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Shadow of the Tomb Raider review: Fighting for my life and loving it – ANITH
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Shadow of the Tomb Raider review: Fighting for my life and loving it

Shadow of the Tomb Raider review: Fighting for my life and loving it

Enlarge / Follow the light, Lara.

The most recent story arc for Lara Croft has dipped into how she came to be the rough-and-tumble Indiana Jones-inspired adventurer we all met fully formed decades ago. Along the way, though, there have been a fair few examinations of her violent tendencies, creating what is essentially a post-modern meditation on the state of gaming culture in the ‘90s (when Croft’s first iteration hit the original PlayStation).

The modern incarnations of the series have stuttered a bit in their character construction, though. The inability to marry the sometimes ruthless actions of this intrepid woman with the cerebral consideration of the ancient and the lost has left her adventures feeling a little stilted.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is, for better and worse, the most extreme iteration of this phenomenon that we’ve yet seen. Now, the oil and water can’t be blended at all, but each is so rich that it can be easy to gloss over the lack of cohesion.

Self-inflicted wounds

Croft’s latest adventure is harrowing, to say the least. Due to some run-ins with an Illuminati-like organization bent on triggering a worldwide divine renewal, Croft and her kind companion Jonah look towards the jungles of Peru. There, they expect to unearth a McGuffin that will stop a potential apocalypse. Those campy, over-the-top madcap adventure stakes are standard fare for these kinds of games, but here they bump against the grimmer, more intense focus on serious gore and intimate evisceration in a way that doesn’t quite gel.

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Anith Gopal
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