• August 27, 2014

Should you buy? Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 7:00 am

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.

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2 comments:

  • Rachel Kaser posted at 3:08 pm on Fri, Jan 31, 2014.

    Rachel Kaser Posts: 6 Staff

    No offense to IGN, but why should I care what score they gave the DE? This column is my opinion, not a mouthpiece for the popular consensus. I have played the new Tomb Raider and I have nothing but good things to say about the gameplay. Fun combat, great environments, tight pacing, etc. My big complaint was about the use of Lara as a character. I did tell everyone to buy the DE anyway, despite not having played it, as I know my views about Lara are unlikely to be shared. Thanks for reading!

     
  • sasan1 posted at 11:59 pm on Fri, Jan 24, 2014.

    sasan1 Posts: 1

    While I appreciate your work on this web site, I just want to know if you have either:

    1. Played the new game or

    2. Had a review copy of the next-gen versions of this game.

    As an life long gamer starting back with NES, and even remembering an old PC or such this new version of Tomb Raider is a much more enjoyable version of the PS3's Uncharted series. Also the IGN review came out and gave it a 9.1.