5 Reasons Why 'Tomb Raider' Is Only Definitive On PlayStation 4

Posted: Jan 29 2014, 5:03pm CST | by , Updated: Jan 29 2014, 5:06pm CST, in Gaming


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5 Reasons Why 'Tomb Raider' Is Only Definitive On PlayStation 4

Tomb Raider is “definitive” on PlayStation 4 rather than Xbox One with game changing use of controller lights, speaker, Vita remote play and all this at 60 frames per second.

I’ll be honest, when I first heard about the Tomb Raider reboot I was more than a little skeptical. Things have moved on since Lara has been away, and mostly in a Naughty Dog Uncharted direction.

However, playing through the game on the Xbox 360 last year I couldn’t have been happier to have been proved wrong. This was not only an strong return for Tomb Raider but also an intelligent approach to the franchise that moved beyond boobs and bums as the big seller and towards a study of Lara Croft as a living breathing person.

Lara wasn’t important in this new game because of how she looked or her gender, but because she was a remarkable individual with a history and (hopefully) a future. This telling of the Tomb Raider origin story took us back to pre-hero Lara as she begrudgingly picked up arms to save her friends.

PlayStation 4 Only Definitive Version Of Tomb Raider

With The Last of Us being released soon after, Tomb Raider again surprised me by being able to escape that long Naughty Dog shadow. In fact, it even beat it to the punch in more than one area. Its gritty realism, horror aesthetic, use of the bow and survival instincts feature were all later found in The Last of Us. I’m not saying they copied Tomb Raider, but I’m sure the development team took a good hard look at this competitor — particularly the “survival instincts” mode that seemed mirrored in Joel’s (rather out of place) “super hearing” ability.

Now on the next generation consoles and without the constraints of horse power, or such great time constraints Tomb Raider Definitive edition offers a fresh chance to enjoy the open world exploration, combat and story-telling that made the original so compelling.

While the headlines have focused on the additional tombs, included DLC and graphical improvements (Lara’s new character model, new realistic hair simulation, enhanced in-game characters, enemies and destructibility,4x resolution textures for maximum resolution and detail and native 1080p game-play) what’s been less talked about are the interactive enhancements enabled by the new hardware’s controllers.

On the Xbox One there is Kinect enabled voice commands for skills, maps, and relic menus, as well as commands to switch ammo types. You can also use the camera controller to “lean” during some in-game fixed scenes and get an alternative view of the action. Finally, you can use the camera for gesture control for manipulating any relics you discover.

All well and good, and nice to see Crystal Dynamics making use of the new features — although it must be said that most of these will be ignored by the majority of Tomb Raider Definitive players.

Over on the PlayStation 4 however the enhancements are more interesting. As well as matching the voice and gesture controls of the Xbox One there are four additional reasons why it’s on PlayStation that Tomb Raider is really definitive.

1. PS4 at 1080p 60 Frames Per Second

Before getting to those new interactions we hit the first edge the PS4 offers: delivering all that graphical gravy at around 60 frames per second whereas the Xbox One is reportedly settling for 30 frames per second. Now, much could be made of this as a distinguishing feature but to quibble too much is to miss the fact that both games look excellent and even side by side you’d be hard pushed to tell the frame rate differences.

2. PS4 Controller Light

The light on the PlayStation 4 Dual Shock controller has not always been a gamer’s best friend, with Sony often finding themselves defending its existence and the inability to turn it off. In Tomb Raider Definitive edition however this feature really comes to life. This is where the PlayStation 4 starts to edged ahead.

Firstly it offers an additional warning when Lara is low on health, turning from Blue to Red as she gets near to death. But it’s also used for other environmental affects as well. Light a torch and suddenly the controller throws red-orange flame colored hues into the room around you using the controller lights. Shoot particular weapons and you are gifted with a real-world flash of light as you let rip.

These Tomb Raider DualShock Lights sound a little gimmicky I know but in the context of the game, and in the heat of battle I found it not only help my sense of immersion but also provided very useful information about the state of play.

3. PS4 Controller Speaker

As a fan of the original Wii Remote’s inclusion of a speaker, I was enthusiastic about its inclusion in the Dual Shock 4. This opens the door for all kinds of new ways of interacting with the game.

In Tomb Raider the speaker picks up particular sounds and brings them right up to the player. Having the device in your hands emit noises like this not only rounds out the experience but creates a different feel to the game. Firing a weapons is now an audible sensation as well as a visual one.

Even though the speaker is small you can also feel those sounds vibrate through your hands. There is also a slight delay from hearing the arrow twang from your controller to reach the screen, it’s almost undetectable but adds a lot of immersion.

4. PS4 Vita Remote Play

It’s easy to overlook how significant the Remote Play feature is for the PlayStation 4. Not only does it mean you can now play Tomb Raider on the go over the internet, but is also enables you to free up the main screen at home for other members of the family to use.

I also found it useful as a way to play the game on headphones without having a long cable. Setting up remote play, but controlling the game with a Dual Shock controller, I could then plug in some headphones to the Vita on my lap. This configuration also meant I could play the game on the Vita with the Dual Shock — something I could really get used to (and something that made me want a Vita mount for my Dual Shock 4.

5. PS Vita Tomb Raider Touch Controls

As well as the Vita letting you play Tomb Raider on the go, like other Remote Play experiences Tomb Raider does some leg work to map the Dual Shock buttons to the smaller sticks and triggers. The three left/right triggers fall to the Vita buttons and rear screen while the r2/l2 are easily accessible on the top of the touch screen.

More than this though, Tomb Raider recognizes you are playing via a device that offers touch controls and accordingly lets you touch the screen to pull up the map and then pinch to zoom and drag to navigate around. You basically forget this is a PlayStation 4 game and play it like a native Vita experience.


While much has been made of frame rates and resolutions in the early stages of the console war, we will soon move beyond these visual comparisons to be more concerned with the interactions and game-play made possible by both the PS4 and Xbox One.

On this count, the controller lights, sound and Vita’s remote play make the Tomb Raider Definitive experience much more substantial and game changing on Sony’s console.

It will be interesting to see how Uncharted 4 responds to this high definition rendering of Tomb Raider, and what use it makes of the new PlayStation 4 Dual Shock controller along with potential Vita cross-over. It also seems not out of the question to expect an Uncharted Definitive Collection on PlayStation 4 before too long.

It will also be telling to see how the Xbox One continues to leverage the Kinect controller (and game-pad enhancements like eight player support and impulse triggers) in core titles as well as the innovative ways developers put to use the (so far) under-used and under-rated interaction for core game experiences.

I’ll leave you with a second opinion on Tomb Raider Definitive version:

Source: Forbes

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