Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition


By: Matthew Codd    On: PlayStation 4
Published: Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 3:01 PM
 
 
 
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It may have been overshadowed by the likes of BioShock Infinite and The Last of Us in various Game of the Year awards, but the Tomb Raider reboot was easily one of the best games of 2013. To call it well received in the NZGamer.com office would be an understatement - this game got the highest scores of the year for PC and Xbox 360, the two platforms we reviewed it on: a 9.6 and a rare perfect 10, respectively.

And yet, despite this acclaim, Tomb Raider didn’t sell nearly as well as Square Enix had hoped. Given these contrasting results, releasing the Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One seems downright sensible - it gives a game that reviews consistently say is excellent a second chance at commercial success.

And that largely seems to be the focus of this new version: expanding the audience and reaching new players. There’s little here to entice anyone who’s played the original game back for a second helping, but for someone new to the game, there’s no reason whatsoever to not get the Definitive Edition, save not having one of the consoles for which it’s available.

Improvements for the singleplayer campaign are almost entirely aesthetic, and while the upgrades are certainly noticeable, I wouldn’t go as far as calling them significant. Last-gen Tomb Raider was a gorgeous looking game already, and the Definitive Edition primarily just takes that beauty and makes it a little bit crisper with a native 1080p resolution and a few other adjustments.

The exception to this, though, is Lara’s new model, and particularly her hair. She’s been rebuilt entirely for the current gen, and it shows; her model is more detailed, her expressions more emotive, and her movements more lifelike. The much-touted TRESS FX technology results in some of the most authentic hair physics I’ve seen.

And yet, this is something of a double-edge sword. The benefits of TRESS FX are readily apparent, but they also serve to highlight some shortcomings of its implementation that might otherwise go unnoticed. Lara’s hair is beautiful and silky to the point that she could star in a Pantene commercial, but this unrelenting sheen doesn’t really fit with the game’s setting and plot. Lara gets be bruised, battered, and covered in mud, but the harshness of her environment never seems to extend past her forehead.

A few cutscenes also suggest that the new physics apply to Lara’s ponytail, but not the rest of her locks. It’s more than a bit jarring to see the reluctant heroine dangling upside-down, with her ponytail hanging behind her, but her bangs carelessly pointing skyward.

There is little else in the singleplayer campaign that’s new or improved compared to the original game, which is why this so hard to recommend for a double-dip. You have a small selection of new outfits to wear, optional voice controls that feel rather unresponsive, a digital artbook and comic to peruse, and… that’s about it.

The PlayStation 4 version also includes some system-specific features like PS Vita Remote Play and unapologetic use of the DualShock 4’s speaker; these are neat, but hard to justify dropping another $100 on if you’ve taken this journey before.

As far as new content goes, the Definitive Edition includes all previously-released add-ons, but sadly, the game’s multiplayer is the only beneficiary here. This is a shame, because the online component of Tomb Raider paled in comparison to the singleplayer, and that’s as true in the new release as in the original.

The extra DLC addresses one of the major multiplayer issues: there are now eight maps to skirmish on, rather than the measly four that originally shipped last year. Unfortunately, everything else that let this mode down - latency woes, poor matchmaking, some balance issues, and a focus on grinding - remain present.

With this new release, Square Enix had a chance to turn the multiplayer mode into something worth coming back for time and again, especially with the PS4’s current third-person shooter drought, but they dropped the ball.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, is certainly not a misnomer - if you’re picking up the game for the first time, this is absolutely the one to go for. It’s the same brilliant game that came out last year, all polished up and looking its finest. For returning adventurers, on the other hand, there’s so little in the way of new content that there’s not much point buying the new version unless you had an urge to replay it anyway.


The Score

Tomb Raider
"Modest improvements to a masterpiece"
8.5
Great
Rating: R16   Difficulty: Medium   Learning Curve: 5 Min

 

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Comments (24)

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nimrod76 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Gold
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 3:34 PM Posted by nimrod76
I plan on grabbing a copy on Thursday and playing through for the third time but this time with super flowing hair and extra pretty everything. Can't wait.
 
 
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DragonFury88 NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 4:04 PM Posted by DragonFury88
Finished the story once... the time between releases is too short to re-do it in HD.
 
 
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Littlelah NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 4:40 PM Posted by Littlelah
Still waiting, come on Nzgameshop!
 
 
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beanyrowley
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 4:57 PM Posted by beanyrowley
I've completed it and I loved it! Was new to the series as well. Sahhh pretttyyyy
 
 
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KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 5:04 PM Posted by KatalystaKaos
Just installing now, have my PS3 plugged into the XB1 via HDMI with TR playing so I can SNAP backwards and forwards for graphical comparisons.
 
 
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SolomonLaw
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 5:34 PM Posted by SolomonLaw
Still undecided, is it worth twice the price for a new set of locks?
 
 
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reavers NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 7:02 PM Posted by reavers
Hope this comes out on PC as well
 
 
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Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 7:13 PM Posted by Goonertron
4 February 2014, 04:40 PM Reply to Littlelah
Still waiting, come on Nzgameshop!
I'm with ya too buddy, but who could deny that price.
 
 
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Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 7:16 PM Posted by Goonertron
It's weird that a game rated 10/10 last year could so quickly lose points. It must still be a 10/10 game to people that haven't played it yet no? It looks and performs better than the game you scored a 10 last year and the multiplayer didn't seem to be a concern there.
 
