Following (not so much hotly) in the footsteps of a successful reboot for Resident Evil, Tomb Raider was released for Xbox 360 in 2013 and received rave reviews and very healthy sales. Coming toward the end of the 360’s life, gamers were treated to stunning visuals, great gameplay, and an enticing story.
Like Resident Evil, the Tomb Raider series began its life back on the Playstation. Also like Resident Evil, it spawned a terrible movies series. And yet again, like Resident Evil, it later decided to reinvent itself by revamping its gameplay and slightly altering the genre.
And finally, like Resident Evil, it was a very very good game indeed.
The game focuses on Lara’s backstory and how she came to be the tiger-killing, tomb raiding, serial murderer she became in later life. As seems to be the trend with media at the moment (something I like to call the ‘Nolan Effect’) the game is dark and gritty, with a lot of high emotion. This isn’t a cold-hearted killer we have on our hands here, Lara is young, inexperienced and up until this point, she has never killed before.
But then she certainly makes up for it by becoming an unrelenting mass-murderer, but that’s beside the point.
For the most part, Lara is handled extremely well. She has just the right amount of young and cute balanced well with badass and seriousness. She is believable as a character, which helps to keep the game grounded in reality. It is easy to tell that this version of Lara has somewhat borrowed her look from Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games series. In fact, I’d go as far as saying that if they make a Tomb Raider movie within the next few years then Jennifer Lawrence is a shoe-in to be cast as Lara.
The game looks and plays very much like the Resident Evil titles released since Resident Evil 4. If you weren’t told it is a Tomb Raider game, then you could be forgiven for thinking that it is a Resident Evil game. It has similar quick time style segments of gameplay, tension and even a lot more gore than we have come to expect from previous Tomb Raiders.
These similarities aren’t necessarily a bad thing, it just prevents Tomb Raider from standing out and having its own killer identity. Perhaps with a little refinement future installments could really set themselves apart from the Survival Horror genre.
And let’s face it, Tomb Raider has never been survival horror in the past. It has been action and adventure. I can understand why they wanted to switch genres, but perhaps they didn’t need to. This is of course just a minor complaint, because the game that we have is stunning, and is something that you need to pick up if you’re a fan of either the previous Tomb Raider titles or just survival based games in general.
So what is so ‘definitive’ about the Definitive Edition we now have on Xbox One? For starters, there is an obvious upgrade to the graphics. If you thought the game looked pretty on Xbox 360, then prepare to be astounded by the aesthetics of the Xbox One version. Textures, animations, draw distances… all of it is superb. It really helps to draw you into the world and at times forget that you’re playing a game and not watching a movie.
And then what? There must be some added extras to the game as well, right?
Well… no. The game is pretty much the same game we played on Xbox 360, which, unless the draw of upgraded graphics is enough for you, is nothing to bring players back to a game which we were all playing more than a year ago. Yes, the game is very good, but it isn’t worth repurchasing if you’ve already experienced it once on the 360.
That being said, if you’re yet to play the game then there isn’t enough room on this page for me to express my true feelings on why it should be your next purchase. It is an exciting, scary, engaging, action-packed adventure which does enough to reinvent the Tomb Raider series and give it that much needed boot into the next generation. While it may resemble other titles in the genre, it is a solid enough game to stand above its peers and demand your attention.
So why are you still reading this? Go and pick up Tomb Raider for your Xbox One right now. GO.
Final Score: 9/10
Have you played Tomb Raider on both Xbox 360 and Xbox One? How do you think they compare? Is it worth buying both? Let us know in the comments below!
Article by - Mike Jeavons
Insert Date: 3/17/2014