Games News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Games : Highly Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $24.67 Last Price: $27.97 Buy now! 3rd Party 24.65 In Stock
Release Date: January 28th, 2014 Movie Release Year: 2014

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Overview -

The notion of the reboot, or re-imagining, of a previously licensed property, across a variety of entertainment mediums, has become exceptionally routine; whether as a television show from decades past, a movie that had the right idea but failed to deliver, or a videogame franchise that became stale. Some have been necessary and embraced with open arms, while others mortify countless fans of the original. The announcement of Crystal Dynamics' 2013 release of 'Tomb Raider' was initially met with skepticism. Was it a franchise that was already too far gone? Could anything ever be done to resuscitate an aging Lara Croft? It was undoubtedly a risky proposition but one that was eventually well received from dedicated fans and wary critics. Less than a year later, and the skepticism has returned to meet the new console version, dubbed 'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition,' and boasting of large visual revamping, complete with a new Lara model. But are there enough improvements to warrant a separate playthrough on the latest platforms?

OVERALL:
Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
VIDEO
AUDIO
Tech Specs & Release Details
Video Resolution/Codec:
1080p
Audio Formats:
Dolby Digital 5.1
Release Date:
January 28th, 2014

Video Review

Ranking:

There was quite the build-up to the release of 'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition'; specifically regarding the high-definition upgrades. The sticking point in many cases seemed to be why should the new PS4 version look better than the existing PC version? If the changes for the 'Definitive Edition' were released for the PC version, it would make comparisons a lot closer as the PS4 version just has a lot going on that isn't in the PC version. Furthermore, trouble caused by TressFX on the PC when 'Tomb Raider' was released need never bother this new version on the PS4. Then again, the PC version is available to mod and display at higher resolutions than the PS4's 1080p. Say what you will about PC vs. console, 'Tomb Raider' on the PlayStation 4 looks absolutely amazing.

PC Version:

PS4 Version:

The developers at Crystal Dynamics went out of their way to point out the incredible TressFX technology that highlight every strand of hair on Lara's head, along with her character redesign, but honestly, they take an immediate back seat to the much more interesting environmental effects.

From the grandest vista (of which there are many) to the smallest detail, 'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' is a visual powerhouse. I was more than impressed with the PlayStation 3 version of the game, but find myself stunned by the sheer beauty of this game on the PlayStation 4. The increased level of particle effects, inclusion of smoke, fog, and icy wind, represent a game that is highly polished, while still running at an incredibly smooth and consistent 60 FPS. Seeing what the PlayStation 4 is capable of, purely from a graphical standpoint, has me incredibly excited for what is yet to come.

Audio Review

Ranking:

With all the side-by-side graphical comparisons leading up to the release of the Definitive Edition, I am unaware if there was ever any mention of an audio overhaul. Regardless, I feel I would be doing this review a disservice by not mentioning how impressed I was with the surround sound. Being stranded on Yamati has never felt (or sounded) more realistic.

Waves crash against the distant shoreline, seagulls scream above your head, and shouts from your separated expedition shipmates echo from behind – and that's just in the first few minutes of the game. If you have the option to play 'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' with the volume turned up, through an evenly balanced surround system, please do. You will not be disappointed. The high level of environmental variety is consistently represented from one of the best audio recordings I've experienced in a video game.

Adding to the DualShock 4 features mentioned above, the developers at Crystal Dynamics have made good use of the controller's built in speaker. Conversations between Lara and the rest of her stranded party over two-way radio are pushed through this tiny speaker, giving the situational dialogue an even greater feel of authenticity and realism. Even more impressive – yet disturbing – are the special audio effects delivered with headshots and finishing kills that Lara performs. A faint, yet noticeable, 'splat' emits from the tiny speaker, re-enforcing the life-or-death situation that you find yourself in.

If you passed on 'Tomb Raider' when it released earlier in 2013, or opted to hold out for the Definitive Edition, now is a great time to experience this incredible franchise reboot; highly recommended on a current gen console. While I was disappointed to see a $60 price tag associated with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, I realized after playing it that it is much more than a simple up-rez of a game nearly a year old. The opening moments of 'Tomb Raider' on the PlayStation 4 confirmed for me that the developers at Crystal Dynamics put their heart and soul back into a game they so clearly love. While the updated visuals are quite stunning and, at times jaw-dropping, the gameplay continues to be immersive – with incredible set pieces, high action, acrophobia-inducing platforming, and an interesting story with likable characters. I said it in 2013 when I completed 'Tomb Raider' the first time, and I'll say it again here – 'Tomb Raider' has found a way to give Naughty Dog's 'Uncharted' series a real run for the money, and I can't wait to see where Lara's adventure's lead her next.

Click here to view comments on this review