The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.
Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.
For our latest entry, we focus on the bite-sized adventure romp, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Region(s) available: North America, Europe
Released in summer 2010 to critical acclaim, Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light sees the dexterous, titular heroine and partner Totec on the trail of an ancient demon chap named Xolotl. The duo’s exploits take them deep into the Mayan jungle as they run, jump and gun their way through cobweb-filled catacombs and other long-forgotten locations. The action can be played solo, or you can bring a mate along for the ride thanks to the game’s co-op functionality (which took its bloody sweet time to arrive on PS3, we might add).
Guardian of Light’s core mechanics adheres closely to the classic Tomb Raider mould, combining platforming, combat and riddles into one polished package. Miss Croft and her companion will need to put their thinking caps on to solve an array of multistage puzzles, which come in all shapes and sizes and really do a fine job at getting the old Grey Matter working overtime. There’s also plenty of exploration up for grabs, which usually results in uncovering fresh weapons and various artifacts that enhance your skills. Further rewards can also be unearthed by meeting various requirements, such as grabbing hidden symbols or navigating a deadly trap on your first try without perishing.
Combat will also frequently rear its head to break up the more cerebrally-challenging shenanigans, so you’ll have to arm yourself accordingly. Fortunately, Croft is more than up to the task, getting her mitts on a variety of guns including perfunctory pistols to meaty shotguns, rifles and more. In addition, you can also obtain and equip special relics, which augment our heroine with some rudimentary physical abilities such as attack and speed. As for foes, Guardian of Light boasts a diverse bestiary, including everything from living skeletons, oversized arachnids, demons and trolls.
As mentioned the game has a co-op mode, and it’s here that Guardian of Light really starts to shine thanks to the emphasis on team work. Rather than having Lara do all the donkey work as with the single-player, Totec really mucks in during the multiplayer, with your partner required to make use of his unique attributes. For example, Totec can put his shield above his head, creating a makeshift platform for Croft to utilize, or chuck arrows at the wall allowing Lara to grab onto them. While initially starting off with ancient weaponry, Totec can also be given the skinny on how to make use of modern equipment from his lanky companion as the game progresses.
See what we thought of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light in our full review here, and tune in again same time tomorrow as we have another butcher’s Inside PlayStation Network.