We Played Four Wonderful Hours of Shadow of the Tomb Raider

After learning that Trinity is searching for a Mayan artifact, Lara uncovers the location of a nearby dig site, which rests at the edge of an ocean cliffside. This is where the familiarity of Tomb Raider takes over. To get to the dig site’s opening, Lara performs her otherworldly ability to jump, climb, and rappel. It’s all very exciting—and dangerous.

Inside the dig site, the game’s darker and more ominous tone comes to the fore, suitably complimenting the thematic arc Eidos Montreal is going for. Everywhere in the tomb there’s death; mounds of human remains, bloody traps, and daunting puzzles. All Lara can do is push through, with Trinity right behind her.

When Lara finds the artifact—a Mayan dagger—she doesn’t hesitate; she swipes it despite objections from Jonah. Her actions set off events that have cataclysmic consequences. When she escapes the tomb and returns to the nearby town, a deadly flood swoops through, killing hundreds of people in a matter of minutes.

The troubling thing is, even with death all around, all Lara can think about is Trinity, such is her desire to stop the organization from wreaking havoc on the world. As she soon realizes, the stuff she’s done doesn’t exactly make her a saint.

Although the gameplay of Shadow of the Tomb Raider feels familiar—there’s sneaking, climbing, and swimming—the narrative takes the franchise in a new direction. Now, Lara’s identity will be challenged as she navigates evermore dangerous caverns, jungles, and tombs.

With that, comes a darker experience altogether. Lara has travelled to some exotic locations in her two previous titles, but Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s jungle is the most dangerous yet. I don’t know how many times I had to squeeze through tight spaces during my play-through, but it made me feel very claustrophobic.

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