We Can Rebuild Her: The Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider

How do you define definitive?

by

"It's not just the PC version ported. That wasn't enough. That was a starting point for us. That was us saying, yeah, [on PC] we did Tress FX and we did some up-rezzing of textures, but we didn't really add more than just making it run on PC. So that's the starting point. Let's blow the roof off. Let's take a full year, three dev teams, and do everything we can to really [make this] the final vision of what we want this version of Tomb Raider to be."

Executive producer Scot Amos was setting the stage for me, before offering me a glimpse of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of last year's excellent reboot. I still wasn't quite clear what was supposed to set the Definitive Edition apart from earlier versions aside from the expected graphical upgrade. As I listened to Amos expound the virtues of the Definitive Edition, though, it became clear that the things that set it apart from earlier versions are, indeed, mostly cosmetic. It's just that, in Amos' eyes, those graphical upgrades go far beyond what might be expected.

As I watched an early sequence in Tomb Raider being played, Amos talked about how Lara herself is different in the Definitive Edition. "Not only did we up-rez all the textures, certainly make her smoother, but we rebuilt her head and face from scratch, as the next-gen version of Lara, and it quite literally is our starting point for her. So this was us saying what can we do? What new things can we do that we couldn't have done, for a next-gen-looking Lara, starting with the head, with the face, and on top of that, we had this cool Tress FX technology from the PC, and so we rewrote it and optimized it for next-gen consoles. So now you have beautiful, flowing hair, with the new head, with all the new textures, and it starts to look really good. We even added subsurface scattering so that when the light hits her skin, it goes beneath it and then dissipates so you get that soft glow in the skin, something else PC didn't get. So that's the kind of stuff that [we did], sort of looking at enhancing the entire experience. "

I got a chance to play a few scenes in the Definitive Edition, and I had a great time. But the things I love about Tomb Raider are the things I've always loved about Tomb Raider.

At this point, with talk of features like subsurface scattering, not something I would ever notice, I started to wonder if the upgrades made to Definitive Edition could be meaningful to someone like me, who has already played and enjoyed Tomb Raider, and might be looking for a compelling reason to come back to it. Unfortunately, while it was clear that a significant amount of work went into making the Definitive Edition a release that would take advantage of the graphical power of the new consoles, nothing that followed during the presentation got me excited about this release.

Amos talked, too, about how the island of Yamatai has been upgraded for the new version. All the foliage has been rebuilt, he explained, and now reacts realistically as you move through it. The gear Lara carries with her now has physics on it, the bow jostling on her shoulders as she runs, the climbing axe swinging to and fro on her belt. The particle and lighting systems have been redone, he said, and he showed me how individual drops of rain are dynamically lit by searchlights, flashlights, and other light sources.

Mud and blood now realistically splatter and cake on Lara's skin.

Of course, all of these are lovely touches, and I came away with the sense that if you haven't yet played Tomb Raider, the Definitive Edition is probably going to be the version for you, not just because of its graphical upgrades, but because it includes all the single-player and multiplayer downloadable content released for earlier versions of the game, as well as the Dark Horse prequel comic, the Brady Games art book, and other extras.

I got a chance to play a few scenes in the Definitive Edition, and I had a great time. But the things I love about Tomb Raider are the things I've always loved about Tomb Raider. The satisfaction of landing a headshot with the bow from long range. The stomach-shaking kick of the shotgun as its forceful blast sends an enemy flying. The expertise with which the breathless action set pieces are choreographed. As significant as the visual upgrades may be, I'm skeptical that they would make my experience of Tomb Raider much richer. But I'm glad that those who haven't played the game yet may get to experience a better-looking version than I did originally. Don't forget to stop and appreciate the subsurface scattering.

Discussion

109 comments
rwbrown1989
rwbrown1989

Everyone just needs to calm down! Edios and Square Enix have already confirmed a release of a second game picking up where this game left off. I imagine this definitive release is just a test run for what they can and will do for the future release. Just testing the waters. It isn't a big deal if you can't play this one on your pc, you have already enjoyed the game play and story line, what else do you want from them? I know that at least for me I will be buying the game again only to experience the game in a more luscious world. It is up to each individual if they want to buy the game to experience tomb raider to its fullest. Soon enough the second addition to this serious will be released and then everyone will be able to get their hands on this jaw dropping experience.

