‘Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition’ On Xbox One, PS4, PC Compared

Published 1 year ago by

Tomb Raider Video Game Women

The launch of any new generation of consoles brings with it the opportunity for bigger worlds and better experiences; but few things can make a console purchase feel justified like a gorgeous game. That’s something that Square Enix is clearly aware of, hence the existence of Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition.

Now that the game has brought its completely new version of Lara Croft to the Xbox One and PS4 – and not the PC – it’s time to determine which console performs most admirably (and how they stack up to PC). As is usually the case, the answer isn’t as simple as some might assume.

The lengthy technical inspection has been performed by the technophiles at Digital Foundry, and while much of the nuance may be lost on all but the most dedicated graphics enthusiasts, the gameplay footage gives a strong impression of how programming for next-gen consoles is beginning to shape up.

Let’s start with the comparison that every next-gen owner wants: take a look and see how the Xbox One and PS4 perform side-by-side:

What is immediately apparent from the footage is that the console discrepancies of the past may not continue, as each system’s structure inches closer to a gaming PC. But even if the video doesn’t show one with a distinct or consistent advantage over the other, the systems aren’t performing identically.

The PS4 is the undeniable winner in the head-to-head battle of framerate and resolution, with the PS4 running unlocked to a height of 60fps, and 1080p resolution. However, the detailed analysis shows that the PS4 version’s framerate is less than consistent, ranging drastically from 32fps to the top-end.

By contrast, the Xbox One version is locked at 30fps, with resolution dropped to 900p for scripted cinematic cutscenes. Most interestingly is the fact the Microsoft’s version remains locked at 30fps even when the number of assets to display drops. In other words, Tomb Raider on Xbox One runs at a hampered rate in the name of consistency, while the PS4 reaches higher heights while varying in framerate.

Tomb Raider Definitive PC PS4 Xbox One Comparison

Lara’s Definitive model (left) and her PC predecessor (right)

The PS4 version is the overall winner, since the higher frame rate will be noticed throughout playing (and the Xbox One version even dipped below 30fps at times). That being said, the testers point out that a consistent frame rate has distinct advantages when multiple effects are in play. And the issue of TressFX (used to animate Lara’s hair) is alive and well in the PS4 version, varying frame rates wildly.

It’s important not to put too much stock into the discrepancies, as the ports were developed by two different studios (the more experienced Nixxes for Sony, United Front Gamed for Microsoft). Yet what is clear is that porting games from a Windows PC to Microsoft’s console isn’t as simple as one might assume.

How the consoles match up is certainly a complex issue (although the testers see both as massive improvements over the Xbox 360 and PS3), and the same can be said for their performance compared to the PC version. Take a look at the differences, starting with the PlayStation 4:

The drastic re-design of Lara is impossible to miss, but the technical side isn’t as easy to differentiate. The definitive edition brings brand new detail to both the character’s skin and clothing, which is simply not present in the PC build. The same is true of new foliage and items that have been added, and added fire and smoke effects. The console versions both feature some lower-resolution textures, but less motion blur as well.

It’s unclear exactly how the developers have made room for the additional assets and light scattering that make the Definitive console versions visibly different from the PC, and when played with PC settings maxed out, the home consoles can’t compete. So while the PC players may not enjoy a ‘definitive’ experience (not yet, anyway), the freedom to tailor their performance (like turning TressFX off entirely) still provides an edge.

Will you be looking to play through the “definitive” Lara Croft experience if you missed it the first time around? If so, for which console? Assuming you aren’t already awaiting the upcoming sequel, of course. Share your thoughts in the comments.


Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is available now in North America, and releases January 31, 2014 in Europe.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Digital Foundry (1,2)

TAGS: Crystal Dynamics, PC, PS4, Square Enix, Tomb Raider, Xbox One

  • Branden

    PC will always be better than the consoles.

    Nothing can compare in virtually every aspect save for the mobility.


    • Branden

      They probably had a PC with low end specs just to make the PS4 look better and run smoother. Cannot trust videos, but I am looking forward to the game though.

