Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Last year’s Tomb Raider was a fantastic reboot. A gritty origin story of the iconic Lara Croft, it was one of the best games released in 2013. You can read our full review here.
‘Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ was announced by Square Enix in December last year. This fully re-built version for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One features an obsessively detailed Lara and a fully realised lifelike world. Showcasing spiffy 1080p graphics, vastly improved character models and particle effects, all the previous release’s DLC, (including 6 different outfits for Lara),voice commands, as well as a digital art book and comic, ‘Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ boasts the most beautiful and believable world in a Tomb Raider yet, but do the enhancements really make for a truly better game?
When I first booted up ‘Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’, I immediately noticed the new and improved character model for Lara. Her hair behaves more realistically, particularly in the wind or rain, and even her facial expressions seem to be more realistic of the situations she faces. When Lara is injured, her face reflects her pain, with her mouth open and her teeth gnashed together. When she is exploring a hidden tomb, her face is full of curiosity and wonderment, and there are other instances where her facial expression is determined by a recent development in the game’s story. While facial expressions are certainly not new to video games, the way in which they’re used is what is impressive about ‘Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’, especially when they are met by the impressive new mud, sweat and other environment effects.
Another new addition to TR:DE is the ability to use voice commands, which are made possible by the Xbox One’s Kinect and PlayStation 4’s camera. These are quite simple and while most people may see them as a gimmick, they can be helpful for swapping weapons quickly during combat, or navigating the in-game menus. I also found that unlike Dead Rising (which thinks I’m constantly shouting to attract zombies), TR:DE is calibrated in a way to only recognise loud commands, which makes for a better, frustration-free game.
While the island contains many criminals and psychopaths, Lara’s nemesis in ‘Tomb Raider: Definition Edition’ (I feel) is the island itself. Thanks to the efforts of Crystal Dynamics, the environment is even more menacing than before. Harsh winds blow the grass and foliage realistically, and even the weather over the ocean somehow looks even better. Edges of jagged cliffs are more refined, and the tombs feel more live. In fact, the whole game really does feel more alive. I frequenty stop in the middle of exploring just to take in the surrounding environment, and thanks to the lack of a traditional HUD, my TV screen is free to display the gorgeous visuals Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition has to offer.
- Absolutely gorgeous. A fine achievement in graphical quality.
- Brilliant story and character development (at least, for the protagonist)
- A perfect reboot of an iconic franchise.
When it boils down to it, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a brilliant game that didn’t need a facelift, but has certainly benefited from it. If you haven’t played the previous release of the game (Tomb Raider) and you have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, don’t hesitate to pick up Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. It’s the perfect game that has somehow been improved.
Score – 9.5/10