Another game I played at the Xbox E3 2018 showcase was Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third entry in the Tomb Raider reboot series. Developed primarily by Eidos Montreal with support from Crystal Dynamics, this latest adventure sees gaming icon Lara Croft on a mission that takes her deep into the Mayan jungles. She’s attempting to stop a potential apocalypse that she accidently unleashed while also exploring the connection between her father and an ancient relic. Here’s my Shadow of the Tomb Raider impressions!
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Impressions
When the demo starts off, a series of cutscenes play out to set the stage. Lara is hunting a mysterious dagger, a powerful artifact. With Jonah serving as mission control, Lara briefly blends into a crowd to eavesdrop. After she learns the location of the tomb holding the dagger, she sets out and makes her way through the jungle. Throughout the demo, I solved puzzles, making my way to the dagger that Lara hastily removes to keep it away from Trinity. Towards the end, I also got to try out the combat, cutting down foes with ruthless skill like an experienced predator.
Movement is borderline identical to the previous games, with Lara making leaps across treacherous platforms, scrambling to maintain her hold, using ice picks to climb down rocks and ropes to rappel off platforms. Puzzle solving is done in similar fashion to past games, with rope arrows, pulleys and elements of the environment that all have to be manipulated in just the right way. While none of the puzzles in the demo were truly difficult, they definitely require you to pause and think for a moment. The series’ trademark quick time events also return, though they never felt forces, instead adding tension into the situations at hand.
Gunplay feels very similar to past games, with the trademark bow and a variety of other armaments available to cut enemies down with. They feel good, with great controller feedback and hit detection when you’re taking fire. While the demo ran at 30 frames-per-second (fps), it seems likely that the full game will offer a 60 fps mode on Xbox One X and PS4 Pro, much like Rise of the Tomb Raider did. In regards to combat/gameplay mechanics, stealth now plays a huge part. Lara can now shimmy alongside walls or rocks covered in vines in order to creep up on enemies. She can also get covered in mud, blending into her environment.
Also, I have to point out that Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks great, with realistic textures, great-looking surfaces and crisp visual detail, hitting native 4K on the Xbox One X. The night sky, raging waters and town streets filled with decorations all pop with great color. Given what a visual showcase Rise of the Tomb Raider was, this isn’t really a surprise however, it’s still well worth mentioning.
The demo ends with the jarring repurcussions of removing the dagger from the tomb, as a flood destroys the town she and Jonah were in at the start of the demo. With countless innocent lives lost, Jonah berates her for focusing on the dagger and insists she stay and help the survivors. Lara disagrees, insisting her focus is where it needs to be.
Overall, if you’ve enjoyed the past games like I have, I think you’re likely to love Shadow of the Tomb Raider. While the core gameplay remains the same, it’s continuing to evolve in a very smart way. Add in an intriguing mystery and story focused around the consequences of Lara’s actions and I think it’ll be something great. Shadow of the Tomb Raider releases on September 14th, 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.