Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is the third game of the most recent reboot of the Tomb Raider video game series. The game comes developed by Eidos Montreal and Crystal Dynamics, but is published by Square Enix. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is currently available on PC, Xbox One and PS4.
When first seeing the early trailers for this game back when they first started appearing on the web, I was quite excited about the game. This current Tomb Raider series is actually one of my favourite video gaming series’ in recent years. The first Tomb Raider was excellent back when it was first released and Rise Of The Tomb Raider did a lot to build on the foundations of the first game in a much better way. So with this third Tomb Raider game, my expectations were undoubtedly quite high.
In many ways my expectations were certainly met and in some ways they maybe weren’t. I’ll detail a few reasons why and a few reasons why not.
The thing that you will notice and many people notice about Tomb Raider games is the graphics. With each game in this series, or even as the last few years have went by and Tomb Raider games were being released, with each release came an enormous expectation and many marketing presentations about how great the new game in the series looked. With Shadow Of The Tomb Raider, many would have noticed the many videos littered around the internet by NVIDIA marketing people about the new ray tracing technology and its use in Shadow Of The Tomb raider.
I must say that the graphics in this game are exceptionally good. I played through the entire game on PC and marvelled at appearances, shadows and textures in the various levels in the game. I’ve seen the game running on both Xbox One and PS4 as well and it’s quite good looking as well. But I chose PC this time round (previously played Tomb Raider on PS3 and Rise of The Tomb Raider on Xbox One) as I was keen to see how far I could push it on my machine. I would say though, for the PC audience that you do need a fairly powerful gaming PC to play this game on the highest settings and resolution with a high frame rate (60+), but could do well on the lower-medium settings with a lower end build.
Another plus of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is the excellent musical themes and sounds within the game. Much of the levels will have you listening to a variety of dramatic melodies as well as more quieter themes and some scarier tunes. There was a good balances of these tunes throughout the game and at times, the musical pieces really did add to the atmosphere of playing inside a very tribal jungle environment.
The gameplay in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider has been improved and tweaked quite a bit since the last iteration. You will be doing a lot of swimming, with a variety of levels requiring Lara to dive deeply and for long periods. There’s also a lot of climbing and new rappel down abilities which help Lara to reach new areas she couldn’t before. I actually did really enjoy the climbing aspect of this game, there’s quite a lot of it and while it wasn’t always easy to see where to go, timing the jumps at times was a challenge.
Additionally, compared to previous titles in the series, Shadow Of The Tomb Raider does rely much more on stealth and Lara can do more stealth related things such as covering herself in mud so she can’t be seen so easily and also hiding in walls covered in mud or shrubs. The stealth section was quite good, but often times I found the areas where you needed to stealth to be not large enough for me to get around enemies to flank them or to approach the same area differently each time. As the stealth areas were quite narrow in their layout I often found myself just taking down enemies one by one and simply moving in a straight line from one bush to the next as I did so.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider also allows you to yet again use Lara’s various weapons to get through enemies, which include a bow, assault rifle, shotgun and handgun. While I do enjoy the action mechanics quite a lot in this game and in the franchise in general. I felt that in this game, there just wasn’t enough of these moments and when they were there, they weren’t big enough moments. In many ways Rise Of The Tomb Raider is the better action game, whereas Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is stronger in exploration, puzzles, stealth and climbing.
Shadow Of The Tomb Raider also utilises a levelling up system where Lara can learn new abilities. But the way it was laid out and the rate in which you unlock things wasn’t too useful. The abilities themselves are good, but often times I found myself not really needing much more than what I had. The bow was enough at the beginning of the game to keep using it all the way through it. In addition to this there was also a bunch of traders you could speak to, who you can trade with for various in game items and resources. This was okay and in theory it’s a great idea. But throughout the game, I had picked up so many things that my inventory was always full and I never really needed to buy anything. The lack of action in the game also meant that my bow was always ready with a full inventory of arrows, I never felt low on resources once.
