Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Review
Follow Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Crystal Dynamics, Eidos Montreal
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC
Tested on: PlayStation 4

Shadow of the Tomb Raider – Review

Site Score
7.9
Good: Stealth combat is really fun
Bad: Writing comes across as messy at times
User Score
7.3
(3 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)

Talk about a massive cock-up, usually, day one patches involve adding things to a game, not subtracting them, as is the case in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Apparently the day one patch, alters a scene from the post credit cut scene. The developers state that the original scene was a ‘mistake’, which is an odd thing to say as it references an antagonist from the first game back from the nineties. This little throwback is cool because we’d know where the games would head over next, seeing as Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the last in the trilogy. So it’s unclear if Lara has officially thrown in the towel or if the developers are choosing to see how the franchise sells to know if there will be more in the series. Money is the evil-doer here, as it has the power to kill of beloved franchises. Don’t go silently into the night, Lara.

Story

You thought shipping a game with a faulty ending is a bad thing to do? How about starting the apocalypse? No matter how you swing it, that’s just a smidgeon worse. So you wouldn’t want to be Lara ‘famous-to-the-world-and-infamous-to-Trinity’ Croft as she’s the start of the clusterfuck and has been tasked to unfuck the situation. Or she could just sit back and watch the world end. No one would blame her right? There would be no one left to blame her, that’s one way to fix the problem. The story is told mostly through cut scenes, making for a very cinematic experience, just the subtle nuances, are in the notes and maps you find out in the game. They fill in more of the niches and sand off the edges, like not making tombs things you run through, but things that have already been explored and what the explorer-before thought when blundering into the place.

Lara comes across as wishy-washy, she’s out to save the world, but when she can make a real difference to people right then and there, she just chooses to sit back and chillax while Jonah goes out of his way to tend to the injured. I’m sorry Miss Croft, but sometimes helping the world doesn’t involve fighting off jaguars and trashing ancient temples. Her motivation is muddled and that’s often how people are, so it’s difficult to tell whether or not it’s brilliant or messy writing.

There are however some really, really well done scenes, where you can almost feel Jonah and Lara connecting and trying to bridge the gap between them. Strangely it’s by not talking. The silence says all. So hats off to the developers for those.

Graphics

The reboot of Tomb Raider has always resulted in graphically strong games. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is even more impressive by making it so cutscenes blend into gameplay sections almost seamlessly. This is impressive because it’s a game set for multiple consoles and PC. So making a game run smoothly on all platforms with different infrastructures is quite a feat. There are some clipping issues but those are few and far between, so negligible. If you want to really explore the ruins without being handheld, you can turn off the visual aids that’ll direct you where to go. This is probably in response to the ever living ‘man who paints ledges white for a living’ meme. The environments are quite lush and sometimes the way forward isn’t that obvious, so if you really want to test yourself and your explorative skills, this option is something for you.

Sound

The voice acting in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is well done, there’s nothing else you can say about it. There is however one glaringly big plot hole. There are parts where the natives speak their language and Lara just responds to them in her thick upper class British accent, and they’re cool with that, understand it. Even if she were to understand every single word, doesn’t mean they do. It’s a glaring plot hole that drives a stake through the heart of immersion every single time it happens, which is a lot.

The sounds of the environment are really soothing with the wildlife just being background noise. This makes it so the world around you feels more alive.

Gameplay

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an action/adventure game, the third in the reboot series. Where the first game and second games were high on killing, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is less ‘high-octane-killing-dudes-for-a-living’ kind of gameplay, and more exploring the jungles and various tombs kind of game. This would be fine if it were the first game in the reboot, because there’s a part in the game where the transition between having to deal with fate to becoming a hardened ‘Tomb Raider’ becomes reality but this is the third game in the series and she’s not killing all that much. If this keeps up, the next game will be Lara sitting behind a desk filling in spread sheets on how many people she killed and scolding her secretary for bringing her a regular latte with creamed milk instead of soy-milk.

The combat is decently fun, not particularly because of the actual gunfights, because those are just kind of there. In a day and age where Call of Duty and Battlefield are mainstream, having gun fights in your game doesn’t shock or surprise anyone, anymore. The stealth sections however are brilliant. They are oodles of fun, even though they feel at parts scripted, having more of these would change up the gameplay a lot more.

As you explore and complete missions and side missions you’ll gain experience, which will turn into skill points at certain thresholds. These can be used to upgrade Lara so she can become a better killer, or harvester, or have other passive boosts. The skill tree is absolutely massive, but some of the skills just don’t have that ‘oomph’ that the skills in the previous titles had. Like the one where you can harvest poison from beetles and spiders. Great that we had to unlock that, it’s not like there could be a natural way for Lara to have found out, making it feel less like skill tree padding.

Conclusion

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a decent enough game, there’s quite a big chunk of gameplay, so you’ll definitely get your money worth, content wise. Problem being, the fact that the game tries to mix things, which were set by the previous two games, up. Shadow of the Tomb Raider feels slightly uninspired because of this, like it’s a reskin from the previous game, which is sad because Square Enix had something going here, with the great visuals, the voice acting and the ‘Trinity’ plot-line. Just look past the obvious plot holes any adventure game like this presents you and have fun shiv’ing people in the jungle while smearing yourself with mud, in-game that is.

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Rating: 7.3/10 (3 votes cast)
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Shadow of the Tomb Raider - Review, 7.3 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
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First game ever was Crash Bandicoot 3 Warped, ever since then, gaming has been something that I've gravitated to. Reading's fun but not as interactive. Always up for a bout of online multiplayer. If that multiplayer is co-op. So if you are up for a friendly co-op session, hit me up. Rahenik's the name to search on PSN.

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