With Shadow of the Tomb Raider now upon us, many fans of the series have been looking to see exactly how Eidos Montreal has decided to finish off the rebooted trilogy started by Crystal Dynamics. Lara Croft’s adventures have taken on a much more dramatic turn this time around, with a greater emphasis on emotional impact and an attempt to distill a sense of realism into the actions of characters, if not the supernatural bent of the plot itself.
It’s been a careful tightrope to walk, at first expertly driven by writer Rhianna Pratchett. However, new writer Jill Murray has been able to carefully build the plot of Tomb Raider with this third title in the series, following on from the seeds of narrative lain in 2015’s Rise of the Tomb Raider. The fantastical elements of the plot tied up in Lara’s ongoing fight with the mysterious Order of Trinity come to a head, but those players who missed some of the story beats when instead keeping focus on the game’s actual tombs might have been left scratching their heads.
Because of this, some gamers might want a bit of a cheat sheet to help them understand the end of the game in its entirety, so read on to find out more about the end of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, explaining exactly what happens to Lara Croft. Of course, spoilers are right ahead, so avoid reading on if you don’t want to find out about the end of the game.
Near the end of the plot, things look dark for Lara Croft. The Order of Trinity holds both elements to allow them to remake the world, with Lara having lost both the Key of Chak Chel and the Silver Box of Ix Chel. However, all is not lost, with the player tasked with stopping the ritual in its tracks, and at the same time bringing justice to the man who killed her father – Doctor Dominguez, aka Amaru.
Lara teams up with the rebels of the hidden Peruvian city of Paititi, but while the rebels attempt a more direct assault, Croft takes a more stealthy approach. That leads her back up into the territory of the Yaaxil, an aggressive tribe that were part of some of the most tense moments in the game up to that point - worse than even those pre-release gameplay demos. However, with the tribe under attack by Trinity, Lara realizes that they also play an important part in fulfilling a prophecy to reignite the sun. As such, a team-up in on the cards, with Lara joining forces with tribe leader Crimson Fire against Trinity, taking on the roles of Ix Chel and Chak Chel, respectively.
This leads Lara on a dangerous path to try and reach the summit where Amaru and the rest of Trinity’s High Council are completing the ritual, with the player eventually reaching the site. Unfortunately, this comes a little too late, with the ceremony nearing its end. However, Lara is able to stop the attempt halfway, leading to a fearsome encounter with Amaru, who has now been infused with the power of the god Kukulkan.
Also, blessed with the power of Kukulkan by stopping the ritual midway, Lara takes on Amaru head on, defeating him, and getting rid of the rest of the High Council of Trinity at the same time. Croft takes up the Key itself, allowing her to complete the ritual to stop the eclipse and reignite the sun. At this point, Lara is shown a vision of her family, happy together. As part of the possibility of remaking the world, Lara could be reunited with her family again, having lost her mother and father - the latter to assassination by the Order of Trinity.
Lara resists the temptation, though, and does not use the Key and Silver Box. Instead, she leaves her family behind, and is met by the Crimson Fire waiting for her. There’s still one part of the ritual to complete – the killing of the god Kukulkan. Lara, now infused with the power of the god herself, lies down on the sacrificial table, and allows the Crimson Fire to drag the light of Kukulkan from within her.
Those wondering if Lara could survive the ordeal are given an answer immediately. After a brief jump forward in time of a couple of days, Lara is at the funeral of Unuratu, the former leader of the Paititi rebels, before the action-archaeologist decides to embark on a new journey back to civilization for a while. Leaving long-time companion Jonah to continue exploring for himself with mechanic extraordinaire and romantic interest Abby, Lara instead heads back home, wanting to "be around the living" for a while.
After the credits roll, Lara is back at her mansion, explaining that she "had it all wrong" about what was important about gathering important artifacts from around the world. Instead, she is there at her desk, surrounded by things that remind her of family; for now, at least, she’s steering clear of any more adventures.
That brings this summary of the finale of Shadow of the Tomb Raider to an end. The end of game game feels like a fitting end to the trilogy, but at the same time required a little bit of digging to keep track of the different story strands. Equally, it leaves the door open for more Tomb Raider games in the future, as all it needs is for Lara Croft to decide to go exploring some crypts once more.
- Shadow of the Tomb Raider (2018 Video Game) release date: Sep 14, 2018