Sometimes, when a brand new edition of a great game hits stores, everybody rushes out to buy it. In other cases, they look upon it in amazement and wonder why it’s been released at all. The last time Square Enix released a ‘definitive edition’ of a Tomb Raider game was back in 2013, and it was done because brand new versions of the PlayStation and Xbox had been released. The new game was a remastering of a previous one, taking advantage of the leap forward in technology. That isn’t the case this time around, so why is there a ‘definitive edition’ of ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ being released now, and is it worth buying as a full-priced game?
It’s fair to say that any game featuring Lara Croft is likely to find an audience. When what we’ll now have to refer to as the ‘standard’ edition of the game was released a little over a year ago, it was a huge success. Since then, it’s been expanded and kept alive through a series of subsequent DLC releases, which have kept players hooked and brought more money into the studio. There were seven pieces of DLC released in total, the last arriving in May this year. Square Enix has been dropping heavy hints that there was something new coming in the ‘Tomb Raider’ universe for some time, which led to some players speculating that an eighth piece of DLC might be in the offing, but it turns out that this is all they had up their sleeve. There’s no new content. Seven pieces of DLC are all we’re getting.
It’s the DLC that apparently makes this (not very) new version of the game ‘definitive.’ All of the additional content comes pre-packaged in this version of the game, meaning there’s no incentive to buy it if you already own the original edition, and you picked up the DLC as and when it became available. If there is anything here that can be described as ‘new,’ it’s one new outfit for Lara. Described as a ‘fitness’ outfit, it’s some leisure wear which is probably more practical for raiding tombs that the slightly skimpy attire she generally wears as standard. It looks great, but nobody would seriously argue that it’s worth handing over a further fifty dollars to own.
Square Enix at least hasn’t run the risk of annoying existing players by making the outfit exclusive to the new release. If you already own ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider,’ and you’ve already got all of the DLC, your game will simply automatically upgrade to the new version by way of a download. That might have happened already, although if you haven’t played the game for a while, you may have to open it up to kick off the download. That means this new version of the game is for brand new players only, and so it begs the question of who the publisher thinks their audience is likely to be. After all, what kind of ‘Tomb Raider’ fan wouldn’t have the game already?
The answer to that question might lie with Google. They’re about to launch their long-awaited ‘Stadia’ platform, and ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’ is one of the games scheduled to be available on it from day one. Google is hoping to attract players who don’t already own a games console, and those players will want high-profile games to play. Tomb Raider games definitely fall under the category of ‘high-profile,’ and so we can probably construe this as Square Enix teaming up with Google with the intention of capturing a brand new audience. Its chances of returning a profit therefore likely hinge on Google Stadia being a hit with players. We’ll know more about that a few months from now when numbers become available.
With this being firmly positioned as the last launch for ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider,’ it may now be a few years before we get to see Lara have any new video game adventures. There were more than five years between this game and the last official ‘Tomb Raider’ installment, and so if Square Enix stays true to their usual pattern of releases, we suspect we won’t see Lara star in a new console adventure until the early 2020s. That’s sad news for fans, but there are still other ways to engage with her in the meantime.
If you pay close attention to all things Lara Croft (and we’re not ashamed to say that we do), you’ll know it’s been a big news year for the world’s most popular fictional grave robber. She’s broken into the casinos, where ‘Lara Croft: Temples and Tombs’ has been one of the most-played mobile slots games of 2019. Only the biggest names in video gaming get their own mobile slots games, with Sonic The Hedgehog, Call of Duty, and Street Fighter 2 all being represented at mobile slots casinos like RoseSlots.com. Even Mario doesn’t have his own mobile slots game, so Lara is in rare company there.
She’ll also be returning to Hollywood sooner rather than later. As was revealed back in September, there will be a second ‘Tomb Raider’ movie starring Alicia Vikander in the title role released by 2021. Ben Wheatley will be in the director’s chair, and the film will pick up where the last one left off. The response to the first of the films wasn’t as enthusiastic as one received by the more-famous Angelina Jolie ‘Tomb Raider’ films, and nor did it make as much money at the box office, but the studio saw enough in it to give it a second chance. Lara might be taking a time-out from fresh gaming adventures, but it’s clear we’ll be seeing plenty of her in other formats until she decides it’s time to break open another tomb in the virtual world.
If you didn’t catch the game first time around and you want to find out what all the fuss is about, ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider: The Definitive Edition’ is out now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The Google Stadia version will go live with the platform on November 19th.