Labo, Nintendo’s cardboard-based slot-and-switch package, has seemingly been a pretty big hit. Now the United Parcel Service is showing they’re not one to be undone.

In a tweet today, UPS showed a video of them using cardboard to cut and assemble a travel case for all your Labo variety pack accessories. The Labo Toy-Con-tainer has wheels, a lock (for however much good that does), and slots for all of Labo’s assembled devices.

 

 

You can find what we think of Labo right here in a time-lapse video, in our review here, or on The GI Show.

Labo is a Nintendo product, but it’s not for every Nintendo (or even video game) fan. If the idea of a part-craft, part-video-game toy that is also a programming tool made of cardboard makes you scoff indignantly, having it in your hands won’t suddenly make you a believer. Labo is a bizarre product meant to inspire creative play, and in that regard, it succeeds. For those enamored with toys like Lego, where much of the fun relies on your own creativity, then Labo is absolutely worth your time (or at least one of the two kits is).

Labo Variety Kit
The Variety Kit is the introductory Labo pack and it
offers the most to do, both in terms of video gaming and creativity. It
includes the cardboard and software necessary to build the RC car, the
fishing rod, the motorcycle racing wheel, the house, and the piano
(which is the crown jewel of the kit). Every Toy-Con, as Nintendo has
dubbed them, takes about an hour to build, though the piano is the
exception, clocking in at about two and a half hours.

The building
process is fun, and the time goes by quickly. The instructions walking
you through the process will be familiar to Lego builders, but the
interactivity is elevated to a new level. It works like a video, where
you can fast-forward and rewind at variable speeds, and rotate and zoom
at any time. This was particularly helpful when it came down to tiny
little details like determining which of two available tabs I should lay
down first.

Along with folding and connecting tabs, you also have
to place an assortment of reflective pieces of tape in specific places
so that the right Joy-Con’s camera can recognize it. This is the most
tedious part of building, but I appreciate how it shows exactly how each
piece of the total build works.

Beyond the step-by-step
instructions, you have access to a series of conversations with
characters created for Labo. They walk you through how everything works
in more detail, talking you through troubleshooting topics and helping
you decorate the Labo creations without warping the cardboard. These
chats are entertaining and well-written, and do a good job teaching the
player more about Labo.

The software accompanying each Toy-Con
ranges from solid entertainment to surprisingly versatile. The fishing
and racing games don’t have a lot of depth, but they are enjoyable and
work well with the Labo accessories. The house is a virtual pet and
minigame collection, and it also serves as a bizarre showcase of what
the Switch can do by incorporating the Joy-Cons’ motion controls, IR
camera, and the Switch’s screen into games. You can, for example, use
one of your created tools as a tap to fill up the house with water, and
then tilt and shake the house to see the water react realistically.

The
piano is easily the most interesting and versatile tool in the Variety
Pack. You can create and record music with a surprising amount of
options. It also cooperates with the fishing game by letting you insert
shapes you’ve cut from paper or cardboard into a slot on the top, which
can be scanned to create fish. Those created fish can then be stored in
your aquarium alongside the other fish you’ve caught. The piano demanded
the majority of my attention based on its music and recording
applications, and it is also the most impressive build of all the
creations.

The durability of Labo is an important question, and
though I was impressed by the stability of each of the creations, they
are not indestructible. A footfall can easily demolish a Toy-Con. But
Labo holds up well through regular play, and it can even withstand a few
frustrated tosses of the fishing pole by a six-year-old set on catching
a bigger fish than her dad.

Included with both Labo kits is the
Labo Garage. With the Garage, players can manipulate all functions of
the Switch and the Joy-Con controllers. You can make things happen on
the screen or use it to control the right Joy-Con’s IR camera, motion
capabilities, and HD rumble functions. The visual programming language
is easy to understand, and I was able to make some things that were
exciting. For a stupid-but-entertaining example, I programmed the piano
so that when I shook it, it would meow like a cat. At the time of this
writing, Labo has only been out for a week, but players are already
coming up with fascinating applications using the Garage tools, and
those creations will only get more interesting and detailed as people
spend more time with the Garage.
Grade: B

Labo Robot Kit
The Robot Kit offers many of the same elements that make the Labo
Variety Kit an attractive acquisition. The building is fun, the
step-by-step guides and tutorials are equally well-done, and the full
Labo Garage suite is included.

