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Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the second sequel to Tomb Raider (2013) after Rise of the Tomb Raider, in which Lara starts the final game in her Survival trilogy. Seeking a lost dagger, she accidentally triggers the Mayan Apocalypse.

The game was released on Windows, Playstation 4 and Xbox One on September 14, 2018. On 20th November, it was announced that the game was set to have a MacOS and Linux port released sometime in 2019, once again ported by Feral Interactive, who have also ported the other two games in the trilogy in the past to these platforms.

Cinematic trailer, gameplay trailer

UNMARKED SPOILERS for Tomb Raider (2013) and Rise of the Tomb Raider ahead! Continue reading at your own risk!

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This game provides examples of:

  • Acrophobic Bird: The helicopters largely get destroyed because they're way too close to the action, allowing people to jump aboard or structures to be collapsed on them. Justified in the oil field fight since it's acting as gunship support for ground troops, which does require operating at low altitude. In the finale, helicopters are again fighting ground forces, and are forced into close proximity by the fact that they're operating in a cavern. A large cavern, but nevertheless a cavern.
  • Actionized Sequel: Inverted. Combat is much less frequent than the previous entries, focusing more on exploration, platforming, and puzzles... unless you own all the DLC tombs, which roughly doubles the amount of combat encounters you'll have to go through, and some of the ensuing shootouts there are massive.
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  • Action Survivor: As always. Lara survives a tsunami, a plane crash, a mud slide and at least is used as a sacrifice. Jonah also goes through quite a lot over the course of the story.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Dominguez is a rather sympathetic villain who gets a tragic and honorable death.
  • An Axe to Grind: Lara keeps her two climbing axes from Rise, including the related skills and upgrades.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • The Cult of Kukulkan's iconography draws heavily from the local fauna. The three castes that play an active role in the game are Serpent Guards (priests and elite warriors), Eagle Archers, and the Jaguar Warriors, who act as city guards and patrols. All three tend to wear elaborately decorated helmets styled after their namesake animal.
    • Lara herself has a more subtle jaguar motif going on. The first special outfit she acquires is made from the pelt of the first empress jaguar she killed personally, she stalks the jungle like a jaguar, and the top tier of her makeshift knife refers to the beast by name.
  • Apocalypse How: Starts out as a Class 0 due to a series of natural disasters, but these are just the precursors to the real thing that would result in either a Class 2 or a Class 3a, depending on what the Big Bad has in mind. We never learn the details, but it seems to veer closer to 3a.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: The only weapon Lara is allowed to carry in Paititi and its surroundings is her bow; you can't even upgrade her guns at base camps in the greater area. Similarly, she can't wear any outfit that isn't mostly or fully Incan. Some combat segments do give her access to her full arsenal, but it's not something you should count on most of the time. The arbitrary part comes from the fact that these restrictions persist even after their purpose - keeping Lara's presence hidden from the Cult of Kukulkan - is gone.
    • It gets even worse once you reach the point in the story where Lara infiltrates the Cult of Kukulkan because, unlike the Vestige Outfits, the Serpent Guard outfit you're forced to wear for several tough battles doesn't provide any buffs whatsoever.
    • One other exception to the outfit limits. If you did Rise of the Tomb Raider on a linked account, and got the Baba Yaga DLC, the Wraithskin outfit looks the part well enough they let you wear it in town. Though you're a bit limited on who you can talk to.
  • Armor Is Useless: Nope. Armored enemies invariably wear helmets, which means they're immune to stealthy insta-kill headshots, which in turn forces you to adopt completely different tactics if you want to avoid messy one-against-twenty shootouts. Needless to say these enemies can also soak up significantly more body shots than their unarmored buddies, making them quite the headache compared to the low-ranking cannon fodder. Fortunately, their armor doesn't protect them from poison of any kind, so once you unlock fear arrows, poison grenades and co., these guys become much less of a hassle.
  • Artistic License – Physics:
    • Lara can now climb along the underside of overhangs once she acquires the appropriate gear. While that's within the limits of what a skilled climber can do, jumping several meters from one overhang to another on the same height level is physically impossible. The only way to make this stunt work would be to temporarily reverse gravity.
    • If one extends this to Artistic License - Materials, the Jaguar Knife certainly counts. It's stated to have an obsidian blade, a jet-black volcanic glass that looks nothing like how the knife's blade is portrayed in-game. In fact, the Jaguar Knife's blade is the same as Lara's crudely sharpened plane propeller, only darker colored. This is especially odd because accurately modelled obsidian blades show up numerous times in the hands of Cult guards or as integral part of the countless blade traps everywhere.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: This happens to the Yaaxil at the end of the post-game quest Eternal Reward. With their duties on Earth fulfilled, they return to the goddess that created them to watch over the Silver Box. All Lara finds when she goes looking for them is a trail of discarded Yaaxil armor pieces, an ominous and inactive gateway forged from pure silver, the half-mask she was given for the ritual that stopped the apocalypse, and a final message from, presumably, the Crimson Fire herself.
    Farewell... Lara.
  • Badass Boast: A Trinity soldier finds a tired, somewhat wounded Lara...
