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Forget Lara Croft, Heaven's Vault is where it's at for archaeology games

Famous last words

Happy Shadow of the Tomb Raider day everybody. This post isn't about Shadow of the Tomb Raider. All right, maybe it is a little, but only in passing. If there's one thing I hope Shadow of the Tomb Raider does better than the last game, it's the way Lara learns and interacts with the ancient languages adorning the ye olde artefacts she finds on her travels. Because let's face it. 'Leveling up' your Russian by staring intently at different slabs of unintelligible text for five seconds is both ridiculous and definitely not how learning a language works. If it was, all those years of French lessons at school would mean I'm an absolute expert at it.

Instead, I hope Crystal Dynamics take some inspiration from Inkle's upcoming xenological-decipher 'em up, Heaven's Vault, in which you play an archaeologist trying to translate the runic signs and symbols of a lost civilisation as you look for one of your missing teammates in a mysterious bit of space called the Nebula. It's both a fascinating exploration of how language works and might be interpreted, and having played a little bit of it at EGX Rezzed, I can comfortably say it might just be one of my favourite games of the year.

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Heaven's Vault

iOS, PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

PS4, Xbox One, PC

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About the Author
Katharine Castle avatar

Katharine Castle


Katharine is RPS' editor-in-chief, which means she's now to blame for all this. After joining the team in 2017, she spent four years in the RPS hardware mines. Now she leads the RPS editorial team and plays pretty much anything she can get her hands on. She's very partial to JRPGs and the fetching of quests, but also loves strategy and turn-based tactics games and will never say no to a good Metroidvania.