Shadow of the Tomb Raider DEALS
In video games people keep looking for new and exciting ideas from new IPs and new twists with established IPs from the years gone by which is common. But the one aspect that has been on the headlines of which this year are single player games which in the eyes of some publishers previously were on the downturn but games like God of War and Spiderman show that it still is popular and can be magnificent and GOTY contenders. Which brings me on to Tomb Raider, one of gaming’s great dames, which has been around for nearly 25 years since the early days of development for the very first Tomb Raider game in 1996. Fast forward to now and with the latest release Shadow of the Tomb raider which I’ve played extensively and now ready to give you the lowdown in Lara Croft’s latest adventure.
Spoiler warning as I’ll be possibly bringing up spoilers, so if you do not want the game spoiled then stick your head in the sand for this bit.
Okay, the story follows on from the events of Rise of the Tomb Raider where Lara and her best friend Jonah who have spent the down time navigating the world taking down Trinity Cells and foiling their plans. Then after tracking one cell to Mexico and investigating a Trinity dig site, were she discovers a dagger with accompanying murals depicting warnings of an apocalyptic nature which were totally ignored as Lara takes the dagger to keep it out of their hands which then set the apocalypse in motion and a race against time for Lara to stop Trinity and also the apocalypse racing from Mexico, to the jungles of south America, Mayan temples and tombs and villages all the way to the very end.
Now it seems like a solid story but there were a few issues with the story, with a majority of them surrounds Lara. First as mentioned beforehand, she has caused the issue herself by completely ignoring the warnings just because of a grudge. After one of the warning come to heed, she shows truly little sympathy and empathy because she is fixated on her grudge whining like a child almost which has been a theme in this series of games that started with 2013s Tomb Raider, but that game can be excused as a pure origins story as she is inexperienced, so you would imagine by the 3rd game in the series this would have been ironed out.
There is another bit later on at an oil refinery where Lara becomes triggered and goes off on a killing spree which tone-wise is just all over the place, sure – an epic badass moment works but that came across as almost despot like same with the issue with Lara’s intentions at the start of the game. Other than these two major points the story is competent and enjoyable with good characters in Jonah who does bring the game back to earth in-between Lara’s despot-ness and the action, which does humanize Lara somewhat when she has her conversations with Jonah.
Even the villains are grounded in reality with reasonable reasons for their actions. And the set pieces were pretty cool to experience, and the ending was satisfying and enjoyable to play and experience which hopefully brings the overlong, overextended trilogy exploring her origins to a natural end – Hopefully.
Now gameplay, from playing the earlier two games it was easy to pick up but there were some changes. The difficulty is split into 3 with combat, puzzles and navigation which can all be adjusted to your whims, movement has had some changes which are mainly subtle with overhead rock climbing and grappling hooks and more but familiar still. But combat is where the major changes are. So, as we are in the jungle, stealth is quite powerful tool at the disposal with foliage and trees to hide and attack from which is all very Predator like and really fun to slowly pick of unsuspecting guards. but my little niggle with this is that survival instinct can be too powerful as it will highlight the guards and will organize them to can be killed to a consequence free kill which did make conflicts a bit of a chore in stealth but go for what I call a “Vietcong” i.e. shoot a few or throw around some improvised weaponry like Molotov’s and I.E.Ds which makes it fun and tense and open to some Benny Hill.
It is quite a rare occurrence in this game with more of a focus on exploration and puzzles and downtime which while admirable but does come across unbalanced somewhat. Swimming is also a new focus but to “liven them up” some more they’ve thrown in some stealth of a forced nature with predators who can’t be killed so you would have to hide and time the movements which kills the mood a bit.
The game is straightforward and linear but does have a façade of open world in selected areas like villages which you can try side missions which while a nice aspect to work your way through and can get new equipment as a reward but can be tedious as most were fetch quests or simple puzzles. The crème de la crème of side content is the tombs which there are a few about but while some are easily accessible to get through others needed specialist equipment which is meant to encourage re-visiting areas again but had the opposite effect in my books. So, I would probably recommend New Game Plus as it would carry over all of the stuff you’ve collected, brought, found and upgraded across to a new game which would give you more of an incentive rather than backtracking through previously visited areas.
Overall the gameplay is fine, not a world beater by any stretch of the imagination but enough to be engaging and have some highlights of string up bad guys like the Predator or hide in the vines covered in mud like Rambo and running away from tsunamis and earthquakes or navigating a warzone. Much like a popcorn flick film, not Oscar worthy but still entertaining.
Other aspects to mention, graphically stunning from the villages of Mexico to the jungles and tombs of rural south America it looks very lovely indeed with the setting and lighting and some of the major set pieces in the plot looked on point. The soundtrack however is rather mixed feelings, at times it was on point and complemented the plot and tone. Other times like when I was exploring a tomb it sounded and felt like I was going to get jumped at any moment which I didn’t so I spent more time with my gun out with my head on a swivel instead heading forwards with intrigue on what mystery lies in the tomb. No major bugs and glitches of a game breaking nature to report on from my time with the game.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a good, fun game and hopefully finishes off the overlong origins story which now has stretched into a trilogy of games. With a decent and enjoyable plot than does suffer a bit from Lara as a character and her despot actions, gameplay while enjoyable in all the areas from combat to navigating and solving puzzles, it’s a bit unbalanced as combat situations were quite few and far between. Graphicly stunning and a solid soundtrack when it suited the moment and was intuitive, and with a 10+ hour experience and with content on the way post launch there is enough worth the revisits. I would recommend the game to people who have played the previous 2 games in the series and somewhat invested in the series.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider
One of gaming's greatest dames is back again, trying to stop an apocalypse that is quickly growing out of hand, that she may or may not have started.
- Stunning graphics
- Fun puzzle solving
- A classic Tomb Raider game
- Unbalenced combat
- Bloodthristy Lara
- Touching things you should