As the fact that both the Xbox One and PS4 line-ups are lacking becomes clearer and clearer, there’s a good chance that the next year will feature several big hitters being re-released for next-gen systems, with bigger and better graphics, and more responsive physics. In other words, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition may just be the first of many “definitive” re-releases.

The developers at Crystal Dynamics haven’t let the mere promise of improved visuals do their work for them, however, as the very first trailers showed that a brand new Lara was created specifically for next-gen. The latest developer diary sets its sights on the environmental upgrades and physics fine-tuning that next-gen consoles afford, and while particle physics or shadows may not tip the scales for every gamer, it offers a good indication of what changes lie in store for the average next-gen redux.

It didn’t quite come as a surprise when Square Enix announced that they were bringing their Tomb Raider reboot to Xbox One and PS4, since the game was a bigger critical success than a commercial one (and there’s no audience like one starving for a next-gen adventure).

Next-Gen Lara Croft Tomb Raider

In all honesty, it’s alarming that we haven’t seen even more 2013 releases remastered for next-gen. If the game’s Definitive Edition really is a sign of things to come, then the attention to detail the studio shows is more telling than usual. The drastic changes to Lara’s character model may be the most obvious tweaks (and a major difference between console versions and that on the PC), but that doesn’t mean the development team is leaving the finer points unaltered.

Reactive foliage, additional lighting effects and shadows, and increased particle density are all upgrades that PC gamers are used to adjusting themselves, but shows in a very literal sense how close the next-gen consoles come to a PC. Xbox one and PS4 owners will be thrilled to see the changes, but PC owners still without (and un-entitled) to said improvements may feel differently. In other words: it will be interesting to see how the Definitive Edition sells on PC, if it’s ever released for the platform.

Have you already picked up a next-gen version of Tomb Raider? If so, do you think it lives up to the next-gen release expectations? Or are you more interested in the sequel than a chance to experience the reboot all over again? Share your thoughts in the comments.


Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is available for Xbox One and PS4 now.

Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.