The story of Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is a little bit hit and miss. In some parts it’s quite good and taking the game into the jungles of South America gave this game in the series a unique setting and feel to it. While the game starts off strongly and the story is quite intriguing, especially as you start to explore Paititi with Lara. For some reason the middle section of the game really does drag on. You start to get involved in the local politics of the natives and to me it seemed all a little out of place and Lara’s character didn’t seem to fit in well with all of that. Luckily though, the final third of the game is quite excellent and once things start picking up again it’s a complete joy until the end.
The story did shine in certain parts and there was a lot of work put into developing the Lara Croft character. There’s certain moments where you explore Lara’s childhood which give a great perspective into the younger Lara Croft and in the game Lara deals with some very dark issues regarding her own actions and that of her friends. Overall, there were some truly great Lara Croft moments in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider.
The voice acting in Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is quite good. Camilla Luddington who voiced Lara Croft is a great standout. Her performance in this is one of the best in the series and she’s now completely embodied the Lara Croft character. It’s hard to imagine the next Tomb Raider game without that distinctive voice, so hopefully it won’t be too long before we have Camilla back on again voicing the character. Unuratu was also a well voiced character, her voice was from Patricia Velasquez who some may know from her work in The Mummy Returns (2001). There was also some good work from Earl Baylon who voices Jonah.
Overall Shadow Of The Tomb Raider is a decent action adventure game to have in your collection. The game has some really great things going for it such as its graphics which are amongst the best in gaming in 2018. It also has some great voice acting from Camilla Luddington, Earl Baylon and Patricia Velasquez. The music is excellent. The stealth gameplay as well as the swimming and grappling mechanics are nice additions to the franchise. Shadow Of The Tomb Raider’s main plot is quite intriguing and is strong in the beginning and in the end, but does get bogged down quite a bit in the middle section of the game. With regards to the plot though, I did appreciate the effort put into developing Lara Croft as a character and Shadow Of The Tomb Raider did have a lot of very strong moments which Lara went through that do add quite a bit to the character. This is decent action adventure game to consider buying this year, fans of the Tomb Raider franchise likely don’t need much convincing to go out and get this one and they’re the ones likely to enjoy this game the most.
Sea Of Solitude Review
Sea Of Solitude is a game which was developed by Jo-Mei Games and was published by Electronic Arts. It is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC via Origin. It is a single player third person adventure game. The game has the player control a character named Kay who explores an abandoned and flooded city.
This was a game which caught my eye only very recently when I first heard about its release. After watching the trailer, I thought the art style, strong colours and animations looked very interesting. Also as a person who went mad one day and subscribed to EA’s Origin Premiere late last year so that I could play some games I had missed out on over the years, I was pleased to see something new added to the store that wasn’t a typical Electronic Arts style major franchise game. Knowing I could get this one for free was enough to give it a go. But if you’re not part of that program to get it for free, I’d say that the $26.95 asking price for this digital title is certainly worth it.
The game isn’t too long, most hardened gamers will probably be able to finish this one in a single session, which I actually managed to do yesterday morning. I didn’t time myself, but I’d say to expect about 3 or so hours out of it, a bit more if you look around for collectables.
On the surface, Sea Of Solitude is about a young girl named Kay, who is searching through a city, which is for some reason flooded. You start the game all alone on a tiny boat, way out at sea on the water. You make your way to the city, where you find a monster clad in darkness is blocking your path. Through exploration and activating certain things, Kay brings light to an otherwise dark city.
Underneath the main plot though, is a game with strong messages and themes related to loneliness and relationships. Kay as a character is someone who has become lonely, isolated and quite depressed after issues with her family and her boyfriend. The game sends the player on a journey to free Kay and other characters from suffering from the effects of loneliness and related themes. What I didn’t expect this weekend, was to play a game which seemed to have the objective of tackling these mental health issues in this way and I never expected to play something this weekend from the gaming genre with such deep meaning to it.
In many ways, Sea Of Solitude reminded me of my experience with Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice which was also a game that focused on mental health issues and is still a game I hold in very high regard. Both of these games were experiences that I could not put down once I started playing as I just had to find out what was going to happen with my character. Games tackling these mental health themes and the issues involved are quite rare in this medium, so when an experience like this does come along, it’s very unique and interesting. The difference between Sea Of Solitude and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is that Sea of Solitude is a little lighter in tone and not the intense gruelling experience that Senua’s was. This makes a player’s time with Sea Of Solitude one that is peaceful to experience.
