Hands-on with Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on PS4

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Hands-on with Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on PS4

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is not a simple, upscaled version of last year’s critically-acclaimed adventure. It’s a colossal effort, soaked in visual enhancements and technical optimizations. Just when we thought Lara Croft hit her peak, she keeps on climbing.

One of the first challenges Crystal Dynamics faced was Lara herself — even though the team had smashed expectations with the impressive original game. A new head and face model have been implemented in this portrayal of Lara, bringing new life to the legendary heroine. Among the torrent of improvements made, the developers worked with subsurface scattering technology on Lara’s skin. This means light will actually pierce the top layer of her skin and diffuse, giving it a realistic glow.

Lara’s equipment has also been given abundant attention. Her bow and pickaxe clatter, bob, and move with her body, giving her entire character a renewed sense of authenticity. She sweats and bleeds like the best of us when put under extreme duress, and the remarkable animation and voice work continue to instill Lara with life.

There was no slowing down for Crystal Dynamics after Lara was reworked. The environments were handled with the same attention to detail. The world is packed with more foliage, debris, bits, and bodies than before. Dynamic weather sweeps through levels to bring smatterings of rain and lightning. Fog is no longer a singular, visual plane, but rolls through the world in individual motes of cloudy white. Smoke from fire pools at the top of rooms — a crown to the crackling red below.

Tomb Raider: Definitive EditionTomb Raider: Definitive Edition

And all this barrels onto the screen in native 1080p, running at a buttery framerate. Picking up a DualShock 4, Tomb Raider: Definition Edition is about as smooth as silk; each action Lara takes is a showcase of the technical marvels behind the scenes.

Combat and exploration still feel great, and DualShock 4’s features have been put to good use. The touchpad can be used to light a torch or adjust the in-game map, for starters. When Lara picks up radio chatter, the voices play out of the controller speaker. The lightbar flashes a staccato rhythm when Lara opens fire, and it lazily glows red and orange to match the light of her torch.

To sweeten the experience further, Crystal Dynamics has also included all the multiplayer DLC, which means eight maps and six weapons are added to the mix from the get-go. The team even included the Dark Horse comic, and the complete art book, all accessible from the main menu. Even outside of the game proper, there are tons of additions to peruse.

The motto of the team seems to have been an equal split between “Why not? and “What the hell,” considering the staggering number of upgrades to Tomb Raider, both large and small. From extra strips of tattered cloth blowing in the wind, to an entire ocean of water improved just for the heck of it, almost nothing was left untouched.

“Definitive” might be the absolute best word to describe this edition of Tomb Raider, which launches for PS4 on January 28th. For those of you that missed out on the PS3 version, your tardiness may just have been a blessing in disguise.

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5 Author Replies

  • For those of us who bought the digital PS3 version, will there be a free/low-cost upgrade path to the digital version of this PS4 edition?

    does this version support 3D? playing Zen Pinball 2 and Trine 2 in 3D on PS4 is a revelation — I hope more games support it in the future, and that Sony “unlocks” 1080p 3D @ 60hz in a near-future firmware update.

    any plans to bring the Tomb Raider HD collection to VIta? or the “HD” version of the original Tomb Raider recently released on iOS devices?

  • Not worth to buy it again. I already own it on my PC. Best graphic. and much save your $$$.

  • i really hope squeenix will fail with this game. We dont need games that we played 1 years before on ps3, we need new games.
    Seriously, i hope its not the begining of a new trend like the HD remastered games.

  • BTW, what’s with the weird low-res texture in front of the red barrel in the last screenshot? The wood and other environmental materials fairly close to the camera look bizarrely flat next to the great lighting on the character. Was N-bounce global illiumination not part of the enhancements for the PS4 version?

  • $10 upgrade or GTFO.

    No way I am paying full price again because CD didn’t like her face and added some terrible hair physics and moving equipment on her belt.

    MP bull**** better be fixed too and while they’re at it they should fix it for all the other versions they milked money out of customers for.

  • I truly expect this game to help me wait patiently for the release of watch dogs !
    Looks like the team made an amazing work on this definitive edition

  • Clements: “Just when we thought Lara Croft hit her peak”

    She hit her peak in Tomb Raider 3. Other than a slight uptick with Tomb Raider Anniversary, it’s all been downhill from there including the latest game in which the focus of the game has changed to mostly just shooting people in the face (and you collect XP even!) and the worst part is it has “OPTIONAL tombs”. Optional tombs in a TOMB Raider game. smh.

