Recently, much to the joy of many fans of the Tomb Raider franchise, the new Tomb Raider will be updated graphically and released for the new Xbox One and PS4. For many people, the major source of contention about this release seems to be the actual extent to which either console can unlock new graphical potential in the game, and of course, the infamous framerate issue seems to be dominating many of the headlines for major gaming journalism outlets. However, that’s not my concern here, and in fact, it’s not ReviewTech USA’s, either, rather, he claims that it is a scam to release a new version of the game considering it was only released last year for last-gen consoles. Aside from the fact that mostly everything ReviewTech USA ever writes about tends to be wounded by his own double standards and even complaining about the whole Youtube copyright claim furor a month ago(despite the fact his fellow ‘lesser’ competitiors had to suffer that for much longer and without being bribed by the Youtube autocracy), he is particularly wrong here because he’s failing to see the legiitmate desires and demands which many gamers have about the next gen consoles, something which Square Enix understands better than he does and, as one does in a capitalist society, are satisfying in order to make profit.
No matter which side of the fence you sit in terms of the great next gen fanboy wars, the vicious competition for ‘console exclusives’ shows that the followers of either next gen console just wants a bigger library of games to show that developers have as much love for their gaming platform as they have for it.
My first point is that many gamers have already invested hefty sums into next-gen consoles, and are rewarded for their faith to their favorite console series by a string of lacklustre games which are scarcely pushing any form of graphical limits whatsoever. Many of these games, whether they be something so constrained as ‘Knack’ for PS4, or something so fiercely opposed to cogent gameplay as ‘Ryse’ for Xbox One are severely underwhelming in terms of really justifying for these people why they bought the consoles so early on. Though something like ‘Ryse’ might deliver very nice graphics, there has been a failure to balance a next gen game with good gameplay as well as showing off the magnificent graphical potential the Sony and Microsoft overlords have been boasting of for some time now. This financial investment is colossal, and it explains well why people also develop something akin to an emotional investment into these products as well, and thus, people want to feel as though that emotional investment, like any real life relationship, is actually paying off in terms of tangible benefits for themselves. This is why the Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition is welcomed by many on the next gen, it is objectively an entertaining game which is now undergoing a dramatic facelift to showcase what the new consoles can really do, and also acting as a restraint on console owners who are close to hurling their new consoles out of the window out of sheer frustration. ReviewTech USA might claim that this is just a massive scam to dupe people into paying more, but what he doesn’t realise is that when a demand for a product exists, and people are willing to pay for it, then it becomes servicing demand. That’s why anytime a developer releases T-shirts branded with a gamer’s favorite game franchise like Metal Gear Solid or Halo, they’re not being scammed, they’re showing their love for the franchise by buying the merchandise, but also gain the pleasure of a nice aesthetic T-shirt which demonstrates their loyalty to their franchise. This is why expanding the game library for their favorite console is just as good, because it rewards the faithful for their loyalty to the console and also helps to act as a stepping stone into what new original games could deliver in the future. As the saying goes, ‘time you enjoyed wasting was not time wasted’, and if people want to ‘waste’ their cash on these things, that’s because they want it in the first place.
Gamers are already pretty well informed about when a publisher is trying to scam them, and really, it’s only when they try to exploit the player through DLC excessively that the element of ‘choice’ goes entirely. Tomb Raider: DE isn’t forcing anything onto the player, it’s expanding a pre-existing and essentially self-contained experience.
