When Shadow Of The Tomb Raider was released, it was pretty much a no-brainer that I had to pick it up (though confession, I did wait for the Black Friday sale). Tomb Raider was one of the first games I got into, playing it on a family PC in the ‘90s—actually, one of my earliest memories is crawling under shooting arrows and swimming in the Croft mansion.
At least, I assume it was the Croft mansion. My memories are vague and I haven’t revisited that game since.
I loved the first two games released on PS4, and this was one was great too but there’s no doubt it was a little more challenging and I found myself rage quitting more than once. So if, like me, you’re finding this one a little harder, here are some tips that will help you finish Shadow Of The Tomb Raider.
Play To Your Strengths With Customizable Difficulty Settings
One thing that’s actually really cool about this game is the customizable difficulty settings. The games before came with a standard difficulty setting, where you could choose to play the game on casual, normal, hard, or expert. This game actually offers the ability to customize different areas of the game, so you can play to your strengths—whether you want the puzzles, combat, or exploration to be a little harder or a little easier.
You can also turn just one down and still earn a trophy for having the other two at a higher difficulty—for example, if you play puzzles and exploration on hard but have combat on normal, the game still counts as being played on hard mode. Neat!
Complete Side Missions For Experience And Skills
There’s no need to rush through the main story. This game is actually slightly more open world than its predecessors. Tomb Raider has always had a bunch of side quests in the form of challenge tombs and optional missions, but this one has even more and they’re worth taking on to make progressing through the main story a little easier. They offer rewards in the form of experience, which you can then get skill points for, and sometimes even offer weapons that can’t be found elsewhere.
If you’re struggling at some point in the main story, try playing around with some optional missions and get some experience.
And Pick The Skills That Suit You
Skills are what you can buy as you earn skill points throughout the game, and there are multiple skill categories. You can play to your strengths here. There’s no need to try and be even, or make sure you’re buying the right skills—it’s a personal choice. No skill is necessary to complete the game, they just make certain aspects of it a little easier. So work out what it is that you’re finding hard and then buy the skills that will loosen up those aspects for you. You can read about each skill in the skill tree before you buy it, and they’re even color-coded for your convenience.
Pick Up Absolutely Everything
On your way through the game, make sure you’re picking up everything that you see. You never know when you’ll have to heal yourself or craft some arrows, and the plants you go by that you can collect are exactly what you’ll need for those things. You can never have too much of anything, so make sure you’ve picked up everything until you can’t anymore. Even if you feel like you have enough medicine, or enough materials to craft arrows, you never know when your resources will dwindle later in the game and there’s just no reason not to be picking up everything.
Remember Merchants Are A Valuable Asset In This One
Merchants haven’t been a big thing in the Tomb Raider games until this one. Merchants are present in other games though, so you’re probably familiar with them. You can buy weapons from them and other things such as more carry capacity for ammunition. Every time you come across one, it’s worth at least talking to them and seeing what they have so if you ever realize you need something in future, you know to come back to them.
Definitely worth it so you can carry more arrows and bullets around, or at least so you can pick up some special items that are only available from merchants. I like this addition to these games, actually—maybe because I’m a little lazy and like instant payoff for rewards.
Revisiting Areas Is Also Key In This Instalment Of The Game
Something I’ve found admittedly minorly frustrating in this game is that you will need to go back in certain areas. There are monoliths that can’t be translated until you’ve completed something further on, challenge tombs that can’t be entered or completed until you’ve acquired certain pieces of equipment.
I get why they’ve done it, of course. It not only lengthens the game, but it makes the open world a far bigger part of it because it involves going back and forth. Personally, I just get kind of annoyed when I come across something I can’t access, but I’m an impatient person. If you’re used to (and a fan of) open world games, this won’t bother you at all.
Don’t Rush Combat Sequences—There’s No Shame In Rolling Away!
The combat is probably one of the most challenging things about this game. The important thing is not to rush—if you try and move forward too quickly, more and more enemies will spring out of nowhere, alarms will be raised. Hang back and take down anyone you can before advancing. It’s also fine to take your time as you take people out—as long as you’re doing it stealthily or have things to hide behind, of course.
This isn’t really a game where you can just run in and ‘button mash’. You have to aim, take cover, roll out of the way—it definitely requires some practice and some skill. But you’ll get there.
When In Doubt, Look Up
Sometimes, it seems like you’ve hit a dead end. When you’re exploring, trying to get somewhere, following the map, you might come up against a rock and be like, “where exactly am I meant to go here?”
When in doubt, it’s best to look up. If you get stuck, Lara is probably meant to climb up somewhere. Even if you can’t see where you’re supposed to go, sometimes it’s best to just try scrambling up all the walls around you, because chances are she’ll manage to grab a ledge that you didn’t even see was there. The controls in this game are very intuitive.
Your Survival Instinct Is Your Best Friend
You know that instruction that says, “press R3 for survival instinct” and pops up at the beginning of the game? Don’t ignore it. Survival instinct should become your best friend. When this is activated, anything useful in the area is highlighted yellow and anything particularly useful that will help you advance in the game is highlighted blue. If you get used to using this frequently, the puzzles become easier to complete and you won’t miss any useful items in the area, such as crafting resources. It also might help you see something you’re missing if you become stuck with the navigation.
I’m pretty convinced it’s almost impossible to complete this game without relying on this.
Worst Comes To Worst, You Can YouTube The Puzzles
Gasp. I’m a cheat, I know, I know. I don’t do this for every puzzle but if you’re playing on a harder difficulty and don’t want to admit defeat and turn it down over a particularly confusing puzzle… it’s worth searching the puzzle on YouTube and watching someone else complete it.
You can’t do this with combat, of course—this is puzzle exclusive! But it’s super helpful to watch someone else to do it because you can then replicate the steps and successfully get past this part of the game.
I know some people won’t approve of this method, but desperate times call for desperate measures.