Although the demo (and full game) for Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light doesn’t officially hit the Playstation Network until Tuesday, September 28th, I managed to get my hands on it a few days early. After sitting down and spending some time with the game, here are ten quick thoughts I had about it.
1. It’s weird to see Square-Enix’s logo on a Tomb Raider game. I’ll never be able to think of them as anything but the creators of angst-ridden over-rated JRPGs with spike haired protagonists who wield weapons that are better defined than their personality. It’s also odd to see the Tomb Raider moniker disappear from the franchise especially as this game is pretty much just raiding one big South American tomb.
2. DJ was right in his review of the 360 version of this game, when he called it a Lego Indiana Jones for adults. Both have little to no story save for window dressings, both have some gameplay and control issues and both are really only going to be enjoyed by longtime fans of the franchise. Both also won’t hold up over time. Hell, even people that liked the first Lego Indiana Jones like our own Adam Powell now sit back and go, “What was I thinking?”
3. I prefer the fact that the game has gone for a 3/4th perspective overhead camera rather than the format used in the original Tomb Raider games which was directly behind Lara and gave the game more of a third person shooter feel. This format reminds me a lot of the hack and slash action RPGs that were the rage in the 32-bit era. It can feel like one too at times, even though it’s nowhere as good as games like Baldur’s Gate: Dark Alliance, Diablo or the like.
4. Ugh. There is too much platforming in this title. I hate platformers. All the jumping drove me nuts. I mean, I can understand the odd puzzle here and there, as it’s a classic motif in any form of story-telling where you’re grave robbing an ancient civilization, but no one in the history of mankind has ever designed intricate traps based on one’s ability to jump outside of a video game. I hate this.
5. Hey! No online multiplayer here either. Really Crystal Dynamics, don’t promise something you’re just going to add in later. It’s not cool.
6. DJ talked about how bug-ridden the 360 version was in his review, but one positive thing I can say about this game, is that I didn’t encounter any in my playtime with the game. Everything played out rather smoothly.
7. Aside from the spear being used for a few lame jumping puzzles, it’s actually rather weak compared to Lara’s guns. Her guns are faster, cover more distance, can kill enemies faster, and are just superior in every way unless you need to huck a spear to jump on to something. This is kind of a lame feature.
8. Really not a fan of the still artwork cut scenes in the game. The artwork isn’t very good and it doesn’t mesh well with the rest of the game. Plus it’s weird that the game setups what little plot there is in this title with these static images and voice overs, then immediately goes into regular high definition graphics for the rest. Do one or the other, but not both.
9. This thing is two gigabytes. That is insane. Even worse, the demo is as big as the full game; you’re just locked out of everything save the first level. Considering the game is so repetitive and it’s so short (You can beat it in an afternoon), it’s hard to believe this thing is bigger than some RPGs you can download for your PS3.
10. Overall, I’d rate this game as a mediocre one. It’s definitely not worth the fifteen bucks as everything just blurs together after a while. It’s dull, repetitive and although I prefer the perspective change, it’s rather a generic action platformer that does nothing to repair the series. See: anything with Sonic the Hedgehog.