Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris Review
PC, Xbox One, PS4
2010's Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
was a delightful surprise. A designed-for-purpose cooperative game with a speedy pace and light-hearted tone, which arguably did the whole "Tomb Raiding" thing better than the main series. I'm glad to say that Temple of Osiris matches the puzzle-platforming pleasures of Guardian of Light, although it fails to evolve the idea in any meaningful way, and comes with a not insignificant amount of baggage.
Temple of Osiris sees Lara return once again to Egypt, this time with a group of three other adventurers in tow, including two Egyptian...gods? I don't know for sure because - and I'll be honest - I accidentally skipped the opening cutscene, so the circumstances under which this motley crew comes together are beyond me. Fortunately this proved to be no obstacle to understanding the wafer-thin story, which involves Lara and her anachronistic comrades battling the dog-headed god Set, while seeking to restore the deposed god of the underworld Osiris to his former glory. Temple of Osiris plays its silly plot so straight it almost feels like a parody, which I suppose is fine, but a little extra flesh to the characters or humour in the script wouldn't go amiss.
Temple of Osiris caters to four player, but I'd say the ideal number is two. The four characters are separated into pairs, with each sporting near-identical abilities. Temple of Osiris cleverly adjusts its puzzles to cater for different numbers of players, even allowing for single-player. But playing alone means you lose out on much of what makes Temple of Osiris interesting, and while there's nothing wrong with the four-player option, it's definitely an addition rather than an improvement.
In fact, adding content without improving the experience is a running theme throughout Temple of Osiris. Rather than taking place across a sequence of levels, all the story tombs and challenge chambers are connected by a hub world which has no reason to exist other than to extend the game length slightly. It's also unnecessarily mazy and, while too small to get properly lost, after a while the arbitrarily roundabout routes become a little irksome.
Meanwhile, there's simply more "stuff" in the game. More weapons, more collectables, more chests containing more loot items which offer more special powers and stat boosts. None of this makes the game worse, exactly, but neither does it make it better. Actually, perhaps it does make it slightly worse, as it detracts from the wonderfully streamlined and immediate feel that made Guardian of Light so easy to pick up. All this extra stuff makes Temple of Osiris feel messier and more cluttered.