Skip to main content

Shadow of the Tomb Raider guide: beginner's tips and tricks, how skill points work

Lara's latest challenge

Lara Croft's latest adventure, the third in the latest trilogy, sees her seemingly causing the apocalypse. Racked with guilt she heads to deepest, darkest Peru to locate a lost civilisation in the heart of the Andes to recover an artefact from Trinity. This guide will give you some beginner's tips and tricks for Shadow of the Tomb Raider, as well as explain how skill points work.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider guide

This new Tomb Raider has a fair few side objectives to complete in addition to the rather linear main campaign. In the subsequent guides below, we will not only show you how to get the best performance out of Shadow of the Tomb Raider on PC, but also where to find and how to complete the nine challenge tombs to unlock various skills, as well as the walkthroughs for each of the game's side missions and a table listing all of the game's challenges with tips on how to complete them.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider Side Missions - information about side missions and the challenges.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider Challenge Tombs - how to complete each of the game's challenge tombs.
Shadow of the Tomb Raider PC graphics performance - details on how to make this game look great on your PC.

The Skill tree in Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Shadow of the Tomb Raider skill points

Skill points are how you upgrade Lara's capabilities for exploration and causing death and destruction. You gain a skill point by gaining 100XP. XP is obtained in various ways, such as killing enemies, scavenging flora and fauna, solving puzzles, completing side missions and challenges, and obtaining collectables.

Skills are obtained by cashing in the required number of skill points, though you won't have free reign to amass all of the skills from the get-go. Some require other skills to upgrade, while others require completing certain challenge tombs to unlock. These skills are divided into three separate fields, with blue ones being more exploration focused, while red and green ones generally make combat easier.

Lara coming up for air in an underwater air pocket.

Useful tips for playing Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Like the other games in the rebooted trilogy, Shadow of the Tomb Raider does a generally good job at letting beginners know how to play the game. However there are a few things that will either stump newer players or require a bit of exploring in the options menu to see, so we've listed some of the best tips for playing the game below.

  • You can change the game's difficulty at any time in the options menu and tweak it to suit your needs. For some, combat is not their strongest suit, so you can set that to easy. Doing so will make Lara auto-target enemies, in addition to making enemies weaker. Those who set it to normal and hard will lose the auto-targeting, the enemies take more damage, and get more aggressive.
  • The other two categories make exploration and puzzles easier or harder, depending on your personal preference. Exploration at lower difficulties will make climbable sections more obvious, but remove them completely at higher difficulties. Puzzle difficulty determines how often and how specific Lara's hints are when using Survival Instinct by pushing the right analog stick or pressing Q on a keyboard.
  • If you're finding mashing the buttons in quick time events a hassle, there is an option in the options menu to change it to holding a button down instead.
  • Swimming in Shadow of the Tomb Raider doesn't come with a breath meter. Instead you'll need to rely on visual cues, such as the screen getting blurrier and going grey. If you're playing with a controller, the controller should also vibrate more often. Make sure you come up for air using air pockets before she drowns.
  • There are two types of special arrows that you can create. When selecting the arrows in the weapon wheel, you can also choose between fire and hallucinogenic arrows. You can craft them by pressing the corresponding button (R1/RB/Middle mouse button) and fire them by pressing the same button while aiming (L2/LT/Right mouse button). You'll need the corresponding perk to gather the items required for hallucinogenic arrows.

That's it for our Shadow of the Tomb Raider guide, though there's plenty to do outside of the main campaign. Do check out our other pages for more on the optional stuff that you can do, such as the various side missions the game has to offer.

Read this next