Out of the shadows

When we watched the new Tomb Raider film back in July, I was quite inspired by some of the behind the scenes footage that showed Alicia Vikander getting super fit to play the role. I wanted to be super fit like that too! Get to the gym, lady, and sort it out!

It worked, for a bit. But how funny, then, that it’s also the fault of Lara Croft that my workout schedule has been interrupted in recent weeks.

I wrote some initial impressions of Shadow of the Tomb Raider and I’m glad to say that getting to the end of the game has only increased my satisfaction – obsessed is a word I would use, particularly getting through those last few levels.

To reiterate and expand on my thoughts:

  • The story was a lot more interesting than the last two, I thought. Granted, I still skipped a lot of the detail of the documents but followed all the cut scenes with interest.
  • The locations are dazzling, it’s no wonder they put in that photo mode. Gorgeous.
  • The facial expressions on these characters are amazing. Even the slightest raised eyebrow, or the crinkled nose of a thought process, very well done.
  • Great puzzles, really, really good. And some echoes of ye olde Tomb Raider too.
  • Lots of lovely running and jumping and catching and climbing. That’s my area.
  • Swimming controls are impossible. That’s not my area.
  • The physics of the overhang climbs and jumps is… questionable to my mind.
  • The animals are brutal in this – jaguars and wolves and god knows what else.
  • The Cenote level is about as disturbing as it gets, we ran through that in the quickest time possible.
  • The Hidden City though, absolutely glorious. Huge, sprawling, packed with real people with real stories doing real things. It got repetitive by the end, I’ll admit, but what a joy to run around a piece of civilisation rather than solely spending time alone in the jungle.
  • I don’t know if it’s intentional or a bug but there’s a bit where you can get attacked by piranhas and then jump out on to a raft and they’ll still be nibbling at you until gradually fading out. Nightmare-inducing..
  • Did I mention the swimming controls are hard?
  • If you are playing this now and come across the wandering merchant, buy the lock pick and the rope ascender IMMEDIATELY. You will need them both and you will never be able to find her again.

This time out, we went a bit nerdy, and kept a track of everything we could think of. In previous years, we’ve taken the route of getting as far as we can through a game and then resorting to a walkthrough of some kind (recommended) to get the coveted 100%.

For this game, with our increased enjoyment, enhanced concentration, and a Bear app full of #tombraider notes, we got to about 97% without any assistance at all. We were missing a revisit of one whole level (who knew you could go back to Cozumel?), a couple of base camps and documents, plus a challenge that I would genuinely never have found without help.

The relief at getting to the end was clear but equally, what a ride it was. And we opted for a season pass purchase so will be looking at new stuff very soon. This game really was the gift that kept on giving.