Unfortunately, the Robot Kit is the
inferior of the two Labo options. Following the directions and folding
it all together is enjoyable, but the final result is underwhelming.
With the Variety Kit you are building recognizable things – a piano, a
fishing rod – but here your final result is basically a box. The innards
offer some impressive engineering, but it’s still just a box with
straps and strings hanging out of it.

The Robot Kit also offers a
more traditional video game. You wear the box like a backpack and attach
the strings to your feet and hands using straps and handles (made from
cardboard, naturally) and pull the strings to manipulate an on-screen
robot as it tries to destroy a city. Suiting up for this activity is
time-consuming, and surprisingly difficult to do without the assistance
of a friend. The gameplay is reminiscent of early Kinect experiences in
that you are using your body to play a game, and it just doesn’t work
well. I had to pause often to reattach the foot string, and actions like
raising one leg and one arm to leap into the air don’t work
consistently.

On the creative side of things, in one mode you can
set each arm and leg to output a different sound to create music by
moving your body. However, even with the game docked on the TV with the
sound turned up, I struggled to hear anything I was doing over the sound
of cardboard and strings scraping together.

The Robot Kit is the
strangest use of the cardboard, but the fun ends after completing the
build. Including the Garage in both kits is the right call, but the
Robot Kit is unquestionably the dud.
Grade: D

The Final Verdict
The time I enjoyed most with Labo was the time I spent building the Toy-Cons and using them to be creative. Making music with the piano was easy and rewarding, and experimenting with cutting out slips of paper to scan for fish creation lead to laughs with my child. Labo’s legacy and longevity rests in the hands of the Garage and what people do with its tools, but even just out of the box, without the intention to create something original, Labo offers an undeniably novel and enjoyable experience that feels more like a toy than a video game.

After a rough first go, Kratos is taking a second stab at being a father in the newest God of War. While his parenting efforts are a marked improvement over the tremendously low bar he set for himself in the original trilogy, many of the lessons Kratos passes on to his son, Atreus, still leave a lot to be desired.

I started playing the new God of War last week, and while I didn’t make enough progress to join our Game Club discussion, I am enjoying it a lot more than any of the previous titles in the series. The focus on thoughtful storytelling and character development makes it a much more compelling adventure to me – as does having the ax equivalent of Thor’s hammer that I can instantly recall after hurling it at enemies, crates, and pretty much anything else that catches my eye. Seriously, why don’t more games have magic axes? It’s amazing! 

But just because Sony Santa Monica has penned a remarkable story centering on Kratos’ father/son relationship with Atreus doesn’t mean he’s a good dad. Not that there’s any reason to believe he would be – he’s killed like a hundred gods, for crying out loud! I mean, maybe you could explain killing one god, but when you’re as deep into double digits as Kratos is, you probably ain’t winning any custody battles in the future.

Anyhow, I was instantly intrigued by the prospect of analyzing Kratos’ actions in God of War not just as the kick-ass god slayer he’s always been, but also as a single parent trying to impart some important life lessons to his son. Suffice it to say, it didn’t take long to realize that our brooding protagonist won’t be receiving a “World’s #1 Dad” shirt anytime soon. 

Parents take note: Here are 10 life lessons from Kratos that you probably super shouldn’t pass on to your kids.

Lesson #1: Stealing From The Dead? Totally Cool! 
Virtually all parents set out to teach their kids the importance of sharing, but that lesson usually involves a participant who is A) willing, and B) alive. Otherwise, it’s not so much sharing as it is GRAVE ROBBING.

Kratos seems entirely indifferent to that distinction. The first time Atreus sees his dad shove the lid off a coffin and rifle through the corpse’s belongings, he utters “What?!” in understandable disbelief. To which Kratos grumbles, “He can no longer use it. We can.”

