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Shadow of the Tomb Raider, a game where greedy hands make an apocalyptic mistake.

Purchased: I pre-purchased this game via Steam.
Achievements: Yes
DLC: A large variety

The only other Tomb Raider game I’ve played is Rise of the Tomb Raider, and while it was fun, I don’t really remember much about it. It didn’t really leave a lasting impression for me.

But it was a good game.

And Shadow of the Tomb Raider just looked damn near enticing. Hell, I went for the pre-purchase at the last moment because I was so torn on whether I should wait or not.

Obviously, I didn’t.

Pros:

  • Visually stunning
  • Well-done narrative
  • Variety of side-tombs

Cons:

  • Graphical glitches
  • Dips in framerate
  • Hard to determine where to go at times

Navigation

It’s a linear game, but there are a lot of side areas you can explore–and some you can even miss depending on if you don’t have the proper gear needed.

I think that’s one of my biggest grudges with these games. You have to back-track or do a New Game + to actually get everything done. It’s slightly annoying. But there are a lot of games like this, not just this series, so it’s a mere personal pet peeve.

One of the worst things are in those intense run-from-danger moments. Sometimes it’s hard to see exactly where you’re supposed to go or what you’re supposed to latch onto, which could cause more than one death.

I know if you’re first starting the game it’s a lot of trial and error, but it still feels janky with where to go. Even with Survival Instincts.

Graphics

The graphics are damn near amazing. Top of the line, in fact. They really went for a realistic feel with this game, and unlike with Rise of the Tomb Raider, the water graphics in SotR are, again, top-notch.

However, the graphics weren’t without some flaws.

Jonah lost his upper body at one point during my gameplay. Like, it flat out disappeared. He ate a Slim Jim and…it was frightening. He needed to pull himself back together and get a shirt on.

Lara’s face looks almost too perfect that it seems fake. Maybe that’s just me? But in some cutscenes she just looked…wrong.

Gameplay

The gameplay in this was pretty epic. You get to tie bad guys up in trees. Go a stealth route. Full on load everyone up with bullets (or arrows, in case that’s more your thing).

There were several random dips in FPS where the game stuttered for seconds at a time, and there wasn’t really much rhyme or reason to it.

Climbing was also an issue at times. Lara didn’t want to jump to certain places or latch onto an edge. It might’ve been an issue of mine, with not being aligned properly. But it was rough going with her not wanting to move until she got to that proper spot.

Narrative

The voice actors were great (as always?), and there wasn’t much dip in conversation. Unless an FPS drop happened.

However, when it comes to a lot of the other NPCs in the game, they don’t have many qualifying aspects. Yeah, they may sound a little urgent. They may have a bit of an attitude. But looking at Lara’s acting and Jonah’s acting, they truly stand out above any of the other people you’ll meet up with, and it’s kind of sad.

I guess they do live in a dreary time and place though?

I mean…apocalypse and all.

Soundtrack

It doesn’t get much more immersive than with the sounds of being deep in the jungle, or if you’re underwater. Running out of breath, the music turns a bit more urgent and provides a frantic pulse, I guess? Battle music is also good, as is are the intense run-scenes.

It’s all good!

Overall

To me, this game was better than Rise of the Tomb Raider. In a lot of different areas; though a lot of areas were basically the same–such as choosing abilities (though the layout was different in this one), and having to backtrack to find things for 100% completion.

Sure the acting of a lot of the minor NPCs were lackluster, but there’s always going to be one flaw, right?

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