    Grunt: Well, looky what I found...
    Lara: Don't try me.
  • Bag of Spilling: Lara starts in Mexcio with a full arsenal of weapons and gear, but when her plane crashes in the Peruvian jungle, Lara loses everything and has to regain her arsenal one piece at a time.
  • The Beastmaster: Someone among the Kukulkan cultists seems to have enough of a knack for taming big cats that they managed to deck out fully grown jaguars in ceremonial armor and let them loose in the jungle to scare off adventurous Paititi folks.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Shadow continues the trend from Rise that no matter how much abuse Lara suffers, none of it sticks for long. Being shot in the arm by a helicopter-mounted minigun barely leaves a graze that's gone a few cutscenes later, any mud she covers herself in is removed once the stealth segment ends or she jumps into water, and at the end of the day Lara looks as flawlessly gorgeous as always. Getting clawed in the back by a jaguar and a rock dropped on her leg in the opening merely get variations of "I'll be fine" before being ignored. Conversely, Jonah gets a parasitic worm pulled out of his arm early in the game and wears the bandage through to the end.
  • Beyond the Impossible: With the Eagle's Wing skill unlocked, Lara can potentially recover more arrows from a corpse than she shot into it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lara kills Dominguez, avenging her father's death, and stops the apocalypse. Trinity's High Council is also wiped out by the Yaaxil, effectively toppling the ancient order for good, and Paititi is in good hands with Etzli as its new king. However, none of this changes the fact that Etzli's mother is dead, along with god knows how many innocent people as a direct result of the disasters Lara unleashed by taking the dagger, which is something she'll likely have to live with for the rest of her life.
  • Bling of War: Promotional content includes golden and platinum versions of the Bishop 600 pump-action shotgun. The latter sports additional intricate engravings along the flanks, but their stats are otherwise identical to the basic model's.
  • Boom, Headshot!: As in the previous games, Lara can shoot unhelmeted mooks in the head for a One-Hit Kill that gives bonus XP as opposed to body shots that don't.
  • Boring, but Practical:
    • The basic models from each weapon category are also the most balanced, often even the most powerful overall. Fully upgrade them and you're set for the rest of the game.
    • Animals respawn almost every time you switch regions via fast-travel, some like eagles and condors give huge amounts of XP, and certain outfits increase the experience gain from hunting even further, making this a boring yet effective method of Level Grinding.
    • As usual, opening resource containers and picking up collectibles gives a bit of XP. There are hundreds, if not thousands of them scattered across the world, so diligently exploring every nook and cranny can rack up a mountain of skill points without the dangers of combat.
    • Also as usual, your starting handgun has great stats all around, packs a punch, is extremely accurate, is one of the few weapons that can be silenced, ammo is plentiful (relatively speaking), and Lara can carry enough of it to dominate any combat segment without too much trouble. If you're a half-decent shot, the AB .45 is the only gun you'll ever need as long as you aren't fighting Yaaxil.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: A cutscene example, the unamed Trinity mook who fights Lara at the beach puts up an impressive fight, especially as he isn't even one of their Elite Mooks.
  • Bragging Rights Reward:
    • The New Game+-exclusive outfits aren't any more or less useful than the ones from the base game, so anyone running around and taking screenshots in them either does it because they like the looks or because they want to say "hey look, I beat the game!"
    • The Magic Touch skill lets Lara craft more special ammo from fewer resources on the fly, which would be incredibly helpful if the challenge tomb that unlocks it weren't accessible in the post-game only where there's not a whole lot left to do with it. At least you can take it with you into a New Game+ campaign.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory:
    • Purchasing the Gold or Croft Edition unlocked several unique weapons with stats on par with a fully upgraded basic model right off the bat. One of the bows (the Exiled Fox's Bow) may even qualify as the best bow in the game. Same goes for the outfits, all of which confer bonuses that come in very handy at various stages of the story.
    • Half the game's challenge tombs are paid DLC. Every single one comes with additional weapons and outfits, the former of which includes the game's only suppressed assault rifle and the only suppressed shotgun. So, if you want to go silent with something beyond the basic pistol, you'll have to pay for it. Said shotgun is also the most powerful weapon of its class overall, with a maxed-out damage rating that can blow away virtually anything in one shot while retaining great range, accuracy and ammo capacity.
  • Broken Bridge: Paititi in particular has a lot of passageways to adjacent areas that don't become accessible until certain main or side quests open them up.
  • Bullet Time: The Scales of the Serpent skill unlocks the Focus herbal mixture that slows down time while aiming any weapon. Two upgrades are available to increase the duration and improve the effect, respectively, and killing ten enemies in Focus mode nets you an achievement.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Side quests are back, but unlike the ones in Rise that directly supported the Remnants' fight against Trinity, the ones in Shadow have absolutely nothing to do with the main plot. The apocalypse is drawing nearer by the hour, yet Lara always finds the time to solve a Murder Mystery or chase after people all over the city to get some random boy's dice back.
  • Collapsing Lair: Virtually every time Lara picks up a plot-critical artifact, or at least thinks she's about to, the building she's currently in has about a minute left to live before everything comes crashing down around her.
