It's been about a month since the previous DLC pack for Shadow of the Tomb Raider so let's check out this latest expansion.
In The Pillar DLC, Lara meets Q'orianka; a determined woman who is concerned with finding the Shield of the Age Maker relic. If it's not found soon, Amaru might take it and use it to strengthen his cult. Lara quickly agrees to take on the quest to find the shield and heads to the challenge tomb that sits somewhat close to Skull Cave in Paititi.
Upon arriving, the challenge tomb begins immediately which surprised me seeing as The Forge DLC required some back and forth beforehand to uncover information and find items. Overall, story plays a fairly small role in this pack with Lara only having a couple of brief chats with Q'orianka at the beginning and end of the mission and she barely stays in contact with her buddy Jonah. In fact, he even makes a joke at the end that he doesn't know where she just went but he's happy she's alive.
The overarching theme in The Pillar's challenge tomb is wind. There are many puzzles that will have you waiting for wind to die down so you can erect barriers to form windbreakers which allow you to cross narrow paths without being blown off. I fell off the edge on multiple occasions but there was nothing overly difficult that caused me to do so as I merely had to be patient and get better at timing my jumps and running across at just the right moment. I enjoyed the stormy atmosphere as seen through the visual effects and heard via the howling winds as I went through the challenge tomb and found that it added urgency to completing my goal. If you shoot for acing the time attack or score attack modes, you'll definitely spend most of your time perfecting your setup for each puzzle in order to make your way across the gorges without being blown off thus having to start over again and cancelling your multiplier.
List of unlockable items Golden Eagle Gear
The following "Golden Eagle Gear" items are unlocked upon completing The Pillar DLC's challenge tomb:
A Thousand Eyes skill: survival instincts stay active when moving through tree canopies and concealment walls.
Oathtaker's Bow: a decorative bow with fast draw speed that deals extra damage to armoured enemies.
Sinchi Chiqa Battle Dress outfit: a colourful dress that allows Lara to craft more ammunition and take less damage from projectiles.
The tomb is about the same length as the one in the first DLC pack which means it takes about 1 to 2 hours to complete if you include the section after the challenge tomb that has you fighting Trinity soldiers and cult members. I enjoyed this portion just as much as the tomb itself as there were many moments where I could critically think about how to take out enemies without alerting others. When Trinity emerged, I covered myself in mud and hid in the foliage dodging between different walls and bushes to quickly and stealthily take out the bad guys. If you'd prefer, there are also plenty of available ingredients so you can go crazy throwing Molotov cocktails.
The Pillar DLC is a step up from the previous expansion as it features more interesting visuals and a tense stormy atmosphere that brings on new challenges around the use of wind. Although the challenge tomb itself is still short, this new elemental theme and the battles at the end combine to make for a fairly fun albeit brief distraction.
- + New outfit, bow, and skill look cool and are somewhat handy
- + Wind adds interesting challenges and visuals
- + Fun battles with flexible stealth and combat
- - Story is pretty lackluster with barely any character development
- - Too short to keep you entertained for long
- - Score and time attack remain underwhelming