Lara Croft is arguably one of the most iconic characters in video game history. Sure, her original appeal was largely based around abnormally sized body parts, but three dimensional platform jumping video games would likely not exist as they do now, were it not for her and her oversized assets. Since her first appearance in 1996 she’s come a long way, gained a great many polygons and managed to entirely reinvent herself.
The simply titled Tomb Raider released in 2013 kick-started a new trilogy of games. The fresh angle largely ditched the previous ultra-cool, shoot first and asks questions never reputation the character had once been based on, in favour of something much more grounded. The game was extremely well received, being showered with universal critical acclaim. Rise of the Tomb Raider followed in 2015, once again receiving a positive reaction from critics and gamers alike.
Anticipation for the trilogy conclusion, Shadow of the Tomb Raider all but reached fever pitch as the release date drew near.
New But The Same
Now Shadow of the Tomb Raider has officially been released, it is time to take a closer look.
From the very get-go it’s clear that the game has stuck true to the tone and style of the first two games. Which is to say; there isn’t a great deal of lightheartedness going on with Lara, and seeing her smile is literally not a thing that’s going to happen.
Unless, that is, you make use of the new in-game photo taking system. One of the options allows for changing Lara’s facial expression, and her more than a little goofy smile is a much needed mood lightener in a franchise that perhaps started taking itself a little too seriously.
This brings us to the first aspect of the game, and the weakest by far. The story. As was anticipated, Shadow of the Tomb Raider focuses on bringing Lara to her ultimate fruition as a badass action hero. But, the process of this happening must take her into a dark place, hence the “shadow” part of the title.
Near the start of the game Lara makes a rash decision, bringing about disaster on an immense scale. This initially results in some interesting conflict between her and sidekick Jonah. However, as the story progresses it fails to live up to the initial potential, going down well-trodden, mostly uninteresting paths. The characters are bland and humourless, offering little in the way of appeal. Plus the ultimate conclusion of the story, although wrapping things up, suffers from a serious case of loose ends being tied up in convoluted ways.
Environments And Graphics
The world design and graphics are where the game absolutely shines. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is perhaps one of the best looking games of all time, and it’s clear that enormous effort went into creating believable, thoroughly immersive environments. From claustrophobic tombs to lush jungles, every moment of the game is a feast for the eyes. If it were judged on visuals alone, it would likely be a straight 10 out of 10.
There is a much bigger focus on puzzle tombs this time round, which many will be pleased about. Others, however, will argue that it is a disservice to the game that combat has been cut down so severely. Either way, not much has changed in terms of gameplay from the first two releases, with the same basic crafting system, rope swinging and intensive platform jumping. Little has been done to keep the formula fresh.
Although perhaps not everything some hoped for, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a well worthwhile game, doing what was expected of it, but not much more. Still a must buy for fans of the franchise, others may simply state that the game is a slightly less impressive, less refined and, more stone faced version of Uncharted.
Final Verdict: Shadow of the Tomb Raiders gets 9 bow and arrows out of 10.
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Face Mod, so she can look like the original Lara Croft:
Shadow of The Tomb Raider
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider has finally been released. Learn more about the final game in the new Lara Croft trilogy, which now reaches its conclusion.
- Stunningly beautiful graphics
- Serious tone and Riveting Storyline
- Less refined than previous versions
- Stone faced replica of Uncharted