The art style in Sea Of Solitude is something I enjoyed looking at. The animations are very rounded, colours stand out on the screen and the use of blacks in contrast with visibly bright blues, whites and orange was what I loved the most. The music and also the voice acting, was soft and did fit in well with the tone of the game’s themes and art style. All together, visuals and audios seemed to be just right.
The gameplay in Sea Of Solitude is something I’d say is probably a little simple. It’s essentially a platforming game where you will jump, swim, drive a boat and shoot flares onto enemies. There aren’t any button combinations to learn or any level up systems. The game is accessible to people of most ages and even to people new to gaming could easily pick this one up and get through it.
Overall coming out of playing Sea Of Solitude, I was filled with positivity and happiness. The story is quite heavy when playing through it, but very warm in the end. The art style and animations are nice to see and the sound and voice acting was just right. I do like to see that the games industry can use the medium to tackle such heavy topics and release games like this which show how well this medium can tell a story and provide its audience with something of great meaning. I’m happy to recommend Sea Of Solitude for your gaming collection.
Stuber is a film which comes directed by Michael Dowse and stars Dave Bautista, Kumail Nanjiani and Betty Gilpin. The film is an action comedy adventure about an Uber driver and a policeman who go on a wild ride together.
Going in to see Stuber I didn’t really know where to set my expectations. Knowing only that the film was a comedy, meant I went in for the lols and didn’t expect all that much from the story. But coming out of the film, I’m sorry to say, but it’s not really that great.
The film starts off okay and the opening scene features both Vic (Dave Bautista) and Sara (Karen Gillan) engaged in a dangerous shootout with some bad guys. Both are seriously injured and Vic loses his eyesight, which means he gets some urgent surgery. His eyes need time go recover, but as soon he’s able to walk he calls for an Uber and continues on with his police business, which is catching the bad guys who got away in the opening scene. This is where Stu (Kumail Nanjiani) comes in and the journey between this awkward duo begins.
I wish I could say that it was all good once the Uber ride began but it wasn’t. The film is only really mildly funny. Dave Bautista who I do really like in action films really isn’t great at comedy. Kumail Nanjiani basically was just screaming and yelling the whole time and talking about his Uber rating and reviews. I admit I did find some of the bad reviews he got from his previous customers in the film funny when they were shown, but that’s about it. Some of the jokes were also drawn out way too long. Dave Bautista’s character being blind was kind of funny in the first minute when you saw him trying to walk around without being able to see. But it’s only funny once and they did this joke over and over again almost all the way until the end!
In addition to this, for quite a bit of the film, I wondered if this was some sort of product placement or advertisement for Uber. There were so many mentions of Uber, Uber reviews and the difference between Uber products and services. What are we paying to watch here? Who cares about Uber!?
In the end I would suggest avoiding Stuber at the cinema this week and choosing literally any other film currently showing. After leaving this I instantly thought that Stuber needs to be on my list of worst movies of 2019 which I created just after seeing this and that says a lot because I was not compelled to make one after seeing X:Men Dark Phoenix.
The Biggest Album Debuts of 2019: Updated Chart
The Biggest Album Debuts of 2019 – Billboard has been publishing a list of the most popular albums in America every week since March 1956. They include the “equivalent album units” for the albums in the top ten. What’s not included is a way to view the biggest debuts for each year.
For anyone else who is curious, here is a chart that ranks the biggest album debuts of 2019.
- This only covers first-week album sales in America that debuted in the top ten on the Billboard 200 chart
- EPs are included in this list
- “Equivalent album units” factor in traditional album sales, concert ticket/merch bundles and streaming numbers
|Artist||Album||First Week “Units”|
|Jonas Brothers||Happiness Begins||414,000|
|Ariana Grande||Thank U, Next||360,000|
|Billie Eilish||When We All Fall Asleep||313,000|
|BTS||Map of the Soul: Persona||230,000|
Tyler, the Creator
|Death Race for Love|
|165,000 (1) (2)|
|Vampire Weekend||Father of the Bride||138,000|
|DJ Khaled||Father of Asahd||137,000|
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