Tomb Raider Review *updated to include Definitive Edition*


Ash's Tomb Raider review was originally published on March 4, 2013. Having read over this review once more we believe it still hold true for the new Definitive Edition for PS4 and Xbox One.

We tested the Definitive Edition on PS4 and are very impressed with some of the new features, however the main game remains the same.

The Definitive Edition includes all DLC released so far, however the most significant changes are to the graphics, which it has to be said make this one of the best looking next generation titles to date. Everything feels like it has been given a new lick of paint and it really helps add to the overall feel of the game. There are other little subtle differences too, such as sound coming through the Dualshock 4 and the ability to use the PlayStation Camera's voice functions to bring up the map.

Tomb Raider is also one of the first titles to use the Interact function on Live from PlayStation, allowing those who are watching you to revive your character should she go down. Finally, there is also the option of Remote Play should you own a PS Vita.

Is this version worth having if you have played the original? Well that just depends on how much you enjoyed it. If, however, you've not played the original then we can't recommend Tomb Raider: The Definitive Version highly enough, it really is a fantastic game and well worth experiencing.

Here's our original review.

Tomb Raider Review

The idea of the reboot is not a new one, with the comics and movie industry doing it for quite some time, restarting popular characters completely from scratch and allowing writers the chance to modernize them, re-tread old tales and also tinker with the origins whilst at the same time trying to keep the fundamentals of what made the character true to the original. Like them or loath them, the reboot is here to stay and now it is moving into the games market with the likes of DmC and now Tomb Raider.

Forgetting all about her privileged upbringing, the creepy butler, her abysmal choice of backstabbing friends and all of the training with evil Werner Von Croy, we find Lara on her first expedition, green and keen to impress the archaeology world aboard the ship the Endurance whilst on the search for a mysterious island off the coast of Japan. Though Lara is relatively the same in looks, the vest top and the hair in a ponytail it is not long before we move away from familiar territory and it all goes a bit dark, as when not foraging for berries and using a leaf to wipe her bottom, this stranded Lara goes all survivalist and starts burying hatchets into the heads of unsuspecting 'Brothers'.

With the crew of the Endurance being shipwrecked after a huge freak storm, they very quickly set look to seek for help, sadly the only help on the island is in the way of a group of murderous other survivors called the Solarii, who have also been stranded for an awfully long time, losing the plot along the way and somehow getting caught up in their leaders religious style ramblings about a Sun Queen that resides on the island who is the only one who can truly let them escape. In the early moments of the game Lara is not what we expect, getting caught, chased and ultimately seriously injured whilst trying to figure out what happed and where her fellow survivors are, with things getting even worse when the Solarii start to execute the crew, leaving her with no choice but to fight back, slowly and violently becoming stronger in spirit and resolve, desperate to survive this ordeal and make sure no more crew die. As Lara makes her way through this nightmare island it becomes apparent that it is not just the crazed Solarii that inhabit the island, but an altogether more powerful and frightening force hidden deep in the bowels of the island.

Surprisingly, the main plot of Tomb Raider has very little to do with actual raiding, here it is all about surviving the island and ultimately getting off it, with Lara becoming more like the confident adventurer we know and love as the game progresses, making headway through inhospitable forests, perilous caverns, ship wrecks and freezing arctic climbs, battling the Solarii whilst desperately trying to set up a distress signal all the whilst trying to keep the remaining Endurance survivors alive.

Initially Lara is ill equipped to deal with the current situation, left only with her Survival Instincts to assist, a kind of visual scanner that highlights all of the items in the vicinity that Lara can use, from walls and moveable items to animals and enemies. The progression of the story is aided by the slow drip-feed of new weapons and tools, with Lara gaining an axe that can be used to scale walls and turn cranks, a rope attachment to create zip lines or a simple lighter to create fire, each item in the inventory gradually opens up more of the island to explore. The early discovery of the bow and arrow becomes Lara's primary weapon, easily used to kill not only enemies but also help silently hunt for food, be it deer, rat, crab or crow, (sadly Long Pig is off the menu), replenishing health and scavenging for parts.?

