A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition wasn't created with educational intent, and we don't recommend it for learning.
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
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 & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Lara wears revealing clothes, including low-cut tops and tight pants or shorts.
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The game contains strong language including "f--k" and "s--t," often heard by the enemies in the game
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Products & Purchases
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."
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.