Solidly entertaining end to the prequel trilogy, but lame story

User Rating: 7 | Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition PS4

Ending trilogies is hard. Ask The Rise of Skywalker, right?

When a story ends on an unsatisfying note, it transforms the whole, and not for the better. The narrative begins to feel like fan fiction, almost as if someone aped the characters and motifs of the original property without capturing its magic. Unfortunately, Shadow of the Tomb Raider exhibits this odd quality. Its paint-by-numbers premise is cliched and more than a little tired after all these years and similar games, such as the Uncharted series. Lara is searching for an ancient relic imbued with mystical powers, and that quest takes her to Mexico and Peru, where she uncovers -- then plunders -- long-forgotten ruins. It's exactly what all of these games do, without trying to add much to the standard formula. The first two games did it a little better, and had the benefit of feeling fresher than the third iteration.

The gameplay hasn't changed much from Rise of the Tomb Raider, except for the very minor addition of allowing Lara to cover herself in mud, which conceals her from enemies. The combat is quite fast-paced and, just like Rise, is very little challenge on normal difficulty.

Overall, I've played and enjoyed all three games of the prequel trilogy, but I find myself glad that it's over rather than wishing for more. The formula is wearing a bit thin, and I hope that the next Tomb Raider installment makes bolder choices and aims for something higher than competence.