My second point is brief, and perhaps obvious, but it is this, people have a CHOICE as to whether to purchase this new Definitive Edition or not. ReviewTech USA, despite his easygoing amicable manner in which he pretends to just be on our side and informing us of the dangers we cannot possibly see ourselves, is even more patronising and cynical than he supposes Tomb Raider: Fraud Edition is…he thinks that his fanbase is so incapable of recognising the subtle ploy by Square Enix to get more money, that we will literally all spend our last few dollars on the game, and in the process, lapse into financial ruin…except for the fact that this isn’t the case at all. It’s pretty obvious to anyone, especially the gamer crowd who tend to be more intelligent and informed than more other consumers out there when it comes to a new product being severely overpriced, which is why EA is basically flamed by gamers everywhere everytime it tries to bleed us dry financially for very trivial DLC or DLC which seeks to exploit the player excessively. The Tomb Raider update however, is not like this necessarily because firstly, it isn’t crucial to our enjoyment of the last Tomb Raider to play it, it is an experience which can be enjoyed in its own right for the graphical improvements it boasts, which is akin to ultra-PC levels of splendor, seen only on stellar titles such as the Witcher 2. If we don’t feel it is worth buying because we already have something like an ultra performing PC, then we won’t buy it, but for ReviewTech USA to presume we hadn’t arrived at this conclusion about a week before he did just goes to show that same exemplary judgment he always displays when needed most. For most people seeking to justify their consoles however, as I stated in the prior paragraph, they will embrace this product as evidence that publishers are giving their consoles the love which over $400 paid upfront suggests the consumer themselves have. Ultimately though, the choice is completely up to the consumer.
Increased graphical capacities such as a greater viewing distance can make a beautifully detailed world like GTA V even more spectacular.
Lastly, and this is something which has been echoed pretty universally on the forums, comments sections and even in gaming publications as well…most people want to see not only graphically impressive games on the next gen consoles, but moreover, want to see last gen games on the next gen consoles. Square Enix is probably ahead of the curve in this aspect, but there have been more than just a few voices who are arguing actively that developers should spend time on updating late last gen games so that they can enjoy them in a novel and unprecedented way. Even games like Dark Souls 2 is being entertained as a game which might be re-released for the next gen, and that’s a game which hasn’t even come out yet! Other games, like GTA V which already boasted astounding gameplay retain alot of support from many quarters about being pushed onto the next gen because whilst the next gen might not introduce new gameplay mechanics which radically alters the game, graphical improvements can really change not only the feel fo the game but how satisfying a game it truly is. People might argue tthe whole ‘graphics vs gameplay’ debate all they like, but there’s no doubt that when it comes to atmosphere,(which contributes to some degree to the enjoyment of a game), graphics can make a major difference. When you’re flying in a plane in GTA V and you see trees and objects popping into view as you approach them, this can be as corrosive to the gameplay experience as shooting mechanics which feel awkward or driving mechanics which are sluggish and lack precision. For a game like Tomb Raider, the experience is not the idea of an open world, but rather of brutal survival, and so for that to really take hold, making the world feel alot more desolate and bleak can contribute to the atmosphere and hence the enjoyment of the game in subtle but self-evident ways. Foliage which reacts to your character much more so introduces a sense of vivid realism, and could potentially allow for sections which involve hidden enemies to rely less on merely spotting an enemy and more so on using the environment to judge where enemies are. Smoke effects within buildings adds to the sense of panic and dismay players feel during escape sequences whereas previously, those areas might have felt bare and less effective.
Ultimately, it is up to the player to make the choice whether or not they want not just Tomb Raider: DE, but any kind of game which is essentially a product which mainly only offers graphical upgrades, but that doesn’t mean it is a scam, just something which can either introduce gamers who only have next gen consoles to the game itself or allow pre-existing fans of the game to enjoy it in a new and more immersive environment. ReviewTech USA is wrong then not merely to suggest that buying this new game is bad, but moreover to suggest that any form of game which translates from one console to the next gen is bad and that developers should stop doing this, because they shouldnt’. The risk is entirely on the developer and publisher as to whether their previous game commanded good enough sales and loyalty that investing money into a new version of the game will create a reasonable profit, and provided the publisher does not actively attempt to mislead the consumer into what new features should be added, it is up to players themselves as to whether or not they want to buy these games. Consumers, especially not gamers, don’t need ReviewTech USA to tell them why a product is bad in order to make that informed choice, because in this case, it’s a matter of personal taste rather than factual merits of purchasing a game based purely on aesthetic rather than on gameplay additions.