Outed: Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light

By Quintin Smith on September 29th, 2010 at 12:23 pm.

Lara Croft’s Top Down Co-Operative Adventures was released yesterday. Have you played it? It’s a bit stunning. I’ve only spent an hour with it, but for the entire duration of that hour I found myself repeating “Jesus, these developers ate their Weetabix” over and over again.

John’s Wot I Think is inbound for this Friday, but in the meantime you can enjoy the demo, and there’s a launch trailer hidden in the dusty crypts below.

What makes it so good? I’m not sure where to start. It has a Popcap-like attention to detail. The characters have an excellent, satisfying feel to the way they move and attack. The puzzles are excellent. The setpieces are frequent, and smart. And on top of all the action and exploration is a moreish Diablo-like game of artifact collection. It’s just a top quality piece of work, plus co-op. Did I mention there’s a demo? There’s a demo.

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63 Comments »

  1. Dominic White says:

    Just a heads-up: This game is MADE for co-op. If you play it singleplayer, you get a simplified version where you just play as Lara with some extra abilities. The game doesn’t really show its true colours unless a second player joins. The puzzles then become more complex, requiring both players working in tandem to proceed.

    It’s not like RE5 where singleplayer is the same as co-op with a bot. This game literally expands when you add a buddy.

    • Eric says:

      Which makes the lack of online co-op at release (something they originally promised would come with the PC version) a total deal-breaker in my opinion. Nobody sits around a computer monitor to play local co-op. At least, nobody I know.

      I loved the 360 demo and was planning to pick it up on the PC so I could play it online with pals. I still will buy it whenever they finally patch it in. Who knows, maybe it’ll be even cheaper by then.

      A real miss to not have that in for the PC version at its (already late) launch.

    • Dominic White says:

      They’re patching in online play eventually – apparently there were technical problems that stopped them from including it at launch.

      As for ‘nobody plays games together on a PC’? Well, your loss. A pair of gamepads pretty much opens up a whole new world of gaming, if you have friends who aren’t complete douchenozzles.

      If you’ve got a halfway-modern TV, you can use that as a monitor, too. I do. Sofa-bound, big-screen PC gaming is the best of both worlds.

    • Eric says:

      Has nothing to do with non-douchenozzle friends, has to do with having a PC in a cramped upstairs office and a 19 inch monitor, vs a 42-inch LCD TV and a couch downstairs. The PC just isn’t in an environment friendly to local co-op gaming in my house, and that’s true for most people I know. I’m sure if I had a big-screen PC setup with a sofa I’d feel differently.

      Like I said, I’ll buy it once they patch it in. But not until then.

    • jsdn says:

      How about the ability to control your character from an independent perspective? It’s not very common for the same household to own two Xboxs to play in LAN, but two PCs is.

      If they ever deliver on the LAN patch I’ll be very surprised. LAN isn’t something you can just patch in, if there’s complications then they’re major headache inducing complications. If they’ve already been paid for the game, and it technically works, why bother?

  2. Ricky says:

    I played the 360 version when it came out a while ago. Compelling stuff! I really enjoyed the entire experience, played the whole thing through in single player and in co-op, got all the hidden artefacts and whatnot. Barring any annoying PC port issues that could arise, I’d definitely recommend it to anyone.

  3. Lars Westergren says:

    Eidos really have a wonderful collection of games. Best publishers?

    I’ll be buying this.

  4. LewieP says:

    I’ve been playing it on the three hundred and sixty, single player, and I’ve been really enjoying it.

    The Tony Hawk style level objective are lots of fun, and the rpg-lite upgrade system makes replaying levels to get higher scores/better times a nice fun challenge.

    And the spear goes THWACK.

  5. Alexander Norris says:

    $1=1€ is an automatic loss of purchase which is a shame, because it looked pretty good.

    Also, the demo is 3GB? That seems rather large for a game that’s getting an XBLA release.

    • LewieP says:

      Especially because XBLA games are limited to 2gb.

      High quality assets on the PC version? I know that has happened with a few other XBLA/PC games.

