Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Preview
First and foremost, the game will run natively in 1080p high-definition, which will make the entire experience that much prettier. Much has been made about Lara's "more realistic hair" but don't forget about the myriad of legitimately cool updates. For instance, did you know that the team started work on the PS4 and Xbox One versions the instant they were done with the PS3/360/PC versions? The amount of extra work actually amounts to a full year of development, and they've got a new particle system, new lighting work and "enhanced shadow-casters." Basically, you're looking at a more dynamic environment the whole way Ďround.
We'll see more detail overall, including more debris, more vegetation in the lush forest environments, upgraded characters, and then there's all that extra content. Yep, all previously released downloadable content will be featured in the Definitive Edition, making it all the more attractive. There are even gameplay-related alterations due to the enhanced capabilities of the next-gen consoles: The developer has revealed that this new title will make use of the Dual Shock 4's touchpad, and both the PS4 and Xbox One versions will support voice commands. That's right, you'll actually be able to give orders to Lara with just your voice!
Those who played the original game will also notice enhanced physics, which affect just about every aspect of the adventure. Lara interacts with objects more realistically and her equipment - climbing axe, radio, bow-and-arrow, etc. - will also be utilized in a more authentic fashion. More realistic physics significantly increases the atmospheric charm and immersion, which is why it's so important. If you're going to create something called the "Definitive Edition," you had better live up to the title, right? Gamers should be able to notice improvements everywhere they look when playing the next-gen version of Tomb Raider.
The combination of a myriad of subtle improvements should have a big impact. Texture resolution increased by over 4x, extra nuances, realistic lighting effects, even a "new glow to Lara's skin;" they all make for a true next-gen experience. Added refinement to in-game destruction, dynamic sweat, mud and blood, reactions to attacks, enhanced animations...it just goes on and on. So, while you might question the cost of the game, the amount of work that went into it is undeniable. The Tomb Raider Definitive Edition will go on sale for the PS4 and Xbox One on January 28, 2014. Fans should seriously consider a purchase.
P.S. Not much in the way of official screenshots just yet.
1/3/2014 Ben Dutka