Since her much-welcomed comeback in 2013, the Tomb Raider reboot, and its more expansive and more polished sequel, Rise of the Tomb Raider, the softer, fresh-from-college Lara Croft, is much more relatable and has been enjoying her time back in the sun.
Tragically, however, even her return to the limelight might be cut short as there could be an eclipse and apocalypse caused about by an ancient Mayan artifact, if Lara falters in her next adventure: Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Lara and the World in Ruins
In her upcoming quest, Lara will be exploring Central American Mayan ruins in search of a relic that is said to be connected to her father. She, however, is not alone in her quest, as Trinity, a paramilitary organization that investigates supernatural phenomena, is also after it. Thankfully, she gets to the relic in question before they do, but in doing so she triggers an ancient Mayan cataclysmic event called “The Cleansing”. It is now up to our heroine to parkour, rappel, climb, take people out, and solve puzzles to save the world.
Aside from the new story and the greatly-enhanced graphics, Shadow of the Tomb Raider boasts a number of improvements over its predecessors while introducing new features as well. The most prominent (and important) new featureis the central hub. In previous Tomb Raiders, you moved across the map but don’t have any proverbial base for you to stop in, making you feel as if you’re always on the go. That’s no longer the case in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, as the game will have the city of “Paititi”, which will serve as a safe haven when you’re not out there adventuring.
Other than being a place that’s out of danger, it’s also where Lara can upgrade her abilities, including translation, and trade her spoils from her tomb raiding for weapons, outfits, and crafting items. Last but definitely not least, Lara can also find in the city certain NPCs that will give her side quests, giving the game an RPG-ish feel.
Easy, Normal, Hard, and Harder
Another new feature Shadow of the Tomb Raider will have is that each of the game’s aspects – combat, exploration, and puzzles – will have its own difficulty settings. That means you can fully customize your gameplay and set combat to Hard but keep exploration and puzzles at Normal or even Easy. So if you’re not too adept at fighting or simply not a fan of it, you can just set it to Easy and keep the other two aspects at either Normal or Hard; same goes with the other two or even three of them!And speaking of difficulty, game director Daniel Chayer-Bisson has said that the game is going to be the most difficult one yet. While he didn’t go into the details of how they’re going to ramp up the challenge curve, he did suggest that players should focus on surviving, lest they end up going back to the checkpoint over and over again.
Tombs and Milestones
As for improvements, other than what’s already been mentioned, the game will have lush and diverse new environments, as well aseven larger tombs. Crypts are now the size of Rise of the Tomb Raider’s Challenge Tombs, while Challenge Tombs are going to be a completely different beast. This, of course, is a welcome change that’s perfectly aligned with the general direction the franchise is headed to. It’s Tomb Raider after all.
Lastly, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is going to be the epic and climactic finale of our favorite, well, tomb raider’s origin story. So if you followed the reboot’s story, it’s a must that you get this closing chapter. Hopefully, this won’t be the last Tomb Raider game, and that when they say the end of the origin story, devs just mean Lara will be grown up in the next adventure.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider, whose development is already finished, is shaping up to be a great addition to the Tomb Raider reboot franchise. Who knows? Perhaps it may even turn out to be the greatest!
Will Lara live up to her promise? We’ll just have to wait until September 14 this year to know.