Shadow of the Tomb Raider is, for the most part, not a particularly funny game. It’s a serious tale about Lara’s embodiment as the Tomb Raider; it’s a tale about redemption. That said, there’s also a way the game can be – unintentionally – very funny.
As was the case with the previous Tomb Raider games, you’ll be able to unlock skills, weapons and the usual at basecamp. You’ll also be able to change your outfit, provided you’ve paid for the cost to craft it – unless it’s one of the outfits that’s unlocked at the start of the game.
And as it turns out, one of those outfits is a full body skin from Tomb Raider 2.
Unfortunately, I can’t show you the the Tomb Raider 2 model in question. A day after our preview session, Square’s local PR got in touch to say that all material about the in-game costumes (including the old-school skin) was to be kept private. A further clarification followed, allowing media to talk about the skins, but we can’t show off any video or screenshots since the models and animations aren’t finalised.
So, you’ll have to use your imagination. Here’s a shot of Lara from the 1997 sequel:
And here’s a shot of Lara from Shadow of the Tomb Raider taking a quick breather from swimming.
Now imagine Lara’s come up for air, but it’s Blocky Lara instead of the more finely rendered model. Now imagine being able to play through the entire game like that, with all of the animations, voice-overs and cut scenes retained as is, but with the hilariously out of place 1997 relic.
It’s just a reskin, and it shouldn’t have given me the giggles as much as it did. But when you see Lara scramble down into the mud with Jonah, and Tomb Raider 2 Lara starts slopping mud on her face for camoflauge like a Minecraft skin, it’s a good laugh.
There’s also a fantastic cut scene later a few hours into the game, when you reach the first mini-hub. Jonah and Lara start talking to a female mechanic – more or less the first person they encounter – who asks if they’re with the Trinity expedition team. Revealing that they’re not, the three quickly start up a friendly conversation.
A few glances here and there, and it’s implied that the mechanic’s more comfortable with Jonah’s company than you’d expect for someone who just came bounding out of the jungle. It leads to a little moment where the camera puts the mechanic in full frame. Then Jonah gets his shot – and then the camera gave me Derpy Lara, courtesy of the wonderful low-poly model.
It actually brightened up the first few hours for me, which were largely quite lonely with all the foraging for equipment in the jungle. I wish I could show you some screenshots or video, but those will have to wait until either the game is released or Square gives the OK earlier.
It’s worth noting that there is a practical impact to this – the full-body skin takes the place of any other gear you were wearing, and it doesn’t have any attribute or power-boosting benefits. So in a way, you’re making the game harder by running around like it’s 1997.
But honestly, for the four-ish hours I spent with the game, it was absolutely worth it.