PS4 Game ReviewsTomb Raider: Definitive Edition Review

Members Login: Register | Why sign up? | Forgot Password?

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Review

More Game Info (Print This Article)

Graphics:

 

9.0

Gameplay:

 

9.3

Sound:

 

8.6

Control:

 

9.1

Replay Value:

 

8.7

Online Gameplay:

 

8.5

Overall Rating:       9.0

 

 

Publisher:

Square Enix

Developer:

Crystal Dynamics

Number Of Players:

1-8

Genre:

Action/Adventure

Release Date:

January 28, 2014

Tomb Raider was one of 2013's most entertaining, accomplished titles. And while the new Definitive Edition has generated plenty of controversy, there's no doubt that Crystal Dynamics' gripping adventure is just as great as ever. The additional improvements and enhancements bump the score up to the elite 9+ category, as far as I'm concerned. I still say there are missed opportunities with the narrative, there's too much focus on grossly exaggerated segments, and the multiplayer isn't anything special (though quite functional).

Still, this is most certainly a worthy adventure. Even if you already embarked upon the rewarding quest last year, you might have to spring for the upgraded version.

As you would expect, playing Tomb Raider on the PlayStation 4 is quite the experience. Sure, the gameplay feels the same, and one could argue that because the game wasn't specifically designed for next-gen consoles, it's not as impressive as it could've been. However, don't dismiss the graphical achievements: Better textures, lighting, animations and special effects make the game all the more dynamic and mesmerizing. From slippery, intimidating cliffs to surprisingly beautiful tropical sunsets, the atmosphere instills a sense of awe and wonder in the player. Yes, Lara's hair is more realistic. But let's not get caught up in trivialities, 'cuz the game looks fantastic.

Some technical guru is going to have to explain this to me, but for some reason, I've been disappointed with the sound presentation in next-gen productions thus far. The acting is good and the resounding effects still make you grin, but the balancing seems off. I don't recall these minor balancing issues in last year's effort, do you? I don't know what it is about the new hardware that's making the audio lose its stability, but I sense it in nearly every PS4 game I've played thus far. That all being said, the sound quality remains very high throughout, and it really shines during the most energetic sequences. Those with awesome sound systems will appreciate it all the more.

If you didn't play the game in 2013, here's a refresher- Lara Croft is a young adventurer and scientist who sets off on a dangerous exposition. The exposition becomes a moot point, however, as the team becomes stranded on a mysterious island. This is where things start to spiral out of control for the fresh-faced "tomb raider;" she has to learn how to survive on her own in a hostile environment, which means honing her newly discovered skills. Something strange is happening on the island, too, and Lara is faced with obstacle after obstacle. Perhaps most intriguing is the otherworldly element; it seems that bad weather blows up any time someone tries to escape the island.

As I said above, this narrative was loaded with potential. For the most part, I think the developers do a decent job presenting Lara Croft as a scared, vulnerable young woman who, despite being physically fit, isn't unrealistically proportioned. It's a great overhaul of a video game icon and I appreciate the effort. Still, given the harsh psychology of the situation, there's a lot more Crystal Dynamics could've done with her mindset and overall capability. She obviously has some natural talent with weapons and acrobatics but it's ridiculous how fast she learns it all. The transformation from civilian to warrior just isn't examined in enough detail.

Of course, that takes a back seat to the following redeeming fact: The adventure is just plain fun. Wonderfully balanced, very diverse, and captivating from start to finish, you'll explore dark, dense forests, freaky caves, and even villages. There are tombs to locate and raid (wouldn't be Tomb Raider without 'em), collectibles to gather, and plenty of foes to vanquish. The third-person combat is solid, stable and gratifying. Whether Lara is using her trusty climbing ax to deal a killing blow, or she's zooming in from afar to take out unsuspecting guards, everything is smooth and responsive. The climbing mechanics are especially outstanding.

