The Shadow of the Tomb Raider is not fading into obscurity yet

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The Shadow of the Tomb Raider is not fading into obscurity yet

https://bagogames.com/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-teases-realistic-flames-water/

https://bagogames.com/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-teases-realistic-flames-water/

Unmodified photo courtesy of BagoGames

https://bagogames.com/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-teases-realistic-flames-water/

Unmodified photo courtesy of BagoGames

Unmodified photo courtesy of BagoGames

https://bagogames.com/shadow-of-the-tomb-raider-teases-realistic-flames-water/

Taylor Musil, Writer, Editor

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“Shadow Of The Tomb Raider” concludes Lara Croft’s epic origin story in a clean, satisfying way, but there are definitely a few missed steps along her last journey.

The graphics of the game are absolutely breathtaking. Set primarily in a Peruvian jungle, the game’s environment seems to pulsate with life, from the variety of different animals encountered, such as a jaguar whose human-eating, blood-dripping presence haunts Lara throughout the game, to the amount of dense plants and foliage that cover the jungle floor. More often than not I found myself getting lost in the gorgeous atmosphere of Peru and Mexico. Perhaps the best sequence of the game is also the best showcase of the new and improved water physics and graphics: a tsunami that makes the player feel like they are actually being swept away by the roaring, foaming water.

Photo courtesy of Instacodex

Not focusing on the traditional style of “running and gunning” like the previous games, “Shadow Of The Tomb Raider” does include a fair amount of firefights, but most of the gameplay emphasis is centered on stealth, reflecting Lara’s own desperation. She is able to cover herself in mud to camoflauge herself, hide in bushes for easy takedowns, and use new skills to channel her inner Predator and attack from the shadows. Though the new stealth mechanics are intuitive and unique, it also highlights the flaws in the gameplay such as Lara’s painfully loud footsteps being lost on enemies’ deaf ears and her ability to roll right under their noses unnoticed all because she slapped some mud on her face and shirt.

Following up on the gameplay, the animation of the game is usually clean and responsive, but I found myself having some weird moments in terms of both gameplay animations and facial animations. A few times, Lara’s face just flat-out looks wrong and does things that are not possible for a human face (one time when her lips didn’t even move while talking). For a game coming from a huge developer, more smoothness is expected. As for the gameplay animations, for a game with such an emphasis on running and climbing, there were a couple moments of noticeable lag that made me say yes, I totally did not miss that jump and no, I am not that horrible at this game. Overall, the animation is fantastic, but is in need of some polish.

This installation of the game suffers from the same thing as its predecessors: poor, choppy writing. Flashes of brilliance shown in Lara’s character as she both literally and figuratively puts the weight of the world on her shoulders by accidentally starting a Mayan apocalypse are unfortunately overshadowed by an underdeveloped story and Lara’s own frequent stupidity. An example of bland writing is shown in the age-old cliche of a flashback scene. What was meant to be an emotional moment of showing Lara’s background and death of her father turns into a bore as her 12-year-old self’s high-pitched voice drones on and on in your ear as you do the millionth repetitive puzzle. Ultimately, though, the story ends on a high note and does a great job of wrapping up Lara’s story.

In the end, “Shadow Of The Tomb Raider” is a game that is true to its origins as a franchise: uncovering hidden mysteries, solving challenging tombs and puzzles, and traversing through beautiful environments. The flaws of the game are obvious, but are mostly won over by its unbelievable charm and fun that the series is still able to consistently offer.

 

Category ratings:

  • Graphics: 10/10
  • Gameplay: 9.5
  • Animation: 8.5
  • Writing: 7
  • Overall rating: 8.5