Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Unboxing
After playing part of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition video game for the first time, I have a three letter word to describe it -- "Wow!" I preordered this game awhile back and have just now had the opportunity to play part of it. When I received Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, starring Lara Croft on the release date in March, 2014 from Amazon.com, I did an unboxing of this game complete with pictures. I was that impressed by the artistry of the video game packaging which included a hard cover book with artwork from the game that is worthy of framing. What was missing was a poster of Lara Croft in action as she braves the perils and tribulations of what it takes to survive.
Tomb Raider Unboxed (game and book) with Pixelbot robot courtesy of DPL looking on
Of course packaging is just that -- packaging. What really counts about a video game, in my opinion, is the enjoyment that you experience from playing the game, whether your excitement for the game stems from the action, characters, story line, creativity of plot, or any number of other reasons. If you ask me which of these choices Tomb Raider: Definitive Collection excelled in, I would have to say the character and the action.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Expectations
When I slipped the physical video game disc in my PS4, and the Tomb Raider cover art showed on the screen, I was unsure what to expect. I saw the previous version of this game played during the holidays by my family member, and at that time, I was impressed by the realistic graphics, as well as the requirement to use logical thinking skills to advance in the game. At that time, I was a bystander, just looking at the video game playing action, listening to the realistic sound effects as Lara Croft splashed her way through the deep seas, roamed forests, etc., to accomplish her missions. Just as there is a saying "Seeing is believing" -- regarding video game playing I think there should be a saying "Playing is believing." It is only by actually holding a video game controller, controlling and experiencing the actions of the video game characters yourself that, in my opinion, you can truly decide if you will not only play the video game again, but will also recommend others to play it as well.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Spoiler Alert
I am going to give you a spoiler alert here, just in case you have not played the game and want to experience the gameplay with the surprises and suspenseful moments in tact. If you have not played Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, you may want to stop reading here, because the next sections I will be talking about my experiences with this video game, including how Lara Croft got through certain obstacles during the first part of the game, that you may prefer to figure out on your own. I played this game in the normal mode, vs. the easy or hard options. Also as a disclaimer, this review does not cover the complete video game -- only the first parts that I played.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Actions/Adventures
I liked the action-packed movie introduction which included actions where Lara Croft seemingly spirals down a long drop before she reaches the bottom. She is visibly in pain, her clothing is soiled and she has blood all over her, including her face. Unfortunately, she also is hurt and has a sharp object jutting in her left side. My first action in the gameplay was to use the controller to remove the shart object from hurting her -- which I succeeded in doing. From then on -- for the part of the game I played, Lara Croft moves throughout the video game environments, clutching her side with her right hand over the wound while in some cases holding a torch in her left hand. But not to worry, as I played the game longer, eventually she felt well enough to remove her hand from her side, to regain use of both of her hands.
As I continued to move her along the terrains, I had already decided that this was an exploratory type game, where you use the character to discover the surroundings. However, I stood to be corrected. I found out soon enough that Lara Croft does a lot more than move around the environments. Just when I was getting comfortable moving her through parts of the dark cave where she had landed, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, an enemy apppeared and tried to capture her. I literally jumped when this happened, because this was totally unexpected. From then on, I knew this game would be adventurous and suspenseful. After about three tries, I was able to get Lara Croft to fight off her enemy, and breathed a sigh of relief when within the small cave she was in, a door closed that blocked the enemy from entering.
That one particular unexpected action got my adrenalin going. I kept thinking what would happen next. I had Lara Croft continue her adventures in the cave by having her to traverse treacherous waters where there was fire on one side of a waterfall and barrels of fuel on the other. The problem was that in order to get out, Lara Croft had to go through the waterfall while carrying her torch -- which of course did not work. The water would put out the fire each time, as expected.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Strategies
Throughout the game, you are given pictures of which buttons on the controller to push as well as information on the mission or environment that Lara Croft has entered. Also, when you push the L1 button on your controller, the environment turns to black and white and items that can help you to escape, etc. are lit up brighter than the others. Once you release the L1 button, the game actions, including the colors return.
