- There are too many news posts on the blog right now, so let's get back to some game talk. Back during Xbox Live's Summer of Arcade, there were three games I was looking forward to: Limbo, Castlevania: Harmony of Despair, and Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. I bought, played, and enjoyed the first two as planned. But by the time the third rolled out, I had turned off my console and gone back to PC gaming. Just recently, there have been a number of new Live Arcade games released or announced that reminded me that I had skipped the Lara Croft game. That turns out to have been a mistake.
- At first, I wondered if it would work, but Lara Croft is a very interesting interpretation of the Tomb Raider games that plays like Baldur's Gate: Dark Alliance. All the adventuring tricks are still there: the climbing and jumping, the grappling hook, the puzzle solving. It feels like a Tomb Raider with action-RPG combat and they mix together a lot better than I expected.
- One of the more intriguing things about the game is how they encourage replayability. There are any number of unlocks available, although many are based on conflicting goals. The first time you play, you'll want to find your way through and enjoy the story. But then you see that you missed the speed run option, or maybe you didn't find all of the hidden artifacts. And you have to go for the high score options. But you won't be able to do that on a speed run and keeping your score multiplier up while you're exploring would be difficult. I'm going to end up playing these levels three or four times and I'm actually looking forward to it.
- And there is so much to collect. Each level gives you a list of objectives and shows which upgrades you have found and how many you've missed. Using various artifacts as stat boosters is a nice, thematic way to gear up your character, although the statistical element is relatively light. But I still want to find every last upgrade available. And the costumes! I have to get all the costumes.
- I'm really glad I got back to my console. In the future, I'm looking forward to playing and writing about Dead Rising: Case Zero and Costume Quest. With all these great Live Arcade games out, I won't have a reason play any games off a disk for a long while.
© 2010 Marty Runyon. All rights reserved.