For those not in the know, Tomb Raider’s Definitive Edition is a completely re-mastered game for the two next-gen consoles, with overhauled graphics, a few tweaks here and there and all of the game’s downloadable content, all packed together in a single package for gamers to enjoy.
Megarom supplied me with a PS4 code for the game, and I fired it up over the weekend after an overnight download to see what the fuss was about. Having finished it on PC, I know just how good the game can look; I also know that my graphics card would often spin up its fan to cope with the raised temperatures generated by a card that was being worked quite hard while playing, and I was curious about how the PS4 would cope.
To my surprise, the game loaded in less than a minute and its main menu with its crashing waves and stormy sky appeared as sharp and as polished as it did on my PC. I started a new game, and was treated to the gorgeous (pre-rendered) opening cinematics; once I was in the game proper, my jaw hit the floor.
Not only did Lara appear even more detailed than on my PC (particularly when she got all grimy from mud and blood), but the game world itself looked amazing. All of the textures were super-crisp, bushes and plants moved realistically when Lara walked past and through them, and a tweaked lighting model made everything look just that much more real than it did in the PC version of the game. The draw distance has also been extended, giving gamers great views packed with details that just weren’t present in the original Xbox 360 or PS3 releases, and the developers even put in voice and motion controls to sweeten the deal.
Despite all of these tweaks and enhancements, there was no judder whatsoever as I panned the camera around, and more importantly, my PS4’s fan didn’t kick into overdrive. Clearly, the graphics have been properly optimised for the PS4’s hardware to the point where even the most complex of scenes don’t cause it to break a sweat. While I have no way to accurately measure the game’s frames-per-second performance, everything felt consistently smooth and responsive in a way I associate with gaming on my PC at a frame rate well above the 30fps mark.
And that remained the case throughout my two-hour play session. I got Lara from her upside-down starting point to the traumatic sequence where she and other survivors were rounded up by a bunch of unfriendly Russian-speaking men (I’m a snail gamer, what can I say) without so much as a peep from the PS4’s fan.
If you haven’t yet played Tomb Raider and you own a PlayStation 4, I highly recommend grabbing a copy of the Definitive Edition and giving it a playthrough. Not only will you get all of the extra multiplayer maps that were released as DLC for the game, you’ll get extra tombs to raid and a bunch of behind-the-scenes content too, along with a truly superb single-player adventure.
On the other hand, if you did play Tomb Raider when it first came out, it is hard to justify getting the Definitive Edition of the game considering it’s priced as a brand-new release (R699).