Eidos Montreal is closing out Lara’s epic trilogy with Shadow of the Tomb Raider on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. In 2013, Crystal Dynamics rebooted the Tomb Raider franchise with a compelling adventure. For the first time, Lara Croft was humanized allowing us to connect with her character on a deeper level than ever before.
Then, in 2015 Crystal Dynamics released Rise of the Tomb Raider on the Xbox One and a year later on PlayStation 4. Lara raced against an organization known as Trinity, who was intent on killing her, all the while trying to discover the secret of immortality.
Does Shadow of the Tomb Raider stand out from previous games in the trilogy? Let’s find out!
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Details
The completion of an epic transformation
Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues two months after were its predecessor left off. After spending time tracking down cells belonging to Trinity, Lara and her friend Jonah find themselves in the town of Cozumel, Mexico. With the head of Trinity’s High Council in town investigating near by tombs, Lara and Jonah head to find out what’s going on.
While exploring the tomb, Lara discovers references to a hidden city and a warning of an impending Mayan apocalypse. Not wanting to let Trinity get their hands on this information, Lara accidentally sets off events that trigger the beginning of the Mayan apocalypse. After narrowly escaping, Lara and Jonah set off deep into the Amazon forget to track down Dominguez—head of Trinity’s High Council.
Without giving much more of the story away, I can really say that I enjoyed Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s story. I felt it was a fitting touch and is every bit as epic as the previous two games in the trilogy. It revolves around Lara’s personal journey and completes the amazing transformation of Lara from a hesitant and scared girl in Tomb Raider, into a fully skilled explorer, hunter, warrior and strong survivor.
Refined and enhanced gameplay
Shadow of the Tomb Raider contains many interesting gameplay elements, which in my opinion make it the best in the trilogy. A new barter system has been implemented where you can trade resources, salvage parts and weapons. Additionally, Lara can now stay under water longer by finding air pockets to regain her breath. Furthermore, Lara can now rappel down the side of a cliff using rope.
You have the ability to take out your opponent sight unseen through a variety of different ways. Lara can hide in the bushes and pull down unsuspecting foes by choking them from behind, cover herself in mud and lay in wait, or she can topple them from above with a precisely timed attack. Alternatively, Lara can emerge from the water and quickly pull an unsuspecting guard under without making a noise.
Alternatively, if hard-hitting and high-flying action is what you fancy, you can send Lara in blazing, and bodies flying.
Exploration is key to a fulfilling experience
Where as Tomb Raider brought back the return of tomb raiding, Shadow of the Tomb Raider further defines this. Sure you can still focus on the main story and have a fantastic experience. However, it’s when you decide to go off the beaten path is where you will have the most fun.
For the first time, you have to interact with many different people that you encounter. Thus, forcing Lara to break out of her shell. In turn, this helps develop Lara’s character and complete the transition. Where Lara was previously struggling to survive, in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, she has become the master of the environment surrounding her.
One could say, the hunted has now become the hunter! Regardless of the situation and environmental challenges, Lara has determination to adapt and turn those situations to her advantage. This gives you, the player, a sense of control that the previous two games didn’t have.
As you talk to people, they will give you clues to various collectibles and sometimes tombs. The puzzles at times can be challenging, but the rewards are well worth it. Simply by exploring and completing the side missions, you can add an extra 25 hours or so of gameplay time to Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Beautiful graphics with amazing detail
It seems as if each Tomb Raider game in the trilogy surpasses its predecessor in terms of visual presentation. And, I am happy to say, that Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues this tradition. The game’s hub is the largest in the series. The game’s environments and landscapes will leave you in awe!
I played Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One X and the 4K textures and high resolution were simply stunning. The jungle looks lush and full of foliage. Temples and ruins look even better than previous games, which I didn’t think was possible. Regardless of which system you play it on, one thing I know is that all versions of Shadow of the Tomb Raider look great.
In addition, the ambient sounds of the game add a great deal to your experience. The sounds of water in a near by creek or the birds and animals of the jungle never failed to impress me. It really helps with immersing you into the game.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a standout game that is the best in the series
I’ll be honest, I was a little worried when I heard that Shadow of the Tomb Raider was shifting developers. Though I am happy to say that Eidos Montreal took the bull by the horns and rode with it. They did a fantastic job on keeping with the previous two games, and in my opinion surpassing them.
When all is said an done, Shadow of the Tomb Raider offers a captivating story that completes the trilogy and Lara’s transformation. While gameplay for the most part is the same or similar to the previous two titles, the refinements made by Eidos Montreal help make it the best in the series.
If you are a fan of Lara Croft and her adventures, you’ll not want to miss this game. If you haven’t played the previous two games in the trilogy, Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider—I highly recommend picking them up along with Shadow of the Tomb Raider. You’ll experience some of the finest Tomb Raider games ever created.
+ Epic conclusion to the trilogy with many interesting characters
+ Tombs are the biggest in the series and interesting to explore
+ Best game in the series to date
+ The game looks incredible no matter what system you play it on
– Some puzzles can be really challenging
– Odd occasion the camera glitches
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4.3/5 (86%)
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