When Shadow of the Tomb Raider came out, I didn't get what the big deal was. Having played it, I know what everyone was mad about. I'll start with the elephant in the room.
Lara Croft isn't woke enough
Obviously, I couldn't give less of a shit about this. The game pays a modicum of lip service to social justice, which I basically just find annoying, but it wasn't bad enough to rise to the level of a problem with the game overall and I found it easy to ignore. That said, I remember this being the biggest problem most games journalists had with the game.
...I mean, good Lord...
...Anyway, moving on to something that matters...
Lara's character has taken a step back
Lara has generally been well-adjusted, considering her situation. In this game, they attempted to walk back a good portion of that narrative in order to make her feel more damaged as a result of her damaging experiences. I'm not in love with it. Again, it's kind of half-assed, similar to the wokeness, and again, it's mostly ignorable. It's not "I don't want to live on this planet anymore" caliber.
So, lemme tell you what I really hate...
Some shithead added enemies to challenge tombs
The first time I read about the arena/puzzle interval was in an article in PC Gamer Magazine (I subscribed back before the God-Emperor banned paper, ok?) about Half-Life 2. They explained that they tried to strike a balance, in the original game, between nail-biting combat scenes and head-scratching puzzle scenes, and that they felt it was important that the two not mix. I agree. To this day, Half-Life is almost perfect. I hold that Opposing Force was better, but only a little bit; the weapons were better, and I found the puzzles to be less focused on finding the right combination of buttons and weird, forced physics solutions and more on things that actually worked, but the point is that Valve was right to do things that way.
Challenge tombs are meant to be head-scratchers. They are intended to be something I come back to once the bad guys are dead. Something I clear when I feel like digging a little deeper into my bag of tricks than the narrative missions require. They are not appropriate places for you to hide your fucking cannibals. You got that, guys?
I'm poking around in this tomb just now. I got screamed at when I walked in the door. Not long after, Lara crouches down and pulls out a pistol, which is just stupid because I got out the shotgun as soon as I heard the scream. (Come on, maybe I don't like enemies in challenge tombs, but for God's sake I know what they sound like.) This I don't need, you know?
This I just don't need.