    • abhishek says:

      The demo is essentially the full game but locked to the first level. If you choose to buy the game after that, it will simply unlock the rest of the game without any significant additional download required.

  6. AndrewC says:

    It was very nice! But there were really only a couple of levels that had that proper Tomb Raidery feel for me – usually a central hub with lots of spokes you can do in any order, creating both a sense of place and a sense of non-linearity.

    Also the sound effects for the menus were WAY too loud compared to the game! It did me right in, those sounds.

    But still: very nice, and nicely priced!

  7. Lars Westergren says:

    I have a little request…

    There have been a couple of adventures released last couple of weeks or months. Lost Horizon, Haunted House, Alter Ego, Jolly Rover, a bunch of Nancy Drew games (don’t laugh, some seemed to have pretty complex puzzles in them, science based even, and you can die!), Mystery Case Files, Black Mirror 2…

    Any chance of RPS doing a little mini-feature on them? “Best of”?

  8. abhishek says:

    Excellent game. Bought it last week and played through the singleplayer campaign, which lasted about 9 hours. High quality stuff all the way through, well worth the price.

  9. Item! says:

    Played it with a pal and thoroughly enjoyed – not sure I would have been nearly enthralled as a solo-player though.

    Best thing? The number of times that we successfully cracked a puzzle feeling that we hadn’t quite done it as “intended”, bodged it a bit and felt rather pleased with ourselves, thank you very much.

    Either the puzzles were intentionally designed to feel like that, or there actually were multiple solutions to some of them. Either way, well done – More Of This Kind Of Thing.

  10. apsaps says:

    Does it have ONLINE co-op?

  11. Will Tomas says:

    Download-only games that are 7GB?! Truly, we live in the future.

    • ran93r says:

      Seriously this is 7gibbas? I was about to drop some coin for this but now I don’t know, living in the middle of f’ing nowhere certainly comes at a price.

    • ran93r says:

      In answer to my own question, it seems the PSN version weighs in at 2.3gb, that will do me.

  12. Baka says:

    Since no one mentioned it until now, I feel like I’m the one missing something, but – Shouldn’t unsuspecting folk be warned that this game isn’t properly playable without a gamepad?

    I enjoyed the demo very much, and if coop adds as much to the game as you guys say it does, it would usually be an instant buy for me.
    But I wasn’t able to jump the 7 spider can-thingies in the demo because keyboard only allows for jumps in 8 different axes. It’s safe to assume that there’s more jump and run down the road of the campaign, so either I’m missing something or the game lost a lot of appeal for a gamepad-less guy like myself. :(

    • Rich says:

      Important observation here. I was considering getting it until you pointed that out.

    • teliach says:

      Is perfectly playable with a keyboard + mouse, the movement direction is not 100% intuitive at start but is easy to get used to it.

      And you can for sure do the spider pot jumping with a keyboard, not going to say is the easiest thing but you can do it after some practice. On the other hand a mouse wil lmake some parts of the game much easier then intended since aiming is much faster and precise with a mouse.

    • AndrewC says:

      Get a controller?

      Or would you like console-centric games to have their controls dumbed-down to fit the limitations of PC controllers?

    • mrmud says:

      No one claimed the controls should be dumbed down for PC. Merely that that a particular input is required is something that should be mentioned.

      If your buying a racing game that can only be played with a wheel (as most racing games should be played) chances are you want to be informed of that fact before you sit there with your keyboard or gamepad unable to play the game.

  13. The Great Skratsby says:

    Mine unlocked early a few days ago astoundingly, so I sunk a few hours into the singleplayer.

    It really is quite great, I imagine with coop it would be superb. Pity about the online coop being patched in.

  14. stahlwerk says:

    As a big fan of All Things Tomb Raider*, I can’t wait to play this. Shame that I will have to do single-player until the online co-op is patched in.

    *) May not include games and movies released between the first one and Legend.

  15. Lanster27 says:

    Coop. Dont bother with single player.

  16. Ridnarhtim says:

    Still not on PSN =(

  17. A-Scale says:

    “Eidos really have a wonderful collection of games. Best publishers?”

