In the past few years, Square Enix have proved they are trying to be more than a one trick pony kind of company and instead of just releasing Final Fantasy after Final Fantasy, they have recently went back and started resurrecting old franchises with games like Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Hitman Absolution, Sleeping Dogs (Which started out as a True Crime reboot & The upcoming Thief Reboot but the one that really surprised and impressed people was the incredible reboot of Tomb Raider which was released last year however due to the success of the game, Square Enix have decided to bring it to the Next Gen; So what’s new to this already brilliant game?
The game sees a Younger & More Innocent Lara Croft along with her friends on her first expedition to find the lost island of Yamatai off the coast of Japan but disaster soon strikes as their ship; The Endurance gets caught up in a storm splitting the whole crew up including Lara. Shortly after making it to land, Lara quickly discovers the island is not what it seems with Dead bodies hanging in the tombs underneath the island and a strange connection between the island, Lara’s best friend; Sam & The Ancient Sun Queen of Yamatai. Lara must gather her courage to save her friends, get off the island & show what it means to be a true survivor.
In terms of the gameplay, It is exactly the same as the previous versions of the title however in case someone has not yet played the game I will detail it. The Gameplay moves away from the previous entries of the Tomb Raider series and leans more to one of its competitors Uncharted as the controls have been completely altered to make the game feel a lot more realistic rather than the blocky controls of the previous games. 2 New Gameplay elements to the series in this title is the ability to Rock Climb using a pick axe which helps you traverse certain Mountain sides to get to higher ground and continue your quest for survival. The other gameplay feature new to the series is the Survival Instincts which allows Lara to detect various things in her surroundings including Animals, Crates, Enemies & more. It also helps Lara identify climbable pieces of wall aswell as helping you track. The game also has incredible graphics in this edition of the game with the environments looking realer than ever before plus the new technology used also allows Square to implement real hair aswell as a new face lift to Lara Croft to make her look more Human than any other video game character done before. Other features vital to what makes this game so good is its gore, Puzzle Solving Elements, Well Balanced Combat, Quick Time Events & Last but certainly not least; Every single piece of Downloadable Content.
The Next Section I’m going to tackle is the Multiplayer. When I first seen the responses to the Tomb Raider Multiplayer they were extremely negative and when it comes to me, I like to check out stuff that people genuinely dislike. I am so glad I did with this as the multiplayer on Tomb Raider is very similar to that of the multiplayer modes in Uncharted 2 & 3 with you getting to choose your loadouts & Characters and then getting placed into one of many maps based around the story campaign with numerous things to use to your advantage including Zip lines, Traps, Explosive Canisters & destructible environments such as barricades which can only be blown apart with a Shotgun aswell as Rope Structures which can be taken apart with Rope Arrows by enemies with the Bow. In the end as far as the Multiplayer is concerned, It is a highly enjoyable experience and its the closest Xbox Gamers will get to Uncharted Multiplayer and the best part is that while Microphone functions are available; I haven’t had abuse hurled at me yet so it is one of the better multiplayer experiences out there.
As far as problems go; They are probably not at the fault of Square but rather of the Kinect 2.0 which I was utilizing while playing (I had the Xbox One Version) as the definitive edition on Xbox One has Kinect Compatibility however all of the features don’t work as good as they should. For example; You can bring up the Island Map by saying “Show Map” or switching your weapon by simply saying which weapon you want but most times; The Kinect failed to read my voice aswell as when I found numerous artifacts on my adventure, The Kinect is supposed to allow you to move the object around by holding your hand up at the camera and then clenching your fist and moving your fist to rotate the items however this occasionally messed up aswell with the item sometimes failing to move and when it did move; It zoomed all the way into the item with both Kinect features making me do things the old fashioned way with the good old controller. The other Kinect feature which allows you to change the camera angle while climbing by leaning either left or right works perfectly fine but otherwise their is not a single problem with this title.
All in all, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is truly the ultimate version of this fantastic title with all of the great features behind it including the phenomenal storyline, great cast of characters with fantastic voicing of Lara by Camilla Luddington, Excellent Multiplayer & Gameplay features. Eagle eyed media buffs will also notice the references to numerous different titles including A Huge moment in the game in which Lara ends up in a huge river of blood in a cave full of cannibals which is very reminiscent to British Horror flick; The Descent aswell as one of the DLC Costumes looking like the type of outfit Katniss Everdeen would wear in The Hunger Games. Another feature which I regrettably didn’t mention earlier is the fact that you can’t just buy your upgrades from a store in this game. In this game you need to find Salvage by breaking open crates and looting dead bodies where you can find parts for your weapons to gain further upgrades. Add in the fact that every campsite you find allows you to upgrade Lara’s abilities makes the upgrading system on this game solid. This game goes to show that even if a game is one years old, It can still be a true work of art and that is what Square Enix have proved with this port. This is a must play title for anyone whether you’ve played the game before or are a first time Tomb Raider. Truly remarkable game and proof that A Survivor is indeed born on the Next Gen.
My Score – 9/10
- Fantastic Storyline
- Great Cast of Characters
- Excellent Voice Work from All the Actors (Especially Camilla Luddington)
- Beautiful & Realistic Graphics
- Brilliant & Enjoyable Multiplayer Experience
- Well thought out Upgrade System
- The Many Features Behind the Game
- Huge Action Packed Cinematic Cutscenes
- Brilliant Nods to films like The Descent & The Hunger Games
- Kinect features don’t work properly
- Even though it is technically a changed game; The Price Tag is still a bit steep for Previous Owners
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is available in Stores around Europe & North America right now for PlayStation 4 & Xbox One.
Review by Matthew McNamee
- Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition – The Definitive Lara: Exploring Next Gen Technology (ugnnultragamingnewsnetwork.com)