As Lara progresses she obtains many other classic weapons from pistols, machine guns and shotguns, all with their own upgrades to unlock. Whilst moving between areas, Lara's perilous journey is broken up by locating disused camps. There are two types of campfires, the Day Camp and Base Camp, both act as a moment of reflection and also give you the chance to spend skill points and scavenged parts to create mods for the weapons, the Base Camp also offering fast travel options to go back to previously visited camps. From downed enemies, animals and also plenty of boxes littered around the island, Lara is able to scavenge and then use the parts to create more mods for her ever growing arsenal, adding napalm tips to arrows, a grenade launcher to the machine gun, explosive shells to the shotgun and more basics like a steadier aim, quicker reload and extended ammo magazines. The Skill Points are earned by in game experience, killing enemies in stylish fashion, locating challenges, eating berries or successfully hunting and eating an animal all add to more Skill Points that can then be used to improve Lara's survival skills. These are split into three types, general survival skills can improve in the amount of items scavenged, grant arrow retrieval from enemies and improve Lara's Survival Instincts, the Hunter Skills can steady her aim and increase her ability to carry more and finally the Brawler Skills that allow for melee attacks and dodge counters and kills.

The physical action itself is more like classic Lara, with lots of running and jumping onto ledges and shimmying around cliff faces, this time though there is quite a bit more gunplay, with Lara now able to take cover and use boxes and rocks to keep out of the line of sight, breaking cover to take those all-important head shots. Even in close quarters, once upgraded Lara is able to use all manner of weapons for some close up executions, with arrows to the knee, axes to the back of the head and gangster style point blank bullets to the head, Lara very quickly goes from the meek to the murderous. It is not all Lara dishing out the pain as there are still plenty of very grisly ways for her to die, the classic off a ledge is still there, screaming into the void, but you also get skewed on tree branches, strangled and also mauled by a pack of wolves, all in quite graphic detail. Most of the more vicious deaths occur in the return of the Quick Time Event (QTE). Though many will groan at the thought of these they are done very well and offer some of the games more thrilling moments that otherwise would have been just a quick cut scene.

I have tried to avoid this comparison for a while but the story does feel more akin to the Uncharted titles (amongst many other references like Lost, Far Cry 3, Rambo, The Descent), not a bad thing in the slightest, with the story taking you along at a frightening pace, constantly throwing action and adventure in your direction, the puzzle element that made the original Tomb Raider games so popular have been moved aside somewhat. With the story, it is pretty much A-B, you do have a choice to wander off but on the initial play through it is best to stick with what the game wants you to do, the reason, as you progress, so does Lara, gaining more of her equipment, plus the story is so enjoyable you really do want to see it to fruition. To keep the action flowing the classic puzzles are left to the side, allowing you after completing the game to return for some of the real tomb raiding, locating hidden tunnels that go deep underground to dark and damp caves or long forgotten army research bases, they all have one thing in common, the puzzles. Here you will have to use your brains more than brawn to figure out some of the well-crafted contraptions to get to the sought after treasure on the other side. My only complaint is that after all that work the treasure itself is a little disappointing, granting a map or another weapon part, something that you already obtain through the continuous scavenging.

There have been so many improvements made over the previous Tomb Raider games, not forgetting the graphics, camera angles and voice acting but most importantly is Lara's general movement. In the original games Lara's move set was more akin to a chess piece, precise and specific with her moving over an invisible grid, since Crystal Dynamics took over this was one of the first things that changed and in this version Lara is a dream to control, taking leaps off a mountainside are no longer fraught with anguish as you have to pull off the perfect run up, the game knows what you are trying to do and makes it a little easier. If you are a newcomer to the series or a long-time fan, the single player mode will entertain you for a quite a while.

In a Tomb Raider first multiplayer makes an appearance and whilst it does not detract from the fantastic single player mode, there still lies the question, why bother? With a handful of game modes including Deathmatch and Rescue (capture the flag) and Cry for Help, they are all survivors versus Solarii in what end up being stupid little fire fights where two players strafe and wiggle around each other in a ballet of bullets. The level design really tries to up the action with snares and traps to set up for unsuspecting players but once you have played each level you are pretty aware of the layout, leaving no surprises. With an experience style progression system that unlocks new weapons, perks and player models there is some depth here but first you need to overcome the overly long match selection screens, that and you will often come across rage quitters that result in a wasted game. The only reason I can see this being popular is to rinse the Trophies/Achievements to get that 100%.

