Tomb Raider Definitive Edition is one of the first games to be given a next-gen facelift, released by Square Enix and Crystal Dynamics for Xbox One on January 31st. I played the Xbox 360 version last year and I have to say it was one of the best games graphically to be released on that console. If you are like me and already have the 360 version, will this version offer enough to justify buying the game again. Just in case you have not played the previous version I will recap on what the game is all about.
The main storyline of Tomb Raider has been turned around somewhat, with Lara now desperately trying to get out of the situation she finds herself in, rather than going out in search of some ancient artifact fully equipped for the task ahead. In fact Lara will have to be resourceful in order to survive this ordeal. Basically, Lara joins an expedition aboard a vessel called “The Endurance”, under the control of Captain Conrad Roth. While hunting for treasure off the coast of Japan, the ship and it’s crew are caught off guard by a wild storm. Leaving a young and vulnerable Lara, alone and scared in a fight for survival on an island called “Yamatai”. At this point I would have to mention that the story, voice acting and cut scenes throughout the game are masterful and totally get the player engaged and feeling for the character.
At the beginning of the game you are a hurt, helpless, victim of circumstance in a desperate state of mind. Very soon you would find out what it would take to survive, when you become embroiled in a struggle that leaves your attacker dead with a gun shot to the head. This is where you truly start to feel for Lara, as she stumbles away guilt ridden and sick at what she has just done. As you progress through the game however, Lara grows into someone that realizes what it takes to survive, kill or be killed. And so the survivor is born! Crystal Dynamics have portrayed the metamorphosis of Lara in a very engaging and emotional way. In fact Lara takes to her new survival role so well that it sees you earning extra XP for performing a finishing move on her enemies that is quite simply a bullet to the head.
The gameplay mainly revolves around the storyline that sees Lara wrangling her way through various locations across the island, as you try and save what is left of the crew from the brutal Solarii. There is little in the way of the old Tomb Raider games, with their constant puzzle solving that appealed to so many and making Tomb Raider an icon. Crystal Dynamics have kept some of this however in the form of seven side missions that offer the flavor of the old game. As with all games there is a variety of trinkets to collect, ranging from USB sticks and papers to weapons. As you collect weapons and tools, upgrades become available which allow you to become a formidable explorer. Throughout the game Lara’s animation and movement is flawless, whether you are climbing or being thrown about by the wild life on the island. In Tomb Raider Definitive Edition we see a more lush environment, with foliage and trees seeming to be fuller and crisper, the models themselves are more detailed and if you have played the previous release you will immediately notice the details that have been added to every aspect of Lara and the world she is exploring.
I first played Tomb Raider on the Xbox 360 last year, I was left feeling that it strayed away too far from what made the series so special, the puzzle solving and I likened it to Uncharted with a different protagonist. Getting the chance to play it again on the Xbox One has totally changed my outlook, and I found myself falling in love with the character Lara all over again and this is not down to just the revamped graphics, but a better appreciation of the story as a whole . Tomb Raider Definitive Edition comes with a shed load of the released DLC content included, with numerous costumes for you to enjoy during the campaign. Multiplayer for me is still just an option that I think is surplus to requirements, and holds no real attraction for me. Looking at some of the best games released last year for Xbox, and possibly some of the best ever released, each of them relied solely on the campaign, Bioshock Infinite for example. Tomb Raider Definitive Edition has the same kind of involving and engrossing storyline that is enough to make it a great game, without the inclusion of multiplayer. If you have already bought this game on Xbox 360 you may well ask if it’s worth buying all over again, for me it was!. If you are one of those gamers who have not already had the pleasure of playing Tomb Raider then it is a definite must have. Tomb Raider was a triumph on the Xbox 360 and is the best looking title on the Xbox One to date.