Tomb Raider was one of my most anticipated games of last year. It ended up making my top games of the year and rekindled my love for the series. It was an amazing game, and for those that didn’t play it, it just got a whole lot better. Square-Enix has released the Definitive Version for both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which includes all the DLC and a host of visual improvements that take advantage of the new consoles. This is truly the best iteration of the game, and a must for anyone who hasn’t already played it.
While this game does appear on both new consoles, it comes with a disclaimer. The PS4 version runs at nearly 60 frames per second constantly, only dipping during intense action sequences. The Xbox One version however, runs at 30 frames per second with only minor dips in performance. For those that aren’t staring at them side-by-side, it will likely go unnoticed, but if given the option, the PS4 version is certainly the way to go.
The Definitive Version comes packed with all the currently released DLC, but that only includes one single player tomb. All of Lara’s outfits are also unlocked from the start, which was a nice touch. The rest of the DLC comes in the form of weapon attachments and maps for the novel multiplayer mode. Sadly, the competitive online mode still feels like an afterthought, making the additional content little more than a bullet point.
To mark another checkbox, Crystal Dynamics has also tossed in support for both cameras. Voice commands now let players shout weapons to equip them, as well as saying ‘resume’ to unpause the action. These feel like unnecessary additions again only to pad a feature set. Kinect will even let players grab treasures and lean to change camera angles during cut scenes, but I quickly shut all of these features off, as it did not enhance the experience at all.
Of course the biggest change to this version of the game is how it looks. I played through the original release on a high-end PC, and it looked fantastic. Somehow the Definitive Version manages to look even better, and for those that originally checked it out on 360/PS3, the changes are night and day.
What stands out from the already impressive PC version is just how alive the environments feel now. Trees sway in the wind, and rain/mud effects on Lara herself have received an upgrade that simply looks stunning on these new consoles.
Lara herself has also received an upgrade in her face model. Love it or hate it, it now features more expression alongside the texture changes to environmental effects. Also, console owners are now finally treated to the glory of TressFX with Lara’s insanely flowing hair – all of this now running at a rock solid frame rate, with the PS4 version standing out with its buttery smooth 60 frames per second. This is much more than a re-skinned HD upgrade, this game now looks even more amazing than it did last year; and that is impressive.
The one area I get hung up on this version of the game though, is its price tag. I think Tomb Raider is an amazing experience, but dealing it out at full retail is hard for a game that is nearly a year old. It is especially hard to swallow for those looking to double-dip. It is much easier to buy a game a second time if the price is a bit lower. Still for anyone who has yet to experience Lara’s rebirth, the package is certainly worth the price tag. I just feel it could have come in a bit lower, and snagged a lot more people looking to take a second trip through this adventure.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition has the luxury of being the first disc-based release for these new consoles in a while, meaning starving gamers are sure to snag it up; even those that have already taken to Lara’s adventure. Thankfully this isn’t a quick or cheap port that does a disservice to the original experience. This is still one of the best games of last year, and the enhancements make it one of the best looking games to come out in a while.
Review copy of game provided by publisher. Primary play on PlayStation 4.