Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Hands-on

Tomb Raider's leading lady gets a new perspective on life in this isometric action game.

There's something different about world-renowned video game tomb raider Lara Croft in her latest adventure, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. This downloadable side story to the Tomb Raider series draws the camera back to an isometric perspective, giving you a new view of Lara as she ventures into ancient ruins on a quest to retrieve an artifact. The artifact--known as the Mirror of Smoke--once imprisoned a very evil being named Xoxolt, and at some point, everything goes horribly wrong. Thanks to some fumbling mercenaries, Xoxolt breaks loose from his cage, but as it turns out, he wasn't the only one trapped. An ancient warrior named Totec, who was responsible for trapping Xoxolt inside the Mirror of Smoke, is also freed and joins Lara Croft to hunt down Xoxolt.

Lara and Totec work together to solve puzzles.

While Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light can be played in single-player mode, we spent our hands-on time in a cooperative mode where two players can assume the role of either Lara or Totec and work together to fend off hordes of enemies. The control setup is fairly straightforward: You use the left analog stick to move and the right analog stick to aim weapons. It's not unlike the control scheme found in most dual-stick shooters, only you still have to press a separate button to fire either Lara or Totec's weapon. Speaking of weapons, Lara and Totec have access to dual pistols, as well as a spear-and-shield combination at the start of the adventure, but as you progress through the game, there are opportunities to unlock additional weapons for both characters. These include assault rifles, flame throwers, and powerful grenade launchers. With the exception of the default items, all weapons have a fixed amount of ammunition, but ammo deposits seem to be plentiful.

That ammo comes in handy because much of the game's focus is on blasting through throngs of giant spiders and other nasty creatures--even more so when you consider that both players are in a race to get the most points. However, there's also a strong cooperative puzzle element. These aren't quite the in-depth affairs normally found in the traditional Tomb Raider games; you won't necessarily spend hours trying to take an ancient artifact to a hidden temple. Rather, they all seem to be self-contained, brain teasers that make extensive use of Lara and Totec's unique abilities when playing in the cooperative mode. One puzzle might require Totec to throw a series of spears into the wall, providing Lara with a makeshift ladder that she can use to scale and retrieve an extra bit of treasure. You might see slight variations of this where Totec creates the ladder, but Lara first has to jump onto and then off of Totec's shield to reach it. Other puzzles revolve around Lara's grappling hook. In some situations, Lara has to use her grapple hook to create a makeshift bridge for Totec, who can then walk across it.

Some puzzles require you to stay sharp.

Of course, many of those aforementioned puzzles are action based, but some are a bit more methodical. One of the early puzzles requires Totec and Lara to stand on two pressure pads, which cause the hands of a statue to move away from a wall, revealing an opening. When either character moves off the pad, the hands slam shut. We won't spoil how to solve this particular puzzle, but it does involve using another one of Lara and Totec's weapons: the remote bomb. In a different kind of puzzle--and one that's completely optional--Lara and Totec have to run across a series of pads with spikes that rise as you move from one pad to the next. The trick is to find a proper line so that you can make all the spikes rise without trapping yourself in a corner and getting impaled.

Whether it's blasting through enemies with an assortment of weapons or continually jumping to save your life as a bridge collapses from beneath your feet, there's no question that Guardian of Light is a more fast-paced and action-packed rendition of the Tomb Raider universe. The controls are simple and the puzzles seem to offer just the right amount of downtime from the action. Plus, the cooperative elements of the game create a fun dynamic where players are continually competing but also trying to work together in fun and interesting ways to solve puzzles. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is scheduled for release on Xbox Live, PC, and PlayStation Network this summer.

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Discussion

36 comments
cxmnky
cxmnky

Christ, do some of you even bother to READ the write-ups before commenting? Nowhere does it say this game is a strategy game or an RPG. It's a twin stick shooter with environmental puzzles and platforming. And it's not supposed to be the next Tomb Raider game so enough whining about the fact that it's so different from the other TR games...that's the whole point.

aleks_989
aleks_989

Since when has Tomb Raider became a strategy???:S...trust me on this one... this Tomb Raider will be the biggest disappointment of all

GabrielOnuris
GabrielOnuris

@fzd88 ROFL!!! I had the same feeling about the dev's team being busy with anything else out of freaking nowhere!!! Nevertheless, I need to give it a try, maybe it could grant me some more fun, despite I think it's about time to Lara Croft retire herself before some crazy developer turn she (and Tomb Raider) into another s**tty fail title. @Crusnik-02 Yeah... I miss the LoK series too; there will never be another game with two characters as memorables as Kain and Raziel!

