On Wednesday afternoon I had the chance to go hands-on with a variety of chapters from Tomb Raider Definitive Edition. Tomb Raider was my favourite game of the last year so I had a lot of expectations on just how much of a graphical advancement this version would bring.
I’m happy to say that I was immediately impressed when I first laid eyes on it. In the morning, I had read an article from Eurogamer which stated that the game would be running in 30FPS. As soon as I saw the game running, it was immediately clear that the game was running at a very smooth 60FPS.
I obviously can’t comment on the Xbox One version however, our friends over at RocketChainsaw claim that an inside source has led them to believe that the Xbox One version will average at 30FPS. As the PS4 version was the only one on display, that’s the only one that I will be speaking about below.
The first thing that I noticed is just how much more dynamic Lara’s movement is. For instance, real time gravity is applied to her necklace, hair and even her famous pickaxe. This might sound like a minor detail but it really does give this game the next-gen polish that it deserves.
Environments in the game are much more dynamic, trees and shrubs bounce around as you run through them and your tent rustles in the wind depending on the weather. This extends to the fire and water environments where everything looks more realistic and much more detailed.
One interesting thing to note is the way that Lara reacts to these environments. If you’ve played the original Tomb Raider, you know that Lara goes from extremity to extremity in this game. The Definitive Edition reflects this. When you’re running through a burning house, Lara is visibly sweating and showing signs of trying to calm herself down. This really helps you connect with Lara as you can actually visibly see that she’s being affected by these conditions.
We were told that there were 15x the amount of particles on screen. Whilst I can’t be sure that this is exactly the amount, it was clear to me that there was definitely a lot more happening on screen. Dust, smoke and flame embers flew around much more dynamically than they did in the original.
Another thing I noticed is that draw distance has been dramatically improved. I could see much further in fire fights than I could in the original PS3 version. Obviously lighting has also been improved and Lara’s shadow moves much more realistically depending on the shadow.
Just to touch on the frame rate again, it was incredibly fluid and looked to stay at 60FPS for majority of the time. We got to play a really good variety of sections, ranging from the start of the game, to some of the more intense fire fights near the end. I never really noticed any dips in frame rate at all through my play through. We’ll know next week whether this will be the case for the Xbox One version.
The next-gen version has been in development since the game went gold a year ago. I’d recommend that anybody who hasn’t played the original to definitely pick it up. If you played the original and loved it as much as me, then I’d still recommend that you pick it up. Crystal Dynamics have included all the multiplayer DLC which includes 8 maps and 6 weapons. Also included is the Dark Horse comic and complete art book, which will be accessible from the main menu.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition will be available on PS4 & Xbox One on the 31st of January.