Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Critique

Author: Keza Macdonald
Date: 2020-07-30 22:10:22
Translated from English by IGN France.

When I played Tomb Raider on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 a year ago, at no point did I say to myself "if only this game was better graphically". This excellent cinematic reboot of Lara Croft's adventure doesn't need any special effects to make it worth playing.

But nonetheless, playing this Definitive Edition on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, consoles that do not have to be ashamed of the comparison with the high resolution and character hair effects offered by the PC version, is a great experience. The Xbox One can't really handle the 60fps, but I appreciated the difference anyway. Tomb Raider remains one of the best games of its kind, with the Uncharted series; but if what you're wondering is if this version improves the gaming experience outside of the visual part, the answer is no, not that much.

Enjoying more realistic mud and sweat doesn't really bring us the next gen revolution that the video game world expects; but luckily, Tomb Raider doesn't need special effects to justify its interest among players. It's still a great cinematic action game, the crème de la crème with Uncharted. The question to ask yourself is if that tells you to go around it again and go into ecstasies in front of a 1080p version of its magnificent setting and its pleasant and resistant heroine. (Assuming of course you haven't played the splendid PC version already.)

The Definitive Edition is sold with all DLC, although this addition is not as big as you might think. The only significant single player DLC is a single additional Secret Tomb, one of those little tributes to the legacy Tomb Raider left behind in puzzle solving. The rest are just superfluous accessories for your weapons or cards and items for the multiplayer mode, a mode that has not become, with a wave of a magic wand, better than it was last year. It is still not really worth dwelling on.

More interestingly, the Definitive Edition uses voice and gesture control on Xbox One and PS4 (if you have the camera). You can say "show map" to see where you are, or name a weapon to equip it. I had started using this last feature, until my Kinect interpreted the sound of my kittens fighting on the carpet as a request from me to get my bow. This as I faced three men armed with assault rifles. Additionally, enemy shouts sometimes activate voice control as well. I think, though, that the fault here lies more with the Kinect than with Tomb Raider. The latest novelty in this version is the ability to use the Kinect to physically grab objects found by Lara and rotate them; you can also lean left or right during cutscenes to change the camera angle. But I prefer to do this with the stick, since I already have it in my hand.

These new DLCs and controls add nothing to what was already a smooth, satisfying, and truly exhilarating action game, being one with its iconic and likeable main character, featuring fast paced and varied combat, and scenes. breathtaking action. The story progresses at breakneck speed, transforming Lara from a frightened castaway to a hardened survivor. The first few hours always seem a bit complacent, relying a little too heavily on carefully planned cutscenes, but this has the benefit of setting up Lara's character. And this is so well done that we readily forgive this imposed linearity. Tomb Raider allowed me to reconnect with Lara Croft, which adds an extra emotional dimension to one of the best video game heroines.

Everything revolves around Lara: she is vulnerable in this place, but never deprived of her autonomy, and always able to react in the face of danger. We have the opportunity to discover her passion, sincere and a little geek, for archeology, when she marvels in front of artifacts and ancient structures. Although I love Tomb Raider as an action game, I miss the exploration and puzzle-solving part; In this story that goes back to the source, there aren't many real burial explorations, but the hidden secret tombs around the island show that Crystal Dynamics is still very good at environmental puzzles. I sincerely hope to meet more of them in a possible sequel to this game.

Its cleverly designed environment sets Tomb Raider apart from traditional linear action games, but from which it borrows certain scenes and certain commonplaces (for example, the sequences of escape from a burning building or the interludes where Lara runs down slopes or waterfalls). Every area of the island, from the mountain top village to the forest to the debris strewn beaches, is a playground strewn with hidden gems, designed for climbing, jumping, and tackling puzzles in different ways. The first time I played Tomb Raider, it was only when I returned to these areas again, without the story pushing me there with a pistol in my back, that I had been able to appreciate the quality of their design. This time, I enjoyed it straight away, spending a lot more time exploring them in the hopes of finding trinkets there before continuing the story.

The scenery is also incredibly beautiful. This upgraded version gives you tons of opportunities to admire the island: from the edge of the cliff, from vantage points overlooking misty mountains, or during dangerous tug-of-war climbs. And it really makes me feel like a true explorer when I reach the top of a hill and contemplate from above an intricate nest of old buildings and forest paths, or when I climb a mountain in direction of a distant semaphore. Even for the second time, the story is still as punchy and this, despite disappointing secondary characters, as well as the not necessarily welcome presence of supernatural elements. Lara is enough to wear it.

The rapid transformation of Lara into a hardened, full-headed heroine after her obviously traumatic first murder still upsets me, and here marks the moment of transition from survival to pure action. Hours later, when you take advantage of Lara's full array of weapons and combat skills, it feels weird to remember that during the first few hours of the game, she didn't even have an unfortunate pistol in her possession. . But Tomb Raider isn't the kind of game to be afraid of taking a change of pace. You never do the same thing twice in the same place, and that's a lot of its memorable side.