SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER (Eidos Montreal/Square Enix – PS4, X1, PC – September 14) – The third game in the revitalized reboot of the beloved Tomb Raider franchise is almost here. Marketed as Ms. Croft’s defining moment, Shadow plans to heighten Lara into the Tomb Raider she was always meant to be. As someone who has finished the first 2 chapters of this trilogy, there’s no doubt that this version of Lara will be the best.
On the development front, Crystal Dynamics is passing torch to Eidos Montreal but SOTTR will come off a more collaborative effort than imagined. So far the synopsis will take Lara down to Mexico and Peru, fighting Trinity once again to prevent.. you guessed it: the end of the world which our protagonist has accidentally triggered. Uh-oh. Do expect Lara to feel the guilt of her decision and the consequences throughout this new adventure.
Lara will also be more proficient with a trusty rope in tow, given the “Nathan Drake” ability to repel and swing from various places; cooler, players can be stealthier this time around, being able to reestablish cover in a firefight. This was especially frustrating in the last two games once caught in “stealth” mode, as you couldn’t hide until you ran far enough away or cleared the area of enemies. Use extra caution when swimming, too, since an eel just might try and choke the life out of you. Here’s to hoping our knife or pick can be used beneath the surface, too.
The overall theme this time around directs Lara right into the descent, which equates to plenty of actual tomb raiding. She will also have to deal with people (ugh!) and interact with the world around her to a larger degree instead of just bad guys and NPC’s. New baddie Dominguez will test our gaming patience, and Lara’s longtime friend Jonah will show up sporting some new muscles and and tattoos.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider promises to be everything the first two games were but with more polish and a few more tricks in the bag. If you haven’t played the previous two games I urge you to do so. The gameplay is intuitive and the combat flows like a rabid emcee, making short work of multiple enemies in rapid succession. Best of all? There’s no timed exclusive junk this time; PlayStation nerds, Xbox geeks, and PC dweebs all can enjoy the thrillride this September.