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Shadow of the TOMB RAIDER – quick review – PS4Pro

October 17, 2018

Shadow of the Tomb Raider brings mixed emotions at the audience. Some like it, other think it is more a medioca game in the TR history. Here my opinion about the game after my playthrough.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

I’m a big fan of Rise of the Tomb Raider and so I was really excited what Shadow of the TR will be. If you want to read my opionion about Rise of, click the following link:

Review Rise of the Tomb Raider [360 version]

Right away, I’m one of them who think Shadow is a more medioca game in the series. My major complain about Shadow is the passive feel of the game. The game is much more linear in leveldesign and the Storytelling is imo too much in front and takes way more time in the game in comparison to Rise of. In Shadow in most cases you don’t feel free to explore but to follow a predetermined way strictly … a bit too strictly.

Especially the first half of the game felt very restricted in case of gameplay, but to be honest, the complete mainstory. But wait there is freedom for exploration. In the second half of the game when you reach Hidden City (Paititi) and later the missionary village, there’s noticeable area you can walk freely, collect items, do sidequest, find optional tombs or murals. Yeah theres a Kiwang Yaku before, but heres the area is very small, so don’t count.

Especially the first 10% of the game I would have preferred to get it in form of a cutscene. The start was visually impressive, but imho very boring cause of the nonexisting gameplay.

The game takes imho in generell to much focus and time onto the story. Who’s playing Tomb Raider cause of the story?? The story in TR should frame the adventure imo, to give a sence why I’m doing this and add some atmosphere, not more – not less. The action adventure gameplaymechanics and impressive build levels are for me the star of the Tomb Raider IP. But gameplay in Shadow of the TR comes a bit short in my opinion, even if the game in the second half opens a bit up in form of optional tasks.

CONCLUSION

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is in my opinion a more average game with a strong technical appearance. I had despite of that fun, but after Rise of it did not match my gameplay expectations I had at all. In Shadow I felt to often passive gameplaywise. The first half of the game and the mainquest in general is very linear in case of leveldesign and so the exporation part did not work so well like in Rise of. Some gamers praise the lack of action in Shadow of the TR and that this is the real soul of a TR game. But sorry guys I played the original Tomb Raider (PSX-version on Vita) this year twice after 20 years and in the original the action/exploration ratio is much more similar what we see in Rise of. I think this matches the traditional Tomb Raider formula in case of exploration, puzzlesolving and action much better. Maybe puzzlesolving could be more in Rise of.

Especially small shootouts (short shootings with less enemies) for variety while playing (as you can see often in TR1 (1996) and Rise of) are missing. E.g. in the original TR from 1996 you fight often small and short, they are not difficult, but this short inbeween action adds a lot to the variety gameplaywise and adds a lot of fun. Cause you have to react and do something (Shoot bat, dog, foe) … and after the intermezzo continuing the exploration/puzzlesolving part.

I had despite of that fun playing Shadow … but not overhelming much. Without the gorgeous graphics and the name Tomb Raider, I’m not sure if I would have finished it. Especially the first part of the game and the mainstory is as I mentioned very linear … and you feel to often passive. Sometimes you have the feeling you have only to press forward.

The strength of the game is for sure its visual appearance and the strong showed Maja culture, towns and people. This is really a showpeace for its own and prooves … even good graphics and atmosphere can produce fun! But also beside of that, still a good game!

Pos:

  • Great graphic – great jungle feel and athmosphere (even if very linear first half of the game and mainstory in general)
  • Phantastic presented Maja culture ‚Hidden City‘ and native people.
  • Lara looks great in detail and animation!
  • Some nice and appropriate riddles, especially in Challenge Tombs (but also on main route).

Con:

  • Plays mostly very linear (except the two HUB worlds (sidequests)).
  • You feel often very passive as a gamer
  • Boring cutscenes/story presentation takes too much time in the game. Liked it more like in Reboot and Rise of where the story was more in the backround and the gameplay in front.

Neutral:

  • The roleplay inspired upgradesystem makes in Shadow less sence than in the predecessors. Some make sence (detect traps, hold longer air, etc.) … and yes you upgrade your weapons. But mostly you don’t care about what you find in the skilltree. You have points and so you unlock the skills, but at all it seems a bit out of place for the gameplayconcept in Shadow. It just does not mesh properly. Neurtal, cause I don’t need RPG elements in a TR game. In Rise of it worked, in Shadow it feels kind of obsolet.

RATING

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS4(Pro))

Controls:                                           8.5  (I’m happy real diving is back, but feels not perfect)

Gameplay&adv./action ballance      7.4  (too linear, feels often too passive and even too less shootouts. Especially small shootouts for variety while playing as you can see often in TR1 (1996) and Rise of are missing. The first Tomb Raider 1996 and Rise of shows the perfect adventure/action ration imo)

Action:                                              8.0  (works at all good when present, the enemy arangement is o.k.)

Visual/Style:                                     9.5

Audio:                                              9.0

Technique:                                       9.2 (a real graphical showcase, but running on perfomance mode (60fps) unconsistand too stottering. I prefer the resolution mode, running not 100% perfect, but very consistant at all (30fps).

OVERALL:                                         7.9 out of 10       (rating legend, see below*)

Maybe the review sounds a bit critic, but don’t missunderstand me, I still like the game. I like the setting, Lara looks great, the graphic and atmosphere is great! I really still do like it, but … as a Tomb Raider fan I had higher expectations gameplaywise. It simply don’t delivers at the level I hoped for (as written above) after I experienced the predecessor ‘Rise of‘, which I really love. Shadow is gameplaywise imo more medioca (still good but don’t met the expectations I had after ‘Rise of‘) behind a great looking and atmospheric game.

If you want to see how I see this game in comparison to the other Tomb Raider games, follow the link to an older post of mine: Tomb Raider main series overview (in order best to worst)

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

*Legend (ratings):

10/10         brilliant, really rare brilliant, has absolutely no competitors, this game defines genres and the world of games!

9/10           brilliant, really brilliant but has some competitors, not much but some, don’t defines really, but is part of the best of the best!

8/10           really good to great game, depends on tending more to 8 or 9. Among a bunch of other competitors, but great.

7/10           good to really good game, depends on tending more to 7 or 8. There are better games out there, but this game is still a good one.

6/10           really average … mostly in every way. With some real flaws. I you like the genre and your expectations are low, maybe you will have some fun with it. But not so much, this game could be so much better.

5/10           absolutely not necessary to play, it’s a waste of time. Maybe if you like to play trashgames with some friends and a couple of beers. Maybe then, it’s your decision.

4/10           see above – only even worse.

3/10           If you play this piece of shit and knowing about it … go to a doctor!

2/10           total trash – put it into the place where it belongs to. Keep the world clean!

1/10           you’re kidding? Break this cardridge immediately! Now! Show that thing what a hammerfall means! This shit shell die in pain!1

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