From an almost dead franchise that is no longer clear about where to move, it becomes a series of action games that are quite awaited through the quality of gameplay, character redesign, and the story is quite tempting. What was successfully done by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics with a series of reboot Tomb Raider is indeed deserves a thumbs up. In his first series, he was criticized for stealing a concept that was popularized by Naughty Dog via Uncharted. But fortunately, slowly but surely, beyond just the character of Lara Croft itself, he began to inject a variety of new and different gameplay features which later grew into identity. The success of the second series which finally ended in the third series that was just released to the market – Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider acts as the third series of the Tomb Raider reboot series. This means positioning the story as the return of Lara Croft after an adventure in Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider. The secret group organization named Trinity which turned out to be related to his father’s figure in the previous series was again the focus of Lara Croft’s adventure this time. The effort was the same, thwarting Trinity’s plan to ambition to remake the world using past artifacts.
The desire to stop Trinity’s actions finally brought Lara to the mainland of South America. Considering that this was a personal struggle because of the relationship between his father’s death and Trinity itself, Lara Croft ended up showing his bad nature as an amateur tomb raider. Trying to stop Trinity in any way, it was rash and interesting that a sacred knife belonging to the classical Maya civilization was one of the two most important parts of the artifact pursued by Trinity. The knife turned out to save a creepy power.
With the pulling of the knife without the container that was supposed to contain it, Lara “accidentally” triggered a final world sequence that would be filled with more natural disasters, from earthquakes to tsunamis. The only way to stop this is to find the knife’s box, which Trinity also hunts. The need to find these artifacts was rapidly becoming increasingly precarious and no longer merely driven by the need to stop the organization’s intention to remake the world, but also prevent this world from ending. So many people end up dying during the process.
Then, can Lara stop the final world sequence that she triggered? Can he stop the Trinity plan? What kind of challenges must he face? You can answer all the questions by playing this Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
In terms of visuals, what Eidos Montreal has to offer for the Shadow of the Tomb Raider does look better than the previous Rise series, complete with lighting arrangements that look more dramatic. The fact that you are now more focused on the South American region with the Incas and Maya as a base for mythology also offers an atmosphere that is of course different from the previous Tomb Raider settings. With areas that are still closed to technology, especially for the Paititi region, you can see how these areas still carry more dominant forests and wild environments. Instead of ruins, you will explore more areas with tall trees, heavy rivers, high cliffs waiting to be climbed. A tropical forest approach that offers something new and different.
One of the new features of the new environment, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the presence of a hub system, which now makes this game a semi-open-world game sensation. Unlike the previous two series which emphasized you to move from one campfire to another campfire, Shadow of the Tomb Raider offers a hub to create an environment that feels more alive. To carry out his mission, Lara will now move and stop for a moment in a nearby city or village while looking for the clue needed. Filled with NPCs who have their own activities, Lara now has at least interaction with civilization. While in terms of gameplay, this hub functions as you can predict.
With the NPCs living on it, this hub functions like a “small world” for Lara. It contains a myriad of side activities outside of just continuing and continuing the story. There are side missions from NPCs that have little story content on it to help you capture more fully what is happening in the area you are visiting, there are a myriad of collectibles you can get, monoliths that you can translate, to just animals that you can hunt. Some of these NPCs also act as Merchants who will sell you weapons, materials, and equipment to get more rewards such as lockpicks and rollers for your arrow straps. You can also sell several resources such as Jade and Gold that you get throughout the trip to get extra money. Through a system like this, beyond just exploring and collecting material, you can strengthen Lara through this Merchant system.
There is one interesting system also injected here. That according to what clothes are worn by Lara, which incidentally must also go through the process of crafting and offering certain buffs, it will also determine which NPCs you can trigger the interaction with, to get a more complete story about what happened. Since in cities like Paititi, for example, there are two tribal camps with different views, NPCs from one camp usually refuse to talk to you if you wear clothes from another camp, for example. Although the implication is nothing more than a hassle for you to change clothes, but he ends up being a potential mechanic who unfortunately, is not explored further.
