Lara Croft is back in Crystal Dynamic’s and Eidos Montreal’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The final chapter in the iconic heroine’s new trilogy is set to be far darker with Lara forced to face the dark, murderous force she’s become while trying to prevent a cataclysm she herself caused. Retaining the formula of exploration, combat and puzzle solving; it’s set to be another solid entry in the excellent series.
Trusted Reviews has compiled everything you need to know about Shadow of the Tomb Raider including all the latest news, release date, gameplay and our most recent hands-on preview.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider release date
Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be released on September 14th, 2018. It will launch on Xbox One, PS4 and PC.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider hands-on preview
Available September 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC
Getting the opportunity to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider, I was blown away at how it managed to evolve what had come before while showing Lara’s continuing maturity to becoming the woman she is 20 years on. However, there was a niggling concern that it felt a little too much like the past two games, fitting too snugly inside the box built in 2013. Now, having watched a hands-off E3 presentation of exactly what Eidos has been working on, these concerns have been put aside, with Shadow set to be an incredible package.
On experiencing a linear segment from the opening of the game, Eidos showed off some of its open-world expanses that delve deeper into the experience. One such hub space is Paititi – a huge, lush expanse that’s more sizeable than anything the series has seen before. A fictional location in Peru, its a beautiful jungle space with Mayan, Inca and Aztec inspirations. With Shadow’s incredible visual design, the ancient village is an incredible vista to watch Lara explore.
Lara can interact with the locals, receive side quests and discover tombs hidden within the huge space. The side quests can range from the inquisitive to the mundane. One conversation saw Lara speaking to a child about his lost dice, with her offering to help find them. In every conversation in which she’s either an active participant or passing eavesdropper, there’s an undercurrent of a ‘cult’ that will cause trouble for the whole town. However, exactly what this group is and what it has done wasn’t explored. The intrigue has been left in the ether to be discovered when the game launches in September.
Related: Kingdom Hearts 3
It was great to see Lara simply wander around this giant hub, rather than being led down a corridor or simply directed towards the next mission. Having the choice to venture and pick up missions along the way, interact with characters that may be of relative insignificance to the game as a whole, is something the series hasn’t seen before. Yet, it’s added a greater depth to the game, which has made me eager to get my hands on it.
This section of the demo closes with the exploration of a tomb discovered within Paititi. Once again, Eidos’ new approach of making tombs a terrifying rather than awe-inspiring place really comes through.
Soft lighting from a single source that caresses the focal point of the tomb shows off the incredible detail of the environment. Rock faces and concrete structures appear almost life-like as shadows dance across them thanks to flickering torches. The accompanying sound of stone puzzle pieces smashing against one another to unlock subsequent rooms as Lara solves the riddle is really great for world-building. While Eidos truly nails the fear and claustrophobia of tight spaces, making tombs feel very unwelcoming, it’s hard not to admire how beautiful they are.
Next up we get to see Lara in the jungle, taking advantage of her experience and new-found aggression in killing every enemy without being spotted.
What takes place in this encounter makes Lara appear a predator. She remains high in the trees while using arrows laced with a poison that induces fear in enemies and makes them hallucinate, shooting fellow baddies to whittle down the numbers. This keeps the advantage very much in Croft’s corner.
Related: Fallout 76
However, the sheer violence with which Lara kills enemies – at one point she shoots a rope arrow into the neck of a soldier, using a branch from which to hang him as she rappels down – makes her unlikable. This is deliberately so. It feels as though Eidos is building up a Croft who is set for a monumental fall, but who will see a steady rebuild across the campaign.
I don’t get the sense that we’re supposed to empathise with Lara, at least not in the early part of the game. She’s supposed to be overconfident, almost despised by us, because she’s become ignorant of her position. It makes for a very interesting gameplay proposition in which we almost have to endure the protagonist.
The demo ends with Lara running through a refinery. I look down for two seconds to make a note of this. By the time I look up, the whole place is on fire. This gives you a sense of the chaos that follows Croft everywhere she goes. In the reveal demo Lara brought about the apocalypse, and now she’s set an oil refinery ablaze as soon as she sets foot on it.
The chase scene plays very similarly to the flood from the previous demo: running across platforms trying to stay alive; dodging helicopter gunfire and climbing platforms in a linear (and very familiar) fashion.
Related: Just Cause 4
Once again, the visuals are absolutely stunning. Smoke plumes are beautiful and the fire brings light to a world in complete ruins – you can’t help but admire how great it looks, in spite of this.
I can’t help but be utterly enthralled by what Eidos is building as the culmination of Lara’s trilogy. By adding open-world exploration on a scale unseen in the series before, on top of the incredible action set-pieces, this is undoubtedly one of the most exciting games of the year.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Trailer
We’ve now received a few trailers for Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Here they all are in one convenient place.
On stage at Microsoft’s E3 press conference, the console manufacturer showed off a brand new trailer for the game. The footage featured a nice mix of story and gameplay elements and you can watch it below.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Xbox One X performance
Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics have also revealed how Shadow of the Tomb Raider will perform on Xbox One X, the most powerful console out there. In a recent interview with studio head David Anfossi, EPN discovered that Lara Croft’s latest outing will be capable of 1080p/60fps or 4K/30fps on Microsoft’s system.
“To allow for a more customized gameplay experience, the game will include two visual modes: ‘4K Resolution’ which runs in 4K resolution at 30 FPS, and ‘High Resolution’ which is targeting 1080p at 60 FPS. Both modes will feature a wide variety of additional enhancements such as HDR, improved physically-based rendering, hardware tessellation, anisotropic filtering, additional dynamic foliage, and more.”
What would you like to see from Shadow of the Tomb Raider? Let us know on Facebook and Twitter @trustedreviews