Although it can feel boring and repetitive sometimes, it’s still a fun game to play.
Genre: Adventure, Shooter, Puzzle
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Release date: 29 Sep, 2010
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is an adventure game with puzzles and shooters as its focus. You have to control Lara to navigate through the ruins, collecting all collectibles and killing all enemies in between. It also has co-op support, but since I finished the campaign through the single-player mode, my review will be based on that.
The visuals sure have aged. It looks realistic and detailed for its ruin-themed environment, but it lacks the visual effects that you usually see in the more recent games. Dark areas also become hard to see because they use a strong, dark color palette for these kinds of environments. Characters and monsters are made in great detail despite their top-down view and the decision not to display them from up close works in their favor – despite their detailed stature, their porcelain-like skins don’t suit them at all.
You won’t get much from the story. The most that the story has to offer is the cutscene that was played at the beginning and the end of the game. However, there isn’t much to tell from the cutscenes either since it only serves as a premise for your adventure.
The game focuses on solving puzzles and killing enemies. The puzzle element relies on the use of various mechanics, whether it’s climbing a wall through the use of a grappling hook, using your spear as a way to reach higher heights, or navigating an area full of spike switches. Most puzzles are usually easy to solve although it will be more challenging as you progress, especially after the introduction of challenge tombs. It’s an optional area that offers a more difficult puzzle that compensates you with a good reward upon clearance. Although some puzzles are challenging to solve, it feels satisfying once you figure out how to solve them.
You’ll have to face hordes of enemies often in the game, forcing you to utilize your guns to kill the enemies. Various weapons are available at your disposal with four weapon slots to allow quick switching. There won’t be that many weapon types that you’ll use though – you’ll mostly use one fast weapon to kill the lesser enemies and one higher damaging, slow weapon to kill the tougher ones quickly.
All enemies feel the same except for their attacking patterns and after-death projectiles. However, you won’t notice much of the difference since you tend to fight hordes of enemies at the same time. Sure, some enemies might surprise you with their tricky quirks and special way to kill, but there won’t be that much difference in the end – you’ll just have to shoot and dodge any projectiles that come to you.
Bosses also feel repetitive. They usually have the same similarities: easy-to-avoid attack patterns with hordes of smaller enemies to distract you from damaging the boss. It was easy to beat them, and I could even defeat most of them on the first try. The only exception is the first boss due to its huge HP – you’ll have to figure out how to damage it and time your attack to defeat it effectively.
Aside from the combat and puzzles, the game also offers some challenges that will reward you with items. These challenges vary from each level, from something as easy as jumping over several platforms to something as difficult as moving a ball to a hole within a time limit. Although most of them are challenging to solve, others are just plain annoying since you need to do trial and error to get them.
Length and Difficulty
The game has 3 difficulties. I finished it in the easiest mode in 13.3h with everything collected. The difficulty is alright to me though, especially since you need to replay each level a lot of times if you want to get 100% completion.
This might be a fun game to play at first, but the repetition and annoying challenges if you aim for 100% completion ruin the game. It was boring to explore the same area several times, with the same enemies and huge area coverage. It’s going to take you 20-50 minutes to finish one level normally, and since you are going to finish every level more than once, it’s bound to affect you somehow. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s still a fun game, but doing a 100% run might not be worth it unless if you are a completionist or a hardcore player, not because of the difficulty, but because of your love for the game.
You can get soft locked in the game if you are stuck on a cliff that isn’t walkable. To make it worse, collectibles also tend to be placed near the edge of a cliff, baiting you to walk on the trap and restart the level.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
To be honest, I struggled with the control at first. The game’s default control was a mess – you need to press the Alt and the WASD button at the same time to push a boulder. Luckily, you can customize the keybinding and the game becomes bearable afterward. You might still press the wrong button due to its number of controls, but it wasn’t as annoying as it was.
The game was fun to play, especially if you ignore the collectibles and challenges. Puzzles are fun to finish and the more difficult ones will reward you if you manage to solve them. It’s a game that’s fit for casual players who are playing to get as many collectibles and solve as many puzzles as they can while not sweating over the ones they missed. Although 100% completion isn’t difficult to get, the repetitiveness might ruin the experience sometimes.