      • Ken J


        Not even, the PC side is brighter, and still has more high resolution textures. The PS4 version looks great for a console game, I’m not going to lie, but even adding more assets and some new effects, the bottom line is that the console doesn’t have the resources to handle all high resolution textures like the PC version. A good example is to look at her lips on closeups. But it’s much more than that. On the scenes where there’s a big difference between the background and the foreground, you’ll notice a big difference there too. In the console version, the background just looks like a blurry watercolor painting in the backdrop, while in the PC version it actually looks like mountains in the distance that’s out of focus…

        Either way, I’m glad the consoles are finally at least much better than that last generation. I was getting a bit tired of games coming out on the PC that had the same graphics as those old consoles, so my PC was running at like 1/10 capacity with everything on max, lol. Now it’ll probably run 7/10 or 8/10 and some maybe pushing the envelope depending on if the developer actually spends the extra time to push the graphical limits of PC or if they simply use the new consoles as a standard… Still better than before when they used the old consoles for the standard, lol.

      • Mordac

        My pc runs it at a comparable frame rate to the one shown here and mine is about 3 years behind the curve. Mind you it’s the full tessellation effects hat really eat up the power. So I know for a fact that IGN is running a mid range spec pc for this demo.

    • ChrisTypeR

      And price…… And space….. And upgrades (no upgrades for PS4/XBone)….. And choice of games….. And exclusive titles…… And technical difficulties…..

      • Andrés

        Not quite. See, where you have to buy titles for $60 almost every time, we have GOG, Steam, GmG, etc., offering discounts on a variety of games old and new. And the part about upgrades and technical difficulties is, I think, part of the charm of being a PC gamer, the fact that you learn how to solve your own problems. Because, let’s face it, at the end of the day, whether you play on PC or console, nobody knows how to fix problems better than the users themselves, support is mostly useless. The console has an advantage that for a given period of time, say 10 years, you won’t have to bother to change your gaming rig. However, it recently lost another advantage it had which was you didn’t need to install your games to play them so you never had to bother about disk space. As you can clearly see, the console is slowly, but surely, becoming a PC.

      • Rad

        PRICE: Yes, while I spent $900 on my new system, the hardware is quite a bit more powerful than either the PoS4 or XBone. I can run Tomb Raider, with settings MAXED, at a consistent 60fps.

        SPACE: My PC reall doesn’t take up that much space. Mid towers are great, and mine is narrow for a mid tower.

        UPGRADES: It’s the biggest myth that you have to upgrade your PC every year. Do it right the first time, and you won’t need to upgrade of AT LEAST four years.

        CHOICE OF GAMES: I have plenty of games to choose from. Browse Steam GOG, or anywhere else if you don’t believe me.

        EXCLUSIVE TITLES: You can keep your shallow, linear titles, thank you. There are enough of those on any platform to satisfy anyone.

        TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: You can’t honestly believe that after the past few years of Battlefield 4, Skyrim, etc, can you? At least with the PC may issues can be modded out, while you consoles are limited ot whatever the devs choose to fix.

        Keep them coming, I can shoot most of them down.

      • Ken J

        Actually, I save tons of money being a PC gamer, should I get on this again?? lol

        I don’t know, it doesn’t really get old shooting these arguments down… 😛

      • Ken J

        Not to mention, my friends have had more issues with their consoles than I have with my PC. Actually, the only reason why I have a Xbox 360 (to play Forza 4) is because it used to belong to a friend, and it stopped reading discs. Before that he had one replaced because it overheated and died, so he had to get another one and now has this external (VERY LOUD) fan attached to it. So I bought it from him cheap and fixed it. But I still have that external fan on it to keep it from overheating, it’s so damn loud and annoying because of the super small fans. The fans in my PC are the big 120mm ones which are pretty quiet. Somehow my PC with 6 fans is quieter than this stupid Xbox with 2 little fans on the back… I haven’t had a part fail on my PC for probably 5 years or more…

        Oh, and right now I’m mining for litecoin, so I’m actually making money with my PC, lol. 😀

    • Pak55

      I thought Nintendo Fanboys were the worst, but you pc elitist take the cake.

      • James

        I love my PS4 and consoles in general.

