Community Review: Shadow Of The Tomb Raider

Community Review: Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
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We mentioned a little last week that Lara’s latest adventure might have gotten a little overlooked. Let’s talk about it for this week’s Community Review.

I’ve been holding off lately on playing through Shadow of the Tomb Raider in its entirety since I was meant to test the game with the new Nvidia RTX cards, which should arrive in the office sometime this week (after a snafu at customs). I’ve seen multiple versions of the game already on all platforms, but I was rather looking forward to nipping around the full game in Lara’s oldschool skin following a lengthy preview earlier this year.

How Shadow Of The Tomb Raider Became Unintentionally Funny

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.

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I tend to have an unconscious rule with open-world games that often serves as a useful hint into how much I’ll enjoy the rest of the game. It revolves around how much I find myself meandering around, searching for collectibles, doing side quests and hunting down unrelated content.

The more I enjoy an open-world game, the happier I am to stay in that world. The less interested I am, the faster I’ll find myself carving through main quests. It’s especially noticeable when you’re previewing a game: you’re on the clock, which generally encourages people to focus on the story quests exclusively for the sake of brevity.

But whether that remains the case after 20, 30 or 40 hours is another matter entirely.

Shadow Of The Tomb Raider: The Kotaku Review

The new Tomb Raider’s freshest idea is the floating of a question. What if all this tomb raiding that Lara Croft does indicates that she is a treasure-plundering jerk who wrecks other people’s cultures and, worse, their lives?

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I’m intrigued by the alternate ending that was accidentally left in — how it was left in the game long enough to the point where it actually shipped with retail code to begin with? Either way, it opens up some interesting paths for future DLC.

But before we get that far down the track: have you enjoyed Shadow of the Tomb Raider? And would you recommend it to others?


  • It’s really more of the same with a little polish, but I enjoyed the last two so worth it for me. The challenge tombs and crypt finding are extremely fun. The puzzles are hard enough that you feel like you solved a real challenge, but they’re not annoying by and large. The amount of shooting and combat feels like it’s been toned down as well, which was good for me.

    Some people might be a bit whatever on the game at full price, but I thought I got value. Definitely get it on sale later if you’re in two minds though.

  • Shadow is basically Rise with more verticality. imo if you enjoy Rise you’ll enjoy Shadow and if you didn’t then Shadow really isn’t blow you away by being radically different.

    said verticality can get annoying if the camera doesn’t allow you to look up far enough but I think I’ve only had that happen once or twice.

    the thing I really like is the individual difficulty customization. hate the combat? dial it down to easy. love to solve puzzles without hints? dial it all the way to hard. I don’t think I’ve ever seen customization of difficulty in other games quite like what Shadow has opted to do and it’s wonderful

    • I haven’t looked into this too much yet, but one thing I don’t like is there are about four achievements tied to finishing it on different difficulty names. Given that the difficulty names are tied to specific combinations of the difficulties of combat exploration and puzzles, this seems needlessly convoluted to get all cheevos.

      • fair point but I’m not going to lie… achievements never concerned me one bit

        I think the only game I fully completed all achievements was ME2 haha

  • My wife, to me: “So, are you enjoying the game?”

    Me: “It’s pretty much more of the same Tomb Raider from the last game, so yes, yes I am.”

    That’s really all you need to know if you’re on the fence about this game. Same way as looking at Uncharted games – did you like the last one? Do you want to continue the story arc? Does the same game in a new setting interest you? If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, you should buy it!

  • I thought the first reboot was great but the 2nd I just couldn’t get into. I’d be super keen for a tight, linear experience but not this.

    Metal Gear Solid did a lot to ruin my patience for these games. Way too much picking flowers and researching crap. My time actually is precious!

    • Yeah I found that with the last game. I’m not an obsessive-compulsive completionist but I will pick things up/ explore secrets where I can find them. I found I spent AGES in each area picking things up while any momentum to the story had quickly dissipated.

      I almost wish there was a ‘story mode’ that automatically gives you experience, levels and weapon upgrades at the end of each section without making you stop to find things. It would mean the game was a lot shorter.

