Xbox LIVE Summer of Arcade Review: Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light


It may no longer carry the “Tomb Raider” name in its title, but “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” is still very much a “Tomb Raider” game, although a very different one from what fans of the treasure-hunting archaeologist are used to. Square Enix has not only rebranded the series in name, but in presentation as well, shedding its trademark third-person viewpoint for an isometric fixed camera reminiscent of the dungeon crawler genre. It’s also the first time that a “Tomb Raider” game has been released as a digital download, but if this is the future of Lara Croft, then count me in, because while “The Guardian of Light” might be a little too easy for hardcore gamers, there’s more than enough content here to guarantee that you’ll be back for seconds.

The story is as follows: After accidentally unleashing the evil spirit Xolotl from a cursed artifact called the Mirror of Smoke, Lara must team up with a 2000-year-old Mayan warrior named Totec (the titular Guardian of Light) in order to imprison him in it once again. The combat system is slick and simple, with twin-stick controls that allow you to shoot and move in a fluid 360 degrees, while accessories like bombs, a grapple hook, and a golden spear keep the game feeling fresh as you explore each level to find shortcuts, hidden artifacts and relics that act as power-ups, and unique challenges that come with their own rewards. Though co-op mode is even more fun with the addition of Totec as a playable character, Square Enix really dropped the ball by failing to support online play. (An upcoming patch will fix that, but it should have been ready on Day One.) Still, while it may not be Lara Croft’s finest hour, between the replay value of co-op and the promise of additional content in the form of new maps and characters coming soon, it’s a bright start to the series’ latest chapter and a fitting finale to the Summer of Arcade.


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