Article By: XGN SPENCE
When you think of truly exciting adventure games one series comes to mind more than any other. This series has been around doing the same concept for many years and is still one of my favorite. Lara Croft surprises me each adventure she takes on with the obstacles she has to overcome. As you may have guessed, this article covers the newest installment of the tomb raider franchise, Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the last of the prequels that defines Lara into the legendary treasure hunter we all know, love, and grew up on. Following in her fathers footsteps to make a name for herself certainly has had its challenges. With a new developer (Crystal Dynamics) helping on this edition I expect nothing less than the thrill and excitement that the previous games have offered and then some. Let’s get into what everyone wants to know and see what’s new about Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Since this is technically Lara’s 3rd main adventure, she has gotten stronger and her skills and equipment have improved since the previous two games. They thought that made sense and so do I. Instead of starting with nothing and working your way up, you will have equipment at the start and improve them even more as you go along. Some examples of this are that she can grapple from higher altitudes and distances, overhang on ledges and cliffs without tiring, and she can hold her breath longer underwater. I’m sure these are just a few examples of new and strengthened abilities she has to offer.
Like most games, this one is larger and more dynamic than the last, no pun intended. The social hub alone is 3 times the size of Rise of the Tomb Raider. This should give players an even more immersive feel. They have also added underwater exploration to spice things up. With underwater exploration also comes new enemies, so beware and explore at your own risk. The game will have 2 graphic options. If you’re up to date on technology and have a fancy 4K tv and console with 4K, 30fps compatibility then the option is there. If not then you can choose the play in 1080p and 60fps as well.
Crafting and skill upgrades have changed too. She can now craft and upgrade even more things using what’s around her in the environment. Using plants, animal bones, and skins to gather resources. One new skill tree called Scavenger helps get more uses out of such resources to upgrade things further as well as to make her more stealthy. The “Warrior” skill tree helps Lara do more damage in combat, as expected, with special perks and weapon abilities, as well as damage resistance. The final skill tree is called Seeker and has to do with exploration. I can assume that it helps you spot more useful items and hidden objects while using survival instincts or not.
My favorite new feature, and I’m sure many other people’s favorite new thing as well is the difficulty settings. There are two different difficulty settings. The first difficulty setting is for exploration and combat. This setting makes combat harder or easier depending on the difficulty selection and also contributes to finding your way around and also the action timer. White paint helps you navigate around and it’s more visible on easy mode, on the other hand it’s completely gone in hard mode. The action timer refers to when you need to press a certain button in time to complete an interactive scene and the timer goes up or down based on difficulty. The second difficulty setting is for puzzles. Making puzzles harder or easier by Lara explaining how to do it step by step (easy), giving hints on how to complete it (normal), or giving no clues on hard. These settings can be changed from the menu at any time.
As far as Story goes what we know so far is that you are exploring South America hunting down the trinity organization and trying to topple their plans for an impending apocalypse. There’s more to the story but I won’t get into that in case you haven’t played the other two prequels. No spoilers from me. The gameplay is visually stunning and extremely detailed, a big step up from those blocky 2000s games indeed. I can’t wait until I can get my hands on this game. Official release date is set for September 14, 2018 and will be available for Xbox One, PS4, and PC. Happy Raiding!