Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare Review

Lara meets psychological horror

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare is also available for PS4

ESRB Mature rating

January's Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC is finally here so let's see just how scary this nightmare is.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare screenshot 1
I wish I had musical walls in my place

Just like in The Pillar DLC, Lara is tasked with finding an item of significance to help bolster Paititi's efforts against the cult leader Amaru. This time, it's the White Breath which is known for sending people into hallucinogenic trances. This plot leaves a lot to be desired but thankfully, the challenge tomb brings more character to help make up for that.

If you saved after finishing the previous DLC pack, you'll be back at Skull Cave in Paititi where you simply need to talk to Jonah to trigger the quest then turn around and jump into a tunnel of water to begin. Once you reach the other side of a watery cave system, you'll eventually surface to an unpleasant greeting from a native that appears to use the White Breath powder on Lara. You don't expect to gain such power without understanding what it does to its prey, do you?

Lara immediately gets stuck in a hallucinogenic trance that has her strolling through the halls of her mansion, climbing through underground passageways teeming with Yaaxil and Trinity soldiers, and walking back on the streets of Mexico where the massive flood started in the main campaign. As you make your way through the underground section, you're equipped with a gun and infinite ammo that you must use to quickly take out enemies before they approach you. When they're shot, they either vaporise or turn into a different enemy that you then must take down; it gets pretty intense!

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare screenshot 2
Maybe Lara shouldn't have neglected Jonah in the previous DLC...

Later in the hallucination, you'll search for a grave in a creepy graveyard while trying to follow Jonah's screams for help in order to dig him up only to find that you dug up a sinister version of Lara who blames her for the cause of much destruction. This whole sequence is really well done and sent shivers down my spine. It reminded me of an equally impressive sequence in Rise of the Tomb Raider's Baba Yaga DLC. However, the theme of Lara questioning herself to an unhealthy degree isn't anything new.

List of unlockable items Fear Incarnate Gear

The following "Fear Incarnate Gear" items are unlocked upon purchasing The Nightmare DLC pack:

White Breath skill: when using Fear Arrow, this creates a hallucinogenic cloud around its impact.
Griff of Fear: an alternative to the pick axe used for climbing and fighting that knocks down enemies more effectively.
Scales of Q outfit: a dress covered in bones and hides that provides twice as much resistance to melee attacks.

After the fun trip to happy land, Lara finally snaps out of it and continues on to the challenge tomb. The tomb is split into two parts: a section where you traverse a typical jungle landscape with multiple paths to get to your destination and another where you pull levers and use your timing skills to set up a large scale musical instrument powered by wind. Although the second part is more impressive, I also enjoyed the first section's branching paths and I took a different route during each of the few times that I ran through it.

When you get to the musical section, you're presented with a long hallway that has large stone mouths blowing air on either side. You'll go from left to right and back a few times to get to the end of the hallway while timing when to pull the necessary levers (whenever the spikes surrounding them disappear momentarily during certain beats of the giant drums). There are also some parts that will have you connect ropes to winding gears but there isn't a massive amount of challenge in completing it if you have a little patience. Of course, running through something that requires decent timing can make the time attack and score attack modes more difficult.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare screenshot 3
I hope that jump wasn't from too high up!

The hallucination sequence and challenge tomb in The Nightmare give this pack the most character out of all the DLC so far. Unfortunately, it's still very short and lacks any meaningful combat scenarios or character development.

  • + Music themed tomb brings a unique visual design and challenge
  • + Hallucination sequence is a real trip
  • + Variety of paths to take is appreciated
  • - Nothing new in terms of character development
  • - As expected, a very brief experience
  • - Lack of interesting combat sequences
5.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Nightmare 9:44
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