  • $40 would’ve been the right price. I just bought the 10 Tomb Raider games on Steam a week ago for just $14, seeing this for $60 it’s kind of crazy, specially when a lot of people already have it. It still might sell well because of the few titles that are available on PS4 right now.

  • Those who purchased the PS3 game from the PS Store should get the PS4 game half off. And plus members should get the game 90% off or free. Tomb Raider is an awesome game but it’s basically the same game just like COD Ghost, BF4 and AC4. This should be just an upgrade program incentive.

  • Played it on PC and bought it on the steam sale for $10 and bought it for my nephew for the PS3 and i will be buying the PS4 version.

  • It’s a great game! But I’m not sure that re-buying it just for the prettier graphics is worth it. There will be plenty games with amazing graphics in the upcoming future, I’ll be patient.

  • Cant wait for this the ps3 version was amazing will definetly be picking this up lets face it what do we have on ps4 thats a good action game AC4 no thanks or COD Ghosts no way

  • I enjoyed it so much on PS3 that I’d be sold on this even without upgrades, but I do like to see that extra effort put in to PS4-tify it.

  • Sounds like there is some improvements over the PC version! Is Lara’s hair dynamic in the PS4 version as well?

  • But is it 60 fps?

  • Yes! I never got to play this on PS3 but I have my PS4 copy preordered and I can’t wait to pick it up. starting off the new year proper with 2 new PS4 games, Tomb Raider and Don’t Starve!

  • Seconding other comments I would happily buy this again if it was by a cheaper PS3->PS4 upgrade route. Surely wouldn’t be hard to implement to reward the loyality of the already established fanbase for this game?

    (Need to find a PS4 in stock somewhere first though… I am very anti pre-ordering so looks like I’ll be waiting a few more months here in Australia)

  • Ill be picking this one up.

    Love my PS4!

  • No thanks

  • This article reads like a paid testimonial rather than a preview. I appreciate the positive tone, Mr. Clements but i guess things don’t change much since your departure to writing articles for IGN.

    As a player with moderate interest in the genre and having held out over the multiple and ongoing attempts to lure a cut price purchase out of me with ps+ discounts etc. I hardly like many others on here are overly excited by an upgraded port to ps4 for full pop.

    59.99 is very greedy for no new story / compelling sp content. I know they claim to have been working on this port for almost a year, but with no comment on the size of their team or the budget of the port who knows what that really means. I guess they can’t cut their sales down with such a small user base for ps4/Xone.

    i’ll wait for the eventual $29.99 or less price.

  • Besides

    DMC is another game i put in the same category as Tomb Raider, backburner interest level. I will play that while I wait and finish Black Flag. That should get me into the Castlevania Lords of Shadow 2, which i just wish was also available for PS4, but easily my most anticipated action adventure game. Then hopefully Diablo 3 Ultimate Evil will be announced / released shortly thereafter.

    It will be in the bargain bin within 3 months mark my words. besides they will likely offer the ps3 version on plus within a month of the ps4 release, if anything we would have gotten it like europe if it wasn’t for the pending ps4 port.

    I respect that you like certain types of games Mr. Clements. Dance games, Japanese centric games etc. But your enthusiasm has my interest blunted by years of seeing we are usually not on the same page taste wise.

  • please let it be 60FPS!!

  • This right here is what Sony, SCE and Naughty Dog need to do with The Last of Us!! Work on it… Make it that much better and bring it to the New console generation! Bring it Sony!

  • I skipped this the first time around, so I think this’ll be a good excuse to buy it.

  • $60 bucks is a PASS 4 me

  • It’s a great game, and i would recommend it to anyone whom hasn’t played it yet to get it on new gen. but if you played already, i wouldn’t repurchase. maybe i’ll play-through again after the price gets cut, but that would depend on what else is out there at that time.

  • Please Bring TLUS to next gen!

  • Never a good idea to write “Hands On’ regarding something you are selling. This reads like an ad.

  • Yessssss I cannot wait. Loved the reboot and it will be worth buying the new one. all the work that went into the details certainly makes a fan like me of the Tomb Raider series happy. Already pre ordered it. So excited!

  • pass, but where is Legacy Of Kain

  • The game is great!! I waited so anxiously for more than a year when I first heard about it and got it on day 1 and guess what? It was beautiful!! :D definitely one of the best games of 2013. I strongly recommend to anyone who didn’t get it he first time, it will definitely be the best game on the PS4’s library so far. However, even tho I support Crystal Dynamics a lot (great developers) I would like them to support me too. They seriously need to do an upgrade program for those of us who already bought the game brand new!! As for myself the most I would pay for this version is 40 bucks and believe me when I say I will definitely be crying of agony knowing this game is out there and not being able to buy it. Another thing, the freaking MP trophies,,, like freaking seriously !!??? I still haven’t get platinum thanks to that!! and oh boy if I tried! after a month of frustrating attempts to get it I just gave up.

