Shadow of the Tomb Raider Xbox One X Review

Shadow of the Tomb Raider provides a combination of Lara's last two adventures for one outstanding finale.

By Grayshadow, Posted 13 Sep 2018

Lara has survived unbelievable disasters, defeating supernatural and deadly enemies since her return in 2013. Shadow of the Tomb Raider ends this amazing trilogy with a bang. It doesn't try to revolutionize the formula that made the reboot such a hit or make the massive leap that Rise of the Tomb Raider did, but instead combines all the elements found in these 2 adventures while adding small touches to make it both distinct and familiar. Shadow of the Tomb Raider provides a combination of Lara's last 2 adventures for one outstanding finale.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider,NoobFeed,Square Enix,Eidos Montreal,

Shadow of the Tomb Raider takes place in South America, as Lara and long-time best friend Jonah attempt to stop Trinity from recovering ancient artifacts that could end the world. Much of the story relies on the same system of previous adventures, with Lara hunting down clues and riddles hidden by past people to craft together a path that will lead her down the right path. Despite following the same pattern the use of excellent environments and tense situations ensures Shadow of the Tomb Raider is just as exciting as the previous adventures.

Lara is much more hardened and on the brink of oblivion. After years of hunting Trinity, killing, and surviving mental and physical hardships Lara has become numb to killing and destroying. Jonah remains the face of reason, keeping Lara together during difficult times. Many of the side characters are one-dimensional, serving nothing more than the propel the story forward with the exception of antagonist Dr. Dominguez.

As the leader of Trinity, you would expect Dominguez to be as ruthless and unstable as past members of the organization that Lara has encountered but that's not the case. Dominguez genuine thinks what he's doing is right and will prudently argue his point. Compared to the other villains Dominguez has a lot more layers to his intentions and purpose.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider,NoobFeed,Square Enix,Eidos Montreal,

Shadow of the Tomb Raider looks and sounds outstanding. Each environment and character has been intricately crafted to make this world feel alive. For example, you can see what pools of water have had oil seep into it based on how it looks. If you prefer a frame rate over resolution players can choose one or the other on Xbox One X.

Much of Shadow of the Tomb Raider's gameplay remains the same as Rise of the Tomb Raider. Lara will solve puzzles, traverse the environment using a variety of tools, and occasionally enter combat. Much of the core concepts remain the same with climbing, running, and jumping all controlling the same as the other games but here less emphasis is put on tools. In past games, Lara would gain access to new tools over the course of the game but in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, many of these tools must be purchased.

Lara will still gain access to critical items like Shotguns to clear story related barricades but most of the tools, such as lockpicks, must now be purchased. These optional tools unlock protected areas and unreachable treasures not vital to the game's core campaign. There's more treasure and secluded locations in Shadow of the Tomb Raider than any previous game, with locations often saturated with optional items to collect. Many of these items provide insight into the world, explaining the actions of past explorers, Trinity's soldiers, and historical information about their origins. It's easy to become overwhelmed by the number of items to collect but they serve as constant sources for additional experience and some will reveal hidden locations of other items.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider,NoobFeed,Square Enix,Eidos Montreal,

In addition to less time discovering and using tools, Lara spends a lot more time underwater. Swimming has been improved on with more maneuvrability, lootable items, and avenues for exploration. Eidos Montreal has reduced the need to constantly surface for air by providing air pockets for Lara to use, allowing her to spend more time underwater. In addition, Lara controls well underwater, allowing her to move through the water is ease.

Lara has many options to customize her fighting style. A traditional skill tree allows Lara to increase her skill pool by investing in specific abilities, outfits provide additional bonuses, purchase new upgrades, and her weapon pool can be improved using materials from the world. The options are not as robust as the previous games, with fewer weapon choices than before. This is because Shadow of the Tomb Raider puts less emphasis on active combat and more on survival.

Lara will spend more time talking to people, climbing, and exploring than fighting. So much that players will find themselves spanning the Survival Instinct ability every second to highlight important areas every other second. The perception ability does relieve some of this repetition by highlighting the same points of interest but expect to spam the ability every so often. Leaving exposed lootable items highlighted would've reduced the number of times needed to use the ability.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider,NoobFeed,Square Enix,Eidos Montreal,

There's a lot of resources in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and, on the harder difficulties, Lara will have to take advantage of all of them. These include toxic arrows, covering herself in mud to avoid detection, and hiding in wall vines. There are specific sections where you have to rely on guns but these weapons are so overpowered, combined with limited ammo, that they serve more as last resorts than something you'll actively use. For most of the game, Lara will have to rely on stealth takedowns and her bow and arrow since arrows can be crafted on the fly using the game's crafting system.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is full of just as many action sequences as the previous games. Lara will have to survive massive floods, mudslides, and drowning on multiple occasions. And thanks to the excellent soundtrack these on-rail moments are just as thrilling as ever. 

Trinity will come equipped to take on Lara with new tools such as thermal goggles to see her heat signature if she's not covered in mud. However, due to Shadow of the Tomb Raider's focus on exploration and discovery instead of combat none of the battles standout when compared to Rise of the Tomb Raider. In addition to Trinity, Lara will have to survive the natural environment with hostile animals like jaguars and wolves ready to pounce and make Lara their next meal. These creatures are much more formidable than past games, making more of a menace.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider,NoobFeed,Square Enix,Eidos Montreal,

There are several explorable towns in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, opening up side missions and allowing Lara to speak to the people. These people not only provide individual stories about their lives but also expose hidden secrets such as treasure, tombs, and other things Lara hasn't marked on her map. The main campaign can be completed in around 10 hours on standard difficulty but expect another 15 hours if you plan to complete everything.

There are still issues present in the adventure. For example, there are specific areas where Lara cannot sprint and must walk through the environment for no reason. Also, fast travel stations can only be accessed from other fast travel areas, which are not marked on the map unless discovered. Giving the player access to the station anywhere on the map would remove the tedium of having to walk all the way back to town completing an objective.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is more of the same players have experienced in past games in this acclaimed franchise, and that isn't a bad thing. Eidos Montreal has added and improved on a lot of the mechanics from the past games to give us the ideal Tomb Raider experience. It lacks the combat heavy focus from the previous game for exploration but it works in the narrative's favor. Shadow of the Tomb Raider ends Lara's adventure with a massive bang that fans and newcomers won't want to miss.

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
Twitter | YouTube | Facebook

comments powered by Disqus


General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, XBSX, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher(s): Crystal Dynamics, Feral Interactive
Developer(s): Eidos-Montréal, Crystal Dynamics, Nixxes, Feral Interactive
Genres: Action, Adventure
Themes: Third-Person Shooter
Release Date: 2018-09-14

View All

Popular Articles