Lara Croft has come a long way since her debut in 1996. I mean, the “Tomb Raider” franchise has seen a variety of sequels since the very first “Tomb Raider” game. Anyways, let’s get back to the now shall we? So if we fast forward current date.

Well, eventually the “Tomb Raider” series was rebooted by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics that showcased a game with stunning visuals and new features, which aimed to breathe new life into Miss Croft.

shadow of the tomb raider the temple of doom

“Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is more or less just a shadow of what the “Tomb Raider” series used to be about, and a very boring one at it.

Yes’ I’m of course talking about “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”, which is the third installment in Lara’s new adventure. However, considering it’s supposed to be the end of this first trilogy, you’d think this would be her chance to go out with a bang, perhaps donning the iconic duel pistols with some other surprises as the “Tomb Raider” comes full circle to her roots.

So, right off the bat. The game starts off good enough, but it could have been so much more…Truth be told, what we actually got with “Shadow of the Tomb Raider ” is just a mere shadow of Tomb Raider’s former self (that’s pretty ironic considering the title of the game).

shadow of the tomb raider its time for you to die

The enemy variety is very, VERY poor in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”. As a matter of fact, even the really old “Tomb Raider” games offer a better enemy variety than the latest installment.

The best way that I can summarize this game is the following. If you’ve played the previous “Tomb Raider” games, then you have already played this exact game two times already. Why? Because you will once again lose all your weapons, find them again, craft new ones again and well just do the exact same darn thing you’ve done.

Simply put, “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is the worst case of gaming Déjà vu I’ve had in years, even Call of Duty does just enough to be different from the last game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider does pretty much nothing other than giving Lara the option to cover herself in mud and hide in a wall like Rambo to then pounce out and stab whomever crosses you until they stop twitching.

shadow of the tomb raider lara croft goes max payne

The feeling of Déjà vu sticks with you throughout most of the game in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”. Yes, it really is that bad. As it feels like you have already experienced all of it before…

You will collect more artefacts than you can shake an artefact at, find more diaries, jump to more ledges that crumble as you land and raid more tombs. So when compared to the last two “Tomb Raider” games there are fewer action sequences and gun fights, one of the standout moments is a showdown with a Panther only seemed to be there for the poster shot.

For a “Tomb Raider” game, there’s an appalling variety of enemies here, where you mainly end up killing human enemies (again). Furthermore, there is also an introduction of some underground dwelling creatures. However, it’s not enough to justify the body count she’s already racked up. So Lara’s actions in these three games do nothing more than make Lara Croft look like a psychopathic killer.

shadow of the tomb raider lara croft goes rambo mode

“Shadow of the Tomb Raider” could have been so much more, but sadly enough, the game falls short on most fronts.

I find this to be somewhat funny, because in the original games, you were shooting bears, lions, gorillas, centaurs, dinosaurs, monsters and even demons.

What I’m trying to say is that I would much rather see a variety of that caliber than mowing down faceless goons to the end of eternity and back (it’s quite shocking to think a PS1 game has more variety than a game from 2018, don’t you think?).

Hell, even the weapons and gear you come across is just stuff which you’ve found in previous games.That’s also why I just had the constant feeling that I had been there and done that already…And I found that to be rather disappointing, as I really wanted to see something different.

You know, a “Tomb Raider” where a T-Rex bursts in or some crazy monster like the “Giant Mutant”? And there’s most certainly room for that and more, because the plot for the game is some of the most absurd nonsense I’ve ever played through.

shadow of the tomb raider awesome graphics

I can’t fault the graphics, as “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” looks amazing on a 4K TV.

Once again, you’re out stopping another apocalypse with your pal Jonah, who somehow always finds an easier route. No, I’m not even joking. Because several times in the game Jonah is at the finish line waiting for you after you’ve dodged god knows how many death traps along the way.

Through the 15 to 20 hours, you spend pretty much most of it in the jungle, again. Other than that, there are about nine tombs and several crypts to break up the monotony. Unfortunately though, not all of them are exciting and some of them just feel like the same thing after a while.

shadow of the tomb raider a cool moment

There’s some set pieces that make for some cool moments, but they are nothing more than that.

Out the nine tombs there was only one tomb that stood out from the crowd, and that would be the huge Galleon tomb, and why is that so you might wonder? It’s because it looks like something out of “Pirates of the Caribbean“.

So I almost started day dreaming what else the game could have been; before I went through another hour of boring climbing sections and stabbing some poor bastard to death. Well, to be fair, at least the game looks rather nice while you’re killing your foes.

So no matter how mundane the action was, I was still very impressed with how the game looked like in-action. For example, the water sections looked amazing, the dimly lit caves as Lara struggles to get through the smallest gaps.

shadow of the tomb raider jonah the unsung hero

Jonah the unsung hero, he always finds the easy route.

I mean, sure. The claustrophobic areas made for some of the best moments, but sadly it never amounts to anything as spectacular as previous games, they’re good, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen already. The voice work is fine, and I personally like Camilla Luddington as Lara. Because I feel like Camilla does a great job while delivering her lines in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”.

As for collectables, well…Due to the large amount of collectables, you eventually just get tired of hearing her voice. So around half-way through the game, I just gave up investigating each collectable or diary because it was so frequent.

shadow of the tomb raider the panther sequence

The panther sequence is one of the few highlights that are to be found in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”.

So, all in all, I don’t think I’ve been so disappointed with a game this year. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not that “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is a terrible game. It’s just a very disappointing one. The game just exists, and it doesn’t do anything interesting. So I’m honestly not sure what else I can say in this review.

shadow of the tomb raider old enemies

The original “Tomb Raider” game had more unique enemies than a game made 22 years later.

So if you’ve played the last two games, then you’re in for more of the same. As there’s nothing new to be found here. Because you’ll be fighting the same-old enemies, hearing Lara talk about the same-old artefacts, raiding the same-old Tombs.

Furthermore, even the actual ending felt like a cop-out, with pitiful final boss battle. For example, in “Tomb Raider 2” you fought a Dragon, in “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” fought a man. Oh wow! How very exciting…Not!

Pros:
+ The Graphics are great
+ Ehrm…You can wear mud?
+ A handful of impressing sequences

Cons:
– Nothing new
– Too many collectables, not enough Tombs
– Poor enemy variety

Gameplay: 2/5
Graphics:
5/5
Sound/music:
5/5
Controls:
4/5
Replay value: 
1/5

tgg grade 2 out of 5

Verdict: 2/5
When finishing up a trilogy you expect it to have an ending to fit the bill. However, disappointingly enough, Crystal Dynamics “Shadow of the Tomb Raider” is about as memorable as the long-forgotten relics that Lara discovers. So I honestly can’t recommend the game at all since there are plenty of better options on the market (on most fronts, even the very first “Tomb Raider” game is better than “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”).

Title: Shadow of the Tomb Raider
Developer:
Crystal Dynamics
Format:
PS4, Xbox One, PC (review version, PS4)
Genre:
Action adventure
Resolution: 
1080p with a 4K upsacle
Release date:
2018-09-14
Difficulty: 
Easy to hard
Spent time:
+16 hours
Average grade internationally:
76.92%Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating:
+18
Price: 
£50

Credit:
Robin Ek – Editor

tgg author avatar Sharn Daniels uk
Sharn Daniels
The Gaming Ground
Twitter: @SharnOfTheDEAD

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