My two favorite highlights are the same once again: 1. The game utilizes a linear format, in that you progress from area to area and can't jump ahead. Even so, you're allowed to backtrack whenever you like, which is essential for treasure hunters. There's also no knowing if you'll run into more bad guys when you revisit certain areas, so there's an ongoing sense of urgency and caution, even when exploring. 2. I love the traditional adventure progression; I still give The Legend of Zelda credit for this- get a particular tool or skill, and you can access more of the world. And because of my first highlight, going back to discover new stuff is a breeze.

Enemy AI isn't excellent but it can be challenging, and the player usually has a choice concerning stealth vs. all-out action. Alerting any guard will unfortunately alert every bad guy in the vicinity, though, so you probably won't be resorting to stealth tactics too often. Besides, this game is really at its best when you're laying the smackdown with Lara. It's especially rewarding because of her ever-increasing ability; she doesn't merely learn new combat techniques or get more proficient with certain weapons. She also becomes a stronger survivor with keener instincts. Again, they don't do enough with this progression from a psychological standpoint, but it's still great to experience.

Okay, I know you're probably wondering what's new about the Definitive Edition. Well, aside from the obvious graphical upgrade, there's more content as well. Almost all the downloadable content is included; there are new multiplayer maps, new weapons, and new characters. As for the campaign, there's a new tomb and new outfits, the latter of which I'd normally view as trivial but hey...this is Lara Croft. New outfits are always appreciated! Then there's the next-gen additions, such as the voice commands. Just say "pistol," for example, and Lara switches to her pistol. It works pretty darn well, actually, but I couldn't train my brain to speak before pressing a button. It's just too ingrained.

Do the extras make the Definitive Edition worth $60? Of course they do. I mean, if you didn't already pay $60 for basically the same game almost a year ago. For those who have never played it, or for the hardcore fans who want the best version of the title, I'd say yeah, it's worth the money. The developers really did put a lot of effort into remaking this game for next-gen consoles. I have no problem rewarding the hard work of designers but at the same time, I understand the price tag can be tough to swallow. Personally, I would've liked to see a system where if you could prove you bought the game last year at full price, you'd get a discount on the upgraded iteration. Maybe that's not possible but I still like the idea.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is indeed "definitive." It's a definite step up and that's undeniable. We can argue all day long about whether or not it's "worth it." The bottom line is that will be a subjective decision; objectively, this is a fantastic game with a lot going for it. The atmosphere and action is always alluring, the story isn't bad, the graphical updates are definitely appreciated, and the fun factor is - as it was before - absolutely through the roof. I can't wait to see how the next Lara adventure turns out because this developer is on the right track.

The Good: Updated visual achievements are impressive. Extra content for both multiplayer and single-player. As fun and endlessly entertaining as ever. Solid, tight control. Beautiful environment and compelling setting. Wonderfully balanced between action and adventuring. Lara's excellent overhaul!

The Bad: Odd audio balancing issues. I still say they could've done more with this promising narrative.

The Ugly: "Unfortunately, that $60 argument is going to haunt this one for a while."

1/28/2014 Ben Dutka

Put this on your webpage or blog:
Email this to a friend
Follow PSX Extreme on Twitter

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Google Share on MySpace Share on Delicious Share on Digg Share on Google Buzz Share via E-Mail Share via Tumblr Share via Posterous

Comments (21 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, January 28, 2014 @ 10:34:01 PM
Reply

I think we have to assume Lara was top of the class in all of her University athletics, which for a brit could be varied :)

I'm so stoked for mine to show up. I didn't pay full price for the PS3 one so I don't mind shelling out a bit to support the effort, even if some does go to Square Enix: destroyer of worlds.

I'm gonna try to get 100% on this one.

Agree with this comment 3 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 12:04:11 AM

100% isn't too hard. And it's actually fun to do, IMO.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:26:39 AM

That's good, the first time I played I just wanted to keep on going with the tension and story and I'm sure I missed tombs and stuff.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 11:10:47 AM

I wish more games would actually make it fun to strive for full 100% completion or a Platinum, or something.

