Tomb Raider Definitive Review

Basic Overview (with warnings!)

This review may have minor spoilers such as characters names as well as set pieces that happen but nothing too major to the story itself.

Basic Overview

Tomb Raider Definitive edition is a game originally developed by Crystal Dynamics and Eidos Interactive and was ported to the platform by Nixxes. Tomb Raider was released on November 19th 2019 (Stadia’s release date), and has been seen as a Stadia Pro game in December 2019.

 

Without spoiling the story it was fun enough but predictable in some places (I didn’t go into much depth because I didn’t want to go into spoilers).

Controls

The controls in the game are the basic left stick (or WASD layout which is common in action games) and you control the camera (and aim) with the right stick or the mouse, assuming you use the standard layout so if you play a lot of third or first person action shooters you should know how to control this one immediately. This allows the game to be easy to pick up and play for newcomers to the genre as well as with more veteran players to this genre.

Gameplay

Due to this game being quite linear in overall level design there is only really one way to do each level inside of the game with no alternating routes unless you want to go and search tombs, this may make the game feel quite limited. Speaking (or should I say reading of tombs) I didn’t really feel the need to look around inside of them while playing the main story. The main reason I felt this way is because I felt like it would ruin the overall pacing of the story since throughout the story everything felt like they were in a rush to get off the island as quick as possible and to look around a tomb felt pointless (unless you want to go for the 100% completion rate in the game). The gun play for the game feels varied enough to feel like you’re using different weapons (unlike some other games such as Call of Duty where most of the guns feel similar), like the bow you use is more precise but slower compared to the automatic rifle, the shotgun is powerful at close range but isn’t the further away you’re, the pistol allows you to be more precise if you’re slower or allows you to shoot quickly depending on how you play, the assault rifle (which is also the last weapon you get in the game) has recoil when you hold down the trigger but when you look at Lara’s character model she the gun doesn’t have the amount of recoil it portrays when shooting (it just looks strange to me). When climbing the controls are basic and are limited (again due to the game being quite linear in nature), as well as when you jump from certain heights or in certain set pieces quick time events are triggered (when it’s done right it adds to the tension). Speaking of quick time events there are quick time events everywhere in this game, such as the previous mentioned climbing sequences, as well as when you dodge away from enemies (when unlocked) you can unlock a quick time event where you can deal some damage to the enemy. Most of the time the quick time events do come across as gimmicky and haven’t aged the best, mainly because they feel cheap.

Action Set Pieces

Some of the action set pieces in the game are really great and very memorable. Some of the main examples being when you’re running away from a falling plane or speeding down a twisty river towards your impending doom to name a couple of examples. Most of the set pieces are loud and incredibly bombastic, but mostly they’re very fun to play through.

Overall Presentation (audio, voice acting, visuals etc)

Audio mix!

The audio in the game sounds great with good sounding sound effects. The audio in the game also likes to bounce around each audio channel (if you have pro) with explosions happening around you as well as with gunshots happening (the exploding mountain is a good example of this) and while this is all happening dialogue is clear and easy to understand while these sequences are happening. However the music in the game is quite forgettable and I couldn’t name any songs or even any instruments used etc.

Voice acting!

The voice acting in the game is pretty good from Lara’s voice actor, it never really came across as bad or forced in anyway, such as in some games where it feels like the actors are trying too hard to put in a solid performance or where the voice acting is laughably bad. Some of the other voice actors such as Jonah also put in some good performances, when they actually appear on screen (such as at the end of the story near the very last chapters of the game. On the other hand some of the side characters do put in some forgettable performances (I think this is due to the overall writing for the side characters being more generic “bad guy” lines), there is nothing particularly wrong with the vocal performances (from what I remember) just that it’s hard to remember…

Visuals of the game!

The visuals of this game have aged quite well, with some areas looking very nice in some places (see picture below) when it comes to showing the player some landscapes or some of the characters do look detailed a lot of the time (especially Lara) but some of the generic enemies who you fight with in the game do look bad and haven’t aged the greatest with low texture details and stiff animation in some parts (around the faces in some cutscenes in the game). Apart from that my main problem with this game is that it suffers from 7th generation console syndrome of looking brown and grey with very little in terms of colour. The overall streaming quality does look great in most places apart from dark areas where blockyness can appear and gradients from some lights such as torches are visible (both appear on the 1080p stream and is a compression issue and not an issue with the game liking dark scenes).

Level Design

The level design in this game comes across as a large linear path with small puzzles as well as some small but more open areas. Missions will transfer what appears to be seamlessly between on to the next, but usually ends with a larger battle or something in a cutscene to get you prepared for the level ahead of you etc.

Conclusion

In conclusion the game features a fun action driven story (if predictable) with great looking visuals for the time if a bit visually dull with a lot of fun set pieces with an active audio mix (unfortunately with some forgettable music as well) and some ranging decent to good performances from the main cast of characters.

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