'Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition' Revisits Lara Croft's Latest Adventure With Style

January 28, 2014

It's a question that developers and publishers have been asking since the beginning of the video game industry: how do you make a great game even better? Surprisingly, the answer is simple; just make it look better. It's an age-old trick in gaming, and the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 saw their fair share of re-releases that took advantage of their superior graphics. From Tony Hawk's Pro Skater to Shadow of the Colossus, countless classic titles were updated with a fresh look last generation. Nintendo even got in on the act recently by releasing an upgraded version of the GameCube classic The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker on the Wii U. Now, less than three months into the new console cycle, and the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are getting their first, upgraded port. Recently announced a little over a month ago at VGX, Square Enix are unleashing a new version of one of 2013's best games for the PS4 and Xbone. Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition brings Lara Croft's latest release to the next generation of consoles, and shows off just what a dramatic technological leap forward gaming's latest hardware really is.

Developer: Crystal Dynamics
Publisher: Square Enix

It was only a few years ago when Square Enix announced that Crystal Dynamics was going to reboot the Tomb Raider series; an announcement that was met with a bit of trepidation from critics and fans alike. Like all games that have been around for decades, the franchise experienced its share of high and low points, but it was on a bit of an upswing courtesy of Crystal Dynamics. Their TR releases included Tomb Raider: Legend in 2006, Tomb Raider: Anniversary in 2007, 2008's Tomb Raider: Underworld, and then the digital only Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light; all of which helped re-establish the franchise over the last decade. However, it was last year's reboot that really brought Lara back into the spotlight by giving her a new look and a new backstory. The game tweaked the Tomb Raider formula slightly, placing a bit more emphasis on exploration than puzzles, but the fresh direction seemed to set the franchise back on track, as it captivated audiences, and gave Lara her due, all these years later.

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition retells the story of Lara Croft's most recent adventure to the Devil's Triangle, and includes a series of updates to improve upon the original release. The story and gameplay are the same, but the Definitive Edition release includes completely rebuilt graphics, for both the characters (Lara looks better than ever), and the world. Crystal Dynamics went back to the drawing board to create an even more realistic experience, and truly bring Lara Croft to life.

Since Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition takes advantage of next generation tech, you can only grab it on Sony's PlayStation 4 and Microsoft's Xbox One. However, if you still have yet to experience this adventure, and haven't upgraded your hardware, Tomb Raider has been available on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, and Mac since March of last year, so you have no excuse not to have played this game after this week.

This is the point where it's probably worth noting that the PS4 version looks better than the Xbox One version, as it's running at a higher average frame rate per second. So, there's that to keep in mind.

It's called "Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition" for a reason. The original release won more than its share of awards, and this update includes anything and everything you can get for the game in one package. In addition to the spruced up experience, the Definitive Edition also includes all of the DLC that was released (single and multiplayer), as well as a digital version of the Dark Horse comic, an abundance of concept art (including a mini-art book from Brady Games), and a Final Hours video series from the developers at Crystal Dynamics. Lara's adventure, from shipwreck to salvation, was intense, harrowing, and a great new direction for the franchise. If you missed out on the original release (or even if you have played it), now's the time to go back and delve into this award winning game.