Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light • Page 2

Tomb it may concern.

Which is where Guardian of Light's big idea comes in. It's been designed as a co-op game, one you can play online or offline. "This is something completely new for us," Stewart says. "It gives us an opportunity to take Lara into a new space and show her as a more humanistic character. People have played Lara in single-player for the last 15 years, and now all of a sudden we're giving fans the opportunity to go on leaderboards and talk to each other."

Lara is still recognisable - she carries those trusty dual pistols, wields a grappling hook and wears a nice tight vest. But having Totec at her side gives her new options. He can use his shield as a portable platform, allowing Lara to jump on top and reach high areas. He has a stack of spears which he can throw into walls, and which she can then balance on. As the game progresses Lara teaches Totec how to use modern weapons like rifles. Presumably she'll go on to steal all his gold and give him cholera in the next game.

Getting around and solving puzzles requires a bit of give and take. Totec can't use his own spears as platforms without them breaking under his weight, so Lara often has to do the honours. In one puzzle, Totec uses Lara's grapple line as a tightrope to access a time-delay switch before it sinks back into the floor. In another, she jumps on his shield to reach a high ledge, then throws down her grapple so he can scale the wall.

As the game progresses the characters become more and more reliant on each other. "Our story is about building a relationship and building trust," explains Neuburger. "I really wanted the two people sitting on the couch and playing the game to have to deal with those same issues, so a lot of our co-op mechanics are trust-based."

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Is there a romantic spark? Could Lara commit? Is Totec ready to get real? Have we been watching too much The Hills?

To demonstrate this, Neuburger shows us a section where Totec must take a leap of faith and jump into a chasm - trusting that Lara will catch him with her grapple and pull him to safety. "We have a lot of things like that, where you have to rely on your buddy to take care of you."

It's not all one big love-in, however. When enemies are killed point scores appear above their bodies - red or blue, depending on whether Lara or Totec did the damage. Plus there are score-boosting pickups, such as gems, scattered throughout the levels.

"The points are a way to put a little bit of competitiveness into the game," says Neuburger. "There are only so many enemies and gems in the world, so you have to beat your partner to kill them all and grab them all. Plus you get cool unlocks for getting high scores in each level."

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