  • Continuity Nod: One of the documents Lara can find at the Porvenir Oil Fields was written by the Trinity sniper who shot Ana in the previous game's final cutscene. It also reveals that Rourke was the guy on the radio who gave the order to spare Lara.
    • Escalates into a Continuity Cavalcade in the final cutscene, with items from the first (the Stormguard General's broken katana, or an Oni mask) and second game (the polyhedral Atlas to Kitezh, among others) on display in Lara's office in Croft Manor.
    • If you have save data from the other two Tomb Raider games, you get costumes based on those games, even those that were DLC. It gets even funnier when you have costumes that make her a low polygon version of her old version.
  • Convection Schmonvection: One level has Lara dive through a flooded tunnel whose bottom consists of fissures spewing glowing-orange lava into the water. It doesn't have any effect on her although the water should be boiling even without her coming close enough to the lava flows to touch them, which she must do at some points.
  • Cool Mask: Lara gets to wear three: a skull mask for the Mexican Day of the Dead in the Action Prologue, a Serpent Guard helmet while Dressing as the Enemy about halfway through the story, and an ornate ceremonial half-mask that wouldn't look out of place in a Fifty Shades of Grey movie for the Final Battle.
  • Covered in Mud: Lara can cover her skin in mud to help her blend into mud-covered walls to set up a nasty surprise for any oblivious mook that passes by. It also helps conceal her heat signature once Trinity starts using infrared goggles that can see her in grassy hiding spots.
  • Crack Is Cheaper: In-Universe, ammo and crafting resources can be purchased from merchants, but they're so insanely expensive that doing so is out of the question unless the situation is really dire. For reference: handgun ammo costs about 120 gold pieces per bullet, with human enemies dropping 50-100 coins and mined gold nuggets being worth 50 coins apiece. A later patch reduced ammo prices by half, but they're still far from affordable on a regular basis.
  • Cutscene Incompetence:
    • They may be rare, but some cutscenes mess Lara up although the given situation wouldn't have been too much trouble in actual gameplay. One of the worst offenders is her death scene in the petroleum deposit challenge tomb where she gets killed by two bog-standard wolves without even putting up a fight. Granted, she's wounded from the fall, but that's never stopped her from kicking ass and taking names before, either.
    • For a Cutscene Indolence example: the very definitely final battle against Trinity involves the bad guys setting up a tripod-mounted M2 Browning machine gun in a cutscene when they spot Lara entering the room. Lara just stands there and watches until the gunner starts throwing tons of lead her way, forcing her to sprint from cover to cover to escape the withering firepower.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Contrasting her occasional incompetence, some cutscenes let Lara pull off amazing stunts beyond even the insane feats she's normally capable of, such as the awesome knife fight she has with a Trinity mook in the late game.
  • Darker and Edgier: It's Mayan, there are human sacrifices, and Lara unwittingly triggering a series of natural disasters directly results in countless deaths that weigh heavily on her conscience. Her arsenal of murder has also expanded and now includes the most brutal melee kill animations in the rebooted series.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Human Sacrifice is ultimately necessary to prevent the death of the sun. The Yaaxil, brutal and vicious monsters, team up with Lara in the end, and Lara ultimately lets Crimson Fire use her as a sacrifice to save the world.
  • Difficulty Levels: The game has a new mechanic for this: setting the difficulty levels for traversal, navigation, puzzles, and combat separately, so the player can pick and choose how easy or hard they want those individual aspects to be rather than just using a single difficulty meter for the whole game.
  • Disposable Pilot: There're three people aboard the plane to Peru: Lara, Jonah, and pilot Miguel. Take a wild guess which one doesn't make it out alive.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Halfway through the Paititi arc, Lara is given a Kukulkan priest's serpent outfit to infiltrate the cult's stronghold.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: At one point during the final mission, you get told that Trinity's High Council has arrived at the scene. A couple of minutes of parkouring later, and you get told that they've all been killed. Considering that these people have arguably served as a Greater-Scope Villain for the entire trilogy, this off-handed treatment may come across as somewhat anticlimactic.
  • Dull Surprise: While there's little to be said against the main cast's voice acting, the hub cities' NPCs got a lot of flak for theirs, and with good reason. Most of it sounds like the actors are simply reading out their lines without any info on the context or their character's emotional state at that moment.
  • Dummied Out: The original, unpatched version of the game shipped with a different ending, in which Lara receives a letter from Jacqueline Natla (her first Big Bad and arguably her Arch-Enemy), tying the prequel trilogy into the events of the original Tomb Raider games. This ending was quickly removed in a day 1 patch, as the dev team reveals that it being included in the final version of the game had been a mistake, as they did not want to tie down their new continuity by linking it to the original games.
  • Durable Death Trap: By now they've become so prevalent that Lara herself lampshades how something so old can still be fully functional (and very deadly) despite being exposed to the elements for centuries without any maintenance. That said, a few of them do break down after Lara is done with them.
  • Enemy Mine: For the Final Battle, Lara teams up with the Yaaxil, the creepy underground-dwelling Morlock-things you've probably come to hate to fight by that point.
