Be this year’s Indiana Jones. Only with skill trees & no Y chromosome.
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Update (19/9/2018): Added Challenge Tombs
The third instalment in the second Tomb Raider reboot is out in the wild. So far, it’s quite a hoot if you fancy action games with a ton of spelunking, jumping, and puzzle solving. And if you’re a fan of tombs; this game has a lot of them.
There’s also some narrative about Lara worrying about her actions and the collateral damage she causes, but we’re not here to talk about ethics in graverobbing; see Mr Toffee’s upcoming review for that.
Instead, we’re here to dish out tips on how to graverob and fight well in this Tomb Raider entry.
Play It Almost Like The Past Tomb Raider Reboots
Shadow of the Tomb Raider may be a decent action romp, but it sure isn’t original and new. Which isn’t a bad thing; it just means that the skills you have from Tomb Raider (2011) and Rise of the Tomb Raider can be used again here. You can stealth kill as per usual, but now you can cover yourself in mud for better hiding and even use hangman-style kills. You still need scavenging and crafting skills from the past game so you don’t come out empty-handed.
Upgrade The Bow
Be sure to upgrade your most important weapon as well, the bow and arrow. Bow and arrow kills are not only quieter than guns, they also allow you to retrieve your bow after you shoot it, meaning you’ll almost never run out of ammo. This will save you a considerable amount of currency as well since you won’t have to keep restocking each different gun with their respective bullets. Once you have enough money, materials, and points, be sure to upgrade to the Recurve Bow.
Turn Off Hints & Keep The Game To Native Dialogue
You should play the game without any distractions and instead take your time exploring. At the same time, you should be immersed in the game’s Peruvian setting so that it feels like you’re in a whole other game-tailored world.
Keep Doing Sidequests When You Can
Shadow of the Tomb Raider introduces towns and hubs for you to buy stuff, converse with the natives, and most importantly partake in sidequests for loot and skill points. Yes, they can be a bit rote with the “kill X guards” or “talk to X amount of people” kind of tasks, but they do get varied later on.
For example, completing the very first sidequest for the first village you come across will net you the River Hawk handgun which packs a helluva punch at the start of the game. If you like free stuff that gives you a boost, sidequests are the way to go.
Choose The Best Skills For Your Playstyle
Early on, you get access to a campfire and have three types of skill trees: Seeker, Scavenger, and Warrior. If you want to go guns ablazing or be combat-ready, the Warrior tree is the way to go. Seeker helps you with gathering craft materials and boosts to her Survival Instincts. Scavenger boost your stealth kill techniques and swim speed. All three of them are equally useful given Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s focus on ruins with underwater segments and its abundance of paramilitary adversaries.
But really, since crafting and upgrading your weapons and kit is pretty important and you’re stuck in the jungle pretty much all of the time, you may want to focus more on the Seeker & Scavenger tree so that you don’t come out empty-handed without health potions and other buffs. Since the game lets you conserve more items when taking the stealth approach, the boons in the Scavenger tree can be beneficial.
Speaking of which…
Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s Skill Trees
Before we list down ALL of the skills, here are our suggestions for which skills you should get first early in the game. We feel that these work together in tandem with one another.
- Eagle’s Sight (Seeker) – Reveal Artifacts, Monoliths, Treasure Chests, Archivist Maps, and Explorer Backpacks while using Survival Instincts. You can find stuff easily when you press the right analog stick.
- Owl’s Vision (Seeker) – Survival Instincts last for a longer period after Lara starts to move. Highlights enemies, resources, and objects in “One With the Jungle” difficulty. Lara’s version of Batman’s Detective Vision stays on longer.
- Serpent’s Strike (Scavenger) – Perform a Stealth Kill Takedown without alerting nearby enemies.
- Serpent’s Fury (Scavenger) – Kill a second enemy during a Stealth Takedown to perform a Chained Takedown. Like in the last FarCry game, chain stealth kills = less enemies to deal with.
- Puma’s Brace (Warrior) – Resist damage from enemies for a short period of time after healing wounds in combat. This and Jaguar’s Fury will help you out even if you trigger the alarm by accident.
- Jaguar’s Fury (Warrior) – Resist damage from enemies for a short period after performing a Stealth Takedown.
- Kinich Ahau’s Boon (Warrior) – Health is instantly restored once when near death in battle. Refreshes between encounters. Second wind during a fight is always a welcome ability.
Note: you can’t jump to a 3-point skill that’s away from the center of the skill tree. You need to buy adjacent skills before purchasing a specific skill. For example, you can’t buy Viper’s Lure unless you bought Boa’s Coil because they’re adjacent to each other.
Eagle’s Sight (1 Skill Point) – Reveal Artifacts, Monoliths, Treasure Chests, Archivist Maps, and Explorer Backpacks while using Survival Instincts.
Eagles Grasp (2 Skill Points) – Increase the chances of finding rare animals.
Eagle’s Wing (2 Skill Points) – Increase chances of recovering arrows when looting enemies and animals killed with a bow.
Owl’s Vision (2 Skill Points) – Survival Instincts last for a longer period after Lara starts to move. Highlights enemies, resources, and objects in “One With the Jungle” difficulty.
