Shadow of the Tomb Raider Review: A Definitive Lara Croft Story

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third and final installment in Square Enix's rebooted trilogy, but does it live up to expectations? Crystal Dynamics developed the first two installments in the series - beginning with 2013's Tomb Raider and continuing with 2015's Rise of the Tomb Raider - but Deus Ex studio Eidos Montreal took point on the latest title, though they've received some help from this trilogy's original developers.
Continuing the story that left off with Rise of the Tomb Raider, this year's Shadow of the Tomb Raider takes place approximately two months after the previous installment and sees Lara Croft and Jonah Maiava travel to South America to uncover the mysteries behind the death of Lara's father and the origin of the Trinity organization, as well as, of course, prevent the end of the world. But instead of taking a simplistic, run-of-the-mill path in telling its narrative, Shadow of the Tomb Raider dives deeper into Lara's story than ever before - and it truly works.

Ultimately, it's a deconstructionist tale of Lara's journey, presenting consequences for her perilous actions and unwavering ambition. Over the years, Lara evolved from a singular archetype into a multi-dimensional character, one who hasn't particularly grown in recent iterations. While the last two games each had their own pros and cons, especially with regards to the overarching narrative, Shadow of the Tomb Raider takes more than just the next step in identifying the crux of what makes Lara Croft who she is - and it isn't just finding out who killed her father, although that is a driving factor in moving the story forward. Rather, it's about her perverse predilection to being surrounded by death, though not always by her own volition. After all, raiding tombs can only bring so much joy to one's life.


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