Shadow of the Tomb Raider, One Month Later

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The latest Lara Croft adventure has only been out for a month and has already had its ending patched and its DLC delayed. And the most prominent fan complaint? It’s been about Croft’s wardrobe, though not in the way you might have expected.

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the third game in a rebooted Tomb Raider franchise, sort of released on Friday, September 14 for Xbox One, PS4 and PC. It actually first was available to play on the 12th for people who pre-ordered the $70 or $90 versions of the game. Lots of games did that this season.

  • If the early access gimmick was engineered to help generate word of mouth from super-fans, it didn’t seem to be sufficient to overcome the omnipresent buzz for the PS4 exclusive Spider-Man, which had launched on September 7.

  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider was mostly made by Eidos Montreal, not usual Tomb Raider stewards Crystal Dynamics, but it nonetheless turned out pretty well. In our Kotaku review, I praised the game’s satisfying traversal systems, the paring back of combat in favor of exploration as compared to 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider and the attempt to tell a story that acknowledges the scumminess of stealing from other culture’s tombs. I also marveled at the game’s three difficulty sliders, which allow players to separately adjust the toughness of combat, puzzles and exploration. I was less impressed with the game’s loss of narrative focus in its second half as it became a more typical action adventure.
Illustration for article titled Shadow of the Tomb Raider, One Month Later
  • The game’s pre-release and day-one patches added a photo mode and improved the physics of Croft’s hair, according to patch notes. Those notes didn’t mention the wee little detail that the game’s post-credits cutscene was replaced as well. That fact that the game quietly got a new ending didn’t emerge until nearly a week after release. That’s when a fan on the unofficial Tomb Raider forums discovered that they’d seen an ending others hadn’t and then were hounded for a day by skeptics who thought they were trolling. That fan replayed the whole game so they could capture their ending and receive some proper apologies. Only then did the game’s creators admit that, whoops, they’d shipped the game with the wrong ending.

    The new post-credits cut-scene is thematically similar to the original—both, without spoiling things, feature Lara Croft reflecting on the past and pondering her future—but the one removed from the game has more overt teases to the potential return of some pre-reboot aspects of the series.

  • A glitch temporarily blocked some of us from an outfit. It might have been the early access release date thing or perhaps just a garden variety PlayStation Network bug, but several players, including me, found themselves unable to connect the game to its season pass and receive an associated special Tunic of the Exiled Fox outfit. That bug was fixed about a week after release.
Illustration for article titled Shadow of the Tomb Raider, One Month Later
  • It turned out to be a feature, not a bug, that prevented players from changing Lara into most of her outfits while exploring the game’s huge main hub, the hidden city of Paititi. Players reach Paititi several hours into the game, at which point Croft is automatically outfitted in a blue dress that is said to signal her sympathy with the city’s rebels. She can’t change to many of her other outfits as long as she’s in the city, possibly to indicate that she’s trying to not look like a conspicuous killer/explorer/plunderer. The game even makes a show of how she packs her guns away when she enters Paititi and gets them back out when she leaves.

    Shadow’s subreddit and message boards have regularly been filled with fans wondering if the game is broken and then debating whether the wardrobe limitations were a good design decision. (There are also some who lament a lack of short-short outfits for the less sexually objectified reboot Lara Croft, but that’s not been as abundant.)

  • The game’s photo mode drew a lot of praise, understandably so given the game’s beautiful jungle scenery and the option to change Croft’s expression in goofy ways. Shadow’s Twitter feed regularly highlights top images from weekly photo contests.
  • The game’s DLC has been slightly delayed. The season pass, which is prominently hyped in Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s main menus, promises an unprecedented seven months of new content, with a focus on a new tomb each month, as well as some added missions. That monthly content was supposed to start rolling out in October, according to an official offer, but in early October, the game’s publisher announced that the first add-on tomb wouldn’t arrive until November 13. Weirdly, since the additional tombs can be played in co-op it’s only through this season pass that the game will get any form of multiplayer.

Former Editor-in-Chief. Kotaku forever!


Cayde-6's Unloaded Dice

The new climbing stuff was mildly interesting, but it didn’t really change much. I can’t really explain it, but it just seemed like a set piece addition. Like the new features weren’t used enough in the actual exploration puzzles or Tombs, they just kinda showed up when you were getting from Setpiece A to Setpiece B.

The open-exploration parts of the map felt pretty claustrophobic, even if they were technically larger. I guess the jungle nature of the setting reduced the lines of sight compared to the more sparse vegetation of the Siberian levels in the previous game.

Also, I kinda missed the amount of hunting and combat in RotTR, especially considering how different weapons were more accessible, since you could choose which ones to buy instead of waiting for the game to dole out the parts to you in a pre-determined linear fashion. In Rise, I frequently found myself going back to certain levels to hunt for skins, especially bear and other legendary skins. With Shadow, I never needed to do that because the of the Monolith treasure caches. I mean, it is true that Lara isn’t really struggling to survive in this story like in the first two, so the gameplay mechanics do jibe with the narrative. I guess my thing is that I’m not a huge on open-world exploration and being a completionist, and I find trying to hunt down every single item/object is tedious, so I find combat and hunting more interesting than running a search-and-recovery grid over every square inch. But that’s just me.