“Your Partner Died”, never have three words done so much psychological trauma to myself and my friend. This occurred during a demo of the newly released Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC 6 and the soon-to-be released DLC 7. Is it because these new DLC packs contain tough, endgame content for longtime fans? Sure. Let’s go with that explanation.
Here’s how Square Enix describes Tomb Raider’s most recent DLC release: “In Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s new DLC, a ferocious deity threatens the lives of innocent San Juan villagers. To save them, Lara will battle a deadly group of mercenaries in order to prevent a cataclysmic disaster. Solve the new volcanic challenge tomb and reap its powerful rewards.”
Playing through the new DLC packs was a ton of fun, seeing how Shadow of the Tomb Raider has evolved over the months, building an audience around its Time Trial and challenge based expansions. DLC 6, otherwise known as The Grand Caiman, had just released into the wild so we were among the first to try it out. Having only dabbled in the new Tomb Raider series, I was pretty green, but my coworker who joined me was totally new.
Playing through the new DLC packs was a ton of fun
The level, which began in a ramshackle town full of paths to follow and buildings to jump on before diving into the tomb proper, looked fantastic. The team has really fine-tuned what makes a great Shadow of the Tomb Raider level. You’ll be impressed, especially once you get inside and see the giant statue that’s at its center. The challenges that accompany it are mostly action-based, involving quick movements and precise jumps. For longtime players this likely won’t be a huge hurdle to clear, but for us…well, let’s just say it took awhile.
I won’t belabor our many, many deaths, but let’s just say that if you’re not accustomed to action games that require this sort of quick decision making and reaction time, you will get a lot of time out of your DLC purchase. Even as we died over and over again, resetting as soon as either of us fell or was lit on fire, we were laughing and having a great time with it. The Grand Caiman level is a joy to run through, with tons of optional paths to take and timing elements that test your patience and skill.
After finally beating The Grand Caiman we rejoiced quite a bit, and I think I heard an exasperated sigh from the dev nearby. This let us shift to DLC 7, which is much less action-based and focuses more on puzzle solving, where we could excel much more. Working together to hold down switches that clear paths ahead was a lot of fun and required both of us to study the terrain to see what needed to be done and where. We had to wrap it up a bit early and couldn’t finish up the mission, but the puzzles were already ramping up their difficulty quite a bit.
This was especially the case with a giant statue that involves tons of level navigation and switches, all aimed at making it match a smaller, nearby statue. Moving arms between multiple levels on either side of the figure will definitely test your abilities. And because many parts of these puzzles are randomized, you can’t just memorize the solution and run through it over and over. You will always have to put thought into the answer and work toward it either by yourself or with a friend, who will hopefully remain your friend even if you die a lot and force both of you to restart from the nearest checkpoint.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC 6 ‘The Grand Caiman’ is available now. DLC 7 arrives on April 23rd.