It just always feels like a chore to me. Tomb Raider was the first game where getting 100% was just an extension of the enjoyment.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 12:27:54 PM

I did get 100% on The Last of Us without trying. Was that just a fluke or was it supposed to be hard to find everything?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Akuma07
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:22:25 PM

Apparently getting the Platinum trophy is a much more painful experience. Basically requires 40 hours of the multiplayer, which is apparently very bland?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

SaiyanSempai
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 12:31:12 AM
Reply

I really liked this game; however, I finished playing it a few months ago on PS3 and don't feel the need to revisit just yet. I will definitely pick it up, just not yet.

Last edited by SaiyanSempai on 1/29/2014 12:32:13 AM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Knightzane
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 12:49:49 AM
Reply

I'll play this again on the ps4, I mean if Lara looks better why not? Great review.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 1:11:28 AM
Reply

I bought the ps3 version when it ws $10 or something for plus members. I'll get this when I finish some of my other games.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 4:44:21 AM
Reply

The big question now is: Is this version better than the PC version? Anyone know?

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Killa Tequilla
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 7:58:17 AM

Yes it is.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:27:39 AM

Probably by a little judging by the side by side videos.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 11:11:36 AM

I only saw the side-by-side online but I'd say yes, if by a little.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Beamboom
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 3:09:16 PM

Ah - excellent news, then I'll save this baby for the PS4. Thanks guys.

Last edited by Beamboom on 1/29/2014 3:13:12 PM

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 4:45:19 AM
Reply

I bought the game for quarter the standard retail price only 3-4 months after release. It's a great game , really surprised me but the PS3 version is more than sufficient. This release will be more suitable down the line when we get a Tomb Raider 2 on PS4 but for now, the pricing and the PS3 version win over for me, despite the upgraded visuals.

Agree with this comment 1 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:28:35 AM
Reply

I don't care what people say. The HAIR matters to a graphics hound.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

spoonTRex
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:55:13 AM
Reply

Question for anyone that's played the PS4 version: have you encountered any bugs yet? I got to the first camp fire, where Lara is freezing and pulls out the camera and watches a bit back on the Endurance. When this was on the PS3, I always assumed this part was a pre-rendered movie, but, at least on the PS4 it's rendered in game. Lara's face was dirty, reflecting her dirty, rain-dripped face from being huddled around the campfire. And it remained dirty when it cut from her and Sam's room, to the kitchen area in the video clip. So weird.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Turbey
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 1:44:35 PM
Reply

Waiting for the game to slip inside my mailbox! Can't wait to play it this weekend!

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

WYO1016
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 2:00:08 PM
Reply

Picked my copy up on Friday. I never got a chance to play the PS3 version, so I was pretty excited to see this one coming to PS4. Considering the lack of great games right now this one was a no-brainer.

Agree with this comment 2 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Akuma07
Wednesday, January 29, 2014 @ 9:29:31 PM
Reply

Why is everyone complaining soooooo much about the $60 price tag?

I mean, the GFC has ended, the worlds economy is on the rise, people can't be THAT bad off, especially people that have gaming as their hobby. This is basically the GOTY/Complete edition that every game normally gets. They are ALWAYS priced at the full RRP.

Get over it! Besides, the $60 price tag is your retailers choice anyway, in Australia the full RRP for retail games is $99 AUD. (started at $120 last gen LOL). But 99% of the time they sell for much less than that, Tomb Raider:DE is being sold for $74 AUD in most retailers. I will be picking it up soon. If it can fit into my BF4 schedule!

Last edited by Akuma07 on 1/29/2014 9:30:14 PM

Agree with this comment 0 up, 1 down Disagree with this comment

Gamer46
Thursday, January 30, 2014 @ 4:21:48 AM
Reply

Enjoyed it last year when I played it on 360 and since I've mostly played the hell out of Killzone and AC IV I was looking for something else to get me through until Thief. This definitely fits the bill, played through it probably 4 times last year and still having a blast going through it again. Can't wait for the sequel.

Agree with this comment 0 up, 0 down Disagree with this comment

Leave a Comment

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Our Poll

If you don't have a PS4 yet, why?
Not enough games I want.
I don't have the money right now.
I'm happy with other platforms.
I just plain don't want it.

Previous Poll Results