Digital Life: Tomb it may concern, it's the return of Lara Croft
Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light
In less than a decade, Lara Croft became a parody of herself -- as if the fame had gone to her head. The Tomb Raider movies and games of the Noughties failed to recapture the spirit of adventure that made her the definitive heroine of the 90s
Guardian of Light completes Lara's recovery and puts those memories of bloated, unfocused ramblings behind us. Available only as a low-priced download, GoL turns its back on sprawling 3D worlds and opts instead for a retro-style fixed isometric view.
No longer distracted by close-ups of Lara's ample proportions, the eye is drawn instead to the intricate levels and their demented menagerie of monsters, demons and warriors.
If the settings are familiar -- jungle, ruins, tombs, etc -- then the combat and puzzles are even more like old friends, comfortingly predictable yet still fiendish.
GoL's stroke of genius is the co-op mode. You can happily play through the levels in single-player and explore a rip-roaring adventure.
But those same levels, subtly altered, come alive in co-op multiplayer. Lara relies on her new companion in pleasingly diverse ways to reach ledges, trigger puzzles or fend off an onslaught.
For now, co-op play is offline only but we're promised a patch shortly to implement online multiplayer to coincide with the release of the PS3 version.
Madden NFL 11
You might think there's a dilemma for annually updated mega-franchises like Madden. Change too much and you risk alienating the hardcore who've bought every iteration in its 20-year history. Update too little and, damn it, people still seem to buy it in their droves anyway.
As long as the player roster gets a spring-clean and a few new bullet-points get added to the back of the box, it's guaranteed to sell, even in gridiron-phobic Europe.
It's not that there isn't a decent game of American football at the heart of NFL 11 -- yet this was true of last year's largely similar outing.
But now it's wrapped in a choking level of commercialism, from the pervasive advertising to the crass way you can buy new players with real money.