SCOTSMAN GAMES: FOR several long and fallow years, Tomb Raider felt like a Sony marketing initiative rather than a lauded game franchise.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Playstation 4 (reviewed) / Xbox One
Score: 8.5 / 10
After an exhilarating trilogy of titles introduced Lara Croft to the world, the series lost its way with the release of The Last Revelation, the first in a succession of turgid and uninspired titles that brought nothing but disappointment to fans of the heroine’s halcyon Playstation years.
Last year, however, Crystal Dynamics demonstrated that after a few misplaced steps, it had a last found the rhythm and verve necessary to produce a truly great entry in the Tomb Raider canon. Mixing survival horror, satisfying combat mechanics, inspired cinematography and a gripping narrative, its reboot rightly earned the franchise millions of new adherents.
The game was far from perfect. The flow of the campaign was occasionally disrupted by unforgiving and unnecessary quick time events, while the multiplayer offering was forgettable to say the least. Overall, though, it delivered a welcome and overdue shot of adrenaline for a series that had become famous for being famous rather than the quality of its games.
Eleven months later and the developer’s lithe interpretation has been buffed and waxed for the shiny new generation of consoles. The improvements are predominantly cosmetic - the character model of Lara is more detailed - and thought their impact on the overall experience is negligible, they are a boon to a game that celebrates spectacle.
The Definitive Edition comes with an extra tomb to explore and DLC for the multiplayer that was previously released. They are welcome additions, even if they do not provide much more in the way of gameplay. The other main addition to the original game, voice control, struggles to establish itself as a legitimate means of guiding Lara around the treacherous isle, particularly when the mechanic unwitting picks up on the hollers of enemies as the player’s commands.
As with so many updated versions of games retailing at full price, whether you buy it or not will largely depend on if you already own the first iteration. Those who have completed the title on Xbox 360 or Playstation 3 will find it difficult to justify the outlay. But if you have yet to play the reboot by Crystal Dynamics there is no doubt that the next gen provides the best showcase for a lush and thrilling example of good old fashioned adventure games at their best.