The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Crystal Dynamics has held the reins of the Tomb Raider
franchise since 2006, when publisher Eidos decided that Core Design had run the
series into the ground. After two solid new titles and an updated remake of the
original games, the studio finally hit a home run with 2013's Tomb Raider, a
reboot of the series that many - myself included - felt was the best game in franchise
In many ways, Tomb Raider recalls the trio of recent James
Bond films starring Daniel Craig; both reimagine a British entertainment icon
in a harder, less playful fashion. Don't expect this Lara Croft to engage in
quippy banter; the violent, often grim tale pushes her to the limit as she
turns from a girl to a battle-hardened woman.
Aside from the subpar multiplayer and a few suspect plot
twists, the game is nearly flawless. The big questions are: What's new in this
"Definitive Edition," and should I buy it? The answer is...it depends.
The grandiose subtitle might fool some into thinking this
re-release is more significant than it really is. In essence, this is a
next-gen port of Tomb Raider packaged with all of the post-release DLC content.
There are a few Xbox One- and PlayStation 4-specific added features like voice
commands and touchpad controls. You can say "stealth" to switch to a silent
weapon (which isn't as fast as doing it with the d-pad) or use the PS4's
touchpad to light a torch. The PlayStation 4 controller glows red when you have
a torch. The Xbox allows you to tilt your head during platforming sequences to
shift the camera angle. As you'd expect, it's all clever but inessential.
A good selection of bonus content is also included:
multiplayer maps, characters, and weapons previously released as DLC and the
Dark Horse digital comic book "Tomb Raider: The Beginning," an art book, and a
making-of documentary. Six new outfits allow you the unprecedented ability to
dress Lara in clothing that's actually appropriate for the weather conditions.
The most notable new addition for fans is the only new single-player content,
the Tomb of the Lost Adventurer, an all-new Tomb found off to the right in the
area before Lara and Whitman enter the large tomb doors in the first hour. Like
the others, it's short and mediocre.
The biggest draw of Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition is
the improved graphics. They're simply stunning in perhaps the best-looking
console game I've ever seen. Running smooth 1080p resolution, this new version
adds an incredible level of detail to the newly modeled characters and lush
environments. From Lara's uncannily realistic hair to the shimmer of water
reflections on a cave wall, every inch of this game is visually striking. It's
a tantalizing glimpse at the wonders that these new consoles have in store for
Are these improvements worth $60 if you've
already played the game? Without knowing your bank balance, I can't
definitively answer that question. For me, it's simply a great port of a great
game. The added content is a welcome addition, but didn't markedly affect my
enjoyment of Tomb Raider. That said, it's undeniably the best version of Tomb
Raider yet - and the best game currently available for Xbox One and PlayStation
4. If you haven't played it, I don't know what you're waiting for.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.