Left, Right, Left, Right: I'd gotten used to the engine in the main series reboot, but I felt that Temple of Osiris was a nice hybrid of it and platformer controls. Though it lacks camera capabilities, movement is a snap and there are a surprising number of tricks up Lara's sleeve as she traverses the dungeons. I'd say it's a damn near perfect top-down representation of third-person action gaming. I love it, especially the grapple capabilities.
B, A: This is maybe the first game ever that made me think I needed to play with other people. Playing off a review copy, I didn't have a whole lot of choices in recruiting players to my cause, but the first opportunity, I'm making my brother buy it and setting up an online playdate. Solo players with skill won't have any problem playing the game, but it's clearly more fun for more people.
Start?: Temple of Osiris was a surprise to me. It was an off-main trunk game that instantly engaged and was just plain fun. There's a nice balance of puzzles and shooting, as well as some well-done lessons n Egyptology. Story-wise, it's never going to match up to its big sister, but for PS4 loyalists like me, it's more than welcome.
Also, any game that reminds you how much fun a machine gun with spread capabilities is within the first 30 minutes is a game worth playing.