By Desiree Bonilla
You can see the movie-like action from the get-go! Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, the latest action adventure video game published by Square Enix, starts off with Lara Croft in a plane. Lara seems to panic as she sees the plane break in half while she runs to the front seat. Sitting down quickly, Lara puts on her seatbelt, perhaps somehow knowing that she’ll crash into a forest. The game then flashes back to two days before the crash when Lara, a.k.a. you, is trapped underground. Struggling, she climbs her way through the small gaps between rocks, until she comes upon temple within the cave and a pyramid-like statue in the center. Her friend Jonah Maiava meets up with her and they both walk around inspecting the pyramid trying to figure out the message on it: a piece of it was damaged so they cannot. Despite a tile trap, one of many traps in the game, Lara and Jonah run out of the cave, narrowly escaping the falling rocks.
Not long after, you arrive at a colorful, creepy Day of the Dead-style celebration, still trying to figure out what the messages mean – but soon after, you flee into the forest once again. Moving forward in the game, you start to realize that the story-line really just revolves around you (Lara); there really isn’t much to do with other characters. The game is mostly Lara traveling through different areas, sneaking around, taking down enemies and finding more artifacts. When ambushing enemies you can find distraction items around and use them to draw the enemies attention.
In the beginning, you are mostly running around in caves. When going through underground caves you must be extremely careful for traps. Just as you are about step on a trap, a button will appear on the screen for you to press so you can avoid sudden death. Throughout the game you will be able to visit your base camp. The base camp is where you can craft new weapons or weapon upgrades, but you need to make sure you have enough resources, which can be found anywhere on land like in plants, pots in caves or toolboxes.
In my opinion Shadow of the Tomb Raider is an extremely fun and entertaining game. I enjoy being able to sneak around in bushes and silently kill my enemies. Another thing I found entertaining is when climbing, you have this axe that you use to attach to the wall to pull yourself up. I really enjoyed the animation of jumping up and hanging on the wall with the axe. When you want to jump onto a new wall or ledge than you have to jump and press square to hold onto the wall. Sometimes Lara will end up slipping and you would have to press square to regain your grip.
The puzzles in this game are sometimes difficult for me to understand. For example, there was this one part where Lara needed to get to higher ground. I didn’t really know how to do that until i started to mess around with the bow and arrow. I had to figure out how to connect a large log to another crater so it could hold, and once I was done I had cut off the string connecting to the crater to let the barrel roll down and crash into the rock, making the rock rise. This helped me to climb up to the top of the cave.
If you are a person who likes solving puzzles in an action adventure setting in the wilds of South America, then I highly recommend getting this game. Shadow of the Tomb Raider will leave you wanting more and more of Lara’s adventures. The story-line leaves you anxious for another journey.
16 year old Desiree Bonilla is a New York Videogame Critics Circle intern. She is the head of the Orlando Videogame Critics Circle at her high school.