Anigmar
Anigmar

I don't understand what Carolyn expected. They upgraded the graphics and physics for the new consoles, that's all they could do. Story or gameplay elements aren't what these 'revamped' versions are for, they save that for sequels. PC user here, loved the game.

ewjiml
ewjiml

Why are so many PC gamers complaining about not getting the "definitive" version?  Yes, they could have given us a free update.  Yes they could have given us a new face for Lara that looks uglier than the "old" one.  Unfortunately, Square Enix is not CDProject Red. 

Navardo95
Navardo95

Technically they seem to be putting more work in the definitive edition as compared to the PC version...its true though I've played TR on both PS3 and PC and don't notice a very stark difference despite the up-rezzed textures and tress fx,60fps as mentioned but I played it on PS3 and the game looked and ran fluidly...

However if you played it on PS3/X360 I would suggest you to give it a pass,upgraded graphics will barely make much of a difference after an hour or so. Also the price tag is $60 and all the dlc is multiplayer crap so you're not missing out on much...for those that didn't even touch the game..well..you might have a good time with the next gen port but I don't see anyone re-purchasing this game if they played it before.

zerofrust
zerofrust

Definitive version....still doesn't venture beyond the 30fps cap....

Got it on Steam at 10$,with no frame-rate nor resolution ceiling.

Reselling the same game at 60$ almost a year later is indeed a *sound* plan.Well,i guess since the game fell short of their humongous monetary expectation it's not really a surprise....

Chr0noid
Chr0noid

You cannot fathom how little I care about cosmetic changes or other masturbatory graphical improvements.  They really couldn't have been arsed to put in a new game plus at the VERY FUCKING LEAST?  This is just a cash grab face lift. Nothing more.

MasterTheHero
MasterTheHero

Just as I thought, cosmetic upgrades. So yeah, if you've NEVER played Tomb Raider, or you've played Tomb Raider but on the PC. Then there is absolutely no need to play the definitive edition.


But if you're a new gamer with a brand new system, then this game is for you.

CalamityKait
CalamityKait

I strongly suspect that this is more than just making the best version of this Tomb Raider possible.   They're already working on a sequel for next gen consoles, so upgraded textures, skin reflections, environmental effects, and rebuilding Lara are all things they'd be doing for the sequel anyway.  Using these assets in the Definitive Edition gives them a way to test them out in the context of an existing full game and optimize their core visual assets for the PS4 and XBox One.  They get some return on things they're developing anyway and fans who want the best possible version of the game can get that as well.  It's a win-win.

rezaghasem
rezaghasem

i dont know .i played the game on 2 780 sli  in max res and ultra high setting .so just for hair???!!on pc we had this effect  so what??just the game with hd textures?and it will not release on pc?!you know why??because pc was the The Definitive Edition of Tomb Raider!!!!i think edios dont know that!!

Articuno76
Articuno76

I like how this reads critically.  I was expecting GS just to report verbatim what the PR people say.  


For all the talk and bluster it really doesn't look like there is anything that makes this a 'definitive' purchase, especially not at full price.

snaketus
snaketus

Thank god they made Lara not to look like wuss anymore. I'm so getting this for PS4, until that I keep my self entertained with PC version. But still, I just wished this was free update for PC.

bu3aDeL_Maz
bu3aDeL_Maz

this post makes me glad for not playing it on the ps3, will get it for PS4!

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

Excellent game. Not trying to pay 60 again but honestly I might do it just to support the awesome devs. Not sure if anyone watched the dev diary that unlocks after you beat the game - really shows how much love and care they have for the series. I'm not surprised they went the extra mile with this re release. Good stuff!!!!

themc_7
themc_7

what were the DLCs for this game, that are being included in this release? Just MP maps right?

pyro1245
pyro1245

Well for starters if you're gonna have QTEs upon QTEs tell the player which button to press. It gets annoying playing the same sequence over again until you hit one of the three correct buttons. That and make Lara scream more.

Stebsis
Stebsis

But... but... PC master race...

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Basically they didn't sell as many copies as they wanted, so they're going to add a few bells and try basically the same trick again.  And no, 80% on Steam doesn't count as a real sale.  And yes, they only do that when a game is either pretty old or *really* not selling well.

