Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light First Look

Prepare to be surprised by the latest game starring everyone's favorite tomb raider.

As far as sweeping proclamations go, the claim that Lara Croft practically invented the modern action-platformer is pretty low on the controversy scale. It's hard to argue against the idea that recent hits like Uncharted and Assassin's Creed owe a large debt of gratitude to Ms. Croft's Tomb Raider series for helping to usher in today's era of jumping, climbing, and shimmying across three dimensions. So when you hear about the next game bearing her likeness, it's entirely understandable that you may let out a guffaw or two. But here it is: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, due for release as a digital download this summer, is an arcade-inspired action romp with a fixed isometric camera and a focus on high scores and replay value. Though the genre is something out of left field, this latest Lara Croft adventure looks to maintain much of the feeling of earlier games (tombs, booby-trap puzzles, and so on) with a framework designed around cooperative adventuring.

The ravenous undead are a chronic problem in Central American jungle ruins.

On a story level, Guardian of Light is a buddy adventure starring Lara Croft and Totec, a Mayan tribesman. The plot is lighthearted Hollywood fare and tells of the Mirror of Smoke, an artifact whose ancientness is matched only by its mysterious powers. And as people tend to do with mysteriously powerful artifacts, a number of folks are fighting over this thing. The odd couple of Lara and Totec find themselves in a battle against Xoxolt, an evil spirit released from the Mirror who has the distinct advantage of controlling all manner of spirits to do his bidding. Expect to be going up against undead tribesmen, giant salamanders, and from the looks of it, everything in between.

But for this downloadable game, the focus falls less on story and more on uncomplicated gameplay. As the point totals erupting from dead enemies suggest, this is a game with one foot in the 1980s. Beyond that, there's also the fixed isometric camera angle. Moving through Central American jungles and temples, you'll always see the action from the same semi-top-down perspective. This keeps the focus squarely on the torrent of enemies capable of swarming you at any given moment. It's a set-up that leads fast-paced yet simple combat: point your weapons at the things you want to die, shoot, and repeat. It's hard to draw any clear comparisons due to the fact that we weren't able to play the game, but the combat definitely gave off a retro, where-did-I-put-that-quarter kind of a feel.

A lot of the old Tomb Raider platforming returns, now with co-op.

Each playable character has unique weapons and skills for maneuvering through those Central American jungle ruins. Lara's got her iconic dual handguns (which, befitting of the retro style, have infinite ammo), and Totec hurls deadly spears. But these weapons aren't used purely for combat. For example, the spear works both against enemies and as a tool for traversing past obstacles: Totec can throw a spear into a wall to allow Lara to get up to an otherwise unreachable ledge. Lara, on the other hand, has a grapple hook to make it across seemingly impossible gaps, and Totec often must place his life in her hands with assisted jumps. Other co-op tricks include Lara's ability to jump on top of Totec's shield when he holds it above his head and Totec's tightrope walk across a gap using Lara's grapple rope.

You'll also encounter a number of tombs to explore. These indoor caverns offer up the chance to take a break from the frenetic combat to do some old-fashioned puzzle solving. Think booby traps that can only be overcome with two people working as a team, and you've got a good idea for how these puzzles will function. This co-op system will work both online and locally, featuring a drop-in system for adding a second player on the fly. The whole game can be played using a single player, as well.

This can't possibly end well.

Contrasting the old-school game design are Guardian of Light's modern visuals. Vegetation sways in the wind and reacts when you walk through it, while the environments have a nice sense of scale when the camera shows you at the top of a platforming sequence that's meant to spiral downward toward a point far below. Those looks, along with the co-op stuff, are some of the big points working in the game's favor. At this point, the big question remaining is how the game plays. Expect to see some hands-on coverage leading up to Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light's summer release.

Written By

Want the latest news about Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light?

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

Discussion

359 comments
prince__vlad
prince__vlad

I enjoyed first thress Crystale Dynamics Tomb raider "remakes", but ..isometric camera (the only thing I hated in the early years of games) that's...depressing... Probably is one moron's idea who thinks he is slicker if he tries to fix something that never broke.

itwiz90
itwiz90

I played the last Tomb Raider, in fact I have played evry release of the series to date. I have also played Uncharted, and I was hoping that TR would come out with Drake like cover (hiding from bullets) mechanism and hand-to-hand combat, but I quess I have to wait on that.This game has took the series into another dimension with the coop play. This amy be a nice change, but I am a little worried how it will actually play and will the camera angle be a burden (as it has in the past on a few occasions) or will it help enhance the gameplay. All this has yet to be seen and once I play it I will then pass judgement.

Wrathesoul
Wrathesoul

Could someone tell me when this is to be downloadable in austealia please?