        But stop prancing around in Denial. PC is better and always will be if you are willing to fork over a good chunk of money. But Consoles offer a convenience and comfort that PC doesn’t normally.

        I wish I could get a new 700 series card to replace my crap 670 so I wouldn’t have to worry about new games – but I don’t want to spend 360 dollars just yet. That’s the downside to PC for me.

        • Rad

          “But Consoles offer a convenience and comfort that PC doesn’t normally.”

          And that is one of the only reasons I consider valid for choosing a console over PC. Convenience and comfort zone.

          BTW, Unless you get a 780ti, most 700 series cards won’t show much of an improvement over your 670. The 670 is a really good card and shouldn’t need to upgrade it for awhile now. Don’t buy the hype.

          • Ken J

            I agree with Rad, I have a Radeon HD 7950 that I bought for $200 months ago, and it’s more than enough to run every new game at maxed out settings… Price isn’t an issue if you’re experienced enough to know how to upgrade instead of buying a whole system. But I understand not everyone wants to spend the time to learn all of that, so to be a real PC gamer you either have to have the initial investment to buy a killer gaming PC, or you have to have the knowledge to build you own.

            Building your own will save you money over consoles, but even buying a gaming PC, you spend more money in the beginning, but games are cheaper on the PC, especially if you buy digital downloads only, and you get more enjoyment out of it because of better controls (you have the option of keyboard and mouse and controller if you like), more customizability, mods, free online play, better graphics, and more. So to me, since I know how to build my computers, I save money AND get more enjoyment out of my gaming by being a PC gamer mainly, I do own consoles, but all of them I don’t buy while new, I always buy them super cheap.

            Again, not knocking console gamers, again, not everyone knows how to build PC’s and not everyone has that initial investment for a new gaming PC. But it’s funny how these console fanboys want to live in denial and convince themselves that anyone who claims PC gaming has its benefits must be “PC elitists.” Keep telling yourselves that kids…

  • Branden

    My mistake, this was meant for the consoles, not the PC.

  • Dennis

    I’d say if you maxxed out the settings the pc version it would look better than the consoles.

  • Andrés

    Is there an accurate comparison with PC running on Ultra?

  • ChrisTypeR

    Why do this comparison? What does it prove? That an upgradable PC looks better than a non-upgradable PS4…. Or maybe a high end gaming PC costs £1,500 at least whereas a PS4 costs £350… OR maybe that you PC gamers are still moaning about not having GTA5 yet… I have a very high spec PC and I enjoy using is but my PS3/PS4 are used for games because if the game is good then improving the graphics very slightly will make no difference at all to me….

    • Andrés

      What does GTA V have to do with anything?

      • ChrisTypeR

        Choice of games….. Its pretty limited on PC

        • Andrés

          Not really but, the again, it would depend on the types of games you like to play.

          • ChrisTypeR

            True….. Most of the games I enjoy are not available for PC…

          • Ken J

            Yep, depends on the types of games you like. I think the younger generation now likes the games that are pretty straight-forward, give a lot of instant gratification, and have a lot of flashy things happening all of the time. And a lot of those games are on consoles. I tend to not like games that hold my hand through the whole game and just constantly bombard me with “achievements” for every little thing I do… I honestly don’t need that constant patting on my back, I needed to complete that level anyway to proceed, why bother “congratulating” me on it???

          • Ken J

            Oops, that comment was meant for Andres, forgot to add the name. :-)

    • Ken J


      I’m not moaning about that crappy game. Enjoy it console boy, even if it came out on PC I am not going to waste my money on a game that’ll be fun for 2 hours and then it becomes repetitive just like every other GTA game I’ve ever played… I already have more games than I have time to play anyway…

      And we are opposites in our choices of games. I’m more interested in the likes of ARMA III (PC only), Star Citizen (PC only), Witcher 3 (multi-platform), Cyber-Punk 2077 (unsure, might be multi-platform, but might be PC only). And so far every game that is out now that I’m actually interested in is out on the PC, except the Forza games… I have absolutely no interest in most of the console only games. Some look kind of interesting, like maybe The Last of Us, but not enough to make me want to actually buy a console…

      • Ken J

        lol, meant to type @Chris, not Christ. 😛

      • Rad

        Cyberpunk is something I’m waiting impatiently for myself…

      • Alky

        C’mon Ken, you haven’t even played GTA5 so stop the criticism! And anyway, you know fine well if its released on PC, you’ll be buying it!

