Shadow of the Tomb Raider Difficulty and Accessibility Options Revealed

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

When it makes its debut next month, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will present a much more dynamic Lara Croft adventure than we're used to. But based on our hands-on with the game, it's a good thing; a natural evolution of the series that should easily follow the events of Rise of the Tomb Raider.

However, for those of you that are worried that the game will be too hard or inaccessible to enjoy, relax. It's got a lot of options that let you cater your gameplay experience however you see fit.

Square Enix has put up a new blog post that talks about accessibility and difficulty options within the game, which you can change around to your convenience without penalty. Here are some of the general options you'll be able to change right off the bat:

  • Optional Y Axis Inversion
  • Toggling on and off Vibration
  • Reducing Camera Shake
  • The option to center the camera horizontally so that it is 'soft locked' on Lara's back, requiring the use of only one stick for movement. The other stick can still be used to move the camera if desired.
  • The option to tap rather than hold left trigger to aim down the sights
  • The option to use right (default) or left stick to aim, when looking down sights (left trigger)
  • The option to hold button press prompts rather than repeated tapping
  • The option to push the stick directionally for crank control prompts rather than rotate
  • Adjustable aim sensitivity

But it goes deeper than that, as you can also change the following audio options:

  • Subtitles: Off, On with Color, On without Color
  • Environmental Subtitles: Display subtitles for all conversations taking place nearby, or only for critical conversations
  • Closed Captioning: Display additional or interpretive information such as sound effects, musical cues, and other relevant audio information

If you really want to go in depth, the difficulty system is broken down into several categories, including Combat, Exploration and Puzzles. Let's get started with Combat and the differences between what's available:

Easy

  • Aim assist enabled
  • Enemies have lower health and do less damage
  • Ammunition boxes are plentiful
  • Enemies have illuminated silhouettes

Normal

  • Enemies have normal health and damage
  • Ammunition boxes are rare
  • Enemies have illuminated silhouettes

Hard

  • Enemies have increased health, do more damage and locate Lara more quickly.
  • No health regeneration in combat
  • Ammunition boxes are rare
  • No hit markers on the reticle
  • Enemies are not highlighted in Survival Instincts

Deadly Obsession

  • Same as hard
  • No HUD icon when Lara is being detected by an enemy

Next up is Exploration, and it's just as detailed:

  • Obvious white paint on critical path
  • Longer saving grab timer
  • Base camps are lit
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  • Discreet white paint on critical path
  • Normal saving grab timer
  • Base camps are unlit
  • No white paint on critical path
  • Reduced saving grab timer
  • No Survival Instincts during exploration
  • Base camps are unlit
  • Same as Hard
  • Base camps are unlit and require resources to light
  • Game only saves at Base camps

Finally, let's say you need some help with Puzzles, or you want them to be tougher than ever. Square Enix has that covered, too.

  • Lara gives direct hints on next action to perform
  • Interactable objects are highlighted in Survival Instincts
  • Objects necessary to progress highlighted in blue during Survival Instincts
  • Longer window of opportunity for timed mechanics
  • Lara gives general hints on the next action to perform
  • Interactable objects are highlighted in Survival Instincts
  • Normal window of opportunity for timed mechanics

Hard/Deadly Obsession

  • No hints are given by Lara
  • No Survival Instincts
  • Shorter window of opportunity for timer mechanics

It's great to see that Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be an experience that everyone enjoys, whether they're a novice or a hardcore fan of the series seeking the ultimate challenge.

You'll be able to see it for yourself when the game arrives on September 14 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC.