This week, we honor The Weekender’s “Sexiest” issue with a game featuring the sexiest lady in video games – Lara Croft. One of the best games of 2013 has been remade to take advantage of the new generation of hardware in “Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition” on the PS4 and Xbox One. Last year’s reboot was the best game in the franchise, and the new “Definitive Edition” is better in almost every way.
Lara Croft is definitely the first lady of video games; when the first trilogy came out, she looked more like a Barbie doll than a real person, but the gameplay was action-packed and fun. 2013’s “Tomb Raider” was a prequel and reimagining of the series; now she looks realistic and has a whole new story. Lara is embarking on her first adventure and gets marooned on an island, fighting for survival and learning how to be the strong heroine we know and love. This isn’t the Lara you have played before; she is fresh-faced and new to exploring. She has to learn everything the hard way – starting fires, finding food, and the first time she has to kill to survive.
There is much more of an emphasis on survival and cinematic gameplay than ever before. There are some really intense moments that aren’t for the faint of heart but really illustrate what made her so battle-hardened in the other games. The graphics and setting of the game really made me feel like an explorer; from jumping and climbing to solving puzzles, exploring tombs, and learning to fight, this game has it all for action game lovers.
The first thing you will notice is the beautiful upgraded graphics. The “Definitive Edition” features an all new Lara character model created to take advantage of the power of next-gen consoles with faster and more fluid gameplay, reworked lighting, incredibly realistic hair and water effects. The original game looked great, but this is far and away the most incredible looking game I have ever seen. It’s not an entirely different game (really, if you played it before, you aren’t missing a whole lot); it is essentially a next generation port with better graphics, new controls, and it contains all of the post-release DLC content you may have missed.
The “Definitive Edition” introduces several new features that leverage some of the technology of the new systems. On the Xbox One, there are new voice-activated controls; now you can say the word “silent” and it will switch to one of your silent weapons. There are even some minor motion controls; the Kinect can tell which direction your head is pointing, so in some parts of the game, you can turn your head, which changes the camera angles in the game, letting you look around. It’s cool but totally unnecessary. The motion controls are interesting, but the Xbox isn’t quite graphically as good as the PS4 in this game.
The PS4 also has some different features that can change the way you play; if you have the PS Camera, you can use the same motion controls and voice commands as the Xbox One. However, you can also use the touchscreen on the controller in some interesting ways. You can use the touchpad to navigate maps or light torches, and the light on the top of the controller will glow red when you have a torch lit. You can also hear radio chatter of guards on the speaker of your controller; it adds an interesting touch to the gameplay that wasn’t possible before.
There is a good selection of bonus material in this edition; there are several new multiplayer maps, some new weapons and characters, and a new tomb available to explore in the single player game. There are also some digital comic books to read and a documentary about how the game was made. If you got your fill last year and don’t care about the updated graphics, you could just download the DLC and get the same effect.
If you missed this game last year, you have to play it – it is incredible. The graphics have to been seen to be believed, the story is great, and the gameplay is the best in the franchise. If you are a “Tomb Raider” fan, this is a must-buy. If you are just looking for a new action game, you are going to want to pick this one up, especially if you are looking for a great game on the new consoles.
-Robbie Vanderveken is the digital operations specialist at The Times Leader. E-mail him at [email protected]