Shadow of the Tomb Raider was highlighted in three press conferences at E3 2018; with a trailer at Microsoft, a gameplay demo at Squre Enix, and even more gameplay footage at Sony. Though it seems that the game has taken a backseat compared to other announcements at E3 (cough Smash Bros. Ultimate), it’s not a surprise, given that what was shown so far is not that different from Shadow’s predecessor, Rise of the Tomb Raider (boy these titles are long).

Even if it’s not as hyped up as other titles this E3, we’re still plenty excited for the upcoming Tomb Raider title. Though not exactly for the reason you’re expecting (i.e. story or gameplay)

 

Why not the story?

Story is not exactly a strong suit for the past two Tomb Raider games. Sure they move the games along well, and yes there are quite a lot of cool setpieces (especially in Rise), but for the most part, the stories aren’t too noteworthy. The first Tomb Raider for instance, had a bit of a wonky plot pace at the start, and did not develop the rest of the cast well enough compared to Lara Croft.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s story has Lara accidentally triggering the Mayan Apocalypse, all while being pursued by the paramilitary organization, Trinity. It seems like a typical “saving the world” plot, and while it probably won’t be a trainwreck, we’re not expecting a stellar story either.

 

What about gameplay?

Gameplay is where the Tomb Raider reboot series shines. While hardcore fans of the series may have been disappointed with the easier, more Uncharted-like platforming, the new Tomb Raider games are better than their predecessors in almost every way. Combat is much smoother and more satisfying, and navigating the game world is made easier. Sure, platforming is more casual-friendly, but it did not detract from the experience.

From the new Shadow gameplay demos shown at E3, it’s easy to see that the core gameplay has not changed much. There are bigger and more intricate tombs, and stealth combat is more brutal and intense than ever, but there’s not much innovation.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” right? Well, I could’ve appreciated some new additions to the gameplay. But at the end of the day, I’ll probably still have a blast when I get my hands on Shadow of the Tomb Raider. But gameplay won’t be the main reason this is a Day 1 buy for me. The reason is…

 

The PC Port

The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot has beautiful graphics, and Rise even more so, especially on PC. While the second game may have been released on Xbox first, Rise truly shined on PC, as it pushed the limits of PC gaming hardware on its higher settings.

Up until now, Rise of the Tomb Raider is still among the games used as a benchmark in reviewing gaming hardware and/or laptops. It may already be more than two years old, but running it in 4K and 60fps still requires top-end gear. If you do get it running though, it’s definitely a big achievement.

 

The PC port of Shadow of the Tomb Raider is once again being handled by Nixxes Software (who made the PC port for the previous Tomb Raider games). And like with Rise, Nixxes collaborated with NVIDIA to bring even more graphical enhancements to Shadow of the Tomb Raider on PC. I can’t wait to try out Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and see if our PCs can handle the game in 4K.

 

Not convinced with Shadow’s graphics? Check out screenshots of the game here:

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When Shadow of the Tomb Raider gets released, I’m willing to bet that it will join the ranks of The Witcher 3 and Far Cry 5 as benchmark games for PC hardware reviews. Though if you only have a console, you won’t miss out much as the game still looks hella impressive on the PS4 Pro and Xbox One (if the E3 gameplay is to be belived).

Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be released on September 14, 2018 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.