Test of Shadow of the Tomb Raider on Xbox One X: an Air of Dj Exploration

The last part of a trilogy that began five years ago Shadow of the Tomb Raider is a little too much of a “tried and true” trilogy.

For many years, Lara Croft was much more than the heroine of a saga that was to become cult. She was a hyper-sexualized icon, famous for her mini-shorts, her generous breasts that made the headlines in Libé and her two guns. Today, it no longer quite fits this description, a remnant from another era when the sexism of video games intended for an audience that was intended to be male, was not questioned. Since the Square Enix reboot in 2013 soberly entitled Tomb Raider, Lara has become a young adult and the license has finally matured. An adventuress was born.

The Japanese publisher has capitalized on this new departure, full of qualities, to give birth to a trilogy. After Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, it’s time for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the opus that brilliantly concludes the epic story of a Lara who assumes her heritage, her status and her destiny. To buckle the buckle of a belt on which twopistols may be fitted, one on each side.

Technological maturity

In the current console cycle, Shadow of the Tomb Raider comes at just the right time and it allows Lara to get dressed up. The technological maturity on which the PS4 and Xbox One are now based offers Eidos Montreal, the studio that took over the torch from Crystal Dynamics, the opportunity to deliver a visual rendering that is a real treat. A rendering which, above all, honours the scenery we have crossed, from the Mexican village during the Festival of the Dead (nice atmosphere), to the rich scenery of Peru, passing through dark and narrow forests. Also, mention should be made of the strikingly realistic underwater environments.

A visual rendering of small onions

This pampered case owes a lot to a technology that we love to showcase: HDR. Eidos Montreal has put a lot of effort into it and, thanks to this choice, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is never far from the topdemo. Much more than just a valet to wave on the cover, the HDR accentuates a little more the contrast between the resolutely more mature tone, if not dark , and the luxuriance of the territories, without forgetting the accentuation of the brilliance of the treasures/reflections or the power of the lighting effects. The gain in resolution allowed on Xbox One X licks the pixels – although you can opt for the smooth-centric mode (60 fps).

Among the few flaws, the few inconsistencies in the framerate at the time the sets are loaded are highlighted. An observation that happens mainly in villages full of characters.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider // Source: Square Enix

Intense moments

In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara Croft must finish what she started, which is to put an end to the actions of the Trinity, a mission to which are added more personal motivations linked to her family. All set against the backdrop of the Mayan apocalypse unleashed by… Lara herself. The adventuress, forced to face up to her responsibilities, believes she is the only one able to prevent the end of the world. A burden that will lead him to make sacrifices and to surpass himself, inevitably, until he overcomes obstacles, whatever the cost.

Rare intense moments

Eidos Montréal, which could not count on the pen of Rhianna Pratchett, screenwriter of Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider, focused on narration. A way for the studio to think first of all to conclude the trilogy on the general plot side. Alas, apart from a few dialogues that stand out, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is part of a form of classicism that builds a little too much on the achievements of its predecessors. And the effort on writing is such that it takes precedence over the rest, starting with the action.

We were expecting a spectacular experience, the memory of the introduction of the Rise of the Tomb Raider (climbing a snow-covered mountain in a blizzard) to stay with us. At the finish, we are more likely to find ourselves facing rare intense moments, certainly breathtaking but too scattered to leave a lasting impression. All the more so as they are, for some, too caricatural, if not sufficiently original. Too bad.

Square Enix

Shadow of the Tomb Raider // Source: Square Enix

Same set as in 2013

When Rise of the Tomb Raidercame out, was deplored by some as 1.5. The criticisms were legitimate: this first sequel looked a little too much like Tomb Raider. Unfortunately, the same can be said of Shadow of the Tomb Raider which, for lack of audacity, is, at best, a 1.75version. So, of course, the gameplay, the fruit of a mastery with nothing to prove and a balance cleverly found, is anything but unpleasant. We just wanted more novelties apart from the rare possibilities integrated into climbing (abseiling, which is very much in demand), infiltration (you can hide in walls of leaves or smear yourself with mud to go even more unnoticed) and aquatic exploration (more anxiety-provoking sequences).

In a word, all too often we navigate through known terrain in Shadow of the Tomb Raider, with the possible exception of passages that pay homage to Predator. Where Lara, aided by the environment, turns her enemies into real prey. The most indulgent will affirm that Eidos Montreal did not want to take the risk of betraying the work of Crystal Dynamics, who had set the bar very (too?) high with the reboot. Except thatone has every right to be demanding with Lara Croft, who would have deserved some breaks, however subtle, to shake up her habits and become the person she aspires to be.

Square Enix

Shadow of the Tomb Raider // Source: Square Enix

Lara Craft

Exploration (a lot), puzzles (a little), gunfights (too little): this is Lara’s daily bread. Nothing’s changed at all. We always go through campfires to unlock skills after gaining levels. You can always improve your weapons with resources gathered from all over. One can always crafter objects useful for survival (best example: arrows). One can always spend one’s time collecting the many collectible s scattered throughout the various semi-open areas of the map.

And then there are the optional Tombs, which come to inflate a lifetime of about ten hours in straight line – without too much force. With a disconcerting ease that had previously been overlooked, they promised to make Shadow of the Tomb Raidera little more challenging, whether it was to locate them or to unlock their secret. Still, this is not the predominant feeling after finishing a few of them. They may be less ridiculous and a bit more complex, but they are far from being based on an insurmountable challenge lasting more than five minutes. Even with all aids disabled (you can set the difficulty of battles, exploration and puzzles independently).

Finally, Eidos Montreal has thought of including some secondarymissions. They have the merit of being well written and not part of a repetitive FedEx quest-style quests, an excellent point compared to the other side tasks, which are more boring and common to all zones. Here again, we are hardly surprised by this structure present since the new Lara has replaced the old one in our hearts.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider is available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.

In brief

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Indicative note : 3/5

Out of ideas and out of breath at a time when she certainly needs it most, Lara Croft is moving a little too far into conquered territory in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. The result is a far from unpleasant adventure, but not unpleasant enough compared to the 2013 reboot. That’s the last straw. 

Eidos Montréal cannot be criticized for its willingness to follow in the footsteps of its predecessors, a not always easy task when you have to replace another studio and want to make a contribution. Here, he did not fall into the trap of infidelity, but rather into that of ease. Lara’s fate was probably a little too traced. 


  • Dreamlike graphics (thanks HDR)
  • Predator-style phases
  • Intense sequences


  • Same game as in 2013
  • Where’s the challenge?
  • Disappointing graves
You May Also Like