  • Have this game on preorder but if I may say my only gripe is get to level 60 on MP
    trophy. WTH?! I enjoy MP don’t get me wrong but for this game, I’ll bet no one will be on MP because quite frankly, that blows!

  • Too rich for my blood. Paid $30 for the original game + DLC. Wish there was a way to upgrade to the PS4 version for a lower price.

  • Was really wanting to play this game for awhile, but now that it’s coming to PS4 I’m glad I waited so long. Don’t mind paying $60 at all!

  • For those who missed out on this game they should really get it as for me I’ll wait till the sequel comes out; I’m not buying it again I have a good PS3 copy that I enjoy. Plus I must save money if I want to buy new upcoming games for the PS4 and the Vita

  • I bought this game when it was on sale for 29.99 (digital download) I loved it! But i never completed it to 100%…This game is on my list for ps4 games……

  • looks great, played it for the ps3. i Will be getting this to add to my collection.

  • $65??? Pass! Much better save this money to buy Driveclub or Infamous :-D

  • I think it’s a great initiative by crystal dynamics and reading this, i’m sold. I wanna get my hands on the Definitive Edition as soon as I can. $60 is steep, but then again, if you’re a fan, you prioritize.

  • I already have it preordered…looking forward to revisiting Lara

  • If your aren’t planning to buy the Definitive Edition, then don’t comment on this blog unless you have a good reason why. Because you are not helping and your words pisses off the developers/publishers.

    My reason that I ain’t getting it is because I don’t have a PS4 and I already own it on PC for $25 along with Bioshock Infinite and Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon.

  • Sony, you’d make one hell of a deal if you actually make the “upgrade from PS3 to PS4 for 10$” with this game.

  • Are they seriously releasing this game again with a price tag of sixty buxx? That’s low down…They won’t get my sixty or what place i would purchase it from. I will probably wait a few months after it’s released on ps4 and buy it used from game stop which is what most people do, which is why they are releasing it for $60

  • Played it on my PS3, played it on my PC in 3D.

    But what the hell?!

    I will play it day one on my PS4, pre-order confirmed!

  • @ GamerzLimited: The developers/publishers pissed off a lot of people when they shoehorned multiplayer into this game, and put ridiculously grindy online trophies in as well.
    If they hadn’t done that, I’d have bought the game Day One on PS3, and would probably buy it again on PS4 on Day One. But seeing as how they decided to piss us off, on top of which they aren’t bothering to give us the 3D that we know is out there on the PC version, and the fact that they’re trying to charge us full price for one year’s worth of work when they charged the same amount for 2-3 years worth of work before? Yeah, they are still pissing off a lot of people. I really enjoyed Tomb Raider. Maybe even loved it. But they’re not catering to what a lot of people want, and for that, I do, in a very sad way, hope that this falls short of expectations again, so that hopefully they get the message this time.
    It’s an amazing game, and if anyone hasn’t played it and doesn’t mind an online mode that will be dead in a few months again, I highly recommend it. But for a lot of returning players, it’s just not worth it. And SE/CD needs to get that through their thick skulls.

  • CD is going to shot themselft in leg with this price……it’s even higher in Europe.

  • @AizawaYuuichi So technically, what you’re saying is the other way around. The developers/publishers are pissing us off, not us pissing them off. Sounds like you have a pretty good reason then. I just personally think saying it’s $60 and not buying it is a terrible excuse. The only reason they aren’t is because they own it on a different platform. If they own it already, just say so. No need for the “Wow, it’s $60 and pass” crap. Since the Game of the Year Editions on the older platforms will release on the same day as the Definitive Editions for $29.99, will they not buy that too? Those editions are meant for people who never played the game before, but people will never listen and say their rip-offs.

    However, your reason is fine. Even though I haven’t got around playing the multiplayer yet, I will say in my opinion judging by YouTube videos that it isn’t great anyway. Hope the developers/publishers don’t force me to play it when I get around to.

  • So glad i waited til i got my ps4 to buy this game, when will this be out…

  • Love how people are complaining about the price, but thing is all ps3 and ps4 games are $60 and so are some games on PC. So all in all that is not a bad price and I hope they havent replaced the face of Camilla Luddington

  • Bought it on sale on Steam a while back, but never got around to playing it. Will be playing the definitive edition for sure.

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