Having played every Tomb Raider game this new version came as a surprise, moving away from the old ideas and really pushing the series forward, I loved the way the game first gets you to focus on the story element, keeping the action and adventure full on and leaving the slower paced tomb raining experience till later, when you are fully equipped and ready to enjoy the finer points of this mysterious island. Tomb Raider is a very faithful reboot for the Lara Croft series and, now that Crystal Dynamics have moved away from what original creators Core Design created beforehand, they should now confidently move to the next in the series. Even with a very lacklustre multiplayer it does not detract from what is one of the better Tomb Raider games. Welcome back Lara.

Words by Ash Buchanan.

(Version Tested: PS3)

Pros

- Amazing visuals and sound effects.
- Roller-coaster of a storyline.
- Some fantastic hidden tombs.

Cons

- Multiplayer is a let-down.
- The game is extremely gory and warrants the 18 certificate.
- The prizes for all of the time consuming collections, art unlocks, boring.

Edited On 30 Jan, 2014

Comments
45
great review, bit long but enjoyable. missus said this came this morning so will be putting all evening into this today
Pyroloveridge 1 year ago
Mine hasn't turned up yet, really hoping its does though.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
mine also came today! just starting on it but i thought i would pop on here first! ill be on this all night up at 6 so might just not sleep lol
Shep _1 1 year ago
I want to find the guy who told game deverlopers that collections were a good idea.
DynamiteWhyte 1 year ago
i like the collectors ed's but only for games i either collect or really fancy. some of them however are awful eg. SWTFU2 was terrible halo always pull out a good one the Mass effect ones were also good
Pyroloveridge 1 year ago
I didn't mean collectors editions :P Can't beat a good steelbook really. But I meant having to go collect 100 feathers in AC, collect 100 ruins in Far Cry 3 etc. It's just pointless and annoying.
DynamiteWhyte 1 year ago
Pigeons on GTA 4 is the worst.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
oh yeah, some are good the ones you mentioned are awful. i like the ones that get you to explore different places, AC feathers were naff i didn't even bother with them
Pyroloveridge 1 year ago
Aye if there is a seperate temple or something to go after, it is better. Like on AC when you have to go in those temples to get stuff, and have to climb a seperate puzzle or something. Those are better than having to find random non-important items around the areas.
DynamiteWhyte 1 year ago
TBH I enjoyed hunting for the AC2 feathers
Loli-Nox-Tan 1 year ago
Great review, not sure if i'm going to bother with the multiplayer, will see how I feel after finishing the game. Too much gore is a con? Not for me :D
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
I agree with joe on that it has gone out of its way to get the 18 cert.
yoda soldier 1 year ago
Maybe it is a way for Crystal dynamics to make you more worried about getting Lara killed? Just a thought.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
I don't see it as that way,I think they have just tried to hard to go for a mature crowd.
yoda soldier 1 year ago
I have completed about 30 percent of this game and really enjoy it the only thing i don't like is that every now and then it turns in to cod as a third person shooter. I have played a couple of multiplayer games but not sure if i care enough about it to pl;ay much more.
yoda soldier 1 year ago
Am I the only one not to get mine yet? Lol. Postman better be here soon or he will be sorry.... :P
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
Sometimes my postie doesn't come till after 12, so can't get in the main door to the flats, so just posts a 'we couldn't reach you' card through the main door. So you have to notice it when you go in, or someone can claim your game. It's not great.
DynamiteWhyte 1 year ago
That would wind me right up, would be on the phone to them instantly. My postie is always early in the morning so doubt I will get it today.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
what version did you get bywater ?
yoda soldier 1 year ago
Ordered it for the 360. Was really looking forward to playing it too. Fingers crossed he's just running late
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
I mean standard or collectors :)
yoda soldier 1 year ago
Oh right lol, Just standard, would have liked to have got the Collector's edition but funds are low.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
