Title: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Format: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Developer: Eidos Montreal, Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
ESRB Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: September 14, 2018
The Grade: A
SoTTR Haiku Review
Tons of action and puzzles
Best Tomb Raider yet
What is it? In this third title in the updated “Tomb Raider” trilogy, adventurer Lara Croft is again out to stop paramilitary organization Trinity from taking control of the world. This time, Lara’s journey takes her to South America where she discovers the hidden city of Paititi.
Highs: If you enjoyed “Tomb Raider” (2013) or “Rise of the Tomb Raider” (2015) you know exactly what you’re getting with this latest entry. "Shadow of the Tomb Raider" has a compelling story, takes place in stunning environments, there’s some mysticism involved and Lara has plenty of opportunities to show off what she can do.
While “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” will fit series fans like a new glove, it’s clear that the team developing the game took everything they learned from the previous two “Tomb Raider” titles and ended the trilogy on a high note. There’s more of everything in this game - more diversity to the puzzles, more depth to Lara Croft as a character and more ways to immerse yourself into the game.
One of the highlights of “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is the hidden city of Paititi, which serves as the game’s hub. In previous series titles, players could fast travel from camp to camp, but there wasn’t really much to do when you arrived at a location except to look for things you missed the first time around. Paititi is an interactive environment with vendors to trade with, missions to unlock and NPC’s to collaborate with. Paititi is not only stunning, it helps in Lara’s progression with her skills and as a character.
“Shadow of the Tomb Raider” also has more subtle, yet useful, additions. Players are now able to set the difficulty for combat, exploration and puzzles separately. I found this quite useful when I felt under powered or tripped up on a puzzle. It’s also much easier to be stealthy. Lara can break stealth and return to it, which means you're not stuck in combat if you make a mistake. This allows gamers to reconsider their strategy.
Lara’s character development is well thought out. Croft’s interactions with the natives, and particularly with her buddy Jonah, give her more depth, which in turn makes her a more interesting character. First rate voice acting by Camilla Luddington breathes life into Lara Croft.
Lows: Eidos and Crystal Dynamics didn’t make many any wholesale changes to their “Tomb Raider” formula. Even after three years, I was able to immediately get up to speed with this latest entry. While some might be disappointed by the game’s familiar feel, I found the changes to this latest title in the franchise to be spot on.
The Grade: I thoroughly enjoyed the first two games of the new “Tomb Raider” trilogy but this latest title has easily been my favorite. A complete game from start to finish, Lara Croft goes on a fun and rollicking ride in part three. “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is a must-own.
Gazette Media Columnist Terry Terrones is a veteran video game journalist. He has written for numerous publications including GamePro, GamesBeat, PC World, GameZone, and Official Xbox Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/terryterrones.