Crusnik-02
Crusnik-02

Hmm, the last episode of TR wasn't that bad actually, but somehow storyline sucked. Anyway they should bring back the "Legacy of Kain" series, i miss it like hell

fzd88
fzd88

this looks more like a "keep the dev's team moral up by working on something different and easy to code" game - probably a left over project after they finished Underworld. While they wait for word on the next TR games, this will keep the dev team busy and not quit. :)

Jajathinx
Jajathinx

'some puzzle require you to stay sharp' hahaha aha haha haha ahh ahah great joke GS.

speedfog
speedfog

Looks pretty nice im sure i will buy it.

mitsios
mitsios

I play all the games of tomb raider. I look forward to this one. It looks interest. The time tell us the rating of this game..:)

47gunner
47gunner

& now 2 hot girls gonna tag team...

jeffma
jeffma

Wait a sec.. i just realized this is not Tomb Raider series... just lara in new series... Disappointing....

jeffma
jeffma

Oh lara.. reminds me the first time I played the original Tomb Raider way back on 1997. Love TR1 & TR2... lots of memorable places especially the Venice and Egypt level.. Cant wait for this new masterpiece

M_Fabio3
M_Fabio3

Can't wait to get it , and try it out

bodylotion
bodylotion

You can not compare this game to the normal Tomb Raider series. I'm not sure it's a good choice of Crystal Dynamics trying to create a puzzle game but it looks a bit like 'Trine' which is a good game so it might work out just fine.

Tha_DRP
Tha_DRP

Can't wait to check this out, fan of lara croft games :P

Keir_Eidos
Keir_Eidos

Just to underline the fact this isn't the next Tomb Raider! Crystal are working on TWO games right now, this one isn't TR but is something new and different for the fans while 'the other project' is worked on. It'll be downloadable from PSN/LIVE/Steam for around $15 in late summer. Hope that helps.

pankaj360
pankaj360

agree guys . this 1 's gonna be a disaster .. I was hoping more of a uncharted approach .. cause there's only 1 problem for me with tomb raider and that is shooting system otherwise game kicks some serious ass

spirit_obscura
spirit_obscura

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

omar_shaolin
omar_shaolin

it's not a tomb raider game, it's just the character lara croft in another game with the guardian of light

derderderderk
derderderderk

Doesn't sound like Tomb Raider at all. And how do you pronounce Xoxolt?

Nexnesis
Nexnesis

Looks like ill finally get to play a Tomb Raider game through from start to finish. The new style is very refreshing and approachable.

AlmightyMax
AlmightyMax

haha, stay sharp, because there are spikes. GET IT?

Xplode_77
Xplode_77

I hav'nt played split-screen on pc before........ what do u do share the keyboard haha!

masterdude192
masterdude192

It looks as if it might add something to the universe. Co-op puzzles are always a lot of fun but it'll be even better if they have split screen PC.....

bosta_branca
bosta_branca

In my opinion: It will Suck!! Tomb Raider was great the way it was.

2eachhisownmask
2eachhisownmask

Lets all hope it's not a flop, like the Underworld was. It felt rushed, unpolished, and was a huge disappointment after the Anniversary, which in my opinion was the best Lara Croft incarnation.

jasper-ah-
jasper-ah-

i wish this title goes to way that uncharted goes and make secret story with mixing reality

gashoe13
gashoe13

I always preferred Tomb Raider the original way..... We'll have to see how this goes, then...

SirCroft
SirCroft

Can't wait, this looks like a lot of fun!

johny300
johny300

CRYSTAL DINAMICS i want new GEX games!

jimmy_83
jimmy_83

puzzle puzzle puzzle love it great & makes you so enjoyed with this game

crazyirishmikey
crazyirishmikey

Hmmm ... co-op?? This game is starting to peak my interest ... I really hope it doesn't disappoint.