  • Epic Fail: Soon after Lara arrives in Paititi, Etzli is captured by the Cult. Lara and his mother Unuratu stage a rescue that frees Etzli, but gets Unuratu captured instead. One of her men, Hakan, tries to free Unuratu, only to fail and get himself captured, too. It takes Lara involving herself in this mess to rescue everyone. No wonder the game was critized for making the locals look like they can't get anything done on their own. On the other hand, Lara's "rescue" of Unuratu leads to her having to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to keep Lara from being captured, so arguably Lara's involvement is just another stage in the ongoing Epic Fail...
  • Everything's Better with Llamas: Domesticated llamas can be found in Paititi and the San Juan Mission. Lara can pet them, and there's even an achievement for petting five different ones. Wild llamas also appear in one area near Paititi where they can be hunted just like any other docile game elsewhere.
  • Fan Disservice: The Yaaxil Queen's ceremonial gear shows a lot of skin, but the camera stays on her face, which is deformed, lipless, and has Scary Teeth. In the rare shots where you can see something, she's inhumanly pale and covered in blood, and the focus is still on her creepy stare.
  • Foreshadowing: Just entered a new area with lots of stuff to hide in, but no enemies in sight? Don't worry, they'll show up soon enough.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • Lara may occasionally refuse to move any further, like there was an invisible wall in the way. Usually fixes itself after several repeated attempts, but if it doesn't, reloading the last checkpoint is in order.
    • Inventory space is slightly bugged, having only enough space to hold the items in the game and failing to account for any outfits or weapons from preorder or old save bonuses. This unfortunately means that several tedious achievements, Dr. Croftnote  and Completionistnote  are harder to acquire. If you have these bonuses and also try buying items such as extra weapons, outfits, or ammo/resource storage upgrades, towards the end of the game, your inventory will be invisibly full and artifacts or documents will fail to register properly when you pick them up (it's possible to get around this by avoiding acquiring those upgrades, but you'll probably want all the help you can get). Additionally, sometimes Monoliths can glitch out where the Resource Caches never spawn in the locations they are supposed to, leaving you with all regions at 100% but something like 99.5% completion overall. Thankfully, all of these issues were patched about a month after release.
    • The Xbox One version (and possibly the others) has a tendency to load at inopportune times, causing everything onscreen to freeze while it tries to access the data. This can even occur during a QTE, which is a guaranteed failure.
  • Genre Blind: In the Nightmare DLC episode, despite all the betrayals, traps and ambushes she's experienced by this point, Lara still approaches a creepy woman who's apparently praying alone in the middle of the predator-infested jungle with next to no visible caution. Predictably, bad things happen (Mushroom Samba, to be specific).
  • Gorn: While nowhere near the levels of Tomb Raider (2013), Shadow still features several spectacularly gory scenes of violence and mutilated bodies.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • There's a special merchant that sells gadgets like the lockpick or the rope ascender, both of which are required to access a lot of valuable treasures. This merchant unlocks during a lengthy side quest in Paititi, doesn't have an icon to locate her on the map, and she disappears once the quest is completed, only to pop up at semi-random places all across the huge game world. If you didn't purchase the two items mentioned above the first time you met her, good luck finding her again without a guide.
    • A bunch of weapon attachments now only fit specific guns instead of the whole category, even if the description in the merchant menu says something like "for all rifles". This specific example for instance (the rifle suppressor) can only be mounted on the WASP 11 submachine gun, just like the pistol suppressor only fits two out of four available handguns (five, if you count pre-order DLC gear).
    • The largest ammo pouches and item bags are unlocked through a skill that can be taken at virtually any time, but the merchant that actually sells these items only shows up on the penultimate map roughly 85% into the story. This isn't mentioned anywhere, so it's easy to sink a bunch of skill points into something that won't pay off for a very long time.
    • The knife upgrades actually qualify as different selectable weapons for some reason. Normally, this isn't a problem, as upgrading the knife makes you automatically equip the upgrade, but during the Playable Epilogue, the selection quietly shifts back to the basic knife, preventing you from opening Braided Rope barriers until you go into the inventory screen and change it, which you never needed to do before.
  • Guns Do Not Work That Way: With a side of It Works Better with Bullets thrown in. The Umbrage is a powerful, accurate and above all, natively suppressed assault rifle that, for some reason, completely lacks a magazine in its well. It can look quite jarring to players with even basic interest in firearms, especially since the Umbrage's menu icon does show it with a magazine loaded.
  • Grenade Spam: Trinity just love their hand grenades to force Lara out of cover, and the further you progress in the story, the worse it gets. They're also freakishly accurate throwers no matter the distance, so prepare to spend half the battles desperately dashing from cover to cover.
  • Harder Than Hard: The hardest difficulty setting Deadly Obsession locks navigation, combat and puzzles at the hardest setting and only allows the game to be saved at camps. Given some sections involve prolonged combat, deadly traps or challenging platforming sections (or all of these), parts of the game become marathon levels with a Final Death Mode thrown in.
  • Hellish Copter: While the Trinity gunships in Rise posed a massive obstacle to the Remnant, the ones in Shadow - while still deadly - usually end up going down in flames within minutes of their arrival, mostly because their pilots are idiots.
