Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (just LCG for short) is a new, unique take on the classic Tomb Raider platformer formula. The main difference is the isometric, fixed camera view. The other, more exciting difference is the local and online cooperative play, but does that make up for the poor collision and other problems?
I enjoy LCG a lot. It has decent graphics and a decent soundtrack, and it's a great sequel for Lara fans to try. It has a unique co-op experience, too, if you're into that sort of thing. Despite its shortcomings, it's a great game and deserves some respect.
LCG is very much a test of patience. You die, you try again... and again... and again... and well, you get the point. There's no direction provided. This is a staple of the Tomb Raider franchise, however, and anyone who buys this game should keep in mind that the game is not easy. Many of the levels are pretty straight-forward, but most of the levels have at least one frustrating moment. Most of those frustrations are caused by poor collision and very bad depth.
You see, this is not your typical Tomb Raider game! It's isometric! Due to the 2d graphics, you would expect a huge trade-off in terms of controls and aiming, but I didn't quite expect it to have that trade-off and be absurdly slow. Even with the 2.5d camera view, the game is more demanding on my GPU than most 3d games I own. I had to run the game at the lowest resolution with the lowest graphical settings to manage to run the game without overheating my computer. The game still crashed every time I played co-op.
Even with the woes of overheating, I managed to sap some fun from the single-player campaign, and I played enough of the co-op mode to know it's a great game design. I think the DLC is pretty cool, but there really isn't much there. Overall, most of the focus is on the single-player story. The co-op mode is based on the same story, but the levels are set up in a slightly different way, and the additional player adds some creativity to how you manage your time.
You can get a vast array of achievements and unlockable extras. The outfits Lara has are all from previous Tomb Raider games, so the die-hard fans will enjoy the unlockables. However, even the newcomers should enjoy unlocking the extra stat points and weapons. You get flamethrowers and even grenade launchers, and you can fast-switch between 4 different weapons at a time.
The weapons are almost never too overpowering, but they all hold a unique charm to them, and all of them are worth trying at least once. I personally like using Lara's classic dual pistols, but I also tended to switch to the flamethrower for small swarms of enemies, and I frequently needed the spear to climb walls. You also have the option of utilizing detonation bombs, but they aren't very easy to use when you have to press the caps lock key, which brings me to a very good point: gamepads rule!
My only problem with setting up my gamepad was I couldn't navigate the menu system very easily. It was obviously designed for a mouse. I also had problems shooting as fast and reacting to things in combat as fast as when I was using a mouse and keyboard. When it comes down to it, the mouse and keyboard overrule the gamepad in this game. You can more easily move with a joystick, but aiming, shooting, dodging, switching weapons, and interacting with objects can all be done with the mouse! Very convenient.
If you're asking whether or not this game is worth its $15 price tag, it's not really worth that much in my eyes. I think you might be able to justify paying that much for the 360 version because of the Live achievements and the lack of hardware failures, but the PC version should be a lot cheaper. This game is much more demanding on your hardware than you might expect, but if you have a high end PC and $15 to spend, I recommend giving the demo a try first. You might decide to get Tomb Raider: Anniversary instead.
Another thing to look for when browsing PC games is the system requirements. There are really 4 things you need to worry about: RAM or memory, processor, video card, and finally, the hard drive space. Memory can be upgraded fairly easily, and it shouldn't cost much. We recommend having at least 1GB memory, 2GB if possible. Your processor needs to be fairly modern, and a Pentium 4 probably won't cut it. We recommend a 1.8Ghz Core 2 Duo or better. Your video card should support DirectX 9 (or higher) and have a minimum of 256mb memory attached to it. We recommend 512mb or greater. Hard drive space is subjective, but we recommend having a fairly large amount of space. You could settle for as little as 40gb and be able to play most games, but we recommend having 80gb or more space to make sure you have room for multiple games at once. Most PC games don't run straight from their disc. They usually require an install process, and most modern games require around 8gb of free space to install.
PCs are the ultimate game console, because they can be upgraded, and they will never go out of style. PCs can also play most old game systems through emulators, so if you lose your Playstation, you can just play your games on your PC. You can also play classic arcade titles and have infinite coins!
A lot of people complain about having to use a mouse and keyboard to play PC games. This isn't a requirement, fortunately, and we have what we call gamepads or joypads. Yes, we can use game controllers! We can even use Xbox controllers! That said, it's not as plug-and-play as a game console, and some games simply will not work with your joypad. Fortunately, Steam tells you if games support controllers, and if your favorite game doesn't support them, you can map the controllers to keyboard and mouse controls.
Just be careful when buying PC games. Read reviews carefully. If a game gets a 1/5, don't buy it. If your PC is a cheapie, don't expect modern 3d games to work. Read the system requirements very carefully. If you don't know anything about your system, you can find help in the PC Stuff forum.