Shadow of the Tomb Raider Gamescom 2018 Gameplay Impressions

While at Gamescom 2018, I took some time to acquaint myself with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third in the series since the reboot of the franchise. And, well, it’s a Tomb Raider game, all right. It has interesting mechanics, the surroundings are really cool, and Lara is as awesome as always. What else would you expect?

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Shadow of the Tomb Raider Gamescom 2018 Gameplay Impressions
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Gamescom 2018 Gameplay Impressions

First Impressions of Shadow of the Tomb Raider Gameplay

Let’s face it, this game is the third in the series. If you’ve played the previous ones, you’ll probably feel right at home in the new one. That said, I personally haven’t played any games from the reboot series. So, playing the Gamescom 2018 demo was actually my first experience with the new adventures of Lara Croft. So, I came into Shadow of the Tomb Raider with a completely fresh set of eyes. Keep that in mind as you read this. Let’s go.

This is truly a much different Tomb Raider than the one I grew up with. It’s much more cinematic, for one. Now, the fact is that I saw only a fairly short snippet of the game, in which I explored a cave leading to an ancient Mayan temple. So, as a result, it seemed less free-roam and more linear, but that might just be due to the section that I’ve played. Even though the level seemed linear, there were still little pockets to explore. This includes various tablets that you can collect in order to learn how to read the languages of the lost civilization that you’re exploring. Speaking of, the design of the surroundings is pretty awesome. It drew me in really quickly with its mystery, and honestly, it made me want to explore every nook and cranny it had to offer. Even God of War didn’t capture me that way so quickly.

Of course, there’s also a bunch of crafting materials that you can pick up from heaps of garbage as you explore. Of course that there’s crafting in this game. There are some other interesting mechanics that I’ve noticed, such as using rope arrows to pull apart obstacles or create tightropes to walk across chasms. And, on that note, I really liked the platforming in this game. There was a particularly tense platforming section, where you have to navigate your way across several platforms. Said platforms go up and down, depending on the weight that’s on them, so you have to solve little puzzles on top of the platforming. It was pretty fun and engaging.

Lastly, and I know this is me coming late to the party, I really like the new Lara. She didn’t lose any of her snark and personality from older games, but she’s much more human. She is still a brave explorer, but not like she was before. Here, she seems vulnerable; somebody who has limitations, both physical and mental. As a result, I feel that she has become much more relatable as a character. I’m all for this new direction for as far as the devs want to push it.

Now, I’d hate not to mention the many different, creative deaths that you can put Lara through. Maybe there’s just something wrong with me, but I had a blast just letting Lara die sometimes. As a result, I didn’t get as far into the demo as I could in the limited time, but I regret nothing. Some of the deaths are so over the top and gory, that they reach cartoonish levels, especially with the spike traps that you can accidentally walk into. Ever wondered what would happen if Indiana Jones made the wrong step? Shadow of the Tomb Raider gives you the answer. Honestly, it completely breaks the serious tone of the game, and I love it.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is coming out on September 14th. You’ll be able to pick it up on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC. As for recommendations, well… yeah, it seems like a really good game. I think that you already know whether you are going to buy it. And, if you want to use the third game after the reboot as a jumping on point, in my opinion, you can do so. I’d say that the game is good enough to at least warrant you checking it out.

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Author JoeTheBard profile picture
A language teacher and video game enthusiast turned rogue, Joe is on a quest to become the ultimate gaming journalist. This is somewhat hampered by his belief that the golden age of gaming ended with the PlayStation One, but he doesn't let that stop him. His favorite games include Soul Reaver and Undertale. Other interests are D'n'D, dad rock, complaining about movies, and being the self-appointed office funny man, which nobody else agrees with.