Welcome Crunchers! Shadow of the Tomb Raider is out, and I was very excited to get my hands on it. The series has been fantastic since it was rebooted, but how did this new iteration stand up to the rest? Let’s Crunch this!
This time around, the difficulty level really makes a difference in gameplay. I always play new games on the second to highest difficulty level, so keep that in mind for some of the review depending on if you play on a higher or lower difficulty because both enemies and puzzles will change based on the difficulty.
Lara Croft is as fantastic as ever. Camilla Luddington (voice of Lara) has some of her best performances. Her performance mixed with the dialogue/monologue really makes the character come to life in a great way. Not to mention the fact that the game is incredibly visually beautiful. The devolopers were obviously very focused on how the game looks and were very confident with their end result considering that they added a photo mode for you to take pictures with. It’s actually a pretty cool feature when you tinker around with it.
The story is fantastic. We get to see some more of Lara’s past and what kid Lara was like. Her past and present collide in a very satisfying way. I usually do at least some side stuff as I play the campaign, but I really wanted to push through the story because it was so intriguing. You really become invested in the characters. The side characters (specifically Jonah and Unaratu) are very likeable, and the villain (Dr. Dominguez) is highly compelling.
I really felt that the combat was much improved from the previous game, Rise of the Tomb Raider. Many of the mechanics are the same, but the combat scenarios are massively changed. As opposed to Rise, the combat is mostly focused on stealth. The visuals in the game are not just beautiful, but also have a profound effect on the stealth combat. Unlike games such as Assassin’s Creed or even Splinter Cell where you kind of have to use your imagination with stealth, because in real life, when hiding in a bush or having green night vision on your forehead, you would be very visible. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider is different however. When you go stealth, it’s actually difficult to see your character. Plus, you get to pull an Arnold Schwarzenegger and put mud all over yourself to avoid thermal detection. It’s pretty boss.
I found the puzzles to be a little bit less difficult than the last two games, but they give you less clues, which is really nice. Previously when you didn’t do the next step in a puzzle, Lara would say something that would give away the solution and often it wouldn’t really take very long for the clues to start spewing out. It gave solving the puzzles a little bit of a lackluster that luckily Shadow of the Tomb Raider didn’t have.
The only major complaint that I have, is that the campaign was a little too short. I feel like they focused a lot on side content a little too much and I would have loved to have more of the story. Especially because of the quality they put into it. There were also times when the mechanics didn’t work properly and made some parts confusing that really shouldn’t have been, because I thought that I was doing something wrong when I wasn’t. They could have polished some of these mechanics, but the issues didn’t make a huge negative impact on the game, I am just being a little nitpicky there.
Overall the game was fantastic! I highly recommend picking it up Crunchers!
Four out of Five Couch Cushions and a Throw Pillow