Just finished playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider and can't believe how much it's different than the last two games. Sure a lot of core mechanics are same but everything else has been changed. Eidos Montreal did the right by targeting darker tone unlike the last two games. Lara is also a grown up now, and I haven't heard her whine about anything even once in an entire game. Her voice is heavier and isn't annoying like the last two games either. Another thing that this game brought to the table was the good story and storytelling which lacked in the last two games. Characterization is hugely improved. Graphics are one of the best and I really liked the addition of hub worlds with side quests. These quests are well crafted and are like mini stories on their own.
It not only adds more to the lore of the world but also rewards you with rare items, new abilities, skill points and gear. Tombs are designed really well and you can turn on the difficulty which hides almost all the hints from gameplay (including detective vision until you unlock certain abilities in skill tree towards the end of the game when things are happening faster), so you are left on your own to observe environment and solve those puzzles to proceed. Each tomb brings its own unique flavor with it, unlike the last two games where most of the puzzles were about shooting rope arrows and moving crates. Clothing is not just some after thought skin stuff for style either. Each dress has its own pros and cons just like some streamlined version of armors in an RPG. Enemy encounters are brilliant. Most of the game is about hiding in bushes, covering your body with mud to make it difficult for enemies to spot you, becoming a predator and solving puzzles, but every once in awhile you have to take on enemies directly and these encounters are few but well crafted.
Overall, it was a great experience. Definitely much better than Rise of the Tomb Raider which was full of mindless set pieces, pushing crates and had whiny Lara who just had to do everything as if she was entitled to do so. This time she has to do it because she messes everything up in the first place and gets attached to likable characters around her. Set pieces are also part of the story this time. They are few but they are necessary to progress the main plot. Not to mention, the main antagonist was also a three dimensional character. His faction was not shown as some chaotic evil. They were all trying to save mankind but each character had his or her own vision to achieve that goal.
PS: The game is also a lot more difficult, and you'll die a lot. Keep using performance enhancing drugs to keep odds in your favor.