Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Beginner’s Guide

Shadow of the Tomb Raider brings Lara Croft’s rebooted arc to a close, completing her transformation from an ambitious but naive explorer to the fully-fledged adventurer we all know. Whether you’re an old pro to this new take on the character or this is your first time exploring the ruins with a young Croft, you may need a hand to get by. Check out our essential tips on what to know before you start raiding tombs all over again.

Customize Your Difficulties

If you just happen to know that combat isn’t your forte or you don’t want to waste too much time scratching your noodle over puzzles, Shadow of the Tomb Raider introduces flexible new variable difficulty settings. You can make combat go a little smoother, make puzzles a little less vexing, or even make navigating around the environment a lot clearer and more forgiving. Or, each of those can even be made harder, so if you want to breeze through combat and really test your brain power in the puzzles, or vice-versa, that’s up to you.

This option pops up right when you begin a new game, and don’t be afraid to tinker with it and craft the most enjoyable experience for yourself. They can also be changed anytime through the Options menu. Be warned that some trophies are locked behind certain difficulty levels, so if you’re a trophy hunter this may not be for you. But for getting your feet wet and enjoying the game on your own terms, it’s there for a reason, so use it.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Guide

Prioritize Your Skills

The skill tree in Shadow of the Tomb Raider falls into three distinct categories: Warrior, Seeker, and Scavenger. Focus on the skills that best complement your individual play-style. However, we have some tips on which skills you should prioritize first and foremost.

Take Your Time in Combat

Lara is an expert fighter, but this new realistic take means she’s also very vulnerable. You’re likely to suffer several defeats if you rush into every combat scenario head-first, so instead, take your time. Hang back behind cover or climb up into the trees to scope out enemy movements, points of weakness, and environmental hazards that you can exploit. If you can pick off at least a handful of enemies unaware, it will make the remaining ones that much easier to take down. If you get discovered, try to escape to safe ground and get your bearings instead of just fighting your way through.

Rely Upon Your Bow

After a while you’ll gain access to silencers for your firearms that make just about every weapon into a stealthy advantage. At the start, though, your trusty bow and arrow is your best bet for picking off enemies from a distance without alerting the others. Practice up and spend your early crafting materials to give it better draw length so you can carefully aim your shots. Just like your firearms, headshots are a one-hit kill on anyone not wearing a helmet, so it’s a great way to thin out the weaker enemies before sneaking up behind more armored ones.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Guide

Scavenge Everything

Just about everything in Shadow of the Tomb Raider requires materials, from crafting more arrows to making her variety of outfits to upgrading your weapons with additional modifications. The world is bursting with stuff to scavenge, so always be on the lookout. This goes especially when you enter a new wide-open space like a jungle clearing with lots of nooks and crannies to explore. Make liberal use of your Survival Instincts (R3) to make sure you snatch up every last bit of the goods the world has to offer, so that later when you reach a Base Camp you can spend all that wealth you’ve accumulated on bettering your gear.

Dress For the Job You Want

Lara has a wide variety of outfits, but it’s not just for the sake of playing dress-up. Each of them has a number of passive benefits that can boost your chances in specific scenarios. Make a point to purchase and craft every outfit option that you can, and then equip yourself for the challenges ahead. If you find yourself struggling with a particular combat scenario or environmental puzzle, head back to a Base Camp and check if anything in your wardrobe will do the trick.

Backtrack and Finish Sidequests

Shadow of the Tomb Raider isn’t quite a Metroidvania, but it does lock certain areas behind tools you won’t have access to yet. To fully plunder an area’s treasures and artifacts, not to mention its crafting resources, you’ll need to go back—possibly multiple times. That means that if you’re struggling with anything else from these tips, like a particularly tricky encounter or gathering enough crafting materials to make your next piece of gear, you may need to take a break from the main path and backtrack for a little while.

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