    Kayne and Lynch 1 and 2?

  18. CMaster says:

    Just played through the demo singleplayer (dissapointed with local-only coop, although the option for local coop is fantastic).
    Was good fun, a few of the set pieces demand quick thinking, but are straightfoward enough I did first time, making me feel proper action hero.

    On the other hand, the voice actors appear to be the same 3 people who did dozens of the cartoons you watched as a child and who never seemed to fit and fit even worse when the 50 year old white guy voices the 30 year old Aztec. Also, lack of lip-synching leads to some hilarious cutscene camera angles.

  19. Mickiscoole says:

    Also, Deus Ex, Hitman, Commandos, Thief, Timesplitters…

  20. bansama says:

    I’d been looking forward to this for a while before it came out. So come last week when it went up for pre-order I was rather put out that it wasn’t being offered for sale in Japan. But after a few PMs to some people at Valve and few messages to the CEO of Square as well as to the devs., whoever had imposed the restriction had a change of heart and released it in Japan.

    According to one of the responses I got from Valve, someone didn’t think the game would have a market in Japan =/ But they were, naturally, wrong.

    And I’m very glad I was able to buy it after all. This was certainly one game worth fighting for (the right to purchase) =) I’ve had a lot of fun with it so far, even with only playing SP at the moment.

    One word of caution though you might want to play it with a pad.

  21. decanem says:

    can anyone shed any light on the difficulty of this?

    could a non-gamesplayer pick up and enjoy, progress in co-op with a seasoned veteran such as myself?

    • AndrewC says:

      I’m not sure they could. Fighting involves the two stick control approach where one is movement and one is aiming plus a shoulder button press to enter ‘fighting’ mode, and another button for ‘dodge’ – which is a hell of a lot of things to process at once. There are regular timed puzzles. The end of levels are often long platform sections that have to be done in a time limit with instant death awaiting failure (Like that huge monster chasing you in the article picture).

      It’s not insanely hard, and the fighting can be set to ‘easy’, but i think there’s quite a bit of controller dexterity expected.

    • Mman says:

      They probably could, the important thing is that there’s pretty much no death penalty at all unless both players die (in which case you go back to the last checkpoint, which is usually about ten seconds away anyway). Of course, there are various puzzles that require coordination from both players, but they are simple until the last few levels, and by then the weaker player will have probably gained at least some basic handling of things. I might be judging wrong but I’m pretty sure the tasks with the grapple are more dexterity intensive those that involve spears, so it’s probably easier for Totec.

  22. Miker says:

    I disagree — my girlfriend and I are playing through the game, and it’s not been too bad on her. Plus, there’s no real penalty for death (beyond score), so it’s easy for the better player to stay alive and the worse player to constantly respawn. The game really isn’t challenging, either.

  23. Bill says:

    “Lara Croft’s top down”

    i lol’d

  24. pupsikaso says:

    ===—WARNING WARNING WARNING===-
    THERE IS NO ONLINE MULTIPLAYER IN THIS GAME.
    ANYONE WISHING TO BUY TO PLAY COOP WITH FRIENDS BEWARE.
    NO ONLINE MULTIPLAYER IN THIS GAME.
    ===—WARNING WARNING WARNING===-

  25. TRJP says:

    Had this on 360 since launch there and I love it – its what a game should, fun, challenging and reliable.

    If you don’t like this you probably don’t like games fullstop.

    • John Peat says:

      Reliable should be replayable – that’s Android auto-correct for you :)

    • John Peat says:

      Also – there are 2 completely distinct campaigns, one for singleplayer, one for co-op and both are as good as each other (same locations and story – different puzzles to solve).

      If you want online co-op then wait until it’s patched-in but the people saying the single player is a diluted experience are talking utter shite…

  26. Dominic White says:

    Oh yeah, here’s a really good video-review:

    http://www.gametrailers.com/video/review-pod-lara-croft/703357

  27. RandomEngy says:

    So, even if the game is fully worth 15€, if some other people get it for cheaper, you will refuse to buy it out of spite?