Arthur_Skylark
Arthur_Skylark

upside.....The trailler looks preety awsome. Co-op? Ive been waiting for it for ages!....downside..... from a fan's point of view no offense to the makers but I saw Lara Croft as an independent, strong, intelligent, KICK ASS lady! so why did the makers had to make her friggen outfit almost as slutty as a stripper?!!! Theyve CHEAPENED HER! and for what?? more sales? you might as well be playing malibu barbie explores south america!

usainuk
usainuk

As it goes I don't mind the fact that this game is totally different from the normal tomb raider game. I might be one of the few people that actually liked tomb raider angel of darkness. At least I liked the RPG style ideas behind parts of the game liked the idea of having a town where Laura walked around and interacted with other characters.. The only thing I did not like was the fact that the town was to small and did not have much of a population and it went back to its normal style too quickly. I have not played uncharted so can't compare it and light , light reminds me of parts of resident evil 5 (the parts where you enter crypts and tombs) This game does also sound like it has at least some of the usual tomb raider style about it. The thing that really puts me off this game is the camera angle I hate that bards tale style birds eye view camera angle. And lets face it whats the point in having a hot virtual chick character like laura croft in a game but a camera angle that gives you a view that is so far out and over head that you can't see her in any detail lol. And then there is the fact its download only if thats on X box download games take up a whole lot of space even on the bigger drives. if its on pc only I won't be able to play it since my pc is crap. But the general idea of the game is okay to me.

PetJel
PetJel

I'm actually interested. Should be good to play with a friend, and it's just a downloadable game, THIS IS NOT THE NEW TOMB RAIDER STYLE or anything, just a nice experiment. A new 'old school' Tomb Raider game is in the making aswell and will come out late 2011.

Blood_Diamond
Blood_Diamond

after the last one i am gun shy... it was sooo bad... i still managed to complete it 100% with all trophies too

magic_treehouse
magic_treehouse

There are some hilariously negative comments on here considering that no-one's played the game. I'm a big Tomb Raider fan but I'll reserve judgement until I've given this a whirl. You have to remember that this is just a download game so I doubt that the usual exploration/puzzle style has been completely abandoned.

killered3
killered3

This looks like the work of Enix to me! They killed Lara!

raekerdeinver
raekerdeinver

i agree with you guys..... but eidos is now currently working on another project for the Tomb Raider Series.... i mean not this one ... and says that it will be a major reboot.... they were also thinking to do a "Lara croft series" like this one... and another for "Tomb Raider Series".... hope that it will turn out fine.... and be a success like TR1...

ymarkman
ymarkman

I agree with crazyirishmkey: What the hell are they doing to the series? I have Tomb Raider: Underworld, and even though I haven't beaten it, I think it's pretty good. Anniversary wasn't bad either, but this... this is so different. Maybe the co-op feature will attract a different kind of fan base, but I am still a fan of the lone tomb raider Lara was before. This could still be interesting, but right now, it's really weird. Time will tell.

evaneself
evaneself

Lara will come gradually as Mario. Goodbye Tomb Raider. Welcome Lara Mario Craft.

crazyirishmikey
crazyirishmikey

?????????????????????????????????????????????????? I really don't know what to think about this new move by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics ... :o ... hope they don't wreck Lara for good!!!!

ein123
ein123

Im a big tomb raider fan....I have to agree with most of you, it does not seem right to do this to such an game..but I guess in a way they are trying to keep up with things. Looking at the screne shots it reminds me of uncharted 2 multiplayer with the co-op helping each player out. But if they were going to bring out another game, I would have liked it to be over the shoulder normal game..not online top view game. I guess Im just happy there is another one coming out.

Darnasian
Darnasian

This is strange! Is this a third person over the top game or what? And another thing! If square enix bought eidos why they dont stick with the name of tomb raider and with the simple third person viewing mode? This looks like crap! I like the tomb raider games but this is crap! I dont expect to be a great announcement!

galenwolf
galenwolf

I don't like it. Tomb raider is about platform exploration, puzzle solving with some shoot em up. Mind you the last few tomb raiders didn't have enough puzzle solving, or at least they where too easy. The tombs are too linear as well, there should be more than one route through, but with some direction. The other thing going wrong with tomb raider is Lara. There used to be this fun around Lara in the way they wrote her dialogue and the general script she always came across as slightly flirtatious, now she's dead serious which I think has taken some of the fun out of the game character wise.

kusanagi_k2001
kusanagi_k2001

Boo.........Square Enix & Crystal Dynamics , You People Are Retarded Like Hell. However, i have to say, it a brilliant idea to DESTROY the Legend. You kill Legacy of Kain First Now are on the way to destroy the reputation of Lara. We Should beat you people up with the Box of TR1!!

leaf21nut
leaf21nut

I only played laura croft for her breasts... Daam shes fine!

