Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is one of the best co-op games we’ve played, despite the reputation of the Tomb Raider games. Give me five minutes to talk you into trying this one.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Gameplay
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a video game that’s technically part of the Tomb Raider series but unlike pretty much all of the other games, it doesn’t really take itself seriously/care about the Tomb Raider brand and the emphasis is all on co-op gameplay.
In multiplayer mode, you either play as Lara Croft or as a 2,000-year-old Mayan warrior named Totec. You have to work together to stop the evil spirit Xolotl and obtain the Mirror of Smoke.
This is an action-adventure game that’s “arcade-inspired” with a fixed, isometric camera and the gameplay itself revolves around basic combat, exploring levels and solving puzzles. The characters also have different skill sets that have to be used together in creative ways – for example, Totec can throw spears into the wall that Lara can jump onto to get to new areas but Totec can’t jump on his own spears (they can’t handle his weight…)
There’s also an element of competition to the gameplay as there’s only a set number of enemies and gems in each world and players are rewarded with different items based on different goals for the levels.
I was so, so very skeptical the first time I tried this game in 2010-2011 with a friend because of the Lara Croft brand and stigma. For one thing, I’m not really into action-adventure games and for another thing, Lara Croft has always represented an ideal in this industry that I’ve despised – a big tittied/hyper-sexualized, unrealistically athletic wonder woman who stands for a time when video games focused far too heavily on jiggling mechanics.
So for the other women who check out this site, bear with me and try to put that aside if you have those same feelings because this game is absolutely worth it.
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light works beautifully as a co-op game because you have to legitimately work together and think through the levels together. There’s challenge in terms of the puzzles and there’s challenge in terms of surviving some of the combat – but the game is also flexible. If one of you would rather do more combat than the other, that’s totally fine. If one of you would rather go off and explore more than the other, that’s okay too. The penalty for dying is also pretty manageable so this is one of those games where there can be more of an equal playing field for couples with varying levels of gaming skills.
It’s not a terribly long game – you can finish it together under 10 hours. I know our first play-through lasted a few different nights with varying levels of alcohol and a lot of laughter. And someday, there’s always the option to go back and try to get the more elusive rewards and power-ups, so replayability is there too.
More importantly, there’s a lot of creative ways to get your partner killed while you run away giggling. That’s an element to co-op games that I definitely treasure, personally (like in the Lego games and the older Marvel: Ultimate Alliance gamecube games).
It’s an old game by now and per that gameplay overview, just ignore the story. It’s silly and useless. But the game itself its one of the best co-op experiences we’ve had to date. It’s under $10 if you want it on Steam, although we played it on the Xbox 360, and I’ve seen sales making it as low as $2. Completely and totally worth it.
Our rating: 10/10
Title: Lara Croft and the Guardians of Light
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Game Type: Action-adventure
Bartle Type: Explorer, Achiever, Socializer
Player Count: 1-2
Average Play Session Time: 45 minutes
Type of Co-Op: Couch, Online
Platforms: Android, BlackBerry, Google Chrome, iOS, PC, PS3, Xbox 360