Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the defining moment in Lara Croft's origin story as she continues her battle against Trinity, this time seeing a direct source of her problems. This narrative provides a much more confident character as she's now a predator on the hunt, a composed individual. She's not perfect, but has a sense of strength and improved physicality. This leads to epic moments throughout an action packed adventure of tombs and intense cinematic driven moments. The campaign is lengthy and larger in scope than ever before.
There are large in scale hub worlds to explore, side missions to work through and challenge tombs to tackle. The puzzles are expanded upon while still feeling simple enough that they won't halt one's progress, definitely trickier than before however. The story is intense, exciting and really brings emotional elements. Lara is given tough choices and it drives home the sort of dangerous situation she finds herself in. Jonah is an excellent addition once again pairing up with Lara and grounding this story while being a voice of reason. It should be noted that Expeditions are not present in this so you're unable to replay levels after, but can continue the game to gather collectibles.
The visuals and world in Shadow of the Tomb Raider are incredible. The game is Xbox One X enhanced bringing a gorgeous 4k option which looks amazing and one slightly lower in resolution that presents a high frame rate. The graphic options are great, and offer choices for your gameplay preference. There's also a photo mode which has fun little options for getting a solid screenshot if you'd like. Adjusting her face in the photo area was hilarious.
The gameplay is greatly expanded upon from the previous entries fine tuning existing mechanics while introducing new ones. The combat has been adjusted to be a more natural system and it feels right here. Lara's usage of the environment was fantastic and it was excellent to see the surrounding be used to your advantage. The setting was amazing, the jungle felt alive and the scale was stunning. This one really does throw you right into the various landscapes and this one feels just so right for the character. Animals return in a wide variety if you like hunting.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the perfect conclusion to Lara Croft's origin story diving into the character's history and pushing boldly forward. The game is an incredible adventure with action packed moments and striking puzzles. It's an expansive narrative that presents moments of surprise and brings emotionally impactful scenes. The cutscenes are gorgeous, the acting is excellent and the addition of Jonah is important to the overall tale.
The gameplay is exciting, lots of fun and the improvements to previous mechanics are appreciated. They really do expand the experience here and Lara Croft's latest iteration is a perfect exploration into her character, as well as her growth across the trilogy. While I miss the Expeditions options that aspect really doesn't detract from the experience, a New Game + is available for those that want something more afterwards.
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Shadow of the Tomb Raider Review on Xbox One X
Review Code Provided by Square Enix