While that’s technically true, it’s still a pretty bleak outlook on life to be imparting on your impressionable tween. And you can’t even use the “desperate times” argument, because the loot in question was a couple hundred hacksilver, which is the Norse equivalent of pocket change. Way to be a role model, Kratos…

Lesson #2: Apologies Are For Losers
Another universal lesson for young kids is learning to say you’re sorry when you make a mistake. In Atreus’ case, that “mistake” was…not murdering a magic deer successfully during a father-son hunting trip. After getting chewed out by Kratos for missing the majestic creature with his arrow, Atreus apologizes, only to be told, “Don’t be sorry. Be better.”

Self-improvement is certainly a worthy goal, but you’d think Kratos of all people would recognize the value of acknowledging one’s mistakes. He’s got one or two biggies himself in his past…

Lesson #3: Don’t Listen To Mom
“Listen to your mother,” is a go-to refrain for most dads, but Kratos isn’t one to defer to the judgement of others (again, the whole god-killing thing…). When the duo tracks the scared-and-probably-1,000-year-old-super deer to some nearby ruins, Atreus pauses.

“He went in the old temple,” Atreus says. “But mom told me never to go in there.”

Kratos’ reply? “We do what we please, boy. No excuses.”

Yeah, GREAT guiding principle for a 10-year-old kid. And while Kratos’ advice is a moot point in Atreus’ case, it is a bit of a retroactive F.U. to his former wife. Also, what if “what he pleases” is being a good boy who listens to his mom? What then, Kratos?!

Lesson #4: Unabashed Hypocrisy
You can chalk up a lot of Kratos’ unnecessarily stern behavior to him being a hard-ass – but you can’t explain away his hypocrisy quite so easily. When Kratos finally takes down a giant troll that attacks them during their hunting expedition, Atreus lunges at the felled beast and begins slicing it with his knife, while yelling that he isn’t afraid. Kratos eventually stops Atreus, and then somberly declares that he’s not ready for the adventure ahead. 

Excuse me?! Isn’t that the point of the whole freaking series? Losing his temper is literally all Kratos has ever done! I mean, he once ripped a dude’s head off and then used it as a lantern for the rest of the damn game! A LANTERN! And now he’s suddenly all “inside voices”?

You could argue that Kratos’ admonishment is more about Atreus losing focus than his actual anger, but that doesn’t really fly either – the way I play God of War, Kratos is flailing and flinging himself all over the battlefield with virtually no control whatsoever. Atreus’ outburst was a chip off the old block as far as I’m concerned. 

Lesson #5: Know When To Shaddup
And the time to shut up is apparently ALL THE TIME. Seriously, if I had a hacksilver for every time Kratos responded to one of Atreus’ musings with “Stop talking, boy,” I wouldn’t have to rob dead people anymore!

That said, it is nice to finally have a protagonist that shares my disdain for small talk with chatty NPCs. Or people in general for that matter. It might not be the best lesson for a young and inquisitive child, but it might come in handy with co-workers…

Lesson #6: Pick Up Your Toys! 
One of the optional objectives in God of War is for Kratos to find sets of hidden collectibles, the first of which happens to be carved toys. In a rare display of good parenting, Kratos traipses all over the forest looking for them, effectively teaching Atreus the importance of picking up your toys when you’re done playing.

I was surprised – I would’ve pegged Kratos as the type of dad who would hide them and then tell Atreus that a draugr stole them because that’s what happens when you leave your toys out in the yard. Or the type of dad who swears up a storm when he steps on the antlers of your wooden deer in the middle of the night. Either way.

Now that I think of it, though, Kratos does sell all of the collectibles in the game to the dwarven blacksmiths, who are basically the Norse equivalent of Pawn America. So maybe he’s still a lousy dad after all.

Lesson #7: How To Handle Uninvited Guests
A note to any Norse census takers out there: Don’t just show up on Kratos’ doorstep and start asking a bunch of questions. To his credit, Kratos tried to prevent Atreus from seeing how he handles the mysterious visitor that shows up at their house – but that’s kind of hard when you also throw them through the house.

On the bright side, I guess Kratos did effectively teach Atreus not to talk to strangers…and to drop a mountain on them when they don’t take a hint. 

