It’s an extremely busy time for video game releases at the moment and one of the most high profile has undoubtedly been Shadow of the Tomb Raider, writes Damien Lucas.
I don’t have much space here and it’s a big old game with lots going on - took me roughly 28 hours to complete - so I’ll get straight into it.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the latest iteration in the hit series which is now into its 12th mainline edition of the franchise.
It offers the usual eclectic mix of high jinks treasure plundering and action-adventure gaming that would make even Indian Jones ask ‘Seriously?’.
But to be honest SOTTR doesn’t actually bring a great deal else to a party that started with that famously advanced gaming mechanic of the diving forward leap as far back as 1996 (God that makes me feel old).
That’s not to say it isn’t great. It is. There’s so much going on and the production values are excellent as we have come to expect from Eidos and Square Enix.
SOTTR picks up where Rise of the Tomb Raider left off and centres around Lara Croft’s travails through Mesoamerica and South America to the legendary city Paititi.
You battle the paramilitary organisation Trinity in a bid to stop a Mayan apocalypse traversing the environment and getting past enemies with a mixture of firearms and stealth.
You explore semi-open hubs and you raid challenge tombs to unlock new rewards, complete side missions, and scavenge for resources which can be used to craft useful materials.
Uncovering the mysteries of ancient ruins and solving the brilliant challenge tombs are SOTTR’s crowning achievements and offer an unrivalled level of satisfaction without repetitive grind.
The environments are stunning and beautifully-crafted and gameplay is genuinely exciting and has you on the edge of your seat, which is as much to do with the industry-leading level design as it is the storyboard and narrative.
The biggest nag, though, is that the untouched mechanics which have served the series so well are just starting to feel a little stale as we approach the ninth generation of video game consoles.
For me this was most prevalent when in combat. The gaming mechanics for fighting just feel clumsy and rigid and didn’t match the levels of quality and build in the rest of the game.
The platforming as a result is also clunky and rage-inducingly inaccurate at times as are the stealth elements. But in fairness that could also be down to the fact I don’t have a great deal of patience for that style of play, it’s just not my bag.
But it’s hard to be too critical of a game which is jam-packed with great content and offers plenty of memorable playing time for your money.
If you are a Tomb Raider fan then SOTTR is a no-brainer. It offers a hard-hitting finale to Croft’s origin trilogy. It just doesn’t break new ground doing it.