Last March, Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics teamed up to release one of the most anticipated reboots of the year when they decided to explore the emotionally gripping origin story of a popular female English archaeologist by the name of Lara Croft. Tomb Raider was deemed a critical success and eventually went on to receive numerous accolades from several prestigious gaming publications throughout the world.
With the Xbox One and PS4 consoles now both on the market, Square Enix has decided to re-release this title in hopes of bringing gamers a much more complete a refined experience on next-gen hardware. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a great reboot but definitely not a massive upgrade over the original. Here are a few more reasons why I made this claim and a brief overview of what this version has to offer.
On the surface, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is virtually the same exact game that came out last year but with a few added bells and whistles to keep the overall experience more seamless and realistic to the naked eye. For starters, the developers chose to create their own vision of a next-gen Lara by upgrading the character model with dynamic effects, variable textures, and a physics based hair engine called Tress FX. This same technology was also used to apply physics to the weapons Lara carries and successfully simulates weight and movement as she navigates through various parts of the island. While graphical enhancements like these do make for a much more polished and enjoyable experience this time around, the PC version of the game still seems like the superior product when compared to both last and next-gen consoles.
Upon purchasing the Definitive version of this game, you are instantly rewarded with all of the previously released DLC from the original game. These add-ons include several outfits to choose from and a secret tomb to explore. If your desire is to have access to all of the extra content that the game has to offer, then picking this up is your best bet. The one glaring omission that I was annoyed about was the DLC package as a whole and in particular the lack of explorable tombs throughout the campaign. Hopefully this is something that can be further expanded upon in future Tomb Raider games to keep the franchise fresh and immersive.
Definitive Edition's added bells and whistles keep the overall experience more seamless and realistic to the naked eye.
When it comes to comparing both the Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, there are quite a few differences worth mentioning right out of the gates. The Xbox One version of the game runs at 30fps and was developed with help by United Front Games. The PS4 version of the game runs at 60fps and was developed with help by Nixxes Software. Both versions offer voice support and players are able to navigate through menus and switch weapons all by using their own voices while playing the game. One cool feature that the Dualshock 4 controller has is that the light bar illuminates both red and orange in instances where Lara is holding a torch. This may not matter much to the average consumer, but it is a nice touch that amps up the gameplay environment considerably.
The remaining aspects of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition experience is largely unchanged as far as content goes. The story still suffers from a weak supporting cast of characters, while the cinematic action sequences are just as exciting as they were before. On top of all this, the multiplayer mode still feels like a rushed experiment that has yet to reach it’s full potential. If you’re willing to forgive all of these things, then you’ll still find a compelling game that is absolutely worth playing through from start to finish.
The core gameplay experience remains the same from start to finish.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a great reboot and a must play for any fan that might have missed out on the original release. For a more in-depth analysis on that game, I highly recommend that you check out my Tomb Raider regular edition review. If you did get a chance to play the original, then I suggest that you're better off putting your money towards the next entry in the series instead.
This review is based on a digital copy of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for the PlayStation 4 provided by Square Enix.