Tomb Raider – Definitive Edition Review and Analysis
By Dan Maurer
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Directors: Noah Hughes, Daniel Chayer, Daniel Neuburger
Producer: Kyle Peschel
Designer: Darrell Gallagher
Artist: Brian Horton
Writer: Rhianna Pratchett
Composer: Jason Graves
Engine: Modified Crystal Engine
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a smart choice for the marketing minds at Square Enix to use for their heavy facelift of last year’s excellent Tomb Raider. It has little argument and is easy to justify. The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of Tomb Raider come with a huge graphical boost, all of the DLC previously released for the game and other previously released updates/perks. This is certainly the best edition of an incredible game.
Let’s be clear here, Crystal Dynamic’s complete reboot of Tomb Raider was one of last year’s best video games. A thrilling adventure with fierce, fluid combat and a beautifully menacing island to explore. Crystal Dynamics took the influence of Uncharted which itself is inspired by Tomb Raider, and blended it to Lara Croft’s identity. This younger vision of video games most famous heroine is masterly crafted by writer Rhianna Pratchett and actress Camilla Luddington. Sympathetic and fearsome, Lara’s character is shaped as the game progresses.
What has been added in this Definitive Edition are loads of technological improvements. The game now runs at 1080p now instead of 720p on the previous generation versions, which alone helps deliver increased visuals. The big difference between the PS4 and Xbox One versions appear to be in the FPS. The PS4 version of the game boosts an incredible 60FPS while the Xbox One version runs at the previous gen’s 30FPS. From the beginning players will notice a massive overhaul of textures in the game.
Everything from skin, eyeballs, foliage, birds, water, massive temples and background detail have all been upgraded, and in beautiful 1080p. Playing through the game there are a few moments the increased textures really become noticeable, and it’s often during close-ups of characters. Pores, scuff marks and dirt on skin are more visible, which in hand with the game’s admirable motion capturing and actor performances does give a greater feeling of realism. Otherwise the rich and well-drawn world just feels nicer to explore.
With the graphics being the biggest positive, Tomb Raider still has plenty of flaws and the story being its biggest one. Incredibly obvious and packed full of cliches, you can’t help but cringe at some of the dialogue as people speak to each other as if they were reciting a elementary school play. The narrative doesn’t impact too much on what you’re actually doing. Beyond cutscenes, it’s really not that big of a deal. Gameplay itself remains as fluid as it was on the previous generation’s versions. The multiplayer is still a pain to play and the only reason I would recommend jumping into it is if you are a Trophy/Achievement Hunter as some of those involve torturing yourself through the boring multiplayer.
If you played the previous generation consoles version, its pretty much more of the same except with next generation graphics and improved physics. If you missed out on the previous version, then I would highly recommend you grab this for your shiny new PS4 or Xbox One today. Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is a fantastic game and reboot of a classic series and I look forward to see where Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix take the series from here.
PunchDrunkGamer.com FINAL SCORE: 9 out of 10
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