Shadow of the Tomb Raider is upon us, and it ties up the origins trilogy with Lara Croft's journey into Peru to find an ancient artifact that can cause untold destruction if it falls into the wrong hands. You'll need to be at your best to stop Trinity once more, and since we've been playing through this new adventure for ourselves we've got a few pointers to help you when you step into her shoes. After all, this game does require you to Become the Tomb Raider, and that's not an easy task.
1) Use Survival Instinct... all the time.
Like with the previous games, one tap of a button activates Survival Instinct, showing you items of use in the world like plants for materials, boxes full of crafting gear, and enemy locations. This is the number one tool for survival in this world, and you should use this a lot to make sure you're collecting everything you need to, with upgrades also helping you see more with this ability. It also shows if enemies are safe to kill without being seen in battle, so don't be afraid to use your instincts.
2) Stealth is a priority for a reason
Lara Croft is no superhero, and despite her commendable deeds she can't take bullets very well. That's why direct firefights are never an ideal solution to a brewing conflict, even on the easier difficulties. Instead, stick to the shadows. A one-hit kill with a knife or a well-placed arrow is better than pumping lead into a soldier and attracting goons from all over the place, and it's also way more satisfying to take down a group silently without anyone knowing you're even there.
3) Be very careful with skill points
You might be used to upgrades and skill trees in games, but here there are a ton to choose from, and with very limited points at your disposal you'll have to make your choices very carefully. What's more is that you should always think ahead at what abilities you'll want to unlock in the future, since you might need to unlock others before you can get to it. Take your time, look at all the options, and don't feel overwhelmed by all those icons staring you in the face.
4) Visit merchants regularly
Paititi is the lovely hub world that Eidos Montreal and Square Enix has built, not least because merchants in the city allow us to sell our items as well as purchase new ones. Weapons, crafting materials, and a whole lot more are in stock with these traders, so if you want to become a deadlier warrior or just need a little extra gear before you set off on an expedition, pay these guys a visit.
5) Challenge tombs aren't just fun distractions
Tombs are nothing new in this particular series, but it's still worth reiterating that these aren't just a fun aside for you to distract yourself with, nor are they just there for completionists to tick off. These actually contain very useful skills that aren't available on the skill tree, as well as gear with added perks, so it's worth exploring to find these hidden locations, especially since you might be able to gain a cheeky profit from what you find too.
6) Tailor your difficulty
A new feature in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the ability to modify the difficulties of puzzles, exploration, and combat individually, which means you can really customise your experience. If you like the power fantasy, for example, whacking it down to easy will make you much more likely to survive a brawl, while moving puzzle difficulty down to easy will result in Lara giving you much more direct instructions about what to do. Play around and see what suits you.
7) Experiment with your methods
Lara's favourite weapon in this origin trilogy is obviously the bow, as she's been using that to take down Trinity goons for five years, but there's plenty more to spice up the combat. You can craft shrapnel and smoke bombs on the fly to create diversions and confuse your opponents, for example, and thrown items can also act as distractions to separate your prey from the pack. Creative players will be rewarded, and there are plenty of weapons to deal damage with too.
8) Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade!
In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it's not just about upgrading Lara with skill points, but also improving your gear with upgrades that require materials. Take the bow, for instance, as all of the bows can be upgraded to improve damage, the time it takes to draw, how long you can hold a drawn shot for, and more. Even firearms like pistols, shotguns, and assault rifles can be improved, so there's even more reason to hunt for resources.
9) Improve your language skills
Throughout the world you'll find a number of ancient dialects in your path, placed in tablets that Lara can read to improve her skills in said language. In fact, there are a number of items that can improve your understanding of ancient cultures, which then allow you to decipher monuments elsewhere that require a higher level of knowledge. Who knows, there may even be some reward for building those linguistic skills up...
10) The map is a useful tool
It should go without saying, but despite the linear nature of the story there's a big world out there for Lara to explore, and the map will not only help you keep track of where you are, but also show you key locations to explore. Since you can fast travel between base camps as well, it's always worth backtracking and using the map to find secrets you may have missed upon first inspection.
11) Swimming is a must
There's no way round it; there are a lot of swimming sections in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. To make your life easier though, you should make sure you always look for pockets of air while you're exploring underwater, and also look for branches of the skill tree that let you breathe for longer when submerged. Stick to the long weeds as well, becaues eels and piranhas will be looking to nip at you all the time, be sure of that.
Those were our tips for Shadow of the Tomb Raider in order to make the most of your time in the jungle, but did we miss anything? Let us know.
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