Lara Croft’s adventures in South America will continue. On November 13, Shadow of the Tomb Raider players can look forward to receiving DLC to expand their gameplay experience. Each mission will include a challenge tomb and rewards such as new weapons, costumes, and skills. The first mission is The Forge, followed by six more releasing monthly. Each will expand on Shadow’s story by focusing on different characters such as Abby and Dr. Dominguez. Additionally, five of the missions will feature cooperative multiplayer, so friends can work together on the puzzle-solving action.
The Forge takes players to a lava-filled underground chamber where up to two players must make their way up a tower. The tower operates with a platform that travels up and down a giant corkscrew. Players must lift floor panels, turn on explosive gas vents, and shoot fire arrows at vents to send the platform spinning upward. You can solve all the puzzles solo. However, adding a friend opens new paths and cuts down on having to go back-and-forth. For example, when I played the cooperative demo, we took different routes to reach the same destination. Also, one of us ran along a nearby path to turn on the vents while the other stood ready to light them up. This level of efficiency is especially useful for Score Attack and Time Attack modes.
Gameplay director Vincent Monnier explained that cooperative play was a feature that the community long demanded. DLC provided an opportunity to include it while fleshing out some of Shadow of the Tomb Raider’s supporting characters.
“[Co-op] was an obvious choice for us,” said Monnier, speaking with PC Invasion. “But when we started to put another character in, only putting in another Lara was fun. So, we thought about how we could make this co-op experience complementary without removing the single-player experience.”
In The Forge, players see themselves as Lara and their partner as Abby, but the second character changes according to the story. The game encourages duos to be creative when solving the puzzles in different ways than the single-player mode, and they connect through matchmaking in a lobby before starting the mission. However, there’s no built-in voice communication. Instead, players can place markers indicating where they think partners should move or shoot. This isn’t as efficient or descriptive as voice, but it gets the job done for the most part.
Shadow‘s main campaign storyline will incorporate all of these missions, with quest NPCs appearing at appropriate times. Some, such as one where you accompany a freed prisoner, will require players to complete specific points in the game. You can enter the challenge tombs directly from the main menu, however, if the backstory does not interest you.
“The DLC is an opportunity for players to discover more about the world and the characters, and it’s also about the gameplay,” Monnier added. “Every DLC tomb will be based in specific settings and gameplay combinations.”
The Forge is a relatively short challenge tomb, and my partner and I were able to run through it in about 20 minutes as I figured out the different mechanisms. Afterward, it took less than 10 minutes to finish a Time Attack. Rewards such as the grenade launcher, along with all the money and crafting materials picked up along the way, stay with both players.
The second DLC, The Pillar, brings in a more combat-oriented mission. It tasks Lara with retrieving The Shield of the Age Maker on behalf of the rebellion. Shadow’s third add-on mission will be The Devil Inside, where Lara must confront her worst fears. Narrative director Jason Dozois said that Devil Inside will allow players to earn the fear arrow, which has a powerful area effect — but they must first survive being hit with one. As the title suggests, Lara will have to face hallucinations and then, ultimately, herself.
Unwilling Savior will follow that up, which provides more backstory about Shadow’s main villain, Dominguez. Players will learn more about his beliefs and how he became part of Trinity. Next is The Serpent’s Heart, where Lara helps a freed prisoner find redemption. The sixth mission takes place at The Mission of San Juan after a cataclysmic earthquake awakens something dark, and Lara must help confront it.
Paradise Lost is the final DLC mission and the final part of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It will only be available through the season pass. It also happens to be the only one that takes place after the final boss fight. By solving the mission’s mystery, players will learn more about the mysterious Yaaxil while helping to explain what happened during the game’s ending.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider released in September, and it earned a high score in our review.