Lesson #8: Human Empathy – Or, Ya Know, The Complete Opposite
After Kratos’ less-than-friendly encounter with the stranger, Atreus somberly asks his dad if he’s had to kill humans before. Kratos replies that they “do what we must to survive.” When Atreus points out that the other humans are also just trying to survive, Kratos gives his pièce de résistance of fatherly advice:

“Close your heart to it… Close your heart to their desperation. Close your heart to their suffering. Do not allow yourself to feel for them…”

So let’s see: Do whatever you want, don’t say sorry, and blind yourself to the suffering you cause in others. Got it. Guys, I’m seriously starting to wonder if Kratos is a good role model for children…

Lesson #9: An Utter Disdain For Pottery
Seriously, if 6th grade art class taught me anything, it’s that clay pots aren’t easy to make! Especially way back whenever this game takes place; it’s not like you could just stroll down to Dick Blick and buy a hunk of clay and one of those electric spinning wheels that I can’t see without immediately thinking of Ghost. It must have been a HUGE pain in the butt to make a giant clay pot – and yet Kratos can’t seem to walk 10 feet without smashing one.  Let’s hope Atreus doesn’t have a budding interest in ceramics; something tells me that career discussion wouldn’t go well. Aaaand that’s all I got. 

Lesson #10: Patience!
I finally figured out one good lesson Kratos teaches Atreus, even if it is a bit of a stretch. Kratos doesn’t strike me as a particularly patient guy, but the way I’m playing God of War, Atreus will grow up to have the composure of a saint. All he wants to do is get up the damn mountain, but he’s constantly being stymied by my Kratos’ obsessive need to check out every nook and cranny of the world, and relentlessly backtrack every time we reach a fork in the road. Atreus’ ultimate test of patience came the other night when I fell asleep while playing, leaving Kratos to stare at a tree for two straight hours. I woke up to Atreus muttering some idle dialogue, like “What are we doing?” or “I think we need to go this way,” or “Maybe you should go to bed.” Come to think of it, that last one was probably my wife. Either way, Atreus clearly hasn’t learned his lesson yet. Be silent, BOY! 

Need more laughs? Funny To A Point, banner, hub, fancy pants. Go!

In their latest financial report, Sony has revealed that the PlayStation 4 has hit 79 million units sold, but the company is bracing for the system reaching a saturation point soon.

The system sold 19 million units in the last financial year, a remarkable number that is still down slightly from the 20 million of the previous year. Sony expects that declination to continue with only 16 million units next year, which is still a number proportional to some of the fastest selling consoles in the past.

Sony expects that software sales will increase to offset the lower hardware numbers, a claim which makes sense given a higher install base means fewer people to buy consoles but more people to buy software. Software sales weres up around $8.4 billion in its 2017 fiscal year, up around $6.6 billion in 2016 and $5.1 billion the year prior.

Sony did not release targets for software in the next financial year, just that they expect it to go up.

The PlayStation 4 is closing in on the PlayStation 3’s life-to-date install base of 83 million units since its launch in 2006.

[Source: Sony]

 

Our Take
It’s likely no system will ever hit PlayStation 2 numbers, but beating PlayStation 3 in around half the time shows growth for Sony’s gaming sector. Even if sales declined by a few million every year, the PS4 will still be one of the best selling consoles ever.

Retro-inspired
2D action games are plentiful on digital storefronts, so it can be difficult
for them to distinguish themselves from their competition. With a distinct art
style, wacky humor, and role-playing elements galore, Super Daryl Deluxe immediately
stands out from the crowd. While the journey is enjoyable and features plenty
of novel ideas, frustration and uneven design drag the experience down on a
regular basis.

Super
Daryl Deluxe pulls inspiration from the Metroid series, letting you explore
several 2D landscapes as you fight enemies, acquire new moves, and build out
your map. However, developer Dan & Gary Games differentiates this title
from the traditional Metroid formula by allowing you to enter its frenetic
fights with customizable loadouts. Whether you want to keep enemies at a
distance or make every kill up-close and personal, a sizable bank of available
moves gives you full control.

I love the
personalized loadout; being able to designate two melee attacks, an
area-of-effect ability, and a ranged ability helps create a well-rounded
character, but I had most fun building a melee loadout. Each ability handles
differently: one turns you into a twisting tornado, spinning out of control,
while another allows you to quickly throw tainted darts in all directions,
inflicting poison on your enemies.

