Shadow of the Tomb Raider Review21/09/2018
We finally get to see the epic conclusion of the 2013 Tomb Raider Reboot, with the 3rd installment having been launched on the 14th of this month it emerged spectacularly with an apocalyptic plot based on mythology from the Mayan civilisation.
I have been following and rooting for Lara over the past 5 years as we have seen her go from a scared girl trapped on an island to a vicious killer. Some, including myself, felt that she had become lost and did anything to achieve her goals but Eidos Montréal has done a great job addressing that issue by using some incredibly hard-hitting moments that put Lara in a position to think about her actions rather than rush in headstrong like normal.
You can not only feel this in the story or Lara’s character but in the gameplay as a whole the pace of game is slowed down quite considerably compared to that of Rise of Tomb Raider, with combat not being a main focus in the game but it feels like more emphasises is put on to exploration and puzzles, the puzzles this time around actually took some time and thinking on my part which I personally loved, I enjoy being challenged mentally and get a great deal of satisfaction when I lock that final piece of the puzzle in place to reach the reward on offer.
Exploration also feels like it’s made a bigger deal out of this time with a continuous web of dense jungles, deep caves and beautiful underwater section all of which is filled with animals to hunt, resources to find and collectables to well collect. And as usual each collectable comes with a small piece of information that helps to create a backstory or inform you on some historical facts. One thing I noticed with these is that Camilla Luddington’s (Who lends her voice to Lara) speech feels off. Her pronunciation goes funny and it all sounds very scripted, however having said that, I did think that maybe this is done on purpose almost as if she is trying to translate text in real time.
Another speech issue I had was with the immersive speech option in the menu system, this sounds great in theory having all the natives in the game speak in their own native tongue sounds like something I would want, but when you approach an NPC and Lara addresses them in English to have them respond in their native tongue and then Lara will answer that in English it really throws me off to the point I turned it off rather fast.
The combat in the game has taken on a slower pace as well this time, being more focused on stealth than a straight-up shooter, but Lara does have an abundance of new toys to take along with her this time, as, throughout the game, you can buy and find dozens of guns and bows to use along with a ton of upgrades and adjustments that can be fitted to the weapons. Building up the weapon selection and choosing an outfit that looks good and has perks you want on it feels really freeing compared to being scripted to the same 5/6 weapons in previous titles. Having said all that about the combat though, it does feel somewhat limiting and slow. In total start to finish and doing almost everything in the game, I only faced off against 364 enemies, almost half of these I took out without ever being spotted, as all though stealth is much more viable this time around it seems almost forced in some situations as if you’re spotted you can die so fast in a gunfight it’s best to just avoid them all together leaving you with only the option of going stealth.
Visually Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks fantastic. I played on the Xbox one X and can not fault the game at all graphically, every bit of game was incredibly detailed and the cutscenes felt like an actual cinematic experience. Vegetation in the game looked thick and vibrant, the caves were gloomy, creepy and the whole game felt alive with the consistent use of animals, bugs and sound effects being used to achieve this. My one and only gripe were that the lip synching were off, not Mass Effect levels of off but still enough to notice.
I personally enjoyed Shadow of the Tomb Raider more than the previous entries to the reboot and despite the issues with pacing the story was really impactful for Lara, with the puzzle, exploration, customization and stealth upgrades included, it’s made Shadow jump into my top ten this year.