The first thing you will notice when you start the new Tomb Raider is to choose the difficulty level. It's trivial, but not in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, where we choose not only the general level of challenge, but also adjust individual elements of the game (fight, exploration and puzzles) to our own preferences and abilities. This solution reminded me in a way of the third Witcher, where the difficulty level of Guinean was separated from the rest of the game. Returning to the reviewed production, however, it should be added that while visiting the location on the "easy" objects on which we can climb was marked with white chalk, and when solving the puzzles Lara with her comments guides the player to the right track. Such amenities, of course, are not to be found on the "hard drive".
At the beginning I pointed out that Shadow of the Tomb Raider does not turn the formula of the game upside down, which should not surprise anyone. Sometimes you can even get the impression that we are dealing with a big extension to Rise of the Tomb Raider, not a new, fully-fledged version of the cycle. Authors from Eidos Montreal studio (Crystal Dynamics only helped the creators of the newest parts of Deus Ex series) introduced some important novelties that effectively diversified the course of the game.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider offers a real underwater exploration. Lara can not only swim in seemingly inaccessible places, but also collect valuable items and of course die. Sometimes it will run out of air (so you should regularly swim to the surface), and sometimes it will be attacked by piranhas, from which you can hide in specially marked bushes. Therefore, it is important to develop a skill in due time that will increase the lung capacity of the fearless heroine. Of course you don't have to do it, but it's still worth it, because the underwater areas are sometimes quite large, and sailing to the surface "every now and then" can unnecessarily interrupt exploration.
Lara Croft's greatest friend in Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be not only a bow, knife and gun, but also mud. We can grease it on the face to make it less visible. If you want to kill enemies without raising any suspicions, you'll stick to a muddy cover to reduce your chances of detection. Interestingly, after activating the survival instinct, we will see that some enemies have been marked red and others yellow. It is also a useful option, because it will tell us which guards see each other, which will clearly allow us to develop a better strategy. But you have to decide for yourself whether you prefer Lara, who will use a knife to neutralize the infants, or Miss Croft, who, like Rambo, shoots at all the guards you meet. In most cases, the game gives you a choice and you don't have to keep sneaking around, but you can act fully openly.
Again, we are dealing with a semi-open world, where we will follow the plot, and in our free time we will deviate from the main path to collect finds or perform side missions. The latter are not particularly interesting, because they are largely limited to the elimination of the indicated objectives, but it is worthwhile to have the optional quests behind you to collect valuable items of equipment. During her adventure Lara Croft also lights special bonfires (where of course we improve the equipment or develop the skills of our heroine) and gains the ability to teleport between them, so that with time we can return to previously visited places, if we want to count the whole thing to one hundred percent.
I wouldn't like to write too much about the plot for a simple reason. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the last part of the trilogy presenting the fate of young Lara Croft, thanks to which we will get to know the rest of the events initiated in Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raiderze from 2013. It is worth saying, however, that the story is interesting, despite the fact that it is mostly based on the usual patterns. Most of the time, because there is a motif of revenge, and also a fight against "the bad guys", in this case members of the Order of the Trinity. Between all this, Lara Croft tries to stop the coming apocalypse, which was predicted by the Mayans. It's only a pity that the whole thing is moving relatively slowly, but at the right moment the pace of the action accelerates, as a result of which the script may be liked.
The story itself is a perfect match for the place where the action takes place. This time we visit South America, where we explore not only the Peruvian jungle, but also the relatively large city of Paititi set far from civilization, as well as a number of mysterious temples and forgotten tombs, whose sightseeing fits the campaign perfectly. Before this happens, however, we will have to deal with numerous threats in Mexico. Of course, these are only examples, because Shadow of the Tomb Raider is enough for well over 20 hours of fun during which the pace of action sometimes slows down, but generally it's hard to talk about boredom.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider has one more important function, which was to build the right atmosphere. In the game options we can choose the "cultural immersion" option so that NPCs speak their native language. Something went wrong, however, because Lara Croft still speaks Polish. You can imagine this comical situation, can't you? Since we are already at dubbing, it is worth adding that it is very unequal. Karolina Gorczyca, as usual, manages to do it, just like the actors who lend their voices to the leading characters. The situation with NPCs, whom we will meet on our way, is different; it's hard to feel any emotions in their voices.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a safe continuation and in this case the best possible one. If you didn't like the solutions from Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider from 2013, you won't change your attitude. If, however, you are impatiently waiting for the trilogy to finish, I can only say that Eidos Montreal together with Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix were up to the task. Lara Croft's new adventures do not bring any revolution, but the gameplay is still very pleasant.