Halloll
Halloll

does it let you skip the long hand holding tutorials? if not then it's not worth it.

stillfailing
stillfailing

When did gamers get so snobby and whiney? These guys took a good game, cleaned it up and are reselling for those who couldn't enjoy it before.

A lot of your reactions are negative, self serving dribble.

EdAl2112
EdAl2112

I hope this one isn't a failure like the original version. What was it? Like, 6 million copies sold? Gotta agree with Square Enix, total flop. Hopefully this one sells 100 million copies to at least somewhat meet the expectancies of Square.

plm3d_basic
plm3d_basic

"Let's take a full year, three dev teams, and do everything we can to really [make this] the final vision of what we want this version of Tomb Raider to be."

This is a big FU to the pc gamers.  All of these enhancements should have been made originally for the pc which could have easily handled it but instead made the game for the consoles then added tressfx.  Shame on you Crystal Dynamics. 

meedokicky
meedokicky

Good for ppl who haven't got it yet.

How about removing the QTE for a better experience? :P

they aren't very frequent but they bothered me a lot. Except for the QTE when you dodge an enemy and get the chance to land a deadly axe swing.

There was this bit when she sliding along a water stream and it wasn't clear when she was going and keep getting impaled by a giant spike in the throat ughhhh >_<


Otherwise the game is really enjoyable, animations are very well done and makes exploring really fun. I liked that she has a spidey sense when there are enemies around and draws her gun XD made me feel that the character could see/feel what i don't see on screen.

I have finished around 88% overall and intending to find the remaining items :) I wished she'd freshen after the story is finished but oh well, gotta continue with torn and bloody clothes.

maxximumdeath
maxximumdeath

On the plus side, so few people will fork out £40 for this so it'll have a fast price-cut. I'll pick it up then.

StokeMeAClipper
StokeMeAClipper

This truly sounds like he's saying "we don't give a shit about PC".

I game on PC and console, but it pisses me off how the PC gets treated as a platform.

I'm actually playing through TR for the first time (bought it as part of a bundle in a Steam sale a while back). Good game, but reading this just makes me think how much better it could have been if the developers gave a fuck about PC.

telaros
telaros

"It's PC. Just make it bootable. What, redo the hair? NO just make it work. Whose gonna waste a whole year doing cosmetic work on a PC port?"


The same people who spend a year porting the PC to PS4 and Xbone apparently...


Not that the game gives any form of replay value, unless you haven't see every death, really there is no real death penalty in this game so just go for all those scripted events and the wire scene where you get impaled if you don't let go in time.


Rather than using that one year to begin a new Tomb Raider... we get cosmetics. Cosmetics we won't even see on the PC version OR probably told to PAY for what should already been in the game in the first place.

bbq_R0ADK1LL
bbq_R0ADK1LL

So my powerful gaming PC doesn't get to see all the hi-res textures etc. but the less powerful consoles do?


Meh, it was a good game but I'm not going back to play it again anyway. Still, I wish devs would put the effort into optimising for PC.

natanmir
natanmir

i didn't play tomb raider this year yet. only saw footage on youtube... i think it's the best time to pick it up for PC for full experience?

michalmis
michalmis

Just shows square are complietely out of touch with ppl who play games... They make the game a tinsy tinsy bit prettier, charge full price again, and... its still just a boring gore-fest with linear gameplay and crappy story.

horizonwriter
horizonwriter

@rezaghasem Sounds more like the pc version was the template from which they worked off of for this but whatever. This clearly is for those that haven't played the game yet and have a next-gen console to try it out on. Not for me since I completed it when it first came out but I'm not mad that others are getting the chance to get into it with improved graphics.

CalamityKait
CalamityKait

@themc_7 If it's all the DLC, there are multiplayer maps, one single player tomb, single player skins for Lara, and a bunch of early skill and weapon unlocks like agility and the pistol silencer.  The skill and weapon upgrades are all things you normally get in the course of the game anyway, so for single player gamers, the one extra tomb and skins are the main bonuses.

SNESNOSTALGIA2
SNESNOSTALGIA2

You struggled with the QTE events? Lmao..so retarted.

snaketus
snaketus

@Stebsis Yeah yeah, we got screwed again. This definitive edition is what PC version should have been from the get go.

snaketus
snaketus

@naryanrobinson Yeah the reason why I'm so getting this, because that 80% off was a real steal for this great game and I like my Lara not look like wuss way better. And yeah physical copy like I have every other Tomb Raider game.

pyro1245
pyro1245

@meedokicky If you remove the QTE you remove half of the game...... It was build around those.