  • Heroic BSoD: Lara goes through one after she embarks on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for the supposedly-dead Jonah, killing dozens of people and blowing up an entire oil refinery in the process. Jonah snaps her out of it pretty quick, but it's still painful to see a normally fearless Determinator like her reduced to a sobbing mess.
    • After witnessing Cozumel get swamped by a tsunami, Lara simply loses it, screaming at Jonah that they have to leave now to prevent other disasters from happening. The knowledge that she caused it by taking the dagger plays a large role in it.
  • Human Sacrifice: The Mayan civilization plays a central role in the plot. Of course there'd be human sacrifices. Lara herself volunteers as one after the Final Battle to stop the apocalypse, in an obvious effort to atone for her role in starting the whole mess in the first place. Thankfully, the intention alone seems to have been enough to appease the gods, and she survives unharmed.
  • Iconic Outfit: Lara's famous blue top returns in this role, albeit in a different, high-tech-looking version. You can, of course, switch back to the original at any base camp if you don't like the new look.
  • Idiot Ball: Trinity grab it and go for the touchdown when they bring their entire High Council along for Dominguez' ritual to remake the world without any knowledge of what they're facing. Predictably, they and all their remaining forces are wiped out in short order, destroying the ancient organization once and for all.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Lots of ways for Lara to suffer this, like falling into the water during the Cozumel tsunami, failing to dodge a spear trap, messing up her escape from Cult guards early in the Paititi arc, or choosing the wrong answer in a certain late-game puzzle concerning the Stations of the Cross.
  • Infant Immortality: Brutally averted. When the natural disasters strike, at least one young boy is shown being killed by them in full detail only a few meters from Lara.
  • In Harmony with Nature: The dark version, since Nature Is Not Nice and Lara's in a Hungry Jungle. Lara being in tune with the environment around her makes her brutal and terrifying.
  • Item Crafting: In addition to the weapon upgrades, arrows, special ammo types and improvised explosives from the previous games, Lara can find unique pieces of traditional Inca garb (called Vestige Outfits) that need to be restored at base camps before they can be worn. There's even a skill dedicated to reducing the amount of crafting resources required.
  • It's Always Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Lara visits during a Day of the Dead in modern Mexico. Justified in that she's tracking a nearby Trinity cell and is using the festival as cover.
  • Karl Marx Hates Your Guts: In a first for the series, Lara can trade for equipment and resources at merchant stalls throughout the game world, all of which charge way more for stuff than they pay her for it.
  • Level Grinding: Although humanoid enemies don't respawnnote , animals do so almost every time you fast-travel to another region, so don an outfit that increases XP gains from hunting and go nuts. High-level animals, birds especially, give very respectable amounts of XP, making this a Boring, but Practical method to grind skill points. Even the loading screens advise this.
  • MacGuffin:
    • For the main story, the Dagger and the Box, two Mayan artifacts that can either remake the world if combined, or destroy it if kept apart.
    • A lengthy side quest chain in Paititi has Lara hunt down three sacred relics (a horn, an amulet and a bow) for a coronation ceremony.
  • Machete Mayhem: Lara improvises a machete out of a broken plane propeller, making it into one of her signature weapons.
  • The Many Deaths of You: After downplaying it in Rise, this game continues the reboot's trend of brutal Lara death animations. The first game still has the worse ones overall, though.
  • Mayan Doomsday: And Lara was the one to start it.
  • Mayincatec: Played with back and forth. The story starts with Lara investigating Maya ruins in Central America, only to find clues in them that lead her to Peru instead, into Inca territory (which the locals are quick to point out). Later she finds ruins there that belong to neither, leaving even her stumped as to who built them.
    • Paititi is a literal Mayincatec city. It was founded by Maya that left Mexico and settled in Peru to protect the Silver Box. They needed help from the local Inca to survive since their farming and hunting techniques were unsuited for the rain forest. Trinity used Aztecs to infiltrate the city as the Cult of Kukulkan and take control.
  • Mighty Whitey: A great many reviews have leveled harsh criticism at the game for having a rich white woman waltz into a tribal people's jungle capital, be named the queen's confidant within minutes of arrival, and then start solving all the local's problems. While the main plot from thereon actually averts this (most of the bad guys Lara fights in Paititi and surroundings are outsiders themselves), it sure holds true for all the side quests.
  • Mood Whiplash: The flashback sequence to Lara's childhood is a heartwarming and charming segment where you explore Lara's Big Fancy House on a self-styled adventure to free the White Queen within her father's vault. All the while, Lara is narrating her own actions and having a good time as a carefree child. Then the segment ends and Lara walks into her father's suicide complete with Please Wake Up for good, heart-rending measure.
  • Mook Horror Show: Lara hunting Trinity agents through the forest looks and feels like something straight out of Predator, assuming you do it right and don't get spotted.
  • Most Writers Are Adults: Etzil sure as hell neither talks nor acts like the 12-13 year old he appears to be. Justified in that children in tribal environments were expected to grow up fast.
  • Mushroom Samba: The Nightmare DLC episode sends Lara on a short but grueling one.
