Finally, the final part of the trilogy we were promised has been released. The coming of age story of Lara Croft is now complete, but where do I start when it comes to a review for Shadow of the Tomb Raider?
Well, lets start at the beginning by showing you the incredible opening sequence (please be warned, it does contain some strong language)..
This feels like the biggest game in the trilogy, especially when it boasts over 24 hours of actual game play and believe me, it does!
Shadow of the Tomb Raider, now developed by Eidos Montréal, thrusts Lara into the tropical jungles of South America where she is put on a quest to discover a hidden city known as Paititi.
Now, if I was any sort of friend to Lara, I’d steer well clear. Each one of the trilogy of games starts with some sort of disaster, and in this one its a plane crash leaving you stranded yet again on a remote island where you have to craft basic weapons to start out your adventure, the same as both previous releases.
Yes, its a continuation of the trilogy, but why did they have to make the basics of each game exactly the same? Collecting weapons and upgrading them along the way. Yes, its a good idea, but its now been done over and over. Why couldn’t Lara have set off fully equipped for danger as surely she should be used to the bad hand she always gets dealt in life.
The gameplay however, is flawless matched only by the graphics. As you work your way across the island disaster after disaster follows you an there’s some great quick thinking scenes that you have to control to avoid death. I did come across some glitches in cut scenes whilst playing that I spotted straight away, for instance early on in the game, Laras mouth was glitched and it stood out a mile. She had no teeth or tongue and the background was showing through. I’m guessing that with patch updates, these will be addressed.
I loved the addition of camouflaged attacks. Not only can you blend into walls covered in foliage, but this time round you have the chance to cover yourself in mud and blend into muddy walls for close quarter kills.
Along the way you will meet locals who inhabit the island who can give you various side quests, but I have a major complaint about this. Its a remote island, the natives are usually in tribal clothing and speaking their own language which is subtitled for the player, yet Lara speaks to them in English and they fully understand everything she says. Somehow, I don’t think they have ever met many white people in their lives, let alone learnt English.
Swimming under water again plays a big part in the game and the movements are fantastic. Even when you try to do a turn under water you don’t stop immediately like most games would, you continue for a short while before swimming away. Yes, I know, I’m fussy about the little details, but its those things that all add to a great game. This also includes air pockets in the scenery where you can swim up for a lung full of fresh air before you continue.
One thing that did make me feel genuinely uncomfortable within the game is the heavy emphasis on tight spaces. Im naturally claustrophobic, but can get away with seeing tight squeezes in games. I couldn’t whilst playing this. The graphics are that good not to mention the clever use of camera angles that i had to shut my eyes at some points so I didn’t freak out too much.
The developers have now also added a photo mode to the game which does have a practical use other than getting some great shots of the environment you’re in at the time. They are running photo competitions on social media. Within the games main screen you are updated on what exact kind of photo they are looking for and all you have to do is share a photo to social media with a hashtag. I’m presuming that winners will be notified directly through the social media platform. At least this makes taking good screenshots worth it other than having a new wallpaper for your desktop.
To be honest, there’s not much else I can really say about the game. I have been a fan since the initial release back on PS1 and they have gone from strength to strength with one or two questionable titles. My only issue now is now that the coming of age trilogy is now over, where do they go from here? The entire trilogy have all been great games and this one is the best of the lot. Certainly worth getting if you’re looking for an adventure game that lasts.
Unfortunately, my score is 8/10 for the game. I would score it higher, easily, but the glitches annoyed me (A released game should be heavily tested to avoid these things) and the scenes where you converse with the natives just wasn’t right, allow them to speak English with an accent if you’re going to do it.