Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - PlayStation 4 User Review
'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' on the PlayStation 4 is the re-release of the initial 2013 title named only as 'Tomb Raider'. Developed by Crystal Dynamics and released by Square Enix, 'Ultimate Edition' is serving as an entry point for gamers on the PlayStation 4 to jump back into the series without having to go back to their old consoles. While this new release probably won't blow over gamers who had the 2013 title, it still stands tall as one of the penultimate entries into the franchise. So we decided to throw the game into our PS4 in order to see what this port was all about. There were definite upgrades and we really enjoyed what we saw. Keep reading to see if 'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' is up your alley, as well.
So the first thing that we noticed when we loaded up the 'Definitive Edition' was that it looked astronomically better than the PS3 title. While the PlayStation 3 was always a solid console, graphically, it wasn't without its limitations. The PS4 version of this game stacks up right next to the PC versions. Running on the PS4 allowed the team at Crystal Dynamics to run the game at native 1080P. Along with these amped up graphics we also got to utilize 4k textures and a smooth 60 FPS. Utilizing special new shaders allowed the team to develop Croft and her world in a way that has yet to be matched by any other game in the genre. All of the graphical improvements put 'Ultimate Edition' into the realm of the best looking games on the next generation. That is no empty compliment either.
One of the biggest issues that recent console launches have had was their lack of quality games. The PS4 struggled, at least at the beginning, with solid titles that would convince people to move up and purchase a new console. 'Tomb Raider' is the kind of franchise that can pull in fans, even though it has been almost two decades since its initial release. So getting the game going right, alongside the fresh PS4, was definitely a priority. If done well this could pull in a whole new generation of fans.
Ever since the teaser trailer and eventual gameplay videos dropped one thing that people have been honing on was the realistic movement of Lara Crafts hair. While it is sort of silly to talk about, her hair movements signaled one of the biggest leaps in graphical advancements for the series: TRESS FX technology. With this system in place we got to see all sorts of small details grow to life around us. From the way that the wind blows leaves and tress to the falling snow, everything seemed to act in a physically realistic way that bordered on magical. So anyways, getting past how beautiful the game is will allow us to talk about the story.
'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' takes place on Yamatai, an island off of the coast of Japan. This mysterious island was once ruled by the Sun Queen. According to legend she was possessed of shaman like powers that enabled her to control the weather. Lara Croft is a burgeoning archaeology graduate who has many theories on to what happened to the Sun Queens kingdom and where it went. The game starts with Lara Croft fighting for her life aboard the Endurance, a ship that ends up crashing in the 'Dragons Triangle'. Before the ship goes down Lara is rescued by another shipmate and ends up floating adrift before passing out. She wakes up on a beach and there she is abducted by a violent stranger. Thus begins the long and harrowing journey that users will go on alongside this young explorer. We definitely got 'Uncharted' vibes from the opening but, on the whole, we really appreciated how it played out. The pacing was wonderful and the introductory levels gave us tons of knowledge that we would use going forward.
Seeing as this title is a port of the original release it stands to reason that gamers would be worried about new additions to the story. Fortunately (or unfortunately) the developers decided to add nothing that would change the already brilliant story. Not such a good thing for players of the original release, but totally a non issue for first time players.
In any case, as we have highlighted above, the storyline is pretty darn interesting. With the high quality visuals, enhanced audio, and moving characters we felt like we were following along a big budget blockbuster. From the giant action sequences to the calm, quiet backdrops there was always something to pay a ton of attention to. This game DOES have mature content so younger gamers should be aware that things can get gruesome at times. In fact, watching Croft die whenever we messed up was incredibly hard to watch. The graphics and sound are so well done that we had to shift a little in our seat every single time. We think that's a good thing but we aren't entirely sure.
As with all 'Tomb Raider' titles, much of the game is focused on platform sections and puzzle solving. Those two gameplay elements return in full gusto alongside fast paced action elements. There are dramatic cut scenes that are interspersed with quick time events that keep you on the edge of you seat. While you are playing there are very few times that you get to sit back and passively go along for the ride. And that's fine. Lara is given a whole new library of items, weapons, and upgrades to play with. There is an elaborate skill system to pay attention to that will pay dividends the further along you get in this open world game. You can also upgrade your weapons, add more ammo, learn hunting skills and so on.
'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' has to be one of the first locks for PS4 that we can think of. No matter what style of game you enjoy, if you have a PS4 then you must purchase it.