This week marks the launch of the third entry in the Tomb Raider reboot trilogy, which sends Lara Croft down to Peru to stop an apocalyptic mistake of her own doing. Our review doles plenty of praise to the latest action-adventure title in the storied franchise, with Shadow of the Tomb Raider offering both the most human story and some of the most engaging and challenging gameplay of the recent Tomb Raider titles. To help you prepare for your trek through South America, here are two settings recommendations and four gameplay pointers to ensure that Lara’s latest adventure goes (relatively) smoothly.
This first tip admittedly only applies to select players, specifically those who own an Xbox One X or PS4 Pro. Just like a number of other recent titles, Shadow of the Tomb Raider grants 4K console owners the option to have the game prioritize frame rate or resolution. While the title has a remarkable presentation under either setting, the frame rate remains consistent enough under the former setting that the advantages it offers for both gameplay and visual pleasure are ones that deserve to be utilized with the power of these high-tech platforms.
Eidos Montreal introduces a number of substantial changes to Lara Croft’s newest journey, including the intriguing option to customize the player’s journey via three adjustable difficulties that reflect key aspects of the core gameplay. Although it may prove tempting to set all three to the standard level that you tend to play games through on a first playthrough, the frequency with which Lara all but gives away the solution to each tomb, crypt and storyline puzzle she encounters on easy and normal difficulty levels can often become irritating for players looking for even the slightest bit of mental challenge. The hard difficulty for puzzles keeps Lara mostly quiet while still allowing for a desperation option for those truly challenging brain teasers and makes the overall experience feel more rewarding and satisfying upon the completion of these platforming and physics-based enigmas.
Use Survival Instincts
Survival instincts has remained a key tool at Lara’s disposal throughout her recent adventures, allowing her to get in touch with the environment and sense nearby people and materials. While this ability remains largely similar to its previous incarnations, it continues to be essential for a variety of gameplay situations. From being able to track down those tough-to-find crafting bits or collectibles, to gaining the upper edge on enemies during the infrequent stealth encounters with them, to overcoming a hurdle when feeling stumped in one of the aforementioned puzzles, survival instincts offers players a number of great incentives to constantly spam the right analog stick.
Speaking of enemy encounters, Lara has become a lot less bullet resistant than in previous titles, as just one or two Trinity soldiers can be enough to take her out if she’s not well protected by cover. As a result, stealth has become a much more reliable option in Shadow, and while busting out Lara’s arsenal of guns upon her being spotted may seem like the best course of action, breaking the enemy’s line of sight can often prove just as fruitful thanks to a greater number of bushes and mud-covered walls to hide in. Instead of risking one bold enemy breaching your cover during a firefight and sending you back to a checkpoint, going back into stealth allows Lara to maintain her step-up on the resistance and use the environment to her benefit.
Three Skills to Seek Out
Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s skill tree is separated into three different categories, each with plenty of tantalizing perks that can be a little overwhelming at first glance. While there’s no bad choices, each category has one particular skill that have some more immediate uses than some of the later ones. In the Seeker branch, Hoatzin’s Step helps improve Lara’s stealth abilities by allowing her to drop down quietly behind enemies, while the Warrior branch offers Puma’s Charge, which greatly reduces the charge time for arrows to help out in those high-pressure situations. Finally, the Scavenger branch includes the Boa’s Coil, which auto-loots enemies that were killed via stealth, which turns out to be the vast majority and saves players a noticeable amount of time after an encounter.
Another enhancement that Eidos Montreal has focused on with the latest Tomb Raider title is larger and more populated hubs, which offers shops that you can buy new weapons and tools from, and most intriguingly, a variety of inhabitants to chat with. In addition to the mostly solid writing, these residents offer insights into both the world and secret spots to discover rare animals to hunt or treasures to loot. A few of them will also kick off side quests that provide another viewpoint of the lives these citizens live, as well as rewarding the player with even more loot.