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Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris is an action-heavy adventure in which iconic character Lara Croft and three of her allies fight against an evil god and its minions. The gameplay is shown from an angled top-down perspective, and players will use a number of guns and magic abilities to kill enemies. Although some enemies bleed (not always red blood, based on the monster) and may cry out in pain, the camera distance from the action and the bodies that disappear lighten the impact of the almost constant combat. There's very light profanity in one cut scene. Some parents may raise an eyebrow at the body image of Lara, who's frequently shown in a tight T-shirt and very short shorts, which may seem unrealistic for women. And there's unmoderated multiplayer, which could expose kids to iffy commentary.
What's it about?
LARA CROFT AND THE TEMPLE OF OSIRIS is the follow-up to the critically heralded Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. In this adventure, Lara travels to Egypt and must join forces with rival treasure hunter Carter Bell -- as well as imprisoned gods Horus and Isis -- to team up and defeat the evil god Set. Played from an angled ("isometric") top-down view, up to four players (online or on the same television) traverse dangerous levels filled with traps and fantasy enemies, collect treasure and artifacts, solve puzzles (such as stepping on pressure plates in a given order), and inch their way to the climactic boss battle. Gamers also can compete against friends, with seamless drop-in/drop-out support, to earn bigger rewards -- as well as more powerful artifacts and treasures for your character.
Is it any good?
Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris proves the axiom "the more, the merrier." On one hand, it feels like a classic Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones quest, with a distinct goal for your actions. But players must work cooperatively to achieve tasks along the way, which is a nice twist on the classic solo adventure formula of the previous games in the franchise. (Many seasoned gamers may compare the look and feel of the game to Atari's Gauntlet series.) Plus, the mix between combat, puzzle solving, and exploration is nicely balanced, fitting the ancient Egyptian theme well.
The game's graphics and sound production are very impressive. Although the action is seen from an eagle-eye view, it fits the fast-paced nature of combat perfectly, while also giving a sense of drama when necessary. For example, the camera tends to zoom in during some of the boss battles against larger enemies, which really gives you a sense of how immense these creatures are. It's a nice treat that heightens the action of each major battle. The game isn't a perfect 10 due to a story that seems more of an afterthought and some minor control and camera issues -- it can be hard to time the platforming elements from this isometric angle, and controls don't seem as tight and responsive when there are multiple people playing. But overall, this is a great and inexpensive diversion for fans of the long-running series.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how women are depicted in games. Why do many developers outfit their heroines in skimpy clothing? Should it change? What needs to happen if so?
Discuss the differences between combat seen up close and fights viewed from afar. Are the latter less disturbing in any way? Why might that be?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $29.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Square Enix
- Release date: December 13, 2014
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Great Girl Role Models, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Ocean Creatures, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Blood, Mild Language, Violence
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