Iainus
Iainus

This is just not right.. how can they make a tomb raider like this?? what a massive let down this is gonna be

waleedsmz
waleedsmz

@ isthanametken33: you're totally right. I mean Drake has conquered every single possibility that tomb raider would beat uncharted. I think it's not the essence, I think it's getting boring... You see, once I got legends, it was cool, anniversary, less cooler, underworld, less less cooler... And now they're making a crappy game that can only compete with overlord :S.. Seriously, they should spend some time making a new game instead of this retarded sequel...

da_illest101
da_illest101

Never been a fan of tomb raider and to see how it's going, i probably never will be

Wolf-5
Wolf-5

Looks intresting, but I am not sure I would have made a game too far out of the style the fans are acustom to, the 3rd person adventure.

spady4
spady4

this aint lara.this is rpg

yixingtpot
yixingtpot

Tomb Raider was DEAD as a doorknob, the japanese will reinvent it and bring it back to life.

isthanametken33
isthanametken33

Please stop...I know they are trying, but honestly, someone needs to do something. They revamped Sam Fisher, someone please help Lara. Where's the sense of adventure from the originals? The original tomb raider's were the epitome of puzzle solving, shooting, and exploration, but somewhere along the line, they haven't been able to capture that original feel. When a newbie like drake can up the tomb raider franchise, something is wrong. it's like the graphics are next gen, but the essence is still in a tomb somewhere. In my opinion, every game from Tomb Raider: Legend on has been lacking something. They've become about gimmicky, rather than the technology taking a backseat to the game play.

etchcorp
etchcorp

I guess I`m agreed with Tuco_Ramires... This going down, like a cheap TV show... I still remember the 1st release... nothing could equal it... but, ufortunatelly, the latest releases have nothing to offer. not even close

FOBlO
FOBlO

Guys, this game is just a side project for Lara. Don't worry there will be a new Tomb raider game.

Shrimpen91
Shrimpen91

I agree with Tuco_Ramires a little bit. But I'm still gonna give it a try.

Tuco_Ramires
Tuco_Ramires

Don't know what it is ,but it's certainly not Tomb Raider, not anymore.Looks like an aborted IPHONE ( IJunk) Game. Stop it already ,it's not even related to Tomb Raider by any means. I don't want to hear anything about it.

higrade61
higrade61

Congradulation! Eidos is going to destroy tomb raider! I preffer play old tombraiders again and again than this one! I became so angry when I saw Eidos didnt released the PC version of LARA SHADOWS and BENEATH THE ASHES. and now its going to make me crazy! I think after some years they will make tombraider for PSP and Nokia mobile phones!! The problem is EIDOS should find another new places for lara, they know everybody is tired of forest themes like central america stories, they need something new. Why they dont try ancient Persia or Romans places? Also they can write briliant modern story like we had in TOMB RAIDER II.

stan_boyd
stan_boyd

I am not gonna bother with this game for 2 reasons. #1 I don't want to play diablo starring lara croft, #2 I want to own the copy since i regularly delete stuff on my computer to play new stuff. I have played tomb raider since the first one came out because I like the way they play, why do such a drastic change to a franchise that has so much success, what are they gonna do next turn it to a first person shooter or maybe make tomb raider a turn based strategy.

slainta
slainta

I don't care what people say. Lara is always Lara!!! ;)

QuatrixJ
QuatrixJ

To those of you saying Tomb Raider already went downhill, maybe you didn't notice that the last three games all had ratings in the 8 - 8.5 range, including Underworld in November 2008.

GerCold
GerCold

We want a new Tomb Raider game, not these things. What is next? Lara Croft in Wonderland?

DecadesOfGaming
DecadesOfGaming

just stick to what the franchise is known for !.. Personally I just feel that this title will be another bad attempt to cash in on what was once a great franchise.

johnrafale
johnrafale

Yeah right,i say undust the ps1 system and play again the first tomb raider.Better then this one.

Mega_Loser
Mega_Loser

isometric angle and an AI companion? what's next from sq-enx, a level up system? maybe, next time we can build our lara with full vit.

Rand401
Rand401

I'm not sure about this one either. I'll definitely wait this one out.

Prince132
Prince132

You know what this reminds me of? Batman Arkham Asylum. Why? There is small mini game with Scarecrow when he has injected you with poison. You must escape the little game. Even this was great quality within the large game. It depicted a tiny Batman hiding from the gaze of Scarecrow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jk1Zc9zG7Zo I recall it was quite annoying at times, but challenging. I will compare it to that.

bsully128
bsully128

DUDE SWEET!!! WHEN DOES IT COME OUT????

robdar602
robdar602

@crazyirishmikey I totally agree. I have 2 consoles and will often play the same game on both. They probably don't want people loaning out games to their friends.

crazyirishmikey
crazyirishmikey

... I don't know what to say, I'm torn ... I love Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider series ... but I HATE down loadable games, if I pay for something I want to have a copy and own it forever. But come on ... top down view? What am I going to do? :?

miltpauris
miltpauris

I'm not sure about this.... Time will tell...

Rivenearth
Rivenearth

Square hopefully can clean up this ridiculous franchise. From the idiotic movie, and the stupidly easy game I remember as Tomb Raider 1. Perhaps some challenge will be injected in, if anyone can do it, it is squeex!

towely62
towely62

most over rated game franchise of all time in my opinion

GN-00Raiser
GN-00Raiser

I can see Square Enix handy work all in this. Very RPGish from the looks of it.