Owl’s Meal (1 Skill Point) – Gain the ability to harvest Dart Poison and Venom from Spiders and Beetles. Harvesting requires Makeshift Knife.
Illipa’s Sight (1 Skill Point) – Locate the heart of a large animal while using Survival Instincts. Heart shots inflict massive damage.
Owls Wisdom (2 Skill Points) – Reveal Challenge objects while using Survival Instincts.
Hoatzin’s Step (1 Skill Point) – Reduce noise from jumps, landings, and falls.
Crow’s Cunning (2 Skill Points) – Reveal Traps while using Survival Instincts.
Crow’s Charm (3 Skill Points) – Negotiate better prices from Merchants.
Crow’s Hoard (3 Skill Points) – Large capacity ammunition and resource satchels now available to purchase from merchants.
Viper’s Nest (2 Skill Points) – Increase the amount of man-made crafting resources gathered from each source.
Eye of the Eagle (acquired through story) – Perception Plants allow the sensing of animals and natural resources throughout the environment.
Eye of the Eagle II (3 Skill Points) – Boost the potency of Perception Plants, adding the ability to sense human enemies.
Eye of the Eagle III (3 Skill Points) – Perception Plant effects last longer.
Serpent’s Strike (1 Skill Point) – Perform a Stealth Kill Takedown without alerting nearby enemies.
Serpent’s Fury (2 Skill Points) – Kill a second enemy during a Stealth Takedown to perform a Chained Takedown.
Serpent’s Glint (2 Skill Points) – Adds a Flare Round attachment to all pistols. Flare Rounds ignite unarmoured enemies and blind surrounding enemies for a few seconds.
Serpent’s Fang (3 Skill Points) – Flare Rounds and Concussive Shells stun enemies for longer periods of time.
Boa’s Coil (1 Skill Point) – Automatically loot enemies killed by a Stealth Takedown.
Boa’s Blow (3 Skill Points) – Craft Concussive Shells that temporarily stun enemies. Useful for returning to concealment.
Viper’s Lure (2 Skill Points) – Craft Lure Arrows that attract and kill nearby enemies with a poison cloud when triggered. Obscure lines of sight.
Viper’s Snare (2 Skill Points) – Craft Lure Traps on enemy corpses. Attract and kill nearby enemies with a shrapnel explosion when triggered.
Viper’s Venom (3 Skill Points) – Craft Poison Grenades. Kill nearby enemies and obscure lines of sight.
Caiman’s Speed (1 Skill Point) – Increase speed when swimming.
Caiman’s Breath (2 Skill Points) – Increase breath capacity when swimming underwater. Stacks with Caiman’s Breath.
Anole’s Needle (2 Skill Points) – Vestige outfits require fewer resources to restore to glory.
Puma’s Rest (1 Skill Point) – Increase precision by holding Charged Shots for a longer time.
Puma’s Brace (2 Skill Point) – Resist damage from enemies for a short period of time after healing wounds in combat.
Puma’s Feint (2 Skill Points) – Incapacitate unarmoured enemies with a counter-attack after dodging.
Puma’s Charge (2 Skill Points) – Reach full draw weight more quickly. Reduce time between Charged Shots.
Jaguar’s Fury (2 Skill Point) – Resist damage from enemies for a short period after performing a Stealth Takedown.
Kinich Ahau’s Boon (2 Skill Points) – Health is instantly restored once when near death in battle. Refreshes between encounters. Second wind during a fight is always a welcome ability.
Howler’s Speed (1 Skill Point) – Never slip when grabbing ledges. More reaction time for traps and grappling enemies.
Howler’s Troop (3 Skill Points) – Loose arrows simultaneously at two locked targets.
Howler’s Troop II (3 Skill Points) – Loose arrows simultaneously at three locked targets.
Raposa’s Threat (1 Skill Point) – Visual assistance when aiming at an enemy’s head.
Raposa’s Drop (1 Skill Point) – Reduce damage when falling from heights. Tap Circle/B on impact to roll and take no damage at all.
Raposa’s Wit (2 Skill Points) – Unlocks next weapon upgrade level.
- Pressing in the right analog stick will let you scan around the nearby environment, letting you see the outlines of enemies, but also collectables and animals if you unlock the corresponding perks.
- Speaking of perks, you can use your accumulated Skill Points at base camps to upgrade Lara, unlocking new combat and environmental abilities for her.
- You’ll bag a Skill Point for roughly every 100 XP you gain, and Lara earns XP through killing enemies, completing puzzles and tombs, as well as scavenging plants, animals, and collectable items.
- Healing is different in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Hold down L1/Left Bumper, and you can press either Triangle/Y to enhance your perception ability, or X/A to heal Lara.
- There’s no breath meter for Lara while she’s underwater, so pay attention to the vibration of your controller. The faster it vibrates, the closer Lara comes to drowning.
- Whenever you spot a patch of mud on the ground, press X/A to have Lara cover herself in mud, letting her blend into nearby walls covered in vines.
- For crafting arrows, hold down the right trigger to craft normal arrows, and the right bumper to craft fire arrows.