  • Nemean Skinning: Lara can use a jaguar pelt as part of her outfit. Especially after killing the jaguar it belonged to.
  • New Game+: After beating the game, you can start a new playthrough with all the weapons, upgrades, gear and abilites you've unlocked by that point. The second run also receives a brand new set of skill trees as well as special equipment pertaining to them.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Lara taking a Mayan dagger triggers an apocalypse.
  • No-Gear Level:
    • Lara loses most of her gear after Trinity attacks her and Jonah after they escape Paititi following Unuratu's death. The only thing she can do is use stealth kills, use booby traps on bodies and rig throwables into bombs to even the odds.
    • The flashback sequence with Lara as a child at Croft Manor is essentially a platforming and puzzle section with no weapons involved. Justified given the setting.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Despite everything Lara and Jonah have been through, they never get together romantically in this game, which serves as the ending of the Trinity trilogy. Instead, Jonah meets a woman from a local town near the Hidden City and they hit it off. She helps him throughout the game and the ship is confirmed during the ending. This also makes sense, since the reboot series is supposed to be a prequel to the original Tomb Raider games, and in those games, Lara is still single.
  • One Hit Poly Kill: The Silver Strike bow isn't all that impressive in terms of overall stats, but its fully charged arrows can punch through body armor or, alternatively, multiple unarmored squishies in a row. YMMV on how useful the latter is in practice, considering that body shots with this weapon are too weak to kill in one hit, so the same Trinity mooks have to line up at least twice for you to actually score a poly-kill with one arrow.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Weapon damage. Ammunition is extremely scarce in this game because it's only found where it logically makes sense, which means wherever Trinity mooks are active. However, most of the time you'll be battling Kukulkan cultists, Yaaxi and animals instead of Trinity, and while you can buy firearms ammo from merchants, it's so hideously expensive that stocking up on bullets even once can easily bankrupt you. It's therefore imperative to maximize the damage you can deal with what little ammo you can carry, so going for the spray-and-pray approach with fast-firing, low-damage guns won't get you very far in the long run.
  • Panthera Awesome: Jaguars serve as the game's top-tier predatory species akin to the bears from previous games. Strangely, there are no regular jaguars to be found except the one that serves as the game's Wake-Up Call Boss. Only the rare empress jaguar can be hunted for its pelt despite regular jaguar pelts being required to craft a lot of weapon upgrades and outfits.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Lara at some point receives a face-concealing Serpent Guard outfit to infiltrate the Cult of Kukulkan. While the outfit itself is genuine, her cover should be blown the moment she opens her mouth to talk to any of the cultists. She's not a native speaker after all, and it's highly unlikely she learned to speak the local language without any accent in mere days. Even with most of the cultists being Trinity agents from outside Paititi, the guards should be able to tell the difference. Plus, she's still openly carrying all her very non-Incan equipment (climbing axes, walkie-talkie, flashlight, ammo pouches, thigh holster for her handgun, snap-hook on her knife), which should give her away at first glance. She's also the only woman in an exclusively male organization and at least one head shorter than any of the real Serpent Guards.
  • Piranha Problem:
    • Underwater levels have Lara needing to hide in seaweed beds to avoid patrolling schools of piranha or they'll chew her to pieces.
    • Unlike the regular piranhas that can be avoided, one DLC challenge tomb uses a piranha infestation to justify its particular brand of platforming. There, any contact with the water at all deals high DoT that'll kill Lara in about five seconds, but at least it's possible to survive if you manage to climb back out quick enough.
  • Plot Hole: The previous games made a token effort at least to explain why Lara was forced to fight her enemies without weapons at some points in the story, and how she got them back later on. This game does neither. Her gear simply disappears for no apparent reason and then shows up again out of thin air once the devs decided it was time to allow the player to go loud once more.
  • Power Up Let Down:
    • The basic guns you get when you unlock a new weapon category are very well-balanced across the board, with great stats overall and no weaknesses whatsoever, and they only get better with every upgrade. The other weapons are expensive purchases from merchants, must be upgraded from scratch and usually pay for better performance in one stat with significantly reduced performance in at least two others. The basic handgun is also one of only two models that can accept the very useful suppressor, with the other having much lower per-shot damage.
    • The much-touted mastery skill trees available in New Game+ runs aren't nearly as OP as the advertising often suggests. For starters, there's only three skills per "tree", compared to ~20 skills each in the base game. Their effects are nothing to write home about, either, with most being extremely situational or requiring some setup before they can be used, and even in the rare case you actually do get to use them, they won't help you that much anyway.
    • Speaking of New Game+: while the Redding Bolt-Action rifle and the Viper Bite bow do have their uses, the Jaguar Knife not only doesn't have any combat value, it's actually worse than the base game knives because it lacks the final tier's special trait of harvesting more resources from slain animals. It's basically just a reskin of the knife's second tier that looks cool but doesn't offer anything beyond that.
