The twelfth game to brandish the Tomb Raider name, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one hell of an experience. For the uninitiated, the series follows protagonist Lara Croft as she explores archaeological sites, continuing her fathers research in an attempt to figure out how he died. That’s as simple a rundown as humanly possible.

The most recent tomb raider games are a reboot of the series and naturally have been extremely popular. They’ve placed a serious emphasis on Lara and her development as a person – with the early games showing her innocent, inexperienced view of the world she’s entering. Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the twelfth game under the Tomb Raider banner, but is the third game of the reboot, behind Rise of the Tomb Raider and Tomb Raider. It sets out to show the player a veteran Lara Croft, a battle-hardened, blood, sweat and tears Lara Croft. I’m not here to spoil the plot line for anyone that hasn’t played the previous games, but this iteration is badass. Next level badass. We’re talking raw, gritty, in-your-face violent action.

In the name of full disclosure, I’m a wimp – but nobody can refute that the jump-scares and intense scenes you get to experience in this title are terrifying. From incredibly fierce underwater diving scenes to adrenaline-inducing standoffs with wild beasts, I was left short of breath at every turn. I’m no gaming rookie by any stretch and I love an action scene as much as the next guy, however between the heavy music scores and immersive atmosphere of each stage in this game, I found myself dangerously consumed by the world of Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

From climbing axes to flaming arrows, Lara is heavily geared to handle the predicaments she finds herself in. The parkour jumps, branch hopping and rock climbing somehow feel incredibly natural. Tight-rope and cliff-edge walks are very present and only add to the feeling that you could die at any minute.

If these screenshots haven’t already convinced you, let me reiterate how visually stunning Shadow of the Tomb Raider is. One of the earliest scenes has you walking through a small Mexican village during a Dia de Los Muertos festival, and is so ambiently beautiful I stopped in my tracks. Playing by the objectives, you’d spend maybe five to ten minutes walking through this town. It’s that ridiculously stunning I sat and walked through the wonderfully vibrant markets for twenty minutes.

While I was a young gamer and have a very strong opinion on the benefits that video games can have on the youth of today, Shadow of the Tomb Raider is one of those games that I heavily recommend you follow the MA15+ rating on. Unlike relatively vanilla games such as Fortnite and Counter-Strike, this title is highly graphic and gory.

All things considered, Shadow of the Tomb Raider will be an incredible experience for fans of the series and I can’t wait to really sink some hours into this one.