A Survivor is Reborn
The 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider was perhaps one of the best reboots I’ve ever played. A game that provided a great story, great gameplay and enticing replay value was exactly what I wanted from a Tomb Raider game. Crystal Dynamic’s bold move to reboot the franchise did them a world of good, and showed that they still have that wonderful edge we’ve come to expect. A year has passed, as has a console generation and we now have a redefined, ‘definitive’ edition of last years masterpiece on the new consoles. Needless to say, this edition might be just the one you should get, even if you have played the game before.
The story of Tomb Raider is really a ‘coming-of-age’ scenario. Lara Croft isn’t the hardened heroine we know from previous iterations. She’s still a young woman on the hunt for treasure, just without that innate sense of killing. The game really shows the development of Lara as a person, and how certain actions have made her who she is in the future. As a whole, I really enjoyed the story presented. It is a brutal journey throughout Yamataii, and it is a necessary chapter in the development of Lara Croft. While the cast as a whole aren’t a solid unit, and often fall into the ‘silly’ category when it comes to delivering the lines – the voice acting by Camilla Luddington (Lara Croft) is exceptional and she drives the story forward in a significant, at times quite personal way. The story of Tomb Raider is an enjoyable ride and one any fan of the universe should undergo as it is such an integral part of Lara Croft’s life. Crystal Dynamics have done a great job at conveying an emotional story which is still jam-packed full of explosions and entertaining set pieces.
The gameplay in Tomb Raider is wonderful. Borrowing traits from games like Uncharted -the climbing, shooting and running all feels natural and fluid. Each weapon Lara uses are fun in their own way and are upgradable, which adds to the overall need to complete the optional tombs that are scattered throughout the world. You’re not going to be able to upgrade every weapon to 100% without scavenging for supplies as well. There is a lot to do in the world Tomb Raider presents – and these tombs and supplies aren’t so easily spotted. I’d often find myself venturing off from the linear story in search of items that could enhance my abilities and that made the game all the more enjoyable. The game plays well and the controls are very solid. There are some quicktime events here too – but they only come every now and again. The replay value in Tomb Raider is quite high. The wonderfully crafted optional tombs and challenges were a lot of fun to explore after I completed the 10-hour story as well. There is definitely a lot to do in the game and even when you complete the story I recommend checking out the tombs – as they are incredibly enjoyable. Each tomb has a small puzzle to solve and they’re nothing too difficult but the XP reward is definitely worth the extra time spent. Using XP to upgrade both Lara and her equipment is addicting and is something that you’ll want to spend time looking into. Each new ability adds something new to the fray and makes the gameplay that much more enjoyable.
Before touching on the new content offered in the Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider, there is still another mode to talk about – that being Multiplayer. While I’m not a fan of Multiplayer as a mode overall, the Multiplayer seen in Tomb Raider is quite dire. Its boring use of the usual modes and uninspired maps takes away from the overall package. I believe that if the game was a sole-standalone Singleplayer experience it would have fared just as well.
Tomb Raider Definitive Edition wouldn’t be the ‘definitive edition’ without some new enhancements. That comes in the way of the graphical fidelity that comes with the next generation consoles. While the game looked utterly beautiful on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (PC was clearly better overall though) – the game looks even more gorgeous on the new systems. Among the notable improvements, the new lighting, physics effects and the complete remodeling of Lara stuck out the most to me. It’s just a beautiful game to look at and enjoy on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The frame-rate is pretty solid as well as it’s confirmed to be running at 60FPS on the PS4 and 30FPS on the Xbox One. There are really no hiccups in frame rate that I came across in my play-through and I genuinely enjoyed the experience even though I’d already played through it last year on my Xbox 360. The included DLC also acts as a nice incentive to buy the game again, but the only part of the DLC I was using were the outfits for Lara and the extra weapon attachments for use within the Single-player game. The Multiplayer content just doesn’t interest me.
“…the new lighting, physics effects and the complete re-modeling of Lara stuck out the most to me.”
As a package, Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is the way to go if you haven’t played the game before and are looking at playing something on your new, next generation console. If you’ve played the game before and enjoyed it – I do recommend getting it again as it’s a game that has strong replay value and was one of the best games of 2013. The improved graphics and included DLC are just a bonus to what is one of, if not the best Tomb Raider game to date.
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PlayStation 4 & Xbox One