Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition Game Poster Image
Enhanced version of mature, violent adventure game.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 10 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.

Positive Messages

While the game contains plenty of violence, foul language, and drug references, you're an innocent person stuck on this island and trying to survive. That, in an of itself, isn't a bad message. But the overall gameplay isn't very positive for players.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Lara Croft is a likeable person, someone who finds herself in this precarious position, but she uses violence -- and lots of it -- to stay alive on this island.

Ease of Play

Especially if you're familiar with third-person action games, this console game isn't too difficult to pick up. Plus, the Xbox One version has voice support, therefore you can say things like "map" to bring up relevant content.

Violence

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a very violent game, with plenty of combat, blood, and some gore (e.g. scattered limbs). Lara uses pistols, machine guns, knives, and bow and arrow to take down humans and wild animals. There are realistic scenes of her being beaten, strangled, tortured, and falling to her death off a cliff.

Sex

Lara wears revealing clothes, including low-cut tops and tight pants or shorts.

Language

The game contains strong language including "f--k" and "s--t," often heard by the enemies in the game

Consumerism

This game includes downloadable content (DLC) found in the 2013 game.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

There are a couple of references to drugs in this game, such as "Caught in a drug den shootout" and "But drug money buys good lawyers."

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition -- a revised version of last year's game -- is the first "Mature"-rated Tomb Raider since the franchise started in 1996. This is because of intense violence, blood, and some gore -- and it's very realistic because of advanced graphics. Lara, the heroine, can shoot guns and fiery arrows, or using blades, to kill humans and beasts on an island. The game also has strong profanity and some drug references.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 12 year old Written byJoth13 May 4, 2014

Not Bad

Compared to some of the ultra violent games of today, this one is surprisingly tame. There's not an excess amount of blood or ogre, and there is a tiny bit... Continue reading
Parent of a 7 and 11 year old Written byDarth Mal April 20, 2016

Does Not Portray A Strong Female Lead

I am a father, with a wife and two young children. Do not get me wrong, for what it is, this game is really good: Great story, graphics, gameplay, mechanics.... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byJoeschmoey May 4, 2014

Good

Good game not violent smooth gameplay. Great for kids 10 and up
Teen, 14 years old Written bySimon Österberg April 16, 2014

What's it about?

In case you missed last year’s return of Tomb Raider – the much-hyped reboot of the successful franchise – you can now pick up an enhanced version of the adventure for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC. Developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix, TOMB RAIDER: DEFINITIVE EDITION serves as a prequel, of sorts, as a young and inexperienced Lara Croft evolves into a hardened warrior, as she fights to stay alive on a deadly island. In fact, the game begins with Croft tied up and hanging upside-down in a cave, left for dead. Like a Hollywood blockbuster, you must find a way to break free, make your way by torchlight in darkened caverns, outrun falling boulders, and jump across huge chasms – all within the first 10 minutes of gameplay. As with previous Tomb Raider games, there’s plenty of combat, many environmental puzzles and characters to interact with. The plot is good, too, and takes some twists and turns, which give your actions some meaning and purpose. The developer did a great job setting up Lara as a curious and daring archeologist.

Definitive Edition includes last year’s optional downloadable content (DLC) already bundled on the disc (or in the digital download), which includes a few more multiplayer options, weapons, and new characters to play as. Along with the added DLC, this remixed Tomb Raider includes digital versions of the Dark Horse comic, a Brady Games mini-art book, and the Final Hours developer videos.

Is it any good?

The new game’s 1080p HD visuals are, in a word, gorgeous. Played on an Xbox One, you can really see the graphical improvement over the Xbox 360 version. According to Square Enix, the Definitive Edition includes an all-new Lara model, including TRESS FX technology that delivers flowing hair motion, and reworked lighting and shading to showcase Lara’s brutal fight for survival – including realistic-looking blood, sweat, and mud on her face and body. The environment has also undergone a makeover, including better-looking weather, cloth, and trees; all textures have been created at four times the resolution for added detail, says Square Enix.

The action is as good as last year's AAA game, but only after the first few minutes. This is because the beginning includes many “quick time events,” where you’re tasked with pressing a button rapidly or pushing an analog stick in a given direction at a precise time, in order for the animated sequence to play out. Like many gamers, I’m not a fan of these as it’s not exactly interactive – rather, it has all been scripted for you and simply requires the right triggers. Fortunately, the gameplay picks up significantly about an hour in, after the shipwrecked Lara begins to master her bow and pistol skills (against man and beast alike), as well as acrobatically navigating the island and discovering secret tombs.

Also, like the 2013 version, multiplayer is the game’s weakest link, with uninspiring maps and modes. But at least the bundled DLC adds more maps and modes, making it something to play with your online friends after you’ve finished the gripping single-player campaign. If you’ve looking for an engrossing adventure, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition looks and plays better than last year’s version, plus it has the extra bonus material for fans, too. If your budget is tight, however, you can still pick up a new version of 2013’s Tomb Raider for as low as $20 for the PC or under $30 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Note: Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are the same, except Xbox One includes Kinect voice commands.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • If all the Tomb Raider games that came before this were rated "Teen," is it a bad idea for the developers to make this one "Mature"? 

  • Check out Common Sense Media's blog posts for more information about M-rated games.

Game details

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