Lara Croft returns to conclude her origin story that now spans three individual titles, including 2013's Tomb Raider and 2016's Rise Of... Picking up two months after the events of Rise, will Lara finally avenge her father's death and end Trinity's plans for world domination?
The isolated Peruvian mountains provide a perfect playground for Lara's hunting, swinging, climbing and swimming skills. Stunning to look at and equally enjoyable to navigate, the hills, jungles, caves and lakes hide a wealth of Inca ruins just waiting to be explored. Progress is fairly linear with objective markers pointing you towards your next destination, although each area contains dozens of collectables and hidden tombs that can be tackled at your leisure.
Upgrades can be earned by spending skill points, awarded for story progression and completion of “challenge tombs”. These tombs are often a highlight - large puzzle/platforming areas that reward the player with a bit of cash and some fancy new gear. Built around a specific tool, and not always set inside an actual tomb, each challenge feels unique enough to distract you from thinking you're just doing the same thing but in a different location. Accessing these areas can be a pain though. You'll often spend ages looking for an entrance, only to discover the story hasn't yet given you the required tool to get inside. The option is always there to backtrack from a campsite though, which at least gives you something to do when the story is over.
Lara is still incredibly well-spoken to the point of irritation, but it turns out she was even more annoying as a child so at least there's a silver lining somewhere. She's also really quite miserable, possibly due to Shadow's general lack of humour - don't go into this expecting too many laughs, because you won't find them...
Peru is a truly lovely place to hang around, but it's baffling that Lara still doesn't take her own health and safety seriously. Shadow often falls into Assassin's Creed's old infuriating pitfall of inaccurate platforming, with Lara often jumping off walls in the wrong direction or failing to grab something and plummeting to her death while you swear at the screen through gritted teeth.
If you're a fan of adventure, exploration and discovery, or have followed the story through the two previous instalments, you really need to own this. Shadow sits comfortably alongside all the blockbuster adventure games, a decent blend of Uncharted's unashamedly action-oriented set pieces and the best (and occasionally worst) bits of whatever your favourite Assassin's Creed title is. It doesn't reinvent the wheel, but it's a fitting enough end to this chapter of Lara Croft's story.
SHADOW OF THE TOMB RAIDER / DEVELOPER: EIDOS MONTREAL / PUBLISHER: SQUARE ENIX / PLATFORM: PC, PLAYSTATION 4, XBOX ONE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW