|Graphics: 10||Cinematics: 7||Music: 9||Story: 6||Controls: 10||Gameplay: 9||Overall: 8.5|
Hello, fellow raiders, new and returning! Tomb Raider Passion has had the chance to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider before its release! Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third and last in the reboot trilogy of the Franchise. Its preceding titles Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider (2015) have seen much love and much hate from both long-term fans and new players. However, the developers have been caring and have listened to the feedback.
Lara is faced with severe consequences of her actions. Now she must race against time and her rivals in order to fix her mess! Throughout her exploration, and search for answers, she gears up with a wide range of arsenal. Her trusty bow returns, which plays a big role in solving puzzles and managing her traversal! Lara is noticeably buff this time around. She will greatly make use of both her brains and brawn.
Eidos Montreal’s team has promised us much more focus on tombs and puzzles, rather than action-packed moments against baddies. I will not give much out, but I will say, that you certainly need to use your wits and get ready for some tight spots. Also, take a deep breath, for it will be a long journey.
The story of the game isn’t something you haven’t seen before. It is not unpredictable. It is something necessary, however, for Lara’s character development. You can see her laugh, and you can see her cry. You can see her angry but you can see her devastated. There is certainly much more depth to her in this game, in comparison to the previous two.
I got attached to some secondary characters, even if they didn’t have much air time. Be it from the way they are designed, to their role in the story. I must add that I took my time exploring and interacting with other NPCs around the HUBs. They give you further information on the backstory of these characters, and the lore overall. If you solely follow the story, they may not be as memorable.
The gameplay consists mainly of exploring, climbing, solving puzzles, with some combat sequences. In addition to that, there is: side quests from NPCs, gathering resources, hunting, solving HUB-specific challenges, solving challenge tombs, exploring crypts and digging up caches. By the developer’s words, the player needs about 12 hours if they solely push through the main quest. It took me a total of 23 hours to finish it. I took my time to explore, look for resources, do an optional challenge here and there etc. I must also note that I played on Hard difficulty, where you don’t get any hints from Lara, nor white ledges when you climb. The enemies are also more aware and harder to fight against.
The graphics are marvelous. I must say that I played on a laptop, on Low settings, and everything still looked very finely detailed. The game ran really smoothly. Nixxes is the studio responsible for optimizing the game for the PC platform. I commend the team! I can only drool over the graphics set on Ultra!
The controls are really fluid, and navigating Lara is easy. She answers to every jump or command you decide to give her in the last second. I haven’t noticed any weird transitions or glitches between animations. If you forget any of the control buttons, once you get close to an interactable item, there is always a hovering button over it. Pretty straightforward.
Other details I would like to touch on:
The cinematics weren’t many in the game. There is some lengthy scenes, but given they are a small percentage of the game, it’s acceptable.
There are no loading screens except if you fast travel via the Campfires. The transition between new areas is seamless.
The music and soundtrack of the game are thematic, and play a role in your emersion. Playing with headphones is certainly a plus, however, I played on speakers only as well, and it didn’t take away from the experience.
Overall, I rate the game 8.5 out of 10. The franchise’s reboot has come a long way, and the developers have certainly improved on what Tomb Raider is all about! Crossing my fingers to see Lara again!