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Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition (Video Game Review)

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition gives a facelift to a game that never required one in the first place. The original release of Tomb Raider was easily the best looking game the franchise has spawned in our opinion, so you can imagine how great the new release looks when running on a smooth 1080p clarity and 60 frames per second on PlayStation 4 and similar quality on Xbox One. The new Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition isn't just a prettier new face though. The game comes in a package with all previously released DLC for the game as well as some new controls. For fans that have already played through Crystal Dynamics' fantastic release last year, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition may not be worth investing full price to play again, but other gamers shouldn't hesitate to pick up the new release on their favorite next generation console.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition still features the same linear missions that made up the original release. A young Lara Croft stars in the remake, and the heroine soon finds herself shipwrecked on an island far away from civilization. She sets out to find and rescue her friends on the island while desperately attempting to survive the land and natives of the island and looking for a way to escape the hellish prison. The game features linear missions for the game's narrative, but the game has a good sense of pacing that sees Lara quickly adapt to the environment from the opening missions as a timid adventurer to a bad ass protagonist ready to raid any tomb.

Gameplay remains mostly unchanged in the new release as well. Lara eventually comes across all sorts of weapons to fight off the inhabitants of the island including pistols and shotguns, though the highly flexible bow and arrow is a good choice in many scenarios and the only good option for the early half of the game. Lara comes across all sorts of resources in the wild and in camps that can be used to create more ammo and new weapons that will help players progress through the game. A large portion of gameplay is still spent out of combat though, with Lara heading into tombs and other strange structures in search of amazing treasures that will uncover the long hidden secrets of the island.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition comes packed with all previously released DLC, so there are new weapons skins and parts to use in the campaign. The game already includes plenty of weapon naturally, so the additional weapons definitely aren't necessary, but it's a nice bonus for players that may not have had a chance to enjoy the content yet. The new content also adds a new tomb. The new stage allows Lara to explore the plane wreckage of another explorer that arrived on the island long before Lara's group and features plenty of great puzzles to solve and items to uncover and unlock.

Players on PlayStation 4 have an option to use the PlayStation 4's camera to unlock new controls and features in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, or the same features are unlocked on Xbox One with Kinect. Voice commands allow players to quickly bring up a map, equip specific weapons and perform other actions in the game. Motion controls are also captured when the camera is in use that allows players to lean one way or the other to span the in-game camera to better see how to make jumps or to see around corners. The new features don't always work perfectly and can sometimes be set off by background noises, but it does offer some extra incentive to pick up the new release for some gamers, and it's completely optional for gamers that don't enjoy this new technology in their games.

Multiplayer remains unchanged in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition. The online modes never got much support from the Tomb Raider community, and if gamer's have already had their fill of the multiplayer, they likely won't spend hardly any time in the online modes in the new release. Multiplayer allows up to eight players to battle across a variety of game modes that features the typical array of Capture the Flag, Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch modes among others with some Tomb Raider twists. Weapons are available that are unique to the series, or players can set traps in the environment to earn kills on enemy players as well. Multiplayer isn't Tomb Raider's best feature and is easily abandoned for the stellar single player campaign by most gamers.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition obviously makes the most improvements in the game's presentation department. The graphics have been improved to a smooth 1080p, 60 frames per second, and it runs best while gaming on PlayStation 4. The game is now comparable with high end PCs running the game and features some of the best lighting effects the industry has ever seen, while characters and the environment are noticeably more colorful than before. Other minor effects improve the experience as well including realistic hair effects and water effects we would swear were real. Of course, the game still features the fantastic voice work of Camilla Luddington and a grand soundtrack composed by BAFTA award winner Jason Graves.

Tomb Raider was already one of the best titles of 2013, and Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition only makes that great game even more fun to play on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Gamers library on next generation consoles likely aren't too vast yet, so adding such a good game to their collection is a good choice. Gamers that have already played through this title the first time it was offered won't find many reasons to pick up the new release at full price, but for other gamers, it's a purchase that is well worth the money invested. Unlock your inner adventurer in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One today!

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence & Strong Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Tomb Raider website.

Game Features:
  • Online Multiplayer 4-8
  • Improved Graphics and Lighting
  • Voice and Motion Controls
  • Free DLC
  • Trophy/Achievement Support

  • Game Information:
    Developer: Crystal Dynamics
    Publisher: Square Enix
    Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed) & Xbox One
    Release Date: January 28, 2014

    Score: 9 out of 10
    • Overhauled presentation
    • Great lighting effects
    • Fun gameplay
    • Little online support

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