The final adventure in the 2013 reboot of the acclaimed Tomb Raider franchise is finally here. After 2 incredible adventures, Shadow of the Tomb Raider ends Lara’s incredible journey through hell and back with a bang. The adventure focuses less on combat and more on exploration than the previous entries but delivers the same thrilling experience the franchise is known for. Shadow of the Tomb Raider gives the seasoned treasure hunter a noteworthy end to such an outstanding journey.

New Location, New Villain, New Threat

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is set in the jungles of South America, with Lara and her best friend Jonah tracking down a new artifact before Trinity can. This marvel of the ancient world possesses the power to end the world and Lara must do whatever it takes to make sure Trinity doesn’t get a hold of it.

The narrative follows a similar pattern from the previous games, with Lara locating riddles and clues from past explorers and significant figures to find the right path. However, the narrative is held together thanks to strong voice-acting and a great villain.

Dr. Dominguez takes the helm as the game’s primary antagonist. As the leader of Trinity, this scholar isn’t like the previous enemies of Lara’s past. He has more layers to his motives and isn’t as black and white as the previous Trinity leaders. However, the characters that support Lara’s side aren’t as interesting and are easily forgettable. Relying on standard ideals such as loyalty and nobility without straying far from these aspects.

More of the Same

Much of Shadow of the Tomb Raider plays like the previous games with layers built on it. Lara will scavenge for resources to build weapons, tools, and other items to aid in her journey. Instead of focusing on combat, like in the previous games, Shadow of the Tomb Raider focuses on exploration and puzzle solving.

Lara can still fight and Trinity’s soldiers are well-equipped with heavy weapons and thermal goggles for searching dense grass patches. However, more focus is put on avoiding being seen since Trinity soldiers can call for backup, leading to a domino effect. Lara can also try to return to the shadows but this becomes increasingly difficult as enemies before more aggressive as the game progresses.

Trinity isn’t the only threat to Lara as she’ll encounter hostile wildlife. Jaguars, wolves, and other dangerous creatures will actively hunt Lara. Unlike the previous games, these beasts are much more coordinated, especially in packs, and will actively hide, dodge, and hunt Lara.

Lara won’t have as many weapons at her disposal and her tools are more of an option. You’ll still gain access to items critical to the game’s story but most of the items are locked behind a paid market since they’re mostly used to unlock hidden treasure chests and optional tombs.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider has much more optional content than the previous games. With a large amount of treasure, challenge tombs, and more available to the player over the course of the adventure. Side Missions are provided when speaking to the locals in the many open areas, which also include voluntary tasks like collecting feathers, shooting masks, and locating the treasure.

Grow Stronger Than Ever Before

The treasure serves more than resources for upgrades and money for purchasing items, they also grant experience. Lara can upgrade herself with the experience she earns throughout every action. These can be invested into your skill tree to enhance various abilities include scavenging, hunting, experience, and bartering.

Lara can further improve her abilities using various outfits with unique bonuses and upgrading her weapons. Locating raw material will not only allow Lara to craft items such as arrows, health packs, and toxins but modifiers for her weapons which come in your standard shotgun, assault rifle, and pistol. Along with her iconic bow.

Move Quickly

Most of the time Shadow of the Tomb Raider will have you exploring, triggering your Survival Instinct, and running from danger. You’ll scale walls, grapple to specific points, and regain Lara’s grip when she loses it. Set pieces where Lara must run from dangers are similar to past games, where specific paths are chosen and one mistake means death.

It’s mostly the same exploration system players can come to expect with slight changes such as the rappelling to get to the lower ground and more maneuverability while swimming. Lara will spend a lot more time underwater in Shadow of the Tomb Raider but thankfully Eidos Montreal has made swimming easy to handle.

Richly Decorated and Expansive Jungle

The world of Shadow of the Tomb Raider is large, with branching paths everywhere. Players can get lost easily, especially in search of treasure. A problematic issue with this is that Lara will be forced to walk through certain environments for no reason and fast travel still only works when at a bonfire.

Everything in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is beautiful. Character models are detailed, environments are rich in color, and the use of sound brings the entire world together. Hearing insects chirp and birds sing in the distance helps set the mood of being in this dangerous place.

Conclusion

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an outstanding conclusion to this incredible journey. The sacrifice for exploration over combat does mean that there are fewer standout battles when compared to Rise of the Tomb Raider but it works for this narrative. Whether you’re a returning fan or newcomer Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a worthy finale for Lara Croft.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Review
Positives
  • Beautiful Graphics
  • Lots of Optional Tasks
  • Ample Stealth Options
Negatives
  • Lack of Noteworthy Combat Situations
  • Limited Weapon Options
  • Newly Introduced Characters Are Forgettable
9Overall Score
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About The Author

Adam S
Sr.Staff Writer

Adam is a Senior Staff Writer for GamerAssaultWeekly with over 5 years of experience in writing and is completely obsessed with video games. He holds a BA from Brooklyn College and lives in NY.