An intense and immersive journey awaits you in Square Enix’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third and latest game in the rebooted Tomb Raider saga.
The one and only Lara Croft is as adventurous and as daring as ever as she travels to Latin America amidst some dark secrets, Mayan artifacts, and of course, plenty of tombs. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a third person action-adventure game that lets you play as Lara and uncover the hidden treasures and deadly traps waiting around almost every corner.
The setting can change in a moment. A colorful, Latin American city full of shops and people in decorative masks can shift to a dark forest of shadows with just a few steps in the right (or wrong) direction. Wandering too far into the unknown will lead you into the heart of what the game is really about: the tombs.
From the second you step into a tomb, you’re surrounded by an echoing, eerie cacophony of Lara’s feet on the wet stone floor and rats scurrying all around. The darkness is, at times, only illuminated by the beam of a flashlight, which makes the sudden traps and daggers springing from the walls all the more horrifying. You’re given a split second to react – if you look away to sneeze or scratch an itch, it could prove fatal for Lara. A quick push of a button will have her dodge the traps and get out of harm’s way. The traps aren’t necessarily there to kill her unsuspectedly – rather, they serve as a warning of the dangers yet to come.
The swimming mechanics have been changed dramatically from past Tomb Raider titles. Now, Lara can survive longer underwater, thanks to some pockets of air just waiting to give her a breath of relief. The trips underwater are not for the faint of heart or the easily claustrophobic, however – a slippery eel may find itself wrapped around you in a watery wrestling match, and a rock slide may make it hard to push through a crevice and towards some much-needed air.
Once in the tomb, you’re left to your own devices as you try to figure out how to navigate your way through. The game will help you out to an extent, but a wrong jump or choice will have Lara falling to her death. The puzzles are deadlier than ever before. Despite how long it may take you to figure out exactly how to progress, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment once the light of the moon hits your face as you exit the tomb.
The game is set in a sinister jungle, full of unforgiving landscapes that boast both beautiful vistas and lethal surprises. Stealth plays a major role in the game. While the jungle isn’t exactly friendly, it can be your greatest ally – simply walking towards a leafy wall or a bush will have Lara hiding from nearby enemies. A quick push on the joystick will let Lara know which enemies she can sneak up on without arousing suspicion, which comes in handy when trying to trek past multiple enemies with guns that would just love to shoot at you.
The combat mechanics take a little while to get used to. It’s easy enough to hide behind cover if you’re accidentally discovered, but switching between weapons while under fire will give enemies more time to try and kill you. A handy bow and arrow makes it easy to take out far away opponents, but if you’re more of a guns blazing kind of player, you may struggle with how stealth-intensive this game is.
While the game might be frustratingly difficult at times, the outstanding graphics and hauntingly gorgeous tombs more than make up for it. It’s easy to get lost in the majesty of the ruins, but don’t get too lost – otherwise, you may never see the light of day again.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is considered Lara’s darkest story thus far. An impending Mayan apocalypse accidentally caused by Lara’s choices will slide you right into a journey of tragedy, conflict, and moral ambiguity. The game comes out on September 14th of this year on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC, and only then will you be able to try and stop the world from ending, and help Lara’s mistakes turn into the adventure of a lifetime.