Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider

Just finished Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition on Xbox One and it was a very enjoyable game. What have I learned?

Camera Placement

The camera switches between in-game cinematic and actual game play in real-time, and does a good job of panning to focus on point of interest without breaking me out of game play. If Lara is supposed to climb up a cliff, camera is often placed under her pointing at the top of the wall.

As Lara moves in the environment, the camera automatically positions itself to enhance claustrophobic atmosphere: move a little closer to Lara's face or body, right at edge of a crack in the wall or low-ceiling cave.

There are also scenes where it is positioned right by dangerous elements, creating an uneasy feeling by foreshadowing the immanent harm that is befalling Lara.

Skill Building / Survival Instinct

Plot of the game shows how Lara go from a naive and innocent character and develop into the Tomb Raider as she tries to survive on the island. As she solves puzzles or find items, she receives experience points that coverts into skill points which allows player to select specific skills. These skills enhance her ability to explore and survive long- and short-range combat.

Some of the skills applies when Lara activates "survival instinct" mode, where screen is desaturated but important items are highlighted in a golden glow. This is very helpful as there are many items and puzzle elements to find and solve. When moving within low-light environment this also improves visibility.

Weapons are upgraded with parts that are naturally collected as part of the game play. All of these indirectly help reinforce the notion that Lara is really developing her knowledge and skills.

Frequent Automatic Save Points

There are many in-game events where you have to press buttons at the right time, or react quickly to on-screen instructions. These events aren't particularly exciting and thankfully they don't appear as frequently toward the end. The annoying thing is, I often fail the first try. This game also seems more difficult than previous versions of Tomb Raider. It helps that the auto-save happens frequently without user-input, and the reload happens quickly.

The camp sites allows fast traveling between different parts of the island. Especially the earlier parts that required modified equipment to enter.


Snow flakes, dust, just all kinds of particles that move around as you move. Combined with the body language of the character and force feedback on the controller, it is easy to believe the setting and the scenarios Lara is going through.

As she is running in the environment, if she gets close enough to a point of interest you can see her head turn and look in that direction. It's a nice touch to have this kind of visual queue so that many hidden items can be discovered naturally.