Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: At origin’s end

In 2013, a rich heiress finds herself in a horrible shipwreck, washed ashore on a deadly island with unspeakable horrors, in the form of man and monster. A victim has now become a deadly predator in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the final act in the origin chapter of one of the most recognisable characters in gaming. Lara Croft finally takes up the mantle of the Tomb Raider.

What’s it about?

Lara Croft’s reboot was one that took its time telling its story across three games, doing justice to a character that’s beloved by many, bringing a strong female lead to the forefront in games. As those who have played through her saga have seen her endure and grew into a formidable hero, taking on another expedition into the heart of danger to find artifacts buried deep and forgotten in tombs. At every step of the way, she’s shadowed by an evil organisation known as Trinity.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: At origin’s end

After the events of the last game, we find Lara a changed person, a shadow of her past self, devoid of innocence and wonder. A hard person that is more of a killing machine than the cool, charming character that we know and love. Her obsession with taking down Trinity takes her deep into South America, where she has to survive the wild and raid tombs, while taking down Trinity cells.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider plummets you into the depths, asking the question ‘what makes a tomb raider?’ but it also gets a bit weighed down by that idea.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

  • Developer: Eidos Montreal
  • Publisher: Square Enix
  • Price: ₹3,999 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC

The storytelling is excellent and well-paced, and while it does dive in and out of darkness, the cinematic gameplay is nail-biting, if you could take the time to leave the controller to bite your nails. Deft camerawork, last-minute saves and edge-of-the-seat action overcome a lot of the melodramatic story moments that can get overwhelming. The best part though is seeing how far Lara Croft has come, after all that breaking out the Rambo-like stealth and killing moves.

How does it play?

In many ways, roaming the tombs will make you feel nostalgic about the first few Tomb Raider games way back in the 90s. It could be the palette of greens and blues, or it could be the fact that she finally dons her signature blue-and-khaki outfit. Though something a lot more sensible than her 90s avatar. After all, it’s impossible trailing through a deadly jungle in nothing but hot shorts and a flimsy top without getting a scratch.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: At origin’s end

Lara Croft moves like a seasoned military pro in the shadows, striking out with skill. The jungle stealth is inspired by movies like Rambo and Predator, as she emerges disguised in mud camouflage as she knifes or shoots an arrow into unsuspecting enemies twice her size. You can enter into conflicts guns blazing, but it’s much more fun taking them on in stealth. The skill progression as you earn XP points reflects this, and while the encounters are a lot less than previous games, it’s still a visceral experience.

However, it’s the tombs that really make the game, as you explore its hidden depths, finding artifacts. With a lot more focus on underwater exploration, with lots of opportunities to meet a watery death. As always, the death sequences are painfully real to watch. After exploring, you can return to a hub area village to craft weapons or barter for stuff that you need. What stands out in Shadow are the excellent tomb puzzles that are complex and diabolical, keeping you engaged and engrossed in solving them. Making them a hallmark of the series and a lot better than those seen in Uncharted.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: At origin’s end

Like its predecessors, Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks great, pushing that graphical envelope in both level and graphical fidelity, as well as sound design. With voice acting that’s a lot better than the previous games, by Camilla Luddington, who makes a much better Tomb Raider than the recently-launched movie starring Alicia Vikander. The sequences are tense and well-structured, hitting home the stress that Lara Croft is in, as she pushes herself to raid tombs.

Should you get it?

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a superb culmination of the journey that started with the reboot. While it does not bring anything new or groundbreaking to the genre, it does do Lara Croft’s journey justice. This is by no means the last we will see of Lara, just the last page in one chapter, and Eidos will really need to reinvent themselves for Lara’s next chapter.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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