        • Ken J


          Um, yah, sure I will… I wonder why some of you people think that everyone must be just like you. I honestly don’t care to play a game where you play a bunch of criminals or delinquents. I’d rather play as the cops, if they had that, maybe I might play the game. I’ve given EVERY other GTA game a chance, and with all of them, I’ve lost interest after an hour or two. I won’t be wasting my hard earned money on this one, you stay on that bandwagon and have fun, I’ll continue to be my own person…

  • http://screenrant.com boogoo

    I’m surprised her face got changed so much.

  • hanzo

    How about we level the playing field. Lets take $500 and build a PC. I would even say pay to have someone build it so you have to use even lower grade hardware. And lets run that side by side to the ps4. Let me know which is the winner then.

    Yes of course a PC is going to always outmatch consoles. Thats the point essentially of a console though. Ease of just plug n play. Not having to spend a crapload of moolah to get ultra graphics but being fine with just higher end graphics. I get so tired of the pc to console comparison. When they start comparing the same price ranges is when I will say “ok there you have a point”. Til then I couldnt care less

    • Ken J


      Challenge accepted, I spent about $500 to upgrade my PC, and sold my old parts for almost $300. And now my PC can run that game with everything on ultra, so better than in that video. So… I’m under budget by about $300, what should I do with that money?? I guess I’ll go buy some games and stuff…

      • Ken J

        Oh, and FYI, the PC I upgraded from was about 4.5 years since the last upgrade. :-)

        • hanzo

          Ok sounds good. Like I said I have no problem if someone shows me what they can do. But thats a unique situation in a way
          I can also go trade in my ps3, controllers and games for $200+ and get a ps4 for about $400 + with a game so $460.
          I just look at it as starting from scratch a console would be a better way to go price wise for the casual gamer. I even priced out the hardware I wanted so that it could last me abit longer than a years worth of updates and I was looking at 1200$ on the lower end. But that was also with a full tower case (room to expand)

          What specs are you runnin? I would think you MOBO would be struggling. Processors alone are crazy if youre lookin at a 4670k or 4770k. (im an intel guy personally)

          • hanzo

            Scratch that I just saw your comment to Dennis Below lol. Screen rant needs an “Edit button”

          • Ken J


            The difference is here, I did that and I still get to play all of the games I have from before. You sell your PS3 and now you can’t play any of your old games… And even by your math, I still spend about the same, and the result is still better graphics, more mod support, and choice of control schemes.

          • Ken J


            And yes, an edit button would be great, this post is another example of that, I could have just added this to my other post when I realized I didn’t reply to your follow-up comment, lol.

  • Dennis

    You don’t even need a high end pc to be better a ps4 or Xboxone. Right battlefield 4 running 900p on ps4, 1080p high settings on pc, 4xmsaa, HBAO @60fps… And that’s just with a single gtx 660 card

    • Ken J


      Actually, I have BF4 running on 1080p with ultra settings on everything and I only spent a net $200 to upgrade my old PC that haven’t been upgraded for 4.5 years before that.

      Spent about $500 on parts, and sold the old parts for almost $300, so I only spent a net ~$200 on the upgrade and I can run Tomb Raider at 1080p with everything on ultra and same with BF4… So yes, you’re right, I would not consider my PC an ultra high-end PC since I only have a Core i5 CPU (and an older one at that, 2500K, multiplier unlocked so makes for super easy and stable overclocking) and my GPU only cost me $200…

      Think broken down it was CPU: $200, GPU: $200, Motherboard: $80, Memory: $60. So like $540 for the upgrade. Ok, so net cost was probably closer to $250. Still cheaper than buying a new console and now I have better graphics and cheaper games… Works for me…

  • Alky

    Don’t understand any of this PC mumbo jumbo. I feel free!

  • Knock Knock

    Oh God PC elitist. Nothing to see here people, just move along.

    • Ken J

      Oh God console fanboy. Nothing to see here people, just move along.