I studied the environment and saw a hanging apparatus, as well as a street car-like vehicle on another level of the cave area. Both were lit or shined brighter when I pushed the L1 button so I knew these items were required for her to escape. Also the square button would appear on the screen to push as barrels and boxes floated in the water. When I did so, the barrels would start burning and continued to float in the water. To give you a visual of where she was during this part of the video game -- Lara Croft was in thrashing waters, among lots of burning boxes and barrels, with debris, old bottles, shoes etc. floating around with loud sounds of waves of water crashing through several areas.
To make a long story short, I was unable to get Lara Croft to push the street car off the ramp or get her on the hanging apparatus. This is the first part of the game where I got stuck. After a phone call for advice, I went back to the game and tried again, this time using different actions to get her out of this cave-like atmosphere that had water and firey barrels and boxes everywhere. I was unable to pile barrels beneath the hanging apparatus as suggested, so I tried a different strategy which surprisingly to me -- worked. Somehow I got her into the hanging apparatus. She was unable to swing back and forth -- so I had her to jump from this apparatus. Then I had her to try once again to push the street car which by this time was full of burning barrels. Lo and behold -- this time the street car actually moved out of the way. Previously, it would move just a little and then return to its original position. When the street car moved, a multitude of actions seemed to happen all at once which resulted in her being in a totally different mountainous environment. I had Lara Croft jump over mountains where she hung dangerously off tall cliffs. She also had to fight off another enemy in this environment. As a disclaimer -- The apparatus/street car scene actions I did when I played this game, may or may not work for you. It may depend on the level of game that you are playing, i.e., easy, normal, hard -- or even some other reasons.
Now for the next adrenalin moment I experienced when playing the first section of Tomb Raider:: Definitive Edition. When Lara Croft reached the mountains, she had to actually climb the mountains, by frantically clawing her way up. To keep her from falling, I had to keep pushing the L2 and R2 buttons quickly at the same time. I also had to move the left stick on the controller either right or left to have her dodge large, gigantic boulders before I got her to the top of the mountain. I tried numerous times to keep her from falling by pushing these buttons, even at one time turning the PS4 controller around so the L2 and R2 buttons were facing me. However, I got her on the mountain-top and kept her away from the boulders by using the controller positioned in the normal way. My fingers got a true workout here, and with the controller rumbling, the sound effects of her climbing up the mountains, and her gasping -- when she finally reached the top of the mountain, breathing heavily, I was doing just about the same thing. I felt as if we had both shared a victory at that point, and felt quite exhilarated that she had made it up the mountain safely.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Likes and Dislikes
Here's what I liked and did not like about the part of the game I played. I liked the realistic video game graphics, where the grass moved with the wind. I liked that the game started over close to the part where you may have tried to complete a mission, instead of starting all over again. I liked the sound effects including the sounds of the rushing waters that in some ways can be a nice sound to listen to, but can also be frightening as well -- especially if the character is on a high mountain, looking down in deep, thrashing waters. The voice acting, was ok; however, in some of the scenes, the voice actor was difficult to understand, and when the character fell from a tall mountain, I personally think that she could have screamed more realistically. Also the illustration of the character can be improved in some of the scenes, because in some, her face seems to be swollen at her jaws -- not in all scenes -- but in some. I liked the realistic movement of the character's eyes, as well as the expression she had which signaled that she was at a loss as to what to do in certain situations -- however, she was able to figure things out. I also liked the voice commands where you actually speak your options, such as showing the maps, pausing etc.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition - Highly Recommended
If you have not played this game, and enjoy playing adventure, action games, I highly recommend you play Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on your PS4. If you do not have a PS4, you may be interested to know that Tomb Raider is currently free to play on the PS3 for PS plus members. I also have a PS3 -- but I was happy to play this game on my PS4 where I was able to use the new features of the PS4 and experience the improved graphics and sound qualities.
I'm looking forward to playing more of this game as well as seeing and experiencing via video game play the other adventures/missions Lara Croft will encounter in Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.
Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is rated M for Mature and is playable on the PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Windows PC and Mac.