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@bbq_R0ADK1LL It's not like they are ignoring PC on purpose, on principle. Games became an industry, and like every big business it follows the cash, and for now, the real cash-flow comes from consoles. Whine all you want, that ain't gonna change a thing(for now), big-shot publishers give 0000 that many fucks about PC, the only reason PC is afloat(just just) is because of indie developers, kick-starters and Steam.

Nevernudeftw
Nevernudeftw

@natanmir Considering you can get it cheap as hell on the PC and run it maxxed out on a low-mid grade system (basically what the consoles are) then that is what I would do. The Definitive Edition is another way of saying " hey buy the game thats been out for over a year for $60 again, oh we added a bit more bloom".

ahztek666
ahztek666

@michalmis if you thought it was a boring gore fest with a crappy story... well, you played it wrong.

pyro1245
pyro1245

@SNESNOSTALGIA2 on PC there's a bug where it doesn't prompt you for a button press you after the left-right mashing you have a 1/3 chance of getting it as they are not the same every time; which is indeed retarded. Plus the game sucks anyway because QTEs are boring as hell.

heroinadream
heroinadream

@BraollusBeBack@bbq_R0ADK1LLThe only reason the new generation of consoles do exist is because of hardware engineering on the PC market. They looked at PC and realized that; "Shite, there is a huge gap between the power of these technologies! Maybe we should create new consoles with mid-range power of a 600$ gaming PC! Build a PC that is well optimized, call it PS4 and call this one Xbox One. Thank you AMD."


Not that there is something wrong there. I have the Xbox 360, PS3, PS4 and a crazy PC rig.

mkeezay22
mkeezay22

@BraollusBeBack@bbq_R0ADK1LL Your a fool, PC gaming sells a lot more than you think, a Arma 3 mod has sold almost a million copies and it's still in early access alpha stage.

Most game sales charts don't count digital sales and since most PC sales are digital that means you are seeing a small portion of PC versions sold

natanmir
natanmir

@Nevernudeftw@natanmirdo you really think i going to pay for this? but seriously? all the new graphics and you saw low end machine? i afraid my GTX680 wont be able to run it at max =/

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@heroinadream That's very true, but still the market is on consoles, no matter where the parts are taken from, because that's what big majority of people choose, a console as their gaming device, maybe because of ease of setup, maybe because of the illusion of it being cheaper, I don't know the reasons, but console market own PC's ass by a long shot. I'm a PC gamer myself and it is annoying to get half arsed ports constantly, but you gotta learn to accept truth, that is console market is more prominent, and in the end it gets the most attention from the devs.

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@razor_rj @mkeezay22 @BraollusBeBack @bbq_R0ADK1LL Oh also, razor_rj, not once have I made this remark, that PC gamers are all pirates, also, do you have any numbers to support that summer Steam sales got more sales than on release on consoles? I suppose it depends what game it is.
So please in all kindness fuck off and read my comment again, carefully this time, my point was that PC sales generate lower income for AAA publishers, so they focus on console more, that was my point, that alone.

BraollusBeBack
BraollusBeBack

@mkeezay22 @BraollusBeBack @bbq_R0ADK1LL Right and you're an idiot, for completely missing my point, I didn't say PC doesn't sell, it does, a bit, but nothing in comparison to consoles, where tens of millions of sales and where 2 or 3 millions, there is a big difference, especially when games cost quite a lot nowadays, my point was that THE BIG publisher give as little shit as they can about PC, and concentrate on the consoles, which have a huge market and if you read my comment again, I said, that only indie devs, steam and kickstarters keep the pc platform afloat.

razor_rj
razor_rj

@mkeezay22@BraollusBeBack@bbq_R0ADK1LL Yeah, just look at how many new users steam got last month ALONE ! some games saw more sale during the summer sale then combined on release on consoles.so THERE, 

pcs are pirates ARRR, BULLSHIT

heroinadream
heroinadream

@natanmir@Nevernudeftw The GTX680 can max a lot of new games. The only thing you need to disable in Tomb Raider is tressfx.