I found myself, as Lara Croft, airborne and nearing the Amazon River in Peru. A storm hits, as it always does, and the plane goes down. Off course and in an unfamiliar area, Lara must find the living members of her team, assemble her tools, and decipher the clues before the bad guys, Trinity. Ain’t no rest for the wicked.
As you explore the opening hours of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it becomes clear that parts of it are meant to be light on combat, which was okay by me after an action-packed first hour in Mexico. It instead focuses on familiarizing the player with Lara’s new moves and giving them a chance to play through some of the franchise’s famous adventure puzzles; they definitely delivered! Similar to past Tomb Raider games, I found the puzzles challenging and the most rewarding aspect, with the combat pretty same-y compared to the previous two Tomb Raider games. Even if the combat isn’t stellar, the puzzles are and there’s one specifically within this demo that felt like the best since the franchise reboot. It utilizes all of Lara’s mechanics and has an emphasis on timing, keeping things tense. It doesn’t give too much away as to what your next step might be and can be brutally punishing if you guess wrong.