  • Primal Fear: Due to the prevalence of caves and water features, there's quite a few sequences that seem designed to invoke claustrophobia in the players, particularly when Lara has to go through very tight tunnels and keeps getting stuck. In some cases she's trapped underwater, making it a race against time before you drown.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Lara allows herself to be used as a proxy to sacrifice Kulkalkan, since she's the one who ignited the Cleansing in the first place. Presumably since she went willingly, she gets to live while the god she's incarnating is sacrificed.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better: Sadly, no. The one revolver in the game, the J&D Model 27, deals more damage than any other handgun, but its other stats are far and away the worst in this category even when fully upgraded. Its semiauto equivalent, the River Hawk (a barely disguised Desert Eagle), deals only slightly less damage with much better overall stats. To add insult to injury: the River Hawk can be unlocked for free by completing a simple early-game sidequest, whereas the J&D is an expensive purchase from the Kuwaq Yaku trader.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: When Rourke gloats over the radio that he killed Jonah, Lara visibly snaps, grabs a machine gun, drops a Cluster F-Bomb and cuts a bloody swath through a platoon of Trinity mooks including a heavy attack helicopter.
  • Sadistic Choice: Subverted by the New Game+-exclusive skill trees and equipment. Starting an NG+ run makes it sound like you'll be stuck with whatever specialization you pick for the rest of the game, but the skills you didn't choose can be acquired the usual way once you've unlocked all others in their respective tree, and the special weapons can be purchases from merchants. The only thing you effectively choose at the beginning is which skills and equipment are unlocked automatically for that run.
  • Scenery Porn: Never before has the franchise looked so gorgeous.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Maned wolves show up, acting as Savage Wolves and an enemy for Lara in some tombs.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Shadow is noticeably more difficult than both of its predecessors. Chances are you won't make it through this game without getting Lara killed in various gruesome ways several dozen times at least.
    • Ammo is extremely scarce overall, making every shot you take with something other than a bow a calculated risk. Bows themselves require careful aim to be effective because only headshots can take down enemies reliably and quickly.
    • Traversal has become a lot more unforgiving, with smaller margin of error for jumps and reaction checks, coupled with an expanded skill set that requires quick thinking to combine properly, especially in the late game.
    • Challenge tombs seriously up the difficulty with tons of lethal traps and, occasionally, significantly tougher puzzles. Worse, some of them also throw considerable numbers of enemies into the mix.
  • Sequel Hook: After the optional post-game mission Eternal Reward, when asked if she has plans for the future, Lara answers with a knowing smile that all but screams "my life of adventure is far from over".
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Fear Arrows can be used to make any humanoid enemy go berserk and attack their buddies until they themselves die from the poison, very similar to the poison blade from Assassin's Creed II onwards. You get an achievement for getting five enemies killed by Unfriendly Fire.
  • Shipper on Deck: Lara notices Abby's interest in Jonah a lot sooner than Jonah himself does, and so she takes the first chance she gets to politely excuse herself and Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: Shotguns don't deal their full damage until the target is close enough to stick their finger(s) in the barrel(s).
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Lara's a lot buffer than in past games, and her tank top helps show it off.
  • Slippery as an Eel: Moray eels team up with piranhas and plain old drowning to make your life miserable while underwater. Thankfully, and unlike piranhas, moray eels can be fought off and thus neutralized permanently without much trouble, so they look more intimidating than they actually are.
  • Sniper Pistol: Three of the four available semiauto handguns have upgrade options to fully max out their accuracy rating. This makes them the most accurate firearms in the game, surpassing even the New Game+-exclusive Redding Bolt-Action rifle, which is this game's closest equivalent to a Sniper Rifle. It also means that, thanks to its added benefits of high damage and ability to mount a Hollywood Silencer, the humble AB .45 pistol is the most efficient long-range weapon in your arsenal, better than the actual sniper rifle you can't even acquire in the base game.
  • Something Completely Different: Early on in the game, there is a memory-as-a-dream sequence of a young Lara playing around and inside her manor home as an adventurer. She's working on finding the "White Queen" and it turns out to be a puzzle game that leads to a room most likely occupied by her mother at some point. It turns out Lara's just as precocious a climber in her youth as she is now, and it's set right before her father is found dead.
  • So Much for Stealth: As powerful as murderizing mooks from stealth is, it's just as easy to get spotted and suddenly have bullets flying everywhere. It is possible to return to stealth mode by staying out of the enemies' sight for a short while, but that's easier said than done because most enemies are utterly relentless in their pursuit.
  • Spiders Are Scary: Twofold. Firstly, most regions have spiders the size of Lara's hand scurrying around everywhere, and although they're harmless to her and tough to spot without Survival Instinct, their mere presence may give arachnophobes a hard time. Secondly, those very same spiders are the source of the venom you need to craft Fear Arrows that send humans into such an intense state of terror that they gun down anyone they can see until the poison kills them.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Severely downplayed, compared to the previous titles. Explosive arrows are no longer part of Lara's arsenal, least of all cluster grenade arrows, and even her underbarrel grenade launcher was merely capable of shooting poison gas grenades until a later DLC tomb added a skill that unlocks explosive grenade crafting. The only regular lethal explosives she can use against enemies are the ones lying around on the battlefield, which mostly boils down to Explosive Barrels and the occasional gasoline canister repurposed into a firebomb. It all plays into the game's focus on stealth combat over massive shootouts.
