The unusually jam-packed month of September video games continues this week as Shadow of The Tomb Raider follows Destiny 2: Forsaken and Spiderman to round out a suite of AAA offerings that are doing their best to keep their distance from heavier hitters like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Red Dead Redemption 2. But while Shadow of the Tomb Raider doesn’t officially come out until Friday, September 14, a bunch of players are jumping in today through an early access program.
Early Access for Shadow of the Tomb Raider begins today, September 12. It’s a pre-order bonus for those that chose to purchase either the $69.99 Digital Deluxe Edition or the $89.99 “Croft Edition,” both of which some additional in-game goodies along with the two-day head start. If you pre-ordered the standard edition you’ll have to wait until the game actually comes out. If you haven’t purchased the game at all, you won’t be able to play it until you do, as is customary in a capitalist society.
It should be noted that I don’t personally recommend you pre-order anything, but if you know you want this title and have read the reviews, feel free.
Allowing certain players to jump into a game early is nothing new for the industry. Most notable is the EA Access program, a subscription service that offers all sorts of perks for those that sign up, one of which is early access to new releases. I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing more of this as time goes on. Publishers like the predictability that pre-orders provide, but an era of digital distribution means that there’s little natural incentive for doing so. That’s why nearly every game offers some sort of cosmetic-oriented pre-order bonus, and early access is just a natural extension of that. For online games–read “all games”–early access also has the added bonus of spacing out the initial rush of server traffic.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider is the third installment in the critically-acclaimed reboot trilogy that’s already seen Tomb Raider and Rise of the Tomb Raider. It promises a titular heroine that has fully made the transition from survivor to predator, a long way from the terrified graduate student from the first game that nonetheless managed a swift and impressive mastery of weapons from assault rifles to automatic shotguns.
Our own Mitch Wallace loved the game, giving it a 9/10 and praising it as the best in the series:
The 2013 Tomb Raider reboot surprised a lot of gamers with its mature, character-driven origin story catalyst, which led to the excellent Rise of the Tomb Raider, a sequel that saw a more considered Lara coming into her own, forging and seeking a fresh gritty path. 2018’s Shadow of the Tomb Raider aims to complete this newer trilogy, showing what can happen when an unrestrained treasure-hunting obsession begets real catastrophe, tragedy on a colossal scale that demands difficult choices be made. The end result? Proof that despite our own limitations, we (and our heroine) have the power to shape the future. And while Lara’s latest outing doesn’t do much to progress the action-adventure genre as a whole, it’s still one of the most polished and enjoyable exploration titles I’ve ever played.
– By Dave Thier
Source – Forbes.com