As a longtime fan of Lara Croft, the 2013 reboot Tomb Raider rang an uncertain note with me. I've played it and I’m still not sure whether I like it or not. As a game, it’s fairly good mechanically, and it’s fun if nothing else.
But I just wasn't impressed. Because the game is rather colorless and inoffensive in general, it took a long time for me to even come up with a vague reason why that was so. However, the upcoming re-release of the game for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, called Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, has helped me figure it out.
It’s the new Lara. She’s the part of the reboot which doesn't impress me.
The Definitive Edition claims to be optimizing the game for next-gen consoles, which presumably means that the graphics will be kicked into high-gear, the models and textures will all have been rebuilt . . . a new coat of paint for the new generation, if you will. Among the changes featured in the trailer is a brand-new model of Lara, shown in the picture above.
The 2013 reboot changed Lara Croft’s look, normalizing her features at the expense of making her look pale and milquetoast. The new upgrade seems to be marrying that look with some of her original, Angelina Jolie-style features.
Does that help? NO!
See, I don’t really care about Lara’s looks. My biggest complaint about the reboot will not be fixed in the Definitive Edition, and that is that reboot!Lara is a complete idiot. Before this game, Lara was well-educated and fairly perceptive. Now she’s passive, moronic, and couldn't find her way out of a room with one door. This seems a big disservice to one of the few female protagonists who has been consistently free of “foolish female” gender stereotypes.
Now, having said that, I still recommend buying the Definitive Edition if you have an Xbox One or a PS4. The game itself is fun to play, if you ignore the bland character writing. Besides, if there’s one thing we need more of in video games, it’s women who can use guns and arrows with the same ruthless efficiency as men, regardless of what they look or act like.