  • I’m playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider at the moment and honestly, I can safely say that for me, it’s not that amazing. I loved the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider but unfortunately, I found Rise of the Tomb Raider to be a disappointing experience. To be absolutely fair, if you’ve enjoyed the new Tomb Raider games so far, then you’ll enjoy the latest one.

    The game has amazing graphics and a great soundtrack. A lot of people talk about how “immersive” the game is, but a few things have broken said immersion from me, such as NPCs walking through Lara as if she were a ghost, during conversations with NPCs.

    The game play is pretty fun. The stealth seems a bit unrealistic where at times, the player can downright abuse the mechanics, but I reckon that adds to the fun. Finding materials to upgrade my gear seems less tedious than Rise of the Tomb Raider, though, which is great.

    I find the gun play a bit strange at times… for example, there was a segment where I was fighting maned wolves. I tried to use my assault rifle, but it was strangely inaccurate, I felt like the game was making me miss (I know that sounds weird). I died, then I noticed the area had a lot of arrows in quivers scattered around for me to pick up, if needed. So I started to use my bow and found I was so much more accurate and taking the wolves down quite easily. I can’t tell if maybe I just sucked with a gun and ruled with a bow, or if the game wanted me to bow it up.

    As for the story… I find the overall story and cut scenes kinda boring. I liked Lara in the first game but now I find it the opposite. She and Jonah are boring characters that to me, they don’t seem to have any chemistry with one another, which is weird because I know they have been through so much together. I have no idea why they’re friends… well, I kinda just answered my own question before, but Lara just seems like a dick to Jonah, maybe they’ll explore that later on?

    TL;DR – I honestly think the game is overrated but despite this, I do think Shadow of the Tomb Raider is pretty fun to play. Unfortunately, its story feels disengaging as it contains uninteresting characters and dull dialog. At this stage, I’m enjoying it, but it’s certainly not my Game of the Year.

  • I wish they’d drop everything to do with desperately trying to ‘develop’ Lara and focus on exploring cool environments. She has never been an interesting or engaging character, and doesn’t NEED to be. Also drop the constant picking things up, that was excruciating in Horizon too. I dont want to spend 50% of my precious gaming timing watching a character standing still while a little circle draws around a button icon!

  • I’m enjoying the game, a lot of call backs to the older TR games. But one thing that I am really disappointed about is the fact that as soon as you get to Paititi you are locked out of wearing any of the outfits and only limited to a hand selected few.
    I like to use the non story outfits, and sometimes playing as low-poly TR2 Lara because I like the nostalgia.
    And I have found that there is a few bugs still which I thought would’ve been patched up by now but apart from those issues I’m still enjoying the game.

    To be honest though, I’d rather a HD remake of TR2 and TR3.

  • I do recommend the game on the strength of the mechanics and visuals of the game (it looks a lot like ROTTR, but with more clarity), but serious drawbacks for me (and what seems to be a large ongoing discussion in the tomb raider forums – google Shaodw of the tomb raider and mandatory outfits) are the large number of restrictions on the use of weapons and outfits for 1/2 of the game). From a story perspective, it makes sense to force the player to blend in, but in NG+ mode, these restrictions are still in place and it really limits the replayability of the game and should absolutely be removed. Whygive players over the top tomb raider 1 outfits when you can barely use them (I could see ppl having a blast these outfits and the photo mode)? Why give us a lot of weapons, but then restrict their use in post game play? It makes no sense and is an easy fix to change that in a patch. If a modder finds a way to remove these restrictions, I’ll buy the PC version just to get the fuller post game experience console gamers are being denied right now.

  • I’m about 80% through now, and while it’s… fine, I am not really enjoying it as much as the first two. The story doesn’t really feel there (though I loved a particular main character you meet in the second main hub area, she is fantastic), and it feels a lot more guided than the previous one.

    Also I have a really frustrating thing where I have the gamma set slightly higher than “middle” of the gamma bar because otherwise in game it is just way way too dark to see much of anything properly. But then, going from the title screen which is lush and green and beautiful, to the menu select screen, when it applies your personal settings and the screen suddenly goes a lot more washed out, almost drained of a lot of colour (because of the gamma setting) it makes me feel like what I’m playing isn’t as beautiful as it should be.

    Perhaps it has something to do with HDR not working properly?? I’m playing on Xbox One X, but on a 1080p TV, using the higher framerate setting.

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