USE YOUR SURVIVAL INSTINCTSThe greatest tool at your disposal is your Survival Instincts, which reveal points of interest by scanning the environment, and as this power is unlimited you should use it regularly to check out your surroundings. If you're moving or in water the effect only lasts around a second, but if you activate it while standing still it will continue until you move on, allowing you to use the right stick to look around and take in the full scene.
Survival Instincts reveal animals (yellow) and enemies (red) with a glowing hue, which is useful for identifying targets from a distance and planning your next move accordingly. After hunting or combat it will also highlight animal corpses that have not been skinned and bodies that haven't been searched, so use it to ensure you've collected all the spoils of your efforts before leaving the current area.
This power indicates areas of the environment you can interact with once you have the appropriate gear, such as scalable walls once you get the climbing tool, so you can plan your route up to higher locations. It can also be used in dark tunnels and caves to reveal the path ahead, preventing any nasty surprises from creeping up on you.
MASTER THE RIGHT SKILLS FIRSTLara has a total of 24 skills that can be unlocked by earning XP, covering Hunting, Brawling and plain old Surviving, and although they all have their individual benefits you can significantly speed up your progress by selecting the right ones to master first.
Your first upgrade should be Survivalist, which gives you additional XP when searching animal corpses and food caches, followed by Advanced Salvaging and Bone Collector, which award you an increased amount of salvage from animals and crates. This will increase the speed you gain XP and salvage for the rest of your playthrough, giving you faster access to further skills and upgrades for your gear.
To get the maximum benefit from skill upgrades you should unlock each one as soon as you collect enough XP, by heading straight to the nearest day or base camp when the "+1 Skill Point" notification appears on screen.
WIN EVERY FIGHTWhen enemies are nearby Lara will crouch into her combat-ready stance, and in this mode you will automatically take cover behind objects by simply moving near them. Aiming will pop you out so you can target your foes, then after taking your shots release aim to retreat to cover again. When moving between cover objects, tapping B/Circle to duck or pressing it twice to roll will minimise the damage you take.
When targeting enemies always aim for headshots, as these will take down most regular adversaries in a single hit. Later in the game you face armoured enemies who will soak up arrows or bullets, again go for headshots on these to shoot off their helmets before following up for the kill. In some locations you'll have a searchlight shining in your face which severely restricts your visibility of the area ahead, however you can shoot out the bulbs so you should make that your first priority.
If your opponent gets in close then dodging a melee blow while aiming allows you auto-target them, making a follow up attack simple to achieve. When combat becomes more regular you should invest some skill points in Brawler upgrades for dodge counters and kills, as these are quick and efficient ways of dealing with enemies.
Once everyone has been eliminated Lara will exit her combat-ready stance and stand up straight again, indicating that the threat has passed and you can now safely explore the area.
SNEAK TO GAIN AN EDGEAlthough Lara is well equipped to deal with combat situations, it's quicker and much more effective to use stealth wherever possible. If you can approach an enemy without being detected, then get in behind them and follow the button prompt for a silent takedown.
If you can't get close enough for a takedown, the bow and arrow is perfect for silently taking down enemies from a distance. Hold down the trigger to build power then release for a deadly headshot, but if your target suddenly moves you can release the aim button to cancel the shot without losing an arrow.
To avoid suspicion you should pick off any foes stood on their own first, though make sure they're not in view of anyone else before proceeding. When using a stealthy approach you get a couple of seconds grace before enemies react, so if two are close together you should have enough time to take one of them out then quickly eliminate the second with a follow up shot before they can raise the alarm.
FIND EVERY COLLECTIBLEThroughout the game there are plenty of documents, relics and GPS caches to be collected, and your progress towards finding them all can be tracked at any time from the map screen. The best way to locate them is to invest in the Orienteering skill, which reveals collectibles through obstacles while using Survival Instincts. This also adds them to your map once spotted, so scan each area carefully to build up a complete record.
Collectible icons on the map are marked with a '?' until they are picked up, at which point they become a solid black icon. Those marked with a padlock are in areas you cannot presently reach, so ignore them and come back later. To easily identify the location of a collectible, mark it on your map by moving the cursor over the icon and choosing 'Toggle Local Waypoint', then exit and activate Survival Instincts to reveal a blue marker that will guide you to it.
The other way to track down collectibles is by finding treasure maps, some of which are the reward for completing Optional Tombs and the rest are found as collectibles themselves in other areas. Treasure maps can be found in the following locations:
- Coastal Forest (Complete map) - On a platform up a tree northeast of the Forest Ruins base camp
- Mountain Temple (Complete map) - Under a waterfall just west of the Mountain Temple base camp
- Mountain Village (Relic map) - Tomb of the Unworthy reward
- Mountain Village (GPS map) - Tomb of Ascension reward
- Mountain Base/Base Exterior (Complete map) - Down the zip line directly above the Radio Tower base camp
- Shanty Town (Relic map) - Well of Tears reward
- Shanty Town (GPS map) - Hall of Judgment reward
- Geothermal Caverns (Complete map) - On a raised platform just north of the Catacombs base camp
- Summit Forest (Relic map) - Stormguard Sanctum reward
- Shipwreck Beach (Relic map) - The Flooded Vault reward
- Shipwreck Beach (GPS map) - Temple of the Handmaidens reward
- Cliffside Bunker (Complete map) - Next to a sealed bunker entrance on your right after exiting the main bunker
- Research Base (Complete map) - In the corridor after beating the lift puzzle
- Chasm Shrine (Complete map) - On a raised platform above the winch puzzle
EXAMINE RELICS TO REVEAL SECRETSOnce you find relic collectibles, you can rotate and examine them from the discovery screen that pops up at the time or by using the relic menu afterwards. Although this is merely a cosmetic effect for some of the items, others can yield hidden secrets or amusing asides after giving them a closer inspection.