Posties are useless these days, we never get our post before 12 and usually not till 2 or 3, back when I was a postie we got in trouble if we didn't have deliveries finished by 10.30.
Gloria 1 year ago
Yup, when I was a paperboy you used to see Posties out at the same time as you posting mail. Now you'll be lucky to see them before noon. Usually only DPD delivery vans or that out at that time.
DynamiteWhyte 1 year ago
It's still not here, Fully given up on it now. Maybe tomorrow
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
The Royal Mail round where I live has always been good (Guess i'm lucky)
Loli-Nox-Tan 1 year ago
Excellent stuff. Got my copy from Shopto in the post this morning, can't wait to try it out. I'm just in the middle of finishing off Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch first though :P
TromaDogg 1 year ago
I haven't been loving what I've heard about this game to date, but I'm prepared to rent it out tomorrow (Or the weekend depending) and see for myself how it is. This review is another that suggests QTEs are a prominent fixture though :(
PrometheusFan 1 year ago
I think it is mainly just the first hour that is QTE heavy, read it was for character building.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
The worst thing to come from the God of War franchise. Got such good reviews, and developers seem to think everything needs QTE now.
DynamiteWhyte 1 year ago
I think the right amount is how much they are in the newer Resi games, So rare but at the right time.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
How long is the single player?
HappyNoodleBoy 1 year ago
Looking back on my notes about 7-8 hours with a 74% completion.
Ash Buchanan 1 year ago
that's what I feared. I can't justify £35 for a game that will last about 10 hours. I will wait for the price to drop. Thanks
HappyNoodleBoy 1 year ago
£31 :D I couldn't resist. I just need something to keep me occupied until Gears and Bioshock come out.
LFC Bywater 1 year ago
It does seem like a lot of my fears have been for nothing. I have very little in the way of interest when it comes to the MP so it's all about the story for me. It doesn't sit right with me that it's nasty enough to warrant the certificate, but I guess that's just me being old and liking the idea of Tomb Raider being open to a wider audience.
troublemaker 1 year ago
It does seem like a lot of my fears have been for nothing. I have very little in the way of interest when it comes to the MP so it's all about the story for me. It doesn't sit right with me that it's nasty enough to warrant the certificate, but I guess that's just me being old and liking the idea of Tomb Raider being open to a wider audience.
troublemaker 1 year ago
Still waiting on amazon to ship mine out. But I saved £20 on the most expensive one compared to here so. But surely some of this stuff is a bit nit-picky? Art Unlocks for finding stuff is way better than a little 'ding' that says Trophy/Achievement unlocked. And I don't recally some other games like Uncharted even having anything worth unlocking
Robichoico 1 year ago
Still waiting on amazon to ship mine out. But I saved £20 on the most expensive one compared to here so. But surely some of this stuff is a bit nit-picky? Art Unlocks for finding stuff is way better than a little 'ding' that says Trophy/Achievement unlocked. How is this a problem in this one as opposed to them?
Robichoico 1 year ago
received the definitive edition today , gotta say it does look lovely, feels like a different game
jay.hamilton 3 months ago
I almost got it, but as I already have the Xbox 360 and PC versions I will wait until it is cheaper. I could not find details on what the extra DLC was that came with the preorder digipack version, unless it was just on about the soundtrack. If it was clear what the extra DLC was and was decent DLC for the game then I may have gotten it.
superniceguy 3 months ago
there is no extra dlc as all the dlc is included in the standard version, i dont know what extra is added but its not dlc, ive already checked and its all built into the game disk no adding seperate installs or nothing,,, i sold my standard ps3 version the other day when i decided to get this
jay.hamilton 3 months ago
The DLC that was added is Multiplayer Content if I'm not mistaking
Loli-Nox-Tan 3 months ago
Everyone's got there's apart from mine iim so gutted :(
Joe Toots 3 months ago
The digipack is the art book and soundtrack. The other DLC is already in the game from before, the maps, single player tombs and costumes.
Zombieflamingo 3 months ago
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