 
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Coddfish NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 8:08 PM Posted by Coddfish
4 February 2014, 07:16 PM Reply to Goonertron
It's weird that a game rated 10/10 last year could so quickly lose points. It must still be a 10/10 game to people that haven't played it yet no? It looks and performs better than the game you scored a 10 last year and the multiplayer didn't seem to be a concern there.
Since it's an upgraded port, I weighted the score around the quality of the port. It's still a damn good game, but as an upgrade, it's somewhat lacking in a lot of ways.

Also take into account different reviewers; the 10 was from someone else - I personally would have given the original game ~9.5.
 
 
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Bappernz NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 8:38 PM Posted by Bappernz
sweet waiting for this was worth it
 
 
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Locky NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 10:01 PM Posted by Locky
Yeah....can we talk about that 10/10.....I mean, Tomb Raider is a great game but.........a 10? Really?
 
 
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kiwiatlarge NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Tuesday 4 Feb 2014 10:14 PM Posted by kiwiatlarge
I'm up to Shantytown, and loving it.. no regrets on double dipping.. Now if only Sideshow Collectibles would make a 'new' Lara..
 
 
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Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 10:05 AM Posted by Goonertron
4 February 2014, 08:08 PM Reply to Coddfish
Since it's an upgraded port, I weighted the score around the quality of the port. It's still a damn good game, but as an upgrade, it's somewhat lacking in a lot of ways.

Also take into account different reviewers; the 10 was from someone else - I personally would have given the original game ~9.5.
Cheers, my mistake I just assumed you reviewed last years one as well.
 
 
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guido NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 10:31 AM Posted by guido
Tomb Raider was a great re-boot! And I'd like to play through it again with this upgraded version but I'm a bit disappointed that they haven't offered an upgrade price for those of us that supported them the first time around. I'll just wait for the sequel to hit which I'm hoping will have underwater sections, bigger tombs to raid and a T-Rex!! :-D
 
 
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Coddfish NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 11:15 AM Posted by Coddfish
5 February 2014, 10:31 AM Reply to guido
Tomb Raider was a great re-boot! And I'd like to play through it again with this upgraded version but I'm a bit disappointed that they haven't offered an upgrade price for those of us that supported them the first time around. I'll just wait for the sequel to hit which I'm hoping will have underwater sections, bigger tombs to raid and a T-Rex!! :-D
Unless they can make it the first game ever to not have terrible swimming controls, I want underwater sections kept far away from Tomb Raider 2.

That's not to say they're not a cool idea that I'd like to see done well, but... history isn't on their side with this.
 
 
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guido NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 12:39 PM Posted by guido
5 February 2014, 11:15 AM Reply to Coddfish
Unless they can make it the first game ever to not have terrible swimming controls, I want underwater sections kept far away from Tomb Raider 2.

That's not to say they're not a cool idea that I'd like to see done well, but... history isn't on their side with this.
We're on very different pages here. I love underwater anything in games. It's one of the first things I test in a game world. Can I swim underwater. A game world doesn't feel complete to me if there's water everywhere but you can't swim in it. It doesn't actually have to be a big part of the gameplay but it's like having glass windows you can't smash or barrels that don't explode, it's just not right :-) But really I just want the return of the swan dive! :-)
 
 
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jords NZGamer.com VIP VIP
On Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 2:56 PM Posted by jords
Defiantly double dipping on this game!
 
 
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Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Wednesday 5 Feb 2014 4:17 PM Posted by Goonertron
Just arrived from England today, man the graphics are superb. I thought AC4 looked good but this is a huge leap from that. And the PC elite said these consoles were underpowered on arrival, one word optimization.
 
 
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KatalystaKaos NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 6 Feb 2014 5:28 PM Posted by KatalystaKaos
4 February 2014, 05:04 PM Reply to KatalystaKaos
Just installing now, have my PS3 plugged into the XB1 via HDMI with TR playing so I can SNAP backwards and forwards for graphical comparisons.
Ha replying to oneself wonder if this breaches online etiquette(if there is such a thing?) or some sort form of loneliness??

Anyway I've taken it back and put the money down on a pre-order for XB1 Thief. TR looks better here but really not enough to warrant my precious gaming time for a 2nd playthru.
 
 
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Goonertron NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 6 Feb 2014 8:12 PM Posted by Goonertron
4 February 2014, 10:01 PM Reply to Locky
Yeah....can we talk about that 10/10.....I mean, Tomb Raider is a great game but.........a 10? Really?
I dunno man it's pretty good, Uncharted 2 won numerous GOTY awards and this is a better game than that.
 
 
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oconnomiyaki NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Thursday 6 Feb 2014 10:24 PM Posted by oconnomiyaki
6 February 2014, 08:12 PM Reply to Goonertron
I dunno man it's pretty good, Uncharted 2 won numerous GOTY awards and this is a better game than that.
Tomb Raider was a better game than The Last of Us too.

But opinions, how do they work? :)
 
 
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jb2610
On Monday 10 Feb 2014 2:13 PM Posted by jb2610
Haven't tried this one yet...must get my hands on a copy!
 
 
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thetechnition20 NZGamer.com VIP VIP Bronze
On Monday 3 Mar 2014 6:10 PM Posted by thetechnition20
this looks really good, might have to grab this one
 
 
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