E3 2014: Venturing into the Temple of Osiris with Lara Croft and Friends

She's just somebody that you used to know.

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Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
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Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is not a Tomb Raider game. It's a Lara Croft game. As it was explained to me, there's one universe but two brands within that universe. The Lara Croft games use the Lara Croft who is experienced, has her signature dual pistols, and doesn't seem out of place fighting alongside Egyptian gods, letting the developers (and players) tap into the nostalgic appeal of Lara as she was introduced to the gaming world. Meanwhile, the Tomb Raider brand is currently focused on Lara as she's just starting out, and the origin story has a more action survival tone to it.

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is a sequel to the thoroughly enjoyable Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, bringing back many of that isometric downloadable game's mechanics but upping the maximum player count from two to four. Based on my time with the game which was spent running through the first level, Osiris seems to successfully recapture the fun of its predecessor, having you solve a satisfying physics-based puzzle one minute (yes, the giant spheres you can roll around or send flying with a bomb blast are back) and running for your life through a collapsing, booby-trapped tunnel the next.

There are four playable characters, two treasure hunters (Lara and rival archaeologist Carter Bell) and two figures of Egyptian legend, Horus and Isis. If you're playing solo, you're Lara by default, since the story is centered on her. If you're playing with just one other player, the second player must play as one of the Egyptian characters, since their abilities are different from those of Lara and Carter, and the game's puzzles and terrain adapt to require the use of those abilities when you play with two or more. In fact, the puzzles adapt to require exactly the number of players you have, changing if you have three players and changing again if a fourth player drops in, which can be done at any time.

People who played Guardian of Light cooperatively may remember that one of the joys of that game was in the ample opportunities to grief your partner, and Temple of Osiris hasn't changed this. You absolutely must work together to advance, and that often means using your grappling hook to give a friend a way to reach a distant platform, but there's nothing stopping you from retracting your grappling hook right when your friend is over a deadly pit of spikes. (There's no guarantee that you'll still be friends after you do so, though!) Friendly competition is also built into the game through the gems that you can collect—these gems give you access to character upgrades, so you have an incentive to snatch them up before other players do.

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There's no official release date yet for Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, just an indication that it is “coming soon,” and, for what it's worth, I was told that “soon means soon.” It will be available for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC.

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