  28. Adam Babloyan says:

    Nobody I know who I would label a real PC gamer would build their own system, a magnificent one at that, and then run said system’s output to some garbage 40′ LCD.

    But it’s BIG! doesn’t cut it with me. A high end PC Monitor is light years ahead of a TV for PC gaming. Not having online CO-OP for the PC edition is not doing anyone any favors.

    • Dominic White says:

      “A high end PC Monitor is light years ahead of a TV for PC gaming.”

      Tell me how a 40″ 1920 x 1080 screen is bad for gaming. Please, do, so I may laugh at you more.

    • Renzatic says:

      “A high end PC Monitor is light years ahead of a TV for PC gaming.”

      This was true back in ’98. But nowadays? Not so much. TVs are are now basically very large monitors you buy for your living room. You might still get some occasional perks when buying a computer specific monitor, but it isn’t the night and day 540×480 scanline TV vs. 1600×1200 progressive monitor you had back when.

      Oh, and Laura Croft and The Guardian of Light? Damn great game. I find it pretty funny that I find the $15 download specific games to be higher quality and more enjoyable than the $50+ AAA blockbusters. I mean take Modern Warfare, Halo Reach, and whatever big name title is out now and compare them against Bionic Command Reloaded, Amnesia, Rocket Knight, and now this.The big games have the whizz bang graphics and advertising, but the little games have the gameplay and..dare I sound corny…the heart.

      Maybe I’m just getting jaded in my old age. Or maybe the little games are that much more fun. Who knows.

    • DigitalSignalX says:

      I’ll bite: My monitor is 22 inches and is 1920 x 1080 native resolution, by Dell and cost 140 bucks. The cheapest 40″ 1080p television I could find on the market in 5 minutes of shopping is 700 bucks.

      Besides the price difference, it’s a graphics difference. Your 1920×1080 is spread out across 40 inches (or more, for larger sets) so all the amazing particle effects and light tricks we praise so much in our video cards lose their ‘crisp’ and are being washed out or diluted on screens who’s ratio in inches to pixels is larger.

      So when a 40″ tv has at least 2560 x 1600 pixels and 700:1 high contrast ratio, it will be as good as a monitor for games.

    • Renzatic says:

      The way you should look at it now is that there’s no such thing as a “monitor” or “tv” anymore. They’re all LCD displays, and the only difference is what they’re marketed towards. People could use 24″ 1080p entertainment screens as their main comp display, or they could go out and get a 30″ 2560×1440 for their living room (though I have no idea why anyone would do that). Since they’re all using the same interfaces standards, the difference between the two is mostly academic these days. It’s less “tv” or “monitor”, and more high end for pros or consumer standard.

  29. Titsplz says:

    This is STILL not a virtual sex/bouncing tits sim yet?

    Come ON!

  30. thinsoldier says:

    “Nobody sits around a computer monitor to play local co-op. At least, nobody I know.”

    I just spent the last 5 hours playing Street Fighter 4, Garou, Split Second, mario kart and Gunstar Heroes sitting around a computer monitor with friends and relatives.

    You see, NOBODY I know has their PS3 or XBOX360 hooked up the internet and NOBODY I know has a pc or laptop capable of properly playing most of the games I have (not even torchlight in netbook mode)

    wait.. well, there is one person but by the time they fight 3 hours of standstill traffic to get home they don’t have the energy to join me in dirt2 so I have to settle for playing with assholes/strangers.

    • thinsoldier says:

      Seriously, the lack of good old local 2-player in the PC world has pissed me off for years.

      So many of us have SUPER-PCs that could probably handle 8-way split-screen multi-player CRYSIS on a single box while torrenting 40 seasons of General Hospital in the background for our Grandma all without breaking a sweat!

      In spit of this there are still few pc games that offer 2-player / co-op! WHY?

      And when you consider all the families on a tight budget who decide to buy their 2 or 3 kids a SINGLE PC (for educational purposes) rather than a “useless” console it makes even less sense for there to be no 2-player games!

      Thank God for Emulation.