Tomb Raider Definitive Edition Review

Lara is back, again.

PlayStation 4 tested version
One of the most interesting and unexpected surprises of 2013 was certainly the reboot of the perhaps most emblematic series in the history of videogames: Tomb Raider. 
As many of you surely know, the reboot operated by Crystal Dynamics, which starting from the seventh chapter in order of release, Tomb Raider Legend, has inherited the reins of one of the most important ip of the publisher EIDOS, it is not the first restart of the series. In fact, starting with Legend, Eidos has repeatedly tried to relaunch a brand that now seemed withered and doomed to oblivion. However, it is only with the title launched in 2013 that the undisputed protagonist of the series has received justice with a chapter that has finally returned to the center Lara Croft.
Referring to what was said in the review of the current gen version for a complete evaluation of the title, in this article we will focus essentially on main innovations introduced by the Definitive Edition with the landing in the next gen and we will evaluate, in the appendix, if this edition is really worth the full price at which it is sold and above all if it can also be addressed to those who have already played the Xbox 360 and PS3 version.

The first big news that immediately leaps to the eyes of the gamer is the extraordinary work done on the polygonal model of Lara's face, particularly appreciable in the cut scenes rendered with the game engine. Not only more polygons but a whole, yet another, facelift, have once again distorted, for the better, the face of our heroine who now loses the vaguely oriental traits that had characterized the Croft of the current gen reboot. The expressions of the face, the movement of the eyes and lips and above all a advanced lighting system which makes extensive use of sub-surface scattering, a particular rendering technique that takes into account a considerable number of variations in the refraction of light on the skin, help to make the whole experience even more realistic and raw.

Just rotate the camera and observe Lara's frightened, bloody and muddy face, the movement of the eyes that betray all the terror caused by events that are too big for a girl just of age, to notice, even in-game, the technical differences of this Definitive Edition. Particularly impressive in this sense are the blood and mud stains that cover Lara's face and clothes and that change in relation to Lara's movements, changing in the rain or disappearing completely, for example, crossing a swamp.

On the left Lara Croft in the 2013 version; on the right the new Lara of the definitive Edition  

It is certainly not new for those who have played the PC version of the title, but Lara's hair also undergoes an upgrade in this Definitive Edition, with the use of technology TressFX which makes the movements of the hair more realistic, influenced now not only by the actions of the protagonist, but also by atmospheric agents, such as the blowing wind or the pouring rain.

The polygonal model of Lara's body has also undergone many improvements, with approx double the polygons seen in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions; no news, unfortunately, if this is what you are wondering, to the bra measurements: the breast augmentation to which Lara Croft will undergo with the maturity of the 90s chapters, has not yet found space on the young and fresh body of the protagonist, here told at the beginning of her epic as an adventurer. However, if the "front" reserves few joys, the same cannot be said of the "back", where our amiable developers seem to have added a few kilos to give roundness and "buttery" to what 90% of the adventure takes you. you will find yourself staring. After this short, but hopefully appreciated digression "TintoBrassiana" (Lara Croft, useless to hide it, was the forbidden dream of the writer since puberty), let's go back to the title which, as is known, turns to 1080p and 60fps: the PS4 version, initially announced as locked at 30fps like the Xbox One version, despite some sporadic drops, seemed quite stable to us.

To benefit from the technical potential of the new Playstation hardware is certainly also the setting, the mysterious island of Yamatai in the dragon triangle. Textures up to four times larger and a decidedly improved physics make the location decidedly spooky, with plants and leaves that move with greater credibility. The already great particle effects found on the 360 ​​and PS3 version have also been further implemented, and the flames and dynamic lighting are now at a truly impressive level, on par with their PC counterpart.

With the Definitive Edition, voice commands also appear (in the PS4 version automatically activated when the Playstation Camera is present), which allow you to access some features more quickly, such as the map, stealth mode, etc. We found some small problems in the game camera which, in some circumstances, gets stuck, making it more difficult to complete some environmental puzzles.

Definitive version?

If we exclude some little extras present in this version, such as the different unlockable dresses for the protagonist, the digital edition of the Dark Horse comic book dedicated to Lara, the web documentary "The Final Hours " and an artbook with unpublished drawings, this Definitive Edition adds very little to the version that appeared last year on the consoles of the now past generation. Something more in this respect could certainly have been done, perhaps introducing exclusive DLCs or additional sequences from the “director's cut”.

Final comment

Is this Definitive Edition worth buying at full price? If you haven't played the reboot on PS3 or Xbox 360, definitely yes. Tomb Raider is certainly one of the best action adventure games of last year and does justice to both the IP and a protagonist who became an icon of 90's Pop culture, so much so that she even appeared on the stage of a U2 concert as a hologram. This restyling only increases the appeal of a well-finished and fun product from every point of view, although aimed at a certainly more mature audience than in previous chapters.

Those who, on the other hand, have already finished the adventure on the current gen could ask a few more doubts; However, if you are a die-hard fan of the series, you have nothing else to play on PS4 (and, given the bleak landscape of these first months of next gen, it would be no wonder) then we are sure that this Tomb Raider on steroids will give you more than a few satisfaction. 

For Cons 
- Technically excellent
- 1080p and 60fps
- No Extras for those who have played the old gen version
  Overall rating: 90  
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