Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third entry into the rebooted series and has had some pretty big footsteps to follow. The first 2 titles, Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, were very solid from a story and gameplay perspective. So it is always going to be a big task for Eidos Montreal to not just meet the standards already established but to set new ones.
The story alone is definitely worth playing and the set pieces are among the most tense and dramatic in the series, from trying to survive a tsunami, escaping tombs as they collapse, an oil refinery scene that brings a lot to the table. Emotionally charged character arcs are something the series has become well known for, so it is no surprise that the characters in this threequel are adequately fleshed out.
The gameplay this time around tries to encourage you to favour stealth instead of running around guns out. I like the stealth approach they have gone for and in many ways it reminds me of Assassin’s Creed Origins combat and stealth. It works well and the environment offers many ways for Lara to hide and take down her enemies. Overall this could have to be the most action focused in the trilogy but it is more layered and diverse than just going in like Rambo.
The tombs are as fun and diverse as ever. They look amazing, the platforming is precise and the puzzles are not necessarily difficult but most are not just “easy”, most of them will require at least a bit of brainpower.
This time there are a lot of collectibles. I would say too much this time. They offer some historical and minor story insight but other than that, they are just a time sponge for die-hard fans or Achievement Hunters. What also makes it more time consuming gathering all the collectable is that the game world is massive. The previous two games had large worlds too but they have continues to get larger. Something new introduced to fill this larger world are side missions. They are a combination of fetch quests and rescue missions. They are fun and different but lack variety to be more meaningful. These side missions and the collectibles will take the approx. 7 hour story into a 20+ hour affair and the New Game + mode will let you pick up what you missed while allowing you to keep what you did find and upgrade.
Speaking of upgrading, there is an immense skill tree, focusing on your crafting, stealth, weapons and platforming. There are a lot of cool new additions but it is quite an overwhelming amount compared to the other games.
Visually this is amazing, a masterpiece to look at in 4K on an Xbox One X. Some stunning visuals that definitely put this in the conversation for best graphics and the lighting in particular really caught my attention.
For the parents out there, this single player game can be paused at any time, even during cutscenes, making it easy to switch from saving the world as Lara to saving your little ones from doing something they shouldn’t. Also, language wise this would be best played when the kids are in bed, there is a few naughty words thrown around and the violence and Lara’s deaths are brutal.
This is a game worth checking out. Great story, amazing visuals, incredible set pieces and gameplay that is more or less what you have come to know from the series but in it is most superior form yet. This game well and truly sets itself apart from the shadow its predecessors set up.
+ Great Story
+ Amazing Visuals
+ Incredible Set Pieces
– World a little too big without enough variety to fill it
– Side missions don’t live up to their potential
DAYNE for One More Game