Shadow of the Tomb Raider: we played the first hours of the game.
After checking out the Shadow of the Tomb Raider announcement event, Voxel was invited to head to the city of Los Angeles to check out the first five hours of the game. This period was enough to understand that, although the game takes advantage of the best elements of its predecessors, it is essentially an experience that wants to be different – and better.
The new game in the series features a race against time to avoid the apocalypse. In an attempt to protect an ancient artifact from the Trinity, Lara Croft activates a curse that promises to end different regions of the world if she fails to find a mysterious box, which can guarantee its owner the possibility of shaping the planet the way he wants.
The search for the object takes the protagonist to the Amazon Forest, which hides the ruins of ancient civilizations that protect what she needs to correct her mistakes. Trindade also had a similar idea and will do anything to stop Lara’s path – which will also have to deal with other opponents, some of them not exactly human.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a natural evolution of the concepts presented in the 2013 reboot and in Rise, mixing moments of exploration with intense combat. The difference here is that the new adventure is much more vertical, allowing Lara to reach places that would have been impossible in previous chapters.
One of the main novelties is rappelling, which allows the construction of more elaborate scenarios and prevents the player from having to fall to reach places that are located below the protagonist. The game also gains a redesigned swimming system, which allows you to explore underwater caves in search of items and secrets, while revealing enemies that do not like the protagonist to invade their environments.
The new tools are presented in the first moments of the adventure and are easy to learn, becoming a natural part of the repertoire in a short time. To top it off, Lara begins the adventure by already mastering some of the upgrades from the previous chapters, which contributes to making the overall pace more dynamic and different from what we saw earlier.
Lara starts the adventure already mastering some of the upgrades from the previous chapters
The skill system is also present in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, appearing in a redesigned and more accessible way. You still have three paths to follow, focused on combat, survival skills and resource collection – now they appear on the same screen, preventing you from having to switch between different tabs to decide what is best to invest in.
Combats have also been enhanced with new stealth options, which allow Lara to “merge” into the surroundings while choosing opponents to shoot down silently. When she is spotted, she has the option of either going on the direct attack or fleeing and hiding again – but she will have to deal with more careful and alert opponents.
Exploration is still strong
Shadow of the Tomb Raider also invests heavily in the exploration of environments, which hide a generous dose of secrets and rewards. The secret tombs return with an even greater amount of puzzles, many of which cannot be accessed the first time you encounter them – the evolution of equipment seen in previous games is also back.
One of the novelties of the game is the possibility to adjust the difficulty level of different aspects of the experience. You can make combats easier, increasing the complexity of exploration or the number of tips the game offers for your challenges – it is even possible to turn off Lara’s “special sense” that highlights objects of interest and what is the way forward .
All of this contributes to an experience that intelligently adapts to the skills and preferences of each player. While this makes the game more accessible for those who are not used to the series, those who have mastered its mechanics can increase the challenge to the maximum and prove that it is as worthy of becoming a “Tomb Raider” as Lara.
With Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Square Enix promises to transform the protagonist into the safe and powerful figure that we saw in the games that gave rise to the series. For this, she intends to invest in a better development of characters and in the exploration of the conflicts that the character goes through, which will allow her to mature and understand the true consequences of her actions.
The five hours of play show that the game has everything to please those who played the previous titles and seeks deeper systems and an even more engaging plot. It remains to be hoped that the final version will fulfill the promises made by the developer and offer the expected balance between exploration, puzzles and combat.
Are you looking forward to Shadow of the Tomb Raider? What do you expect from the new game that closes the “Origin Trilogy” created by Crystal Dynamics? Register your opinion in the comments section and stay tuned here on Voxel to check out all the news about the title – including a full review that will be published near the release.
Voxel traveled to Los Angeles at the invitation of Square Enix