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.