While Crystal Dynamics' 2013 Tomb Raider reboot became the bigger draw, its downloadable adventure Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, featuring Lara and a fellow player in an isometric perspective, did well in its own right, with over a million downloads and counting. That prompted Crystal Dynamics to begin work on a follow-up to Guardian, but expand upon its possibilities so that even more players can take part in the fun.
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris once again puts everyone's favorite heroine in peril, alongside rival treasure hunter Carter Bell and a couple of new additions to the series, formerly imprisoned guards Horus and Isis. It turns out that by seeking an ancient Egyptian relic, Lara and company set a curse in motion, as well as a very angry war god and his pet alligator, both of which crave human souls. It then becomes a race against time as Lara, Carter and their new spiritual allies work together to avoid dangerous traps, take out enemies and hopefully turn the tables on their would-be assailant.
Similar to Guardian of Light, Temple of Osiris works with a basic yet effective control set-up. The left analog stick controls the player's movement, while the right aims his or her current weapon, be it a pair of pistols, the Spear of Osiris (which shoots a very effective laser beam) or others found over the course of the adventure. Along with firing your main weapon, you can also roll out of harm's way (which is helpful when you're quickly surrounded by enemies) and use timed bombs to destroy objects in the environment, like spear shooting machinery and other dangers.
That said, there is a bigger emphasis on multiplayer in Temple of Osiris. You can still play on your own if you prefer, but with others locally or online, you'll need to use team tactics to get around. For instance, when there are long gaps, either Carter or Lara will need to shoot a harpoon at an attach point across the way, then have Horus and/or Isis cross over by walking on the makeshift tightrope. Likewise, some ledges will be outside of Carter and Lara's reach, so Horus and Iris will need to activate shields, allowing the characters to hop on top of them to reach the ledge and activate a nearby door switch. These tactics look like they fit naturally into the design of the game, so you won't have to worry about perfecting them to get them right.
Temple of Osiris will also have its fair share of action to go alongside puzzle-solving. In one stage, for example, you and your cohorts will find yourselves on the run on a crumbling bridge, as the evil god's alligator is in hot pursuit, ready to turn you into a snack. You'll need to jump over (or roll under) spike strips and gaps in order to stay alive. If your entire group succumbs, you'll need to start over again.
There are also tactics when it comes to using your weapons. Mines destroy objects and can also damage groups of enemies should your traditional weapons fail to get the job done. You'll just want to make sure you get out of the blast radius, which is highlighted with a red circle on the ground. Otherwise, you'll take significant damage – and you may just hurt your allies in the process. That's no way to treat your treasure hunting pals.
Finally, the puzzle-solving aspect stems from Guardian's original design. Along with finding hidden switches, Red Skulls and other pieces of gold in each level, you'll occasionally need to interact with objects in the environment. For instance, there are some treasures buried beneath the ground, and the only way you'll be able to unearth them is by dropping a bomb to claim it. Other times, you may push large glowing spheres across a danger-filled landscape, in the hopes of placing it on an activation board that will allow you to proceed further in the level.
Whether you play on your own or take part in a multiplayer session, Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris has plenty to offer. The level design appears to be on the same brilliant level as Guardian of Light (based on what we've seen), and the game plays just as well as the original, if not more so with the inclusion of new techniques. We'll see just what kind of treasure it unearths when it releases for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC this December.