In order to make Shadow of the Tomb Raider more accessible to more players, the team at Eidos Montreal has put a huge focus on allowing players to customize the gameplay experience to their liking. This goes far beyond the usual collection of difficulty settings, with options available to help improve everything from aiming and puzzle solving to exploring the environment and taking down your enemies.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is due out on Sept. 14, and the developer wants to make sure the game is accessible to just about any type of gamer. Usually that translates to the ability to choose between easy, normal and hard difficulties, but Eidos Montreal decided to take game customization to a whole new level this time around. As noted in a recent blog post, these new options "go beyond the single toggle" when it comes to making the gameplay match your style.
At the basic, mechanical level, this includes everything from allowing the player to reduce the camera shake to deciding which joystick controls aiming. If you'd rather hold down button prompts rather than mash a button repeatedly, you can do that. Similarly, you can set toggle "crank" controls so that, rather than needing to rotate a joystick, you only need to push it forward.
When it comes to visuals, you can fine-tune your subtitles so that they are white or accented with a color, and you can even decide if you want to subtitle all conversations taking place in the world around you, or just the critical dialogue. There's also an option for closed captioning, which lets you display environmental feedback as text.
As for the gameplay, Shadow's collection of settings influence a lot more than how many bullets it takes to drop an enemy or stop Lara in her tracks. The blog post offers an impressive breakdown of how this works, but we'll walk you through the basics.
On top of the Overall Difficulty toggle, players will have access to toggles for combat, exploration and puzzle difficulty, all of which will be broken down in detail within the menu itself, in case you're selecting an option and want to make sure it's right for you. Each of these sections can be set to easy, normal, hard and, for those who love a big challenge, "Deadly Obsession."
In combat, the easy setting enables aim assist, enemies have lower health, ammo is more plentiful and baddies have illuminated silhouettes. Those options start disappearing the further up the scale you go. An easy setting for exploration means that there will be things like "obvious white paint" on critical paths, making it easier to spot where you can climb up a wall, for instance. You'll also have a longer timer for saving grabs and all base camps are well-lit. Again, the higher up the difficulty path you go, the more those options disappear. Finally, in puzzles, easy means Lara will offer direct hints in the form of talking to herself, important objects will be highlighted in the Survival Instincts view and timed mechanics will have a longer window of opportunity.
What's great is that you can tweak all of these settings individually. If you want easy combat, moderately difficult exploration and extremely hard puzzles, you can set up the options accordingly.