When it comes to the changes in the Definitive Edition, some people may be surprised to know that there are quite a few. While the game has been rebuilt from the ground up, it is still the same game. Same areas, same story, same gameplay, same music, and same voice acting. Nothing has actually changed in this sense; however, the graphical improvements are where the game truly shines!
In the past, consoles were limited to using smaller sized textures (images which go on 3D objects to give them their detail) on objects, so things couldn't be extremely detailed without using tricks. A lot of the time an object in a game would have many smaller textures to try and make it look as realistic as possible; however, that's not the case with the 8th gen. With 8th gen consoles, there's no such limit to the textures used, so game companies are able to greatly improve their quality. In Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, they did just that. The textures have now been increased by four times what they once were, Lara's model has been completely reworked taking full advantage of these new textures, and the game's framerate has been increased to 60 FPS (on the PS4 version) as well. New rain and wind effects have been added in to help make the island feel more alive, plants have greater physical effects, and a lot of objects can now be interacted with. All of these changes have greatly enhanced the game's visuals, and fills the game with new eye candy. Still, the most impressive part of it all is Lara herself.
As mentioned above, Lara's model has been completely reworked, and her textures were greatly enhanced; however, those are not the only improvements made to her. One of the biggest, and most impressive, changes made to Lara is actually her hair. Typically in a game the character's hair is a solid 3D shape, with some physical effects to help it look a bit more realistic. Sometimes a strand or two will move with the wind, or a girl with a pony tail will have one that moves, but Lara's hair takes all of this to the next level. This time around, each strand of hair is an object of its own, and it all reacts to the game's enhanced physics. Her hair will blow with the wind, swing with her head, and spread out in different directions as the hair tie attempts to hold it in place. While this still doesn't look as realistic as an actual human's hair, it is quite impressive to see, and it shows off what next gen consoles will be able to do.
Another interesting addition to Lara is how her skin reacts to light. Just as it does in real life, the simulated light in Tomb Raider collides with Lara's skin, goes under the first layer, and then disperses; lighting her skin in the process, and giving off a faint glow. This lighting effect is also very impressive, and looks very nice in game; especially when the water drops beads up on her skin and reflects it as well.
The final new edition comes in the form of voice commands for both versions of the game. By saying words such as "map" or a weapon's name, the game will either open the specific menu, or switch to the gun you desire to use. While this feature can be completely ignored, it is a nice little extra.
On top of the new features, the Definitive Edition also includes all of the DLC from the original, including the single player costumes and multiplayer DLC.
The original release of Tomb Raider was a great game, and so is the Definitive Edition. It has a really good story, some really nice action sections, exploration, a customization and upgrade system, great gun play, really nice stealth, smooth gameplay mechanics (with Lara auto taking cover behind objects which allows you to stay in full control without being stuck to a wall like in most games), and it looks amazing. The game is a lot of fun to play, and you can easily get pulled into its world.
When looking at the game as a whole, and what Crystal Dynamics set out to do with this, there's really no issues to speak of. There may be a freak glitch or two here and there, but its nothing that will take you out of the experience.ÂÂ If you like shooters, or stealth games, or games with a lot of exploration; you will love it. There is nothing more to it than that. Although the full price tag of $59.99 at launch may be too much for a re-release of a year old game, it won't stay that high forever. If you're thinking about picking it up for the first time, I strongly recommend getting the Definitive Version if you can, but the original game is just as good. As for anyone who played the original, it all comes down to one simple question. Did you like Tomb Raider, and do you want to play it again? The game has the same achievements/trophies as the previous release (which are pretty easy to earn), so if you're addicted to collecting platinums, that's always a plus.
Overall, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is a great game, and I do not regret buying it for a second time.
If you're interested in our original review of Tomb Raider (you know you are!) you can read that by clicking here.