Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Serpent's Heart Review

Lara rolls down the river

Mary Billington

Reviewed by playing an Xbox One on

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart is also available for PS4

ESRB Mature rating

Has it been a month already? It must have been since The Serpent's Heart DLC pack is now available for Shadow of the Tomb Raider.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart screenshot 1
Looks like Lara is ready for another mini-adventure!

At the start of The Serpent's Heart, Lara is sent on a mission by Hakan to free the rebel A'Aron from a prison. She happily accepts and dons her priest outfit in order to gain entrance to the prison where A'Aron is being held. I find it funny how I was already wearing the priest outfit when I accepted the mission from Hakan yet both of them acted as if she wasn't wearing it yet but I digress.

The action in the prison is short-lived and can be completed either with head-on attacks or stealthily with some ledges to climb and pillars to hide behind. Once you exit the prison with A'Aron escaping just ahead of you, you soon meet up with Hakan in the old village again. This is the same abandoned village that was brought up in the previous DLC pack and it's still just as fun to romp around. Soon after meeting with Hakan, you're attacked by cult members and forced to find an item of interest in order to free Hakan. The item they want is a weapon called the Godslayer and in order to obtain it, Lara must survive a tomb known as the Slayer's Gauntlet.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart screenshot 2
Did Sumaq also cut your hair?

Soon after entering the challenge tomb, you find yourself on a raft with rapids underneath. The tomb puzzles are split into 2 parts. In the first section, you fight the currents while trying to stay afloat so you don't get eaten by the deadly piranhas that inhabit the water. This involves dodging traps and shooting at targets with accuracy and good timing in order to keep moving at the same pace as the raft. It's challenging in parts and took me a couple of attempts as the solution to get to the next section isn't always obvious.

List of unlockable items Myth Hunter Gear

The following "Myth Hunter Gear" items are unlocked upon purchasing The Serpent's Heart DLC pack:

Divine Bounty skill: looting enemies yields more gold pieces.
The Serpent Lash: a decorative feathered bow that deals extra fire damage when a flame arrow is used.
Dragon Scales outfit: a gold and green outfit that provides resistance to fire and stumbling and a boost to health regeneration.

The second part of the challenge tomb is the most enjoyable part of the Shadow of the Tomb Raider DLC packs so far. In the centre of the room is a tall pillar with targets that you must hit. Once you hit a target, you are pushed around the perimeter of the large circular room and tasked with dodging spikes and flames in order to complete a rotation and make it to the next section of the pillar. It's quite challenging and had me on the edge of my seat. I had to equip a weapon with a fast rate of fire in order to succeed because the bow just doesn't cut it when you're rolling under spikes and trying to hit 2 targets in succession to deactivate a giant flamethrower.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart screenshot 3
As if the spikes weren't enough; now there's fire, too!

After completing this fun puzzle and attempting to return the Godslayer to the cult members, you find that Hakan and A'Aron have teamed up and are taking down the cult members on their own. I guess they just couldn't wait. You join them then make your way through the jungle while taking out enemies using either a stealth or action-packed method.

I really enjoyed the pacing in this DLC pack with it switching between fighting sections and some unique and fun puzzles. I'm also happy how Hakan and A'Aron's story isn't just an afterthought but is woven into the action. However, it may sound like there's a lot to do but overall, the length matches all of the other packs except the previous one with it taking 1 to 2 hours at the most to complete. This is a little unfortunate as I was hoping that the previous pack might have helped set a trend with there being more content but it's probably too much to ask as the plans must have been made a long time ago in order to deliver a new pack every single month.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart screenshot 4
Lara takes a moment to appreciate the scenery after her taxing journey

The Serpent's Heart DLC contains the most interesting and challenging puzzles yet and it will get your heart racing. The story is nicely intertwined with the gameplay, too. If only the fun could have lasted a bit longer...

  • + Plenty of fast-paced trap dodging and puzzle solving that's a ton of fun
  • + Heartwarming story that slowly unfolds
  • + Fun action sequences with optional stealth
  • - No newly introduced gameplay elements
  • - Simply not long enough
6.5 out of 10
Gameplay video for Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Serpent's Heart 6:27
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