One positive effect is the design of each Tomb which now looks more magnificent, spacious, and varied compared to previous series. That the challenge that was previously just “draining” the contents of your brain now also has a variant where it is precisely the ability of your mechanics to respond to the trap and push the right button at the right time is also served. Every Tomb now has more complexity through its design that is built from the foundation of various themes, to puzzle levels that are ready to make you scratch your head. From regulating lighting, utilizing the level of standing water, to utilizing gas in the earth to trigger explosions, and sometimes also fighting against several enemy forces. His rewards are also made more rational by now rewarding you with a variety of permanent buffs for Lara instead of the legendary weapon parts which are of course strange, stored in an ancient ruins like the previous series. These buffs emerge from those that only help your exploration process such as being able to dive longer, for example, to strengthen your stealth abilities for example.
If we talk about stealth, Shadow of the Tomb Raider also injects something new here. Lara now, can “blend” with the environment. If you find a mud puddle, it can smear itself with it, which usually leads to a more effective stealth effect. Mud will make Lara more difficult to detect when moving, especially when hiding in the bushes.
But on the other hand, it must be admitted, that there is a sensation that feels “wrong” with what Eidos Montreal did in the Shadow of the Tomb Raider itself. And for this one thing, we talk about many things, from just stories to technical problems that exist. Shadow of the Tomb Raider feels like a game that is less fresh, less clean, and does not seem to go through the process of testing quality that is possible, commensurate with previous series. What happened?
But the talk about Shadow of the Tomb Raider at least “shines” from the right decision to include Photo Mode in it, which provides various opportunities for you to capture action or a world view that spoils the eyes. But the opportunity to arrange facial expressions while taking pictures also opens the opportunity to give birth to new memes into cyberspace. Our favorite? Creating a variety of scenarios that we call Pscyho Lara.
Simply put, Psycho Lara is the piece of picture that we took and chose for Lara Croft where she continued to throw smiles and laughter, in a variety of conditions that were supposed to be scary or heartbreaking. The smile and laughter that made him look like an even more sinister figure than all the troops and creatures that he had previously wiped out. Surprisingly, how small a smile that looks unnatural, can make the Shadow of the Tomb Raider tone look like a horror game with Lara Croft as a real “monster” character.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a series that is dilemmatic in our eyes. On the one hand, we love the setting and focus on the Tomb design which is far more varied and complex, enough to make you turn your brain. The variety of activities with the hub that he runs is also ready to keep you busy, especially with commensurate reward content. But on the other hand, it is hard not to admit that for a series that should have been designed as the “end” of the transition from a spoiled Lara Croft to an iconic Tomb Raider figure that we have known for a long time, she just seems anti-climatic. There are so many cliches injected into the story of Trinity here, with personal conflicts that are slow but sure, actually starting to erode the personality of Lara that we have loved so far.
In addition to the side of the story and gameplay that has not changed much, the technical problems that we had discussed before were also a separate note. The small visual glitches that are carried in do not disrupt the game, but indeed disrupt the existing immersive side. In the midst of a new series where the developer actually has the potential to introduce new types of challenges while moving or maybe, new equipment that can change the way Shadow of the Tomb Raider works. But their decision to restore and maintain almost all the equipment from the previous series without injecting something different, of course disappointing, especially considering this is a major series.
So with all of these weaknesses, Shadow of the Tomb Raider did appear as a series of “closing” transitions of Lara Croft that in our eyes, were disappointing. There is hope and dream that a series that should have closed your journey across the world for several years has ended up being a fantastic, heavy and high-value story. But what did you find? A game that still carries a similar formula, is not fresh enough, and actually injures the figure of Lara Croft itself. A story that is precisely, feels anti-climax.
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