Despite
the modification and upgrade elements, encounters are slightly clunky. While
you can spec Daryl for melee or ranged combat, the attacks all operate on
cooldowns and the transition from one attack to the next feels stiff. Even once
I had a fully upgraded melee loadout, I resented the quirks of several moves. My
sword-slash attack forcing a dash into the mix always threw me off, and a
wave-riding attack that forces you to move in the direction you’re facing made
it unconventional in many situations. Still, finding the sweet spot for your preference
and then stylishly chaining together combos with all your abilities is satisfying.

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Outside
of combat, Super Daryl Deluxe wholeheartedly embraces the role-playing genre. The
adventure hinges on working with Daryl’s classmates on quests. You collect optional
missions by talking to NPCs, and I love how you can pin multiple quests to the
top right of your screen to track progress. Some of these quests are
straightforward, like killing a set number of enemies in an area, but others
are more nebulous and confusing. On multiple occasions, I wandered into a sprawling
dungeon to figure out how to progress because the current quest objective was
unclear, obscured, or glitched.

I like
chipping away at my massive list of sidequests, as each one rewards you with XP
and gear, but some of them don’t inform you that they can’t be completed until
much later in the game; one had me searching everywhere for an item, but I only
randomly stumbled upon it in late-game exploration.

Leveling
up Daryl and regularly equipping him with better gear is fulfilling, but I’m
less impressed with the pacing. It’s expected that each new area in an RPG
brings higher level creatures, but some of Super Daryl Deluxe’s jumps feel
egregious. Even completing every sidequest I could along the way, I felt the
need to grind for hours just to get to a comfortable level. The occasional slog
is also accentuated by the lack of checkpoints, which means any death sends you
back to your last manual save. While the save points aren’t too spread out,
adding any additional time on top of multi-phase boss fights or the lengthy
dungeons within the high school adds insult to injury.

These dungeon
areas emerge within the school after a mysterious apocalypse. As a result, each
of the classrooms has become a massive level themed after the subject; the
history room has quests for Napoleon Bonaparte and Julius Caesar, while the
science class has you battling beakers and assisting a supercomputer. This sets
the table for some fun scenarios and allows the goofy sense of humor to shine
through. Ridiculous plotlines with recurring gags and unexpected cameos from
important figures in the classrooms’ subjects provides ample chuckles
throughout the story. Getting ambushed by a Babe-Ruth-led horde or saving Santa
Claus from Ebenezer Scrooge’s basement prison made me laugh at the absurdity of
the situations.

This
apocalyptic state also provides an excuse for the distinct art style. Unique
hand-drawn aesthetics with exaggerated character design and muted colors effectively
convey the sense that the fabric of the world is hanging by a thread. Unfortunately,
the abstract visuals are hit-and-miss. For every appealing NPC or enemy, you
get an eyesore environment.

From its art style and writing
to its structure and design, Super Daryl Deluxe is strange. I enjoy the combat,
humor, and the checklist structure of the quests, but the nondescript method by
which you complete some missions mars the experience. Super Daryl Deluxe
features multiple good ideas, but the execution is limited in its success.

Avengers: Infinity War is one of the biggest movie events in years and Microsoft is more than eager to take part. A tweet from the @Xbox account shows the Infinity Gauntlet with a few let’s say branded changes.

 

 

It’s probably worth noting that the Xbox One can support eight controllers at once, so if you can find two more infinity stone controllers out there, you probably have a party on your hands. Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters today, though a lot of fans saw it last night, so you might want to be careful if you’re ducking spoilers.

Turns out there is a happy ending to the bleak city builder Frostpunk after all.

Today 11 Bit Studios revealed its critically acclaimed game has sold 250,000 copies. Why is this number significant? This was the threshold for the company to recoup all its development and marketing costs, which means every sale from here out is profit for the small Polish studio. 

In response to the news, 11 Bit CEO Grzegorz Miechowski says, “We had plans for the expansions, and now we’re 100% sure we are doing that, including many free updates.”

You can read our review of the game here, or check out our tips for optimizing your city and avoiding a bloody revolt.

