It's all about the hair and the gluts!
SRP: £44.99Last year’s reboot of Tomb Raider was a great game, arguably one of the best of the year. Our review back then covered what made it such a fantastic reinvention and all of the points raised are still relevant. Anyone who enjoyed adventure games knows that it was a very rewarding experience in a similar light to the Uncharted series, and proved more than an adequate stand-in during Uncharted’s absence, perhaps even besting the last Nathan Drake title.
This really is the Definitive Edition of last year's outing, and is a must play once again.
Where it certainly bested Uncharted was in its open sections and upgrades. These allowed Lara to become a more intimidating foe to her enemies, who inhabited the tropical island she found herself stranded upon. Still harking back to the original string of titles, this latest effort doesn’t stray too far off the trail, with sections of combat, exploring, puzzle solving and platforming.
TressFX - because she's worth itCrystal Dynamics did a good job of giving Lara the kick up the posterior that she needed in order to make the series more appealing to a modern market and drag her out of the dreary PS1/2 cave. The Definitive Edition delivers the same experience as was provided on the previous generation of consoles last year, but this time it looks far superior and makes use of the new technology at hand. Whilst the differences between the two outings may not be immediately obvious (in part thanks to the quality of the game in the first place) they can be found when put under the microscope.
Extra detail has been given to every texture, every piece of the environment and most of all to Lara herself. In the opening sequences the most notable improvements come in the detail and physics of her hair and ponytail. The previously PC-only TressFX makes sure individual strands are detailed whilst they swing and sway as she twists and turns her way to safety. For anyone that didn’t play the game last year, this is a visual treat and a worthwhile purchase, but for repeat players the immediate need to pick up Tomb Raider on new hardware might not be there.
The transition to next generation consoles hasn’t been entirely plain sailing for Lara as some bugs still exist within the gameplay and the running of the game in itself. Heavy screen juddering and eventual crashing out was experienced twice, whilst audio dropouts aren’t altogether uncommon. Thankfully, there’s enough joy to be found in the tight mechanics and gameplay to make these easy to negate and a mere fly in the otherwise high-quality ointment.
The story may still be a major sticking point for some, as it was filled with cliché and (queue current buzzword) ludonarrative dissonance, with Lara showing distress upon her first kill, then proceeding to wipe out squadron after squadron of enemies. Little remorse is shown thereafter, but the effect of Lara getting the stuffing knocked out of her repeatedly and the peril she is in is accentuated thanks to the extra graphical quality.
Extra contentThere are a few nice little additions to the whole package in transition from old to new consoles besides the improvements in the visual department. The first of which is the small collection of DLC released post-launch which saw an extra tomb to explore and more multiplayer maps, both of which may seem enticing but are unlikely to hold your attention for any great length of time. The multiplayer aspect of Lara’s adventure is still good and plays well, but unlikely to garner any extensive time when pitted against the likes of Call of Duty and Battlefield.
Beyond that, extra additions come thanks to the features of the PlayStation 4 system itself. If you have a camera plugged into your PS4 then you can bark orders at Lara to change weapon, change the camera angle by leaning, or rotate artefacts by using your hands. It’s nothing major, nothing more than a gimmick for many and hardly a massive selling point.
Not half padThe Dualshock 4 is what shows the most promising features for future implementation for games released on the PS4. The built-in speaker is used for playing radio communications and audio logs scattered around the island, but can’t be listened to in the background when the menu screen is closed. It’s also played through both the handset speaker and the TV and/or surround speakers which reduces the effect it has during the story sections.
The LED indicator is also utilised by flashing bright white to replicate muzzle flash when firing, and blinks red and yellow when you have a torch lit. Again, it’s a great idea but given that most players will game through the day the effect it has is lost as you will barely notice it the majority of the time.
- Visually stunning
- Good Dualshock 4 inclusion
- Superb Audio
- Unresolved bug
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition PS4 ReviewThe most obvious sticking point for any potential buyers of this update will be the price, and given that it is only just a year since its original outing, asking the same amount again is a bit cheeky. Fair enough, they haven’t charged as much as they could, but when most people will be repeating their playthrough on a new console to see how it looks they may be left with a sour taste in their mouth.
Lara is still leading the way in terms of adventure games and the detail we can expect in future releases, but she might just get lost amongst the new and more enticing titles available on the next gen platforms.
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