Despite the rather grand Definitive Edition subtitle, this version of Lara Croft’s cleverly rebooted starring vehicle is very much a quick and expedient reheat designed to take advantage of the PS4 and Xbox One’s graphics power. Which is no bad thing, as the original game was thoroughly excellent, and in the Definitive Edition, Lara has never looked more ravishing. Particularly on the PS4, which runs at a higher frame-rate than the Xbox One and looks marginally more solid and smooth-running as a result. But there’s little to attract those who have already played it – the full multiplayer experience (some of which was delivered as downloadable content), an extra tomb and ephemera such as an art book and extra outfits.
That said, if you haven’t played Tomb Raider and have thoroughly rinsed all you can from the launch games you bought for your next-gen console, Definitive Edition is close to a must-buy. It’s a great game, which emphatically arrested the Tomb Raider franchise’s decline into mediocrity. Its emphasis is on action, with a brilliant set of weaponry (especially a bow that can deliver exploding arrows), and Lara’s breath-taking agility. On the PS4 and Xbox One, it looks amazing: Lara is rendered in stunning detail, and visual niceties like water, smoke and fire look noticeably more convincing. Purists may quibble that the actual raiding of tombs is a tad perfunctory and peripheral, and that some elements (such as a decent stealth engine) are introduced briefly but never really developed, but the action is constant and irresistible, and the whole experience is very cinematic.
But your decision as to whether you should lash out a chunk of your hard-earned on the Definitive Edition should be pretty simple. If you played the original version, you will find it disappointingly familiar. However, if you didn’t, it’s just what you need to tide you over
Reviewed by Steve Boxer