Back in 1996 we saw the emergence of Lara Croft and Tomb raider. After a string of critically acclaimed games Lara cemented herself as one of the most iconic heroines in gaming today. Lara’s crazy adventures looking for lost treasures and raiding tombs always had your imagination working over time, but obviously we all had the most fun locking the creepy butler in the fridge in Tomb Raider 1. 18 years later Lara has made her debut onto the PS4 and Xbox one and if we are honest, she has never looked so good.
Right, firstly I should say that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is not a new game, it is the same game that was launched in 2013, but it now has all the DLC included, which means you get an extra tomb to explore and some multiplayer maps, weapons and characters. The game also has had a huge facelift from the PS3 and 360 versions, the environments are gorgeous and Lara has had a facial overhaul to make her look a little bit more like actress that voices her. Tomb Raider also now boasts the very impressive TreeFX giving Lara’s hair its own physical every strand is now alive and moves with the character and the weather.
Finally my last point before I talk about the actual game play is what next gen console should you get Tomb Raider for. During the run up to launch there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Xbox One version of Tomb Raider as the game just does not run as well as the PS4 version, this is a fact. The PS4 boasts 60 FPS, 1080P game play whilst the Xbox One can only render at half the speed 30 FPS and certain cut scenes do drop from 1080P to 900P. Whilst this is not a massive issue for the casual gamer, the more experienced gamer such as myself can really tell the difference. If you own both the Xbox One and PS4, why would you buy the game for the system that it runs worse on?
Tomb Raiders story is not a story that will have you gripped from start to end, it’s ropey at best. The story begins with a Lara in her mid-twenties on board the research vessel, endurance, whilst looking for the lost kingdom of Yamatai. On their travels Lara and her crew mates find themselves in a part of the sea called the Dragon’s Triangle when they are hit by a freak storm which ships wrecks them on a strange and mysterious island, Lara quickly needs to uncover the islands dark history and become a killer if she is to leave alive.
Asides from Lara there are 8 other important characters in Tomb Raider, but none of which you really enjoy or get on with. Lara’s character is so well rounded the other characters kind of feel like an afterthought. Crystal Dynamics try to portray emotions and the bond of friendship, but after a cut scene involving the characters you kind of just forget they are even around. The story is very much a Lara against the world instead of a group of people struggling to survive on an island full of nasties.
Crystal Dynamics have really nailed the execution of Tomb Raider it is such a solid game. Tomb Raider has taken a lot of its inspiration and mechanics from the Uncharted series, but this is not a bad thing. when Lara is jumping from cliff to cliff and holding on for her dear life you could easily claim the game is Uncharted with a female protagonist. the third person view is perfect, shooting is effective and meaningful and there are many, many collectibles to find in the world. whilst being a linear game you can fast travel back to different parts of the game from any camp site which is really helpful if you want to collect all the items or have missed some hidden tombs.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is an excellent game, but is it really worth buying again? I’d say no, if you have previously played on PS3, Xbox 360 or PC then there isn’t much to really go back for. on the other hand, if you didn’t get around to playing Tomb Raider last gen then this is a must buy and arguably one of the best games currently on the PS4 and Xbox One. the game has its flaws, poor story and characters that are easily forgotten, but the execution overshadows all that and pulls you through the game. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is easily the best game in its genre since Uncharted 2.