For anyone out there wondering, what’s this “Definitive Edition” all about? Well it’s so the new generation consoles don’t miss out on a spectacular 2013 game, also known as Tomb Raider.
Square Enix has given the PS4 and Xbox One gamers a well-created full-length game to add to their small collections.
This version has all that the original game had to offer and a bit more, as it now contains all the current DLC. This includes some new outfits for Lara to wear and even a new tomb to raid. I appreciate this being thrown in but it’s nothing you can’t get on the older version via purchase.
The real difference is in the detail, literally. The Definitive Edition is an extensive overhaul of everything visual; lighting, particle count, resolution, physics and a few other items. All these have been intensively worked on to improve both Lara and the world around her.
The model of Lara has been recreated from scratch. Playing through the game, the first thing I noticed was how amazing Lara’s hair is. I just love it. It’s no longer some clunky hair piece but each hair reacts to movement and weather.
Lara’s face has also been specially remodeled for the next gen consoles, to fully appreciate the technology available. New skin has also been applied, with different layers simulating things like how liquids run across her body and using sub scattering tech to replicate how light reflects off skin in the real world.
The environment and levels have also had their fair share of improvement.
Physics simulators have been used on cloth, water and plant life to give a more realistic reactions to weather, wind and Lara’s interactions with them. The texture’s resolution has been increased fourfold to give all these items a more realistic look to go along with it.
Does all this make your final in-game experience any different? I’m going to say yes.
All the alterations do give a more immersive and aesthetically enjoyable experience.
While it might not be enough to warrant repurchasing the game, it certainly still had me replaying it with no irritation. For anyone not already on board, this is a highly impressive use of next gen tech to display Lara Croft and her story in a magnificent way.
So I’d say now’s as good as any a time to get on board, get ship-wrecked and enjoy all the horror the forsaken island of Yamitai has to offer.
There are a few other features thrown in, one being the implementation of voice commands.
This was used to do things like “show map” or change weapons by saying its name, “shotgun”. I found this more gimmicky than useful and turned it off pretty much from the moment go.
The other use of the Kinect on the Xbox One version was being able to examine relics, by “grabbing” the item and moving your hands around to get a closer look.
This is more a hindrance than anything else. The last thing is the “personal view” which to my understanding does basically nothing. After looking up on YouTube how this feature worked, turns out I was right. This is apparently, using your body to slightly adjust the camera angle at certain moments in the game.
The gameplay itself is unchanged. You play as the young and not so experienced Lara Croft, exploring and facing challenges that test your logic while honing your skills of survival to escape the unforgiving island you set out to find.
You start off with your bow and slowly unlock a few more basic weapons; pistol, rifle, shotgun and can eventually even use your climbing axe to cause some serious damage. Each of these can be upgraded with salvage and parts that are strewn about levels.
Fighting with each of these feels natural and the combat system works well.
My favourite weapon of course is the hunting bow. Whether hunting animals, taking down the enemy or using the unlockable special arrow types to cause some mayhem, it’s all just as much fun to use.
There are still puzzles, however they appear to be more localised to optional tombs. These offer great rewards and a good distraction from the main story.
The skill system is simple but effective.
Earning XP levels you up, gaining you skill points, which are spent on one of three basic skill types. All are eventually unlocked as you progress through the game. Extra XP and salvage can be obtained through finding all the collectables, such as relics or documents, and finishing level specific challenges. These all combine to mix things up and create a more diverse experience for players.
The multiplayer is still available, it’s just not as playable. Why? Well I couldn’t find another person online to play with.
There is still decent sized multiplayer community on the original version. So here is where having the original might be an advantage. The multiplayer has its elements of fun. There are a few different game types with a reasonable amount characters and weapons to unlock and upgrade. This is all well and good, but not so achievable on the Definitive Edition if you can’t find someone to play with.
Tomb Raider encompasses action, adventure and drama and does so rather well. You’re always interested in what’s going, always have some upgrade to scavenge for and some relic to find. The only disappointment in this game is finishing it, once you’ve got nothing left to explore, collect or achieve. It’s kind of sad.
Tomb Raider Definitive Edition has reignited my interest in the series and also taken this old and well known franchise in a new exciting direction. I can’t wait to see the next instalment in Lara’s story.