Game review: Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
Well next gen is upon us and already games developers are knocking out the rereleases, and who’s first to the punch? Crystal Dynamics and Square Enix with a pimped up version of their fantastic reimagining of the origins of Lara Croft which came out last year, Tomb Raider now dubbed “Definitive Edition”. If any of you haven’t played this phenomenal game when it first set upon us, shame on you! But here’s a rundown of the game itself….
Tomb Raider shows us how Lara came from being a young, timid, highly achieved academic to the strong and fearless heroine we know her as today. Lara’s journey begins as part of a crew of archaeologists aboard the ship Endurance who all decide to travel to a dangerous part of the world known only as the Dragons Triangle. Suddenly their ship is stuck by a violent storm which breaks it in two causing the crew to be stranded and separated on a mysterious island. The story is fantastically brought forward thanks to the pacing which Crystal Dynamics have got spot on and thanks to the fabulous voice acting and motion capture cut scenes. The story feels focussed on Lara’s growth however with little emphasis on her fellow crewmates’ back stories however it’s easily excused due to the fantastic set pieces and predicaments Lara finds herself in, I was hooked.
The gameplay I would describe in a nutshell is that if Uncharted and Assassins Creed had a baby, its name would be Tomb Raider. A bold but true statement as playing as Lara constantly reminded me of Uncharted protagonist, Nathan Drake as the movement mechanics are suspiciously similar as well as her interactivity with her environment and similar fascination of talking to themselves. Lara isn’t completely like Drake however as first off, Lara can’t fight for toffee but has a knack for using the bow and arrow and certain firearms and Lara isn’t as amusing to listen too. The Island has a partially open world feel, players can fast travel between camp sites discovered and certain terrain can be climbed and traversed using Lara’s trusty pick axe which also can be used to break open doors and crates to hunt for salvage which is used to upgrade weapons.
The first thing that is noticeable is the vastly improved visual quality, last year’s release was brilliant in quality but this time, it’s simply breath-taking. Colours are more vivid, there’s a lot more detail and the new lighting effects are ridiculously real! The storms and sunset of Yamatai Island couldn’t possible look any better. Other noticeable differences is Lara’s face which even though she looks better than ever with her blood, sweat and mud covered skin looking super sharp. There is a fault with her new face that I can nit-pick at, it doesn’t move! Regardless of the situation Lara encounters and considering she spends most of the game getting the bejesus kicked out of her, her facial expressions is very slight which is bothersome. Same can be said to her new hair, no doubt it looks and moves more realistic thanks to the TressFX physics used but it always looks clean and tidy. The new tomb which can be encountered near the beginning is a welcome addition and the inclusion of all the downloadable content is welcome with Lara’s full wardrobe selectable however the multiplayer modes and the new maps are forgettable. So too is the new controls such as using the PlayStation camera or Kinect to use voice commands or gestures to do things in game, it doesn’t really fit in with the high octane action and is nothing more than a fancy button. Same thing can be said for the touch pad on the Dual Shock 4, using this, you can rotate relics that you find.
There’s no denying that the “Definitive Edition” of the fantastic Tomb Raider remake is the best version available although it’s basically the very same game with a fancy facelift. I could play this game over and over and enjoy it more and more and the new graphics make things a whole lot better. The multiplayer plus the DLC maps are still forgettable but the new costumes and new Tomb are welcome features. New controls? What new controls??
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Tomb Raider Definitive Edition
Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix
Genre: Action Adventure
Release Date: 28th January 2014
Story – 4.5/5
Graphics – 5/5
Gameplay – 5/5
Overall – 5/5