New Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay shows off biggest hub ever

It had been alluded to in press releases, but now we finally get to see it. Square Enix released some brand new Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay footage yesterday, showing off what it describes as “the largest hub ever found in a Tomb Raider game featuring a bustling city with challenge tombs, side missions, and more!”

And boy does it look nice. I know I’d previously questioned the graphical capabilities of Lara’s next expedition, but on the strength of this latest video I think most of my reservations have been quashed.

The footage shows Lara discovering a “lost” civilisation, untouched by modern culture and living in the mountain city of Paititi. It acts as the centre for a range of optional paths such as side missions and challenge tombs, and players can also use it to upgrade their equipment by bartering with the inhabitants.

Here are the key things we learn in this new Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay footage…

  • Like Rise of the Tomb Raider, this latest game will feature murals that Lara can interact with in order to improve her translation abilities, enabling her to uncover stockpiles of hidden treasure and other secrets.
  • Paititi’s marketplace will include a bartering system, with Lara trading items that she has collected on her travels in order to upgrade her outfits and weaponry.
  • There’s an optional ‘voice over immersion’ system that allows you to hear the inhabitants in their native tongue, or in a language of your choosing.
  • There’s an adjustable difficulty in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Players can tailor the hardness of puzzles, exploration and combat to their preferred game style. In the video – which highlights a section called Warrior’s Trial – the exploration’s ‘hard’ mode removes the white paint from the sides of ledges, making traversal less obvious.
  • Lara’s ‘breath-o-meter’ will be upgradable, allowing for longer stretches of underwater exploration.

My first impression of this latest footage is very positive. The world is lushly realised and the tombs look quintessentially TR. Also what the team has done in bringing the city of Paititi to life is truly breathtaking in its scale and variety, appearing to take the very best of those small-time titles Assassin’s Creed and Skyrim. Some of the animation looks a tad clunky on some of the NPCs, but I think a Pixar level of detail and animation for every inhabitant might be a bit too much to ask, right?

What are your first impressions of this new Shadow of the Tomb Raider gameplay footage? Excited? Repulsed? Cautiously optimistic?? Let me know in the comments below.

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