Crystal Dynamics’ rebooted Tomb Raider series has impressed players and critics alike since it kicked off in 2013. With clever puzzles, fun exploration, and a more human side to Lara Croft, the two prior games offered remarkable experiences. Now, developer Eidos Montreal is taking the reins from Crystal Dynamics to continue with a third and final entry to the trilogy.

Titled Shadow of the Tomb Raider, this closing chapter to Lara Croft’s origin story sees her “become the tomb raider.” She reaches her full potential and masters all her skills, though the biggest challenges are yet to come as she faces the threat of an apocalypse.

During a recent trip to Montreal, we took a deep dive into the latest Tomb Raider. After interviewing the development team and playing a 45-minute demo, here is what we discovered about Lara’s next adventure.



You Journey Through Mexico And Peru
The Tomb Raider reboots have taken us to some fascinating places, including a mysterious island on the coast of Japan and the snowy plains of Siberia. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara begins her journey briefly in Cozumel, Mexico, and later travels to Peru. An early scene shows Lara and her longtime friend Jonah making plans for their next adventure as Cozumel’s citizens celebrate the Day of the Dead.

“The Day of the Dead is important,” says creative director Daniel Bisson. “They’re venerating their dead. The reason we transition to that is because Lara lost her father.” Soon after, a tsunami hits and Lara fails to save a young boy from death. It’s traumatic for her, and Bisson believes the scene is effective because we can previously interact with the boy in town. We see a group of jubilant people celebrating, only to then see disaster hit. The team hopes to capture more moments of Lara around others and portrayed in everyday situations outside of adventuring and raiding tombs, to make her more relatable.

After this Mexican excursion, Peru is where the majority of the game takes place. Bisson says Lara “becomes one with the jungle,” meaning she uses the environment to her advantage. With Peru’s lush and verdant locales, expect to trek through jungles where hostile animals may prey on you if you’re not careful. Both hunting and crafting return, though I didn’t see any new crafting items during the demo. The jungle acts as a tool for Lara, such as using mud for camouflage.



The Order Of Trinity Returns
Once again, the shadowy organization Order of Trinity is the main villain in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Now that Lara knows what Trinity has done to her father, she vows to take down the organization with everything she’s got.

Dr. Dominguez, a new antagonist and one of Trinity’s leaders, is searching for a Mayan artifact. Pleased to find out Lara has set an apocalypse in motion, he tells her that this is a chance to “remake the world without weakness and sin.” Eidos Montreal describes Dominguez as “multi-faceted and complex.” 

“He’s a nuanced antagonist. I don’t like to think of him as a villain because a lot of the time it’s making a lot of sense,” says lead writer Jill Murray. “You can kind of almost imagine that somewhere, someone else is making a different game with him as the protagonist. [Laughs] Both he and Lara are strong characters who are going to challenge each other, make each other second guess their beliefs and impulses, and drive the whole thing forward.”

Story Takes Place A Couple Months After Rise Of The Tomb Raider
Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues where Rise of the Tomb Raider left off. After finding out The Order of Trinity was behind her father’s death, she sees the organization in a new light. She wants to better understand their motives. However, the story shifts early on following a tsunami. Having triggered an apocalypse by tampering with an ancient Mayan artifact ravages Lara with guilt; she sees innocent people die and takes the blame for it. Much of Shadow of the Tomb Raider is about Lara making mistakes and facing consequences. Rather than just trying to survive, this time she’s trying to save the world and better understand her place within it.

“[Lara] is fueled by wanting to take revenge on Trinity,” Bisson says. “The game begins with selfish motivations, but as you progress, her motivations become much more selfless.”

Lara Is More Powerful But More Vulnerable Too
Eidos Montreal describes this final entry as Lara’s “defining moment,” where she’s more capable than ever. She’s no longer the inexperienced student from the first installment, and she’s on her way to being a full-fledged tomb raider. This newfound confidence can be sensed through the gameplay. Although the controls are near identical to what we saw in Rise, small tweaks make the experience feel smoother. She’s a better swimmer, and she’s more agile. With revamped swimming controls, it’s much easier and natural to guide Lara through underwater locations. You can stay underwater for longer periods of time, too, thanks to conveniently placed air pockets. 

