Shadow of the Tomb Raider: What You Need To Know
Following a successful 2013 reboot and a 2015 sequel, Lara Croft returns to consoles this week for the final instalment in the new Tomb Raider trilogy and the twelfth major entry in the long-running franchise.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues Croft's story featured in 2013's Tomb Raider and 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider, this time setting the action in the deepest jungles of Latin America in the search of a lost Mayan city. The new game makes its arrival in stores this Friday (September 14th), here's everything you need to know...
So what's the synopsis here?
The story picks up just a couple of months after the events in predecessor Rise of the Tomb Raider and finds Lara heading to South America in search of an ancient Mayan relic with a link to her late father. However, in retrieving it she unwittingly sets off a chain of events that could ultimately lead to the apocalypse prophesied by the Mayans, while at he same time pitting her in a battle against an organisation called Trinity, who want to get their hands on the relic for their own nefarious ends.
What's the gameplay like?
Shadow of the Tomb Raider essentially follows the third-person action-adventure template established by the first two games in the new trilogy, and as with its predecessors the gameplay segments are supplemented with various cinematic cutscenes which advance the narrative. While the game environment isn't technically what you'd describe as open world, the game's hub is the largest yet in the new trilogy (or any Tomb Raider game, for that matter) and includes the lost city of Paititi, home to a community untouched by modern civilisation, which Lara will need to navigate if she is to prevent the apocalypse she helped set in motion.
In terms of the actual gameplay mechanics, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is essentially the same as its predecessors, allowing you to hunt wild animals, explore optional tombs and craft items using materials you've picked up on your travels, as well as solving various puzzles and embarking on the usual array of side quests.
There are however a few tweaks this time around. The mechanics for swimming, for example, have been given an overhaul which allow Lara to hold her breath underwater for much longer, plus she can now quickly abseil her way down cliff faces using a rope. There also seems to be a much greater emphasis on the use of stealth this time around, with lots of sneaking around temples and creeping up on enemies.
Any new features?
One of the main additions is a new barter system, which you can use in Paititi's market to trade materials, clothing and even weapons. There's also a new 'immersion mode' which, when activated, means that the dialogue spoken by those around you is presented in their native language. Unless you're multilingual, it might be that you want to keep it switched off, but it's a nice touch nonetheless and it does add an additional layer of authenticity to the experience.
Another useful addition is the ability to change the difficulty level independently in different sections of the game, allowing you to further tailor the game's challenges to suit your skill levels. This means that if you're great in combat situations, but not so hot on the puzzle-solving side of things, then you can tailor the difficulty settings accordingly. If you want to challenge yourself on the exploration aspects of the game, for example, you can set these to 'hard' and helping hints such as the white paint which indicate ledges when climbing will magically disappear.
Can I see a trailer?
Yes indeed, check out the one below...