Shadow of the Tomb Raider – The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful

by Palabar

Fresh off the victory of the recent Tomb Raider film reboot, the third entry into the third generation of Tomb Raider games is now ready for release on September 14th. So what do we know about this game so far, what do we look forward to the most, what do we fear, and what could this entry mean for the rest of the franchise?

Climbing High

One of the biggest draws for the Tomb Raider franchise has been the diversity of its locations. While the modern openworld design might not leave as much space for a wide range of environments as was the case for previous generation’s level-based scheme, each recent iteration has still managed to draw a wide range of inspiration which is yet to disappoint. Part of this is due to the more fantastical and supernatural nature of things, and part of it is also due to the undeniable talent of the Eidos Montreal developers. What we know so far is that this entry is focused on Latin America, and in terms of general exploration, that means forests, mountains, and, of course, ruins and tombs.

As for the story itself, we know Lara accidentally sets off some type of apocalypse and must find a way to fix her mistake. We don’t expect it will be quite this simple, but in terms of a jumping off point, this does a lot to forward Lara as a flawed protagonist. We might not be pushing in the exploration of her ludonarrative dissonance, but this still has our interest. Constantly blowing up tombs and people is not a traditional good-guy move, after all.

Again donning her trusty bow, Shadow seems to push towards a style of game much more focused on stealth-based combat. This is aided by Lara’s improved movement capabilities, including expanded underwater abilities, and the capability of creating her own rappelling points. No doubt we’ll be afforded considerable options due to a focus on verticality which comes with a greater emphasis on mountains and trees, as well as with underwater situations.

Of course, stealth combat means the game can run the risk of not appealing to everyone, though in the case of the modern Tomb Raider games, we aren’t worried. The previous two entries have been incredibly satisfying to play in open combat. These games make Lara really feel like a badass, and we can’t wait to experience more of that later this year!

While the evolution of these games into including new features was always an eventuality, given general improving tech and practices, we can’t help but wonder if the greater culture of gaming might have, in some way, informed these developments. The recent Tomb Raider games took heavy inspiration from Uncharted, after all, which itself took inspiration from earlier Tomb Raider entries. Likewise, the films and other media, from sports drinks to offshoot inspired games, such as the one by industry leader Microgaming, all contributed to the greater cultural impact of a new Tomb Raider video game release. All of these combine to build the main game legacy.

This one also gets a simultaneous release on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, so no more of that timed exclusivity pain we felt last time around.

Falling Down

While we have high hopes for this game, there are some things which do concern us. So far we know there is a season pass which includes extra content, and we worry that this might keep the team too busy with extra content to work on while the main game is still in development. Further exacerbating this worry is that Eidos Montreal has informed the public that their intent is to pursue a ‘games as service’ model. This is an area rife with historical missteps, so we hope they have a tight handle on how the future of this game plays out

A Future Legacy

With the film a success, and the previous games in this re-rebooted series performing extremely well, we’d place our bets on this title almost being guaranteed to be a good one. Tight controls, beautiful graphics, a tougher-looking Lara than ever before, and amazing satisfying combat are practically a shoe-in, so our hype meter is reaching a fever pitch. Who knows, we might even end up in this game with her seemingly abandoned dual-pistols. Sure, it was never a realistic setup, but since when have fun action-adventure games been about realism?

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