  • Swiss Cheese Security: Although Paititi's prison complex is situated in a difficult-to-access location and does boast a guard garrison, the latter are few in numbers, especially around the entrance. Even someone without Lara's insane climbing skills could easily get in by overwhelming them in a frontal assault, if the prisoner they want to get out didn't already break down their dilapidated cell walls and escape on their own by that point.
  • A Taste of Power: Lara starts the game with a full arsenal of bow, pistol, shotgun and assault rifle for tailing Dominguez and Rourke in Mexico. Naturally, she loses everything but the bow the moment the Action Prologue ends.
  • Teleporting Keycard Squad:
    • Raising any kind of alarm among enemies during stealth segments instantly spawns an additional squad out of nowhere. The initial garrison doesn't even need to discover Lara. All it takes is the markers above their heads filling up completely in white, which makes them establish a search grid of the area, and all it takes for that to happen is someone discovering a dead body, or any explosion going off. Needless to say, blowing Lara's cover just makes this a whole lot worse. Your one saving grace is that this only happens once per area.
    • During the Final Battle, enemy reinforcements spawn just out of sight every time you do something important, like disabling any of the three altars, or triggering one of the cutscenes with Dominguez when he's stunned.
  • Terror Hero: Lara's always been frightening to her enemies, but this game sees her weaponizing it. She uses hallucinogens to turn enemies against each other, leaves enemies hanging from trees to frighten others, and prefers to stealthily pick off soldiers one by one. She's very much The Dreaded to Trinity at this point, after taking out so many of their cells, and she's more than happy to exploit it. There're few things more satisfying than to hear seasoned Trinity veterans almost crapping their pants upon being told that Lara Croft was last seen in their vicinity. Even the ones that sound more confident seem more than a bit nervous about the prospect and their odds of making it out alive.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lara gets a vicious one from herself (courtesy of a Mushroom Samba) in the Nightmare DLC episode, mirroring her Survivor's Guilt and occasional My God, What Have I Done? moments.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Downplayed. Some late-game Trinity mooks now wield shotguns and wear infrared night-vision goggles that can spot Lara through vegetation. No more lurking in the underbrush with impunity for you, although the guys tend to be easy to sneak up on even so as long as they keep following their initial patrol routes. They also rarely look up when they're searching for her, so hiding in the tree tops is as viable as ever, especially with all the nasty tricks Lara can now play on hapless mooks passing by below her...
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: An eclipse is part of the Mayan apocalypse myth, with the fate of the world being decided when it is at its peak. The game's final chapter plays out while the eclipse is progressing, and the sun on the evolving loading screen changes depending on your story progress.
  • Trailers Always Lie: That scene with Lara knifing a Mayan priest in the back before he can perform a Human Sacrifice, only for the sacrifice to flee from her in terror? Never happens in-game.
  • Translation Convention: You can toggle whether or not the villagers of the Mayan Hub City speak in their native language or the language the game is set to. It's meant to improve immersion for the player, but since Lara continues to talk in her posh upper class English regardless (which the locals understand just fine), the contrast tends to come across as a bit silly instead.
    • A document reveals that when Trinity took control of the city 400 years ago, they had the priests teach the Paititians English.
  • Undying Loyalty: Jonah, to Lara. He won't leave her side even when it seems that she's triggered an apocalypse, insisting that it isn't her fault.
  • Unfriendly Fire: The whole point of Fear Arrows - shoot one mook and Pass the Popcorn while you watch him kill any of his buddies that enter his line of sight. If you choose the target wisely, entire squads can be taken down this way in one shot, with the only downside being that you don't get XP for the indirect kills.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: All enemies in the No-Gear Levels wield guns, but Lara never even tries to pick up any of them after she killed the owner.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Lara really didn't know that taking that dagger would trigger a bona-fide apocalypse. She just wanted to prevent Trinity from getting it.
  • Useless Useful Stealth: Stealth is extremely useful in a game whose heroine is a fragile Glass Cannon waging a one-woman war against an enemy with vast numerical superiority. However, this only works as long as you can keep dealing One Hit Kills. This becomes nearly impossible to do at range once all enemies start wearing helmets (read: well before the halfway point), which makes Lara's numerous silent weapons including her bow completely useless for this purpose - fail to instakill a single target and everyone in the area charges Lara's position immediately. The only way to keep stealth viable by this point is through melee finishers, and this becomes increasingly challenging the further you progress, plus there are a lot of segments that simply don't allow you to play stealthily.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You get an achievement for immolating a defenseless turkey with a flare.
  • Walking Disaster Area: Lara seems to be hit with this a bit harder than usual. Her taking the dagger triggers a chain of devastating natural disasters that kill countless people across various regions of South and Central America.
  • The War Sequence: Once per Episode. This time it's used to make the leadup to the Final Battle feel suitably epic.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The priest in the trailer is trying to prevent the apocalypse through the sacrifices. In the game proper, Big Bad Dominguez most definitely is one as well, and it's revealed that he killed Lara's father to keep Paititi hidden.
  • What Have I Become?: In the first official trailer, Lara asks herself this exact question after mowing her way through mooks and killing the high priest, only for the sacrifice to run away from her in terror.
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