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E3 10; Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – The PS3 Attitude Preview

Submitted by on Thursday, 24 June 2010One Comment

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is unlike any Tomb Raider game you have ever played. Despite that, there is still a strong sense of familiarity that long time fans will enjoy.

At E3 I was given the opportunity to play Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light cooperatively with one of the developers. I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable the experience was.

Right from the start you have the ability to choose either Lara Croft or the Mayan warrior Totec. Both characters have their own unique abilities that must be exploited in order to succeed. At first, I played as Lara. She just seemed like the more interesting character of the two.

The graphics are pretty good for a downloadable title, but nothing overly remarkable. The gameplay, however, is really where the game shines. I didn’t get a chance to play the single player component, but the cooperative play is so much fun.

All of Lara’s basic moves are still intact. She can roll, jump, run, climb, and use a grappling hook. Totec, on the other hand, starts off with a shield and spear. He is able to equip guns, so you really aren’t limited to just primitive weapons.  The mechanics aren’t too complicated. Everyone should be able to pick up and play this game without issues.

Expect epic encounters against giant fish.

The game really becomes interesting when you have to work together. For instance, let’s say that you need to reach the other side of a platform but you won’t make it by simply running and jumping. However, there is a wall that is conveniently placed that Lara can use to her advantage. Latch the grappling hook to the wall and she’s able to do a wall run and reach the other side. Totec can’t do this. So how does he get across? Well, all Lara has to do is throw the opposite end of the hook to Totec so he can climb his way up without any issues. This is the most basic cooperative situation.

Sometimes you will encounter platforms that seem impossible to reach. These situations can be handled in a few ways. Totec’s shield can act as a platform for Lara if he holds it above his head. All she has to do is jump on top of it and then she’s able to reach areas that she couldn’t before. If that’s not enough, Totec can jump in the air while holding the shield up and give Lara an extra boost. Another method is to use a spear. Throw a spear to a wall or pillar and Lara is able to balance on it. You could technically create a bridge or ladder using this method.

Unfortunately, the demo ended after we found one of the items needed to proceed with a puzzle. Thankfully, we could just restart the demo and head through another path. Guardian of Light is not a linear experience. You can go in whatever direction you want, assuming your path isn’t blocked off for some reason. There’s a lot of exploration to be had and tons of secrets to find. Fans of Tomb Raider should be familiar with this sort of setup.

When you’re not figuring out puzzles or doing some platforming, Guardian of Light is pretty much a dual joystick shooter. The gunplay works, but it doesn’t exactly standout. Unlike Super Stardust HD, the analog stick only point Lara or Totec in the direction of your choosing. You are still required to press one of the trigger buttons to actually use your weapon. Tomb Raider games were never known for having captivating gunplay, but it’s fun in Guardian of Light.

I was told that there will be a bunch of weapons available to both characters as you progress through the game. You will be given tons of freedom on how you want to equip your characters. Even the environments can be used as a weapon. You can grab an over sized boulder and roll it onto enemies. Obviously, the boulder can be used in other ways as well. If that’s not enough for you, you can plant bombs on the ground and watch enemies explode. The explosion can actually hurt your partner, so you have to be careful.

It should be noted that the game will be slightly adjusted if you’re playing the single player. If you were annoyed by Resident Evil 5’s AI Sheva, you should be pleased to know that you won’t be forced to have a partner when playing alone.

Yes, let's open the scary door with creepy eyes.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is shaping up to be quite an impressive game. There will be support for offline and online cooperative play. The game is priced at $14.99 and should be available sometime during the summer. If you’re looking for a great co-op game, look no further.