Name: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Developer: Crystal Dynamics & Eidos Montréal
Publisher: Square Enix
Released: September 14, 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Reviewed on: PlayStation 4
Acquired: A copy of this game was provided by a publisher for review purpose
Ever since I finished playing Rise of the Tomb Raider I have been waiting for this game! It’s finally here! The two first games of this reboot were so amazing, so Shadow of the Tomb Raider has a lot to live up to. Especially since it’s supposed to conclude the trilogy of Lara’s origin. So the question is; did it?
The story follows Lara Croft not long after the events of Rise of the Tomb Raider. She is tracking down Trinity cells and ‘shutting them down’ with the help of her trusted friend Jonah. We join Lara in South- and Mesoamerica on one of these missions, but this Trinity cell seems to be onto something big. Lara, as usual, outsmarts Trinity and gets to the treasure first. A dagger. Lara gets greedy and takes it which is a huge mistake. She has now started a Mayan apocalypse and is racing against time, and Trinity, to stop it. This takes her to the ancient and secret city of Paititi. Paititi is having an internal power struggle with Trinity who has been present in Paititi for centuries. Lara teams up with the overthrown Queen Unuratu to stop Trinity and the apocalypse. To do so Lara needs to find an artifact called The Silver Box. When one has the dagger and The Silver Box you can choose whether you want to create the world again in your image or ‘restart’ the sun. You can guess which one Trinity is going for.
The graphics in the game are a bit mixed. Nature and scenery are absolutely stunning, but the characters are not. The characters faces look pretty terrible, especially when just talking (for instance when asking for Lara’s help in side-quests). The NPCs asking for Lara’s help have little to no expression on their faces which really didn’t match the emotions in their voices. In the cut-scenes, however, faces look decent, but that is almost the only time. Lara’s hair also looks a lot darker than in the previous games and at one point (not at night or anything) it looks plain black. I don’t want to sound too negative though so I want to say again how beautiful nature was! Almost looked real. The game ran smoothly as well, no lagging. Twice a message saying ‘wait for streaming’ came up, but since it was only twice it didn’t bother me much.
As the other Tomb Raider games in this trilogy, you have the main storyline and plenty of side-quests. The main story was very intriguing and I just HAD to know what was next. There was less survival involved than in the other two games, but this game had better puzzles. There is also A LOT of diving and being underwater in this game so I hope no one is afraid of water! The game is also darker than the other two. I know the island and everything that went on there in Tomb Raider was really dark and disturbing (don’t get me wrong, I loved it!) but this one is dark in a different way. Lara is what’s dark in this one. She is more obsessed than ever and killing seems to come a little to easy for her. There is one dark scene, in particular, I have in mind, but I don’t want to spoil anything. You’ll know it when you see it though! In the other games killing has been more for survival and protection, but in Shadow of the Tomb Raider Lara is actively seeking out Trinity to ‘get rid of them’ if you know what I mean. Again, don’t get me wrong, I loved it. The scene I referred to earlier literally left me with goosebumps and my mouth open. In addition to the addiction creating the main story, there are also numerous side-quests to do. I wish I had done these side-quests as I was going through the main story as the rewards are better weapons, gear etc. Not to mention some pretty cool tombs. There was one annoying thing though. In the previous games the main story is pretty straight forward explained and the documents etc. are extras. I this one, to make sense of where you are looking for this Silver Box you need to find journals/letters. While looking for the box Lara and Jonah suddenly start mentioning a name I had no idea who was until I found some letters. I would have preferred if the main plot was ‘spoon fed’ to me and that the letters/journals remained as extras. The second issue I have is that the game felt shorter than its predecessors so I would have loved for it to be a bit longer.
The controls were very straightforward and easy to figure out. Of course, there were some frustrating moments where you need to jump from one climbing point to another where the controls weren’t co-operating. These moments were few enough though so it wasn’t a big deal. The camera follows Lara nicely (I mean, we are controlling it!).
As mentioned above, in addition to the compelling main story I could personally play over and over again, there are plenty of other things to do. There are side-quests from NPCs, optional tombs, journals and relics to find and challenges to complete. To prove my point; when I just did the main quest the game was only on 57.95% completed!
Story - 9/10
Graphics - 7/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Controls - 9/10
Replay Value - 9/10
Personally, I think the other two games in the trilogy were better than this one. However, if I look at it without comparing it to the other ones it is a great game. Even though the game could have been longer the plot was captivating and the scenery beautiful. I really enjoyed this game and I’m gonna have to play the whole trilogy over now! I highly recommend this game!
- Good Plot
- Good scenery graphics
- More/better puzzles than other games
- Runs smoothly
- Plenty of side-quests/tombs
- Poor NPC face graphics
- Kinda short
- Long loading screens
- Need to find letters/journals for the story to make 100% sense