The following covers the core gameplay features, not including general controls or combat, that make up the most important parts of the game. Mastering these features will help you with the game’s difficulty and allow you to traverse the story with little trouble.
As Lara makes her way through area of the island, she can set up camp in certain areas that are advantageous. Base Camps are the central hub where Lara must frequently return to upgrade her Survival Skills and Weapons. In order to help the player find the way back to a Base Camp the game designers have created intuitive ways that naturally leads the player around the environment, such as steams or coastlines, naturally leading them to a camp.
There are two types of camps in the game, day camps and Base Camps. Only the latter have the ‘Fast Travel’ option, allowing travel between any Base Camps Lara has previously visited in the game.
Survival Skills help Lara survive on the island, invisibly leveling her up by gaining skill points whenever a certain XP threshold. XP is granted through story progression, by defeating enemies, and hunting animals.
Once you have one or more skill points, you can return to any camp in the game to choose a skill to increase. There are three types of survival skills:
- Survivor, which increases passive skills like finding Salvage or taking more damage.
- Hunter, which increases your hunting and combat skills.
- Brawler, which increases your melee combat abilities.
At the start of the game some survival skills are more useful than others, although you'll definitely want to invest into combat skills once you're about one third into the game. Skills that enhance Lara's Survival Instincts are especially useful when you're trying to collect every single collectible in the game.
Salvage & Weapon Upgrades
As Lara searches through the environments she can find crates with “Salvage”, which is collected as XP used to upgrade weapons and tools. Find enough salvage and Lara can upgrade all her weapons, each with their own upgrades that can be anything from increasing ammo, adding a silencer, or adding additional weapon abilities like explosive arrows or burst fire.
Salvage can be found in crates on the ground or hanging in netting and require the Pry Axe to pry them open. Additionally, some weapons require Lara to find certain parts in Salvage crates or on enemy bodies to upgrade the weapons to the next level and unlock more abilities.
You’ll have to decide for yourself which weapons you prefer to upgrade based on your play style.
Most areas of the island have at least one challenge, usually requiring Lara to find and destroy certain objects. The number of objects is dependent on the challenge and the items can only be found in the area in which the challenge was started.
To start a challenge you’ll need to first find and destroy one of the objects, activating the challenge. The challenge will be listed and the number of ites required to finish will appear at the bottom of the screen. Upon completion, Lara will gain a large amount of X for Survival Skills.
Hidden Tombs are located throughout the game and are non-combat areas where Lara will need to solve a puzzle to reach a treasure. While not marked on the map, the game will indicate when Lara is near a tomb through dialogue, so make sure to have your volume on.
Each tomb grants Lara 1250 XP, 250 Salvage, and a Treasure Map.
Tomb Raider has a ton of collectibles on the island: Relics, Documents, GPS Caches, and even Salvage. Lara will gain XP for every collectible she finds and when she completes a sub category, such as all of the Helmet relics, she’ll gain a big XP boost.
Through relics and documents, Lara can gain a better understanding of history of the island and what has happened there. They can be viewed at any time through the games’ menu and some relics can even be rotated to find hidden information in them.
Other unlisted one-time collectibles include Plants and Food Caches that net Lara small amounts of XP.