Spanning more than two decades and produced by a succession of talented developers, the Tomb Raider series almost serves as a barometer of progress in the space of 3D gaming. From its initial outings during the 90s, through its issues early in the PS2 generation right up to its most recent resurrection, the series has evolved and changed to meet the needs of each new era. Shadow of the Tomb Raider continues this tradition, presenting not just an evolution in technology – but subtle a shift in gameplay focus too for the rebooted series.
With Crystal Dynamics busy on its Avengers title, development duties for Shadow shifts to Eidos Montreal – the studio behind the most recent Deus Ex titles. Crystal is still involved as a support studio, but this is effectively an Eidos Montreal game. As it happens, this is a good thing for the title’s technological credentials: Eidos Montreal has a lot of experience in engine development, having crafted the stunning Dawn Engine used in Deus Ex: Mankind Divided. This was a great match for a first-person immersive sim but with Tomb Raider it doesn’t make sense to reinvent the wheel: Crystal’s Foundation Engine returns then, this time with some new Montreal-developed augmentations.
That starts with image quality. Rise of the Tomb Raider is a beautiful game, but its basic post-process anti-aliasing could result in noticeable shimmering and pixel-popping, especially in foliage heavy scenes. With Shadow of the Tomb Raider spending most of its run time within dense forest areas, this wouldn’t fly, so the team implements a new temporal anti-aliasing technique designed to clean up and eliminate shimmering across the game. It’s extremely effective.
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