Monday, December 27, 2010

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (XBLA)

12/24/10. Gameplay: ~ 2 hours. 2 Player.

History with Franchise: None.

What happened in this session?
Issam and I played 2 played for about 2 hours, maybe a little more. There is a single player version of the game, and multiplayer is a 2 player only multiplayer. In an Indianna Jones-esque fashion, Lara Croft is recovering a mirror of spirits (or something) and the bad guy swoops in to steal it from her. He doesn’t know what it is, so he awakens an evil, ancient Mayan spirit and his army. Thankfully it also awakens the man to have imprisoned said spirit, and you (Lara) join forces with him to stop this guy before he becomes unstoppable.

General gameplay is puzzles (think Zelda 64 Ocarina style), which involve you to do things in different orders, and, most importantly, work together. Lara’s abilities: has a set of handguns which fire quickly, both have unlimited bombs (Y to place, Y to detonate), and a grappling hook that can attach to rings throughout the level. She is strong enough that her Mayan partner can climb on the rope - so she can make bridges for him, or go first onto a platform and pull him up. His abilities: throwing spears - which are slower, but he can throw them at the wall and then Lara can jump on them (so you can make a bridge, etc), also he has a shield, which can shield him from say, things that constantly shoot spears at you until you blow them up. Both characters can acquire more weapons, which you switch out by using the D pad. These, however, use limited ammo. I found that I did not use them at all, whereas Issam did. I’m not sure how much of a difference they actually make in gameplay? Perhaps if neither of us had used them it wouldn’t have worked? When the game starts, it’s all about solving puzzle to move from place to place (you’re chasing the bad guy), then it starts to get more ellaborate (find the 3 missing gold pieces to open the door, find the 10 balls to open the door), lots of spear spawners, spear pits, huge drops, switches which turn things on and off. Also every once in awhile you’re hit by a barrage of enemies, or one big enemy (like the t-rex we fought by luring him onto spike platforms and then releasing them).

What I liked:

Teamwork! Co-op is super fun. It’s fun to talk to who you’re playing with, and figure out puzzles together. I feel like so far they were just the right level of challenge that we both solved an even number of them, were never frustrated but still had to think. I have no idea if this game would be nearly as appealing in single player. I will have to try.

Basic mechanics of grappling hook, bombs. These were both fun things to use. Being able to pull my partner up was sort of funny, and he was ‘in my hands’ so there was trust, and joking. Bombs were a fun challenge against enemies, since you have to place them close without getting hit, and then run out of their circle to not get hurt when they blow up. That or you have to wait for the enemy to step into them before blowing them up.

Puzzles! I enjoy this type of puzzle. As I said above, they seem to be the exact right level of challenge. This will be a game to look back to and study more closely.

What I didn’t like:
Basic combat. Ok in some places (spiders were fun since they sort of wigged us out) but for the most part boring. You just shoot, and wait.. and avoid getting hit. I dunno, lack of appeal.

Game started to get monotonous. Puzzles were getting longer. Will have to see when we go back if maybe 2 hours is all you can really get out of this game?

How do I feel about continuing:

I liked it enough to see what’s going to happen next, but I suspect that we will get 1 more hour, max, out of this game. I don’t feel compelled to continue for story purposes. I feel that the rest of the game will just be more of the same - which is fun, but there are so many other games to play. :)

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