Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Game Review by Jason Noonan | 25 Feb 2014
Game title: Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Publisher: Square Enix
Release date: Out now

With the latest instalment of Tomb Raider released on PS4 and Xbox One, we are finally given an origins story for Lara Croft with the crisp graphics it deserves. In what is the first game in a series reborn, we see Lara barely surviving her first encounter with adventure and each time she falls it’s clear how painful each challenge really is. Finally, the end prologue shows a glimpse of what is to come, with the lass hardened and ready to jump into action.

Fresh off a sunken ship, the game begins with a whimpering and hurt Lara, as she struggles to get her head around being lost on an island, which appears to be inhabited by madmen. The story is rich with history, which focuses mostly on the island itself, detailing the myths and legends through journals hidden within the environment. Lara’s dark history is given detail as she struggles to save the men who have raised her, giving insight into a past filled with loss and what makes her keep moving on.

The gameplay is a mixture of action and stealth, perfect for showing Lara’s progression within the game. In the beginning she will struggle with a few moves and barely any way to defend herself. This means the main tactics are stealth and to avoid letting enemies get close. By the end, hand-to-hand combat is a breeze, with Lara using her agility to overpower armoured foes. Overall, this creates a seamless progression in difficulty and by the end a clear change has taken place from quiet, to all guns blazing.

Don’t go expecting to find trouble in other parts of the island you have previously explored though. When the game wants you to go in one direction, it leaves little to do behind. This creates no reason to backtrack, except to find relics and books previously missed, filling in what hasn’t been collected. It creates a very one-track game which constantly pushes Lara further into the island. For anyone wanting to truly explore and take their time, this may cause some frustration and leaves little replay value.

Graphically a heightened level of detail has been implemented compared to last year’s edition for previous consoles. The visuals have been polished to give an extra layer of weathering to the environment. Lighting looks better, with scenes borderline breathtaking, specifically when near the sea. Although this will add to the experience, nothing major has been changed in terms of gameplay to get excited about. One extra tomb has been added and all downloadable content is included, but no major exclusive additions to the story have been developed.

This is a fantastic game, but for anyone who previously played it on last year’s consoles, this version could go amiss. For everyone else with a next gen console wanting to take it for a spin whilst waiting for some true next-gen games, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will thoroughly entertain and leave you an instant fan of this re-booted series.