Games: Shadow of the Tomb Raider sees Lara Croft face a jungle boogie in Peru

The First Lady of gaming is back in action in Shadow of the Tomb Raider
The First Lady of gaming is back in action in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (PS4)

By: Square Enix

FOR Tomb the bell tolled in the mid-noughties, but 2013's glorious reboot set fair the iconic series for a new generation of consoles and fans. And now, 22 years since her debut, the world's sexiest grave robber completes an origin trilogy in apocalyptic style.

The third in a saga that ditched Lara Croft’s pneumatic 90s look in favour of gritty, human heroics and where the only bulging chests are stuffed with treasure, Shadow follows on from 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider, with our high-class heroine facing a jungle boogie in Peru. Plundering caskets, unpicking riddles and piling bodies high are once again the order of the day as players attempt to stave off a Mayan apocalypse.

Pilfering an ancient dagger from a Mexican temple, Lara sets into motion a Mesoamerican doomsday, and the only way to make amends is by completing an end-of-days ritual in the hidden city of Paititi, a bustling hub area where you’ll spend most of the game.

Thwarting the evil pseudo-Catholic Trinity once again involves the kind of cryptic silliness that'd make Dan Brown blush, though Shadow’s labyrinthine plot and any pretence to make Lara a culturally sensitive soul soon take a back seat to set-pieces galore as the corpses pile up and you tear into yet another temple for some sweet museum fodder.

An all-the-trimmings blockbuster with more of the Uncharted-style gameplay that made the reboots such great craic, it’s Mother Nature that kicks your a*se in this final act, from tsunamis and hailstorms to belching volcanoes and mudslides. Pre-baked with Lara’s moves from Rise, series vets can leap straight into the wholesale slaughter as they parkour through hallowed ground and stealth or Rambo their way through gun-toting goons like some skinny she-Predator.

Of course, there are plenty of new ways to snuff your foe, from vine-swinging stealth kills to poison arrows that cause enemies to turn on each other, all the while cashing in those skill points by crafting a Croft less-soft.

It all looks fantastic (even without the PS4 Pro boost), with lush travelogue visuals and a buttery flow to the running, jumping and shooting, while a dizzying array of gameplay customisation means players can tweak the difficulty of combat, exploration and puzzle solving independently for an adventure that sates your wanton desires.

And with 336 collectibles to unearth, its 12-odd hours of campaign will stretch as far as your OCD commands.

Despite misguided claims of empowerment, the original Lara Croft could have dribbled from the mucky mind of an adolescent oik – as much a feminist victory as when Namco slapped some lippy and a bow on their yellow disc and called it "Ms Pac-Man".

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, however, closes the book on a genuinely meaningful reboot for videogame heroines. And while it may be Lara’s last for the foreseeable, there are sure to be plenty more tombs needing raided for the First Lady of Gaming...