Finally finished the final chapter of the Tomb Raider Survivor trilogy: Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It's been nearly two months since I began my revisit of the Survivor trilogy, and this final chapter feels the most conflicted. For one - this was primarily designed by Eidos Montreal, and sought to explore far more complicated themes than its predecesssors - including play narrative, colonialism, history, and (half-heartedly) theology and myth.
It's not entirely success, and the cosmology set up in the first and second game seem at odds with the direction taken by this installment. But at least it tries. SotTR also openly criticises Lara Croft, her actions, decisions, etc. - and by proxy the player and (potentially) its previous designers/history, which introduces new questions that...are never fully explored.
Despite that, the art direction here is top notch, the coloring much richer than in the previous two games, and the return of the grappling hook is a welcome addition. It also features the strong score of the three games, with music from yet another new composer: Brian D'Oliveira, whose score features a variety of South American and European instruments and brings in several new themes whose composition styles are reminiscent of Bear McCreary.
Due to being produced primarily by a different studio, there's a palpable thematic disunion and exceedingly gamified and unrealistic world - particularly in the challenge tombs, which are overdesigned and rely on unrealistic perpetual motion machine mechanics to challenge players. The game tries very hard to make players reflect on their actions, but also brings more depth to Lara Croft and Jonah Maiava, but at the expense of internal consistency and logic.