Tomb Raider’s long shadow

The third release in Tomb Raider’s recent reboot emerged into the wild last month, and I can honestly admit to being completely obsessed with it. I’ve enjoyed the previous two games, but it’s taken me a while to get fully to grips with this new Lara and her rather more complex adventures. Everything is rather more realistic, far more brutal, significantly more graphic and eventually, a lot more fun, than the Tomb Raiders that have gone before.

After playing 2013’s Tomb Raider, I talked of the brilliant game spaces (“the game is essentially Lara does LOST”) and during Rise of the Tomb Raider I was grateful for slightly fewer enemies to kill and more puzzles to complete (“the developers have gone back to the core of Lara”). This time out, with Shadow of the Tomb Raider being on our consoles for less than a month so far, I’m happy that all the good stuff has been built on for yet another great adventure.

We’re maybe halfway through the game, and there have been challenging enemies which are perhaps my least favourite bit, but there have been fabulous puzzles. I’m liking the additional missions to the main story, and some of the spaces to explore are mind-boggingly vast. My ability to look at the map and plan a route only to immediately get lost knows no bounds. My only complaint so far is the swimming controls are impossible. I’ve always struggled but whatever they’ve done to this year’s controls means I cannot do it. Thankfully, Mr C indulged in some swimming practice (Lara Olympics, anyone?) and can now get us out of every watery escapade.

One of my favourite bits of this year’s game is the photo mode. You can pose Lara in a shot, snap a photo and share it however you like. There are competitions to take part in but I just like capturing the moments where the game ever so slightly takes your breath away.

And, of course, Mr C likes that you can capture moments like this, where you juxtapose TR2 Lara into new Lara’s surroundings. So weird.

Just like the previous Square Enix products, I was impressed with how much value for money you get out of this game. We have been playing almost endlessly and are about 50% complete. And now, there are downloadable side missions being released as well. So, as an update to the sign off on my previous review: I guess I will be productive again in 2019.