Relics that can be examined are marked with a magnifying glass, and while you rotate the item the pad will vibrate stronger as you get closer to the point of interest. Home in on the right area and you'll receive an XP bonus along with some additional information about the piece, some of which turn out to be not quite what they seemed!
TRAVERSE AREAS SAFELYThere are plenty of risks involved as you make your way through each area, so being prepared can save you from a slip and an untimely falling death. Lara can make some pretty large jumps, but always be ready to hit X/Square if the prompt appears when landing to save yourself. You also have a degree of movement while in the air, which you can use to steer Lara towards a safe landing spot or ledge.
Falling from a large height into water will often still kill you, as most of the rivers and pools found in the game are only shallow and won't break your fall. However, you can safely drop distances that would normally be unsurvivable if you land on a zip line, which can significantly speed up your descent from a high location if the opportunity presents itself.
KNOW YOUR LIMITS WHEN EXPLORINGAs you progress through the game you unlock additional equipment that allows you to access new areas, starting with the climbing tool and progressing to rope arrows, explosives and more. However, there will be points in the story where you arrive in an area before you have the proper tools to fully explore it.
Using the fast travel base camps you can return to previous locations at any point, so bear this in mind if you're struggling to get to a certain area and can't see a way to reach it. You might not have the correct equipment to get there yet, so instead of getting frustrated you should move on with the story and come back later when you have more gadgets at your disposal.
UPGRADE YOUR GEARTo upgrade your weapons you need salvage, which is found by breaking open crates or searching animal corpses and enemy bodies. This can then be spent at base or day camps to improve your gear. Upgrade your bow first as this can be used for both head-on combat and stealth, then focus on augmenting the rifle once unlocked to give yourself some serious firepower for later fights.
To improve each weapon beyond a certain point, you need to find the relevant parts to unlock the next set of upgrades for it. These parts are found at random in crates and on enemy bodies, so make sure you check as many of these as possible along the way. There are many salvage crates hanging in nets that must be burned in order to release them, which are much easier to collect once you unlock the fire arrows.
COMPLETE HUNTING AND COMBAT CHALLENGESThere are a number of achievements/trophies for completing various hunting and combat challenges, such as killing and skinning 10 large animals and rope pulling 5 enemies off ledges. Although it's much easier to take care of these during your main playthrough, it is still possible to complete them once you've finished the story.
The best location to find any animals you're missing is Summit Forest, as all three types (large, small and flying) can be found and hunted in that one area. Enemies continue to spawn in Mountain Village, Shantytown and Shipwreck Beach, so travel to those parts of the map to take care of any outstanding combat trials.
BONUS TIP - SOLUTIONS TO THE OPTIONAL TOMBSThere are seven optional tombs found during the game, and although these can be skipped they provide a healthy XP boost for completion along with a map revealing the collectibles for that area. If you find yourself stuck on any of them, here are the solutions for reaching the treasure...
Mountain Village - Tomb of the Unworthy: Jump on the centre cage then quickly jump off to the far side and light your torch, before jumping back on the centre cage and burning the three wraps hanging down. Climb up to the original platform and push the larger cage off the side, then jump up to the centre cage from underneath and use it to reach the climbable wall on your left.
Mountain Village - Tomb of Ascension: Use the mechanism to close the window, and then wait a few seconds before activating the mechanism to raise the central platform. Quickly climb onto the platform before the window reopens, then leap onto the far wall when you're blown up to it and wall jump up to the beam above. Traverse left then jump onto the raised balcony.
Shanty Town - Well of Tears: Pick up the canisters and throw them up into the cage, three of them is enough to drop the cage to the floor. Head down to the cage and throw the canisters out, then run back to the upper level and leap onto the rising cage before quickly jumping left to the high platform.
Shanty Town - Hall of Judgment: Jump up to the shelf on the left of the statue with candles to pull it down, then use your rope arrow on the pendulum to break the shelf on the right hand side. Place the three canisters on the base of the ramp to weigh it down, then run and jump to the climbable wall above the furnace.
Summit Forest - Stormguard Sanctum: Shoot the explosive pile on the first level with a fire arrow to remove it, then use another fire arrow to dissipate the gas before quickly climbing up to level two. Look to the far side of the jump and shoot the next explosive pile to clear the path ahead, then leap across to the climbable wall and head up.
Shipwreck Beach - The Flooded Vault: Hit the switch upstairs to activate the power, then the one downstairs to open the door. Burn the tether off the raft, then move round to the broken wall and use rope arrows to pull the raft towards you. Use the raft to get around the corner to your right then pull down the girder above you to lift the broken light out of the water, allowing you to cross to the far side. Pull the raft towards you here, then use the girder to raise the light out of the water and quickly pull the raft underneath it, allowing you to walk through the water to the stairs on the far side.
Shipwreck Beach - Temple of the Handmaidens: Turn the mechanism to raise the cage and release the buoy, then quickly climb the platform on your left and swing on the pole as the buoy pushes it around in front of you. Then use a rope arrow to pull the next pillar around, and again swing on the pole as the buoy pushes it around to reach the climbable wall.