“We find Lara at the height of her capabilities,” Murray says. “In this game, she has to grapple with what is she going to do with the power, strength, and skill that she has.”

You also have a new rope mechanic allowing you to rappel downward or swing from the rope in a similar fashion to Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4. The team calls it the “rappel swing,” where you swing back and forth to gain momentum as you leap across chasms and cliffs.

Despite mastering her skills, Lara also shows her vulnerabilities and insecurities in this entry. As mentioned earlier, Lara is traumatized by unimaginable guilt. Luckily, Jonah helps keep her in check. “It’s not all about you,” Jonah reminds her after she suggests the apocalypse is her fault.

“Lara has become more capable, but so has Jonah,” says narrative director Jason Dozois. “He is coming into his own and challenging Lara.”

With Jonah helping her stay level-headed, he offers guidance but also nudges Lara in the right direction. She looks to Jonah for validation, but his advice may not always be what she wants to hear. “She needs him, because she doesn’t know how to deal with this,” Bisson says.


Stealth Gets A Bigger Focus
Though the combat and gunplay feel similar to the previous installment, a notable change is a bigger emphasis on stealth. For the first time, Lara can disengage from the action by losing her enemies’ line of sight and returning to the shadows. Foes search around your last known position, and you can use bushes and grass to sneak around. The focus on stealth was a design decision that reflects the game’s jungle setting.

“The spaces [in the game] are all built initially for stealth,” says lead level designer Arne Oehme. “You can go in guns blazing, but our main focus is stealth. Because you’re one with the jungle, we want you to feel like a predator.”

Deadlier Tombs And Higher Stakes
Though optional tombs are still prominent, Eidos Montreal plans to include more tombs in the main storyline. A major theme in Shadow of the Tomb Raider is descent; many tombs you discover are underground, with some half submerged underwater. 

“In Rise of the Tomb Raider, one of the things we wanted to do was bring awe-inspiring moments to tombs. A sense of wonder,” Oehme says. “It was something we kind of lost in Tomb Raider 2013. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it’s more about descending. Going below ground into a very dangerous place.”

These tombs have compelling puzzles just like previous entries, though they also introduce a new twist: they’re deadlier. Oehme says the tombs are less forgiving, and if you approach a puzzle the wrong way, there’s a chance it could result in death. The experience on a whole gives a sense that the stakes are higher than ever before, as an apocalypse threatens the existence of mankind. 

Shadow of the Tomb Raider releases for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 14. Be sure to check out our concept art gallery to learn more about Lara Croft’s upcoming adventure.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the final installment in Square Enix’s rebooted trilogy, brings Lara first to Mexico, then South America. One of the major themes of this upcoming title is descent, meaning we see Lara explore underground tombs and more underwater areas. In typical Tomb Raider fashion, there are some big setpieces too, including a massive tsunami that ravages a town. 

To get a better idea of what this journey looks like, check out the following pieces of concept art provided by developer Eidos Montreal.

This image portrays a graveyard that Lara walks through on the island of Cozumel in Mexico. The town is celebrating the Day of the Dead.

You have your trusty climbing axes, bow and arrow, and familiar slew of weaponry in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. One key change is you can now use Lara’s rope to swing across areas and gain momentum to leap onto other cliffs.

Eidos Montreal is designing tombs to be deadlier and more common in the main storyline. Approaching a puzzle the wrong way could lead to an untimely death.

This scene is one of the first major setpieces in the game, where you leap across ledges and half-submerged signposts in an attempt to find safety from a tsunami.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider releases on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 14. For more, read about what we learned from playing a demo by heading here

Square Enix has revealed a new trailer for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and it looks gorgeous. Though it doesn’t show actual gameplay footage, this cinematic teaser gives you a glimpse of what to expect as Lara Croft journeys to South America.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider sees Lara face the threat of an apocalypse that could endanger all of mankind. Mayan culture is a central theme of the upcoming game, and Eidos Montreal teases that it’s deadlier and darker than past entries. Watch the trailer below.

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You can read our hands-on impressions of Shadow of the Tomb Raider by heading here, as well as peruse our concept art gallery. Shadow of the Tomb Raider releases on September 14 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.