Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Overview and Review: Tomb Raider US Collector’s Edition (Amazon Exclusive Final Hours Edition) (w/Pics)


Note: This review is for the US Collector’s Edition of Tomb Raider and NOT the game itself. 

Tomb Raider, being one of the most anticipated games of the year, has been graced with the now requisite Collector’s Edition treatment. The title has also had pre-order bonuses doled out to all the big name retailers. The edition I will be reviewing here is the Amazon.com edition that they have seen fit to title the “Final Hours Edition.” This review will make note of when a specific inclusion is specific to Amazon’s offering. Without further ado, here are the contents of the US Collector’s Edition of Tomb Raider:

1. Tomb Raider
2. Survival Tin
3. 15x19 inch Double-Sided Island Map and Poster
4. 5x7 inch Lithograph
5. CD soundtrack
6. Weapon Pack DLC
7. Patches
8. Lara Croft Figurine (8 inches)
9. Art of Tomb Raider Artbook (Amazon Edition Exclusive)10. Hunter Skin (Amazon Edition Exclusive)
11. The Final Hours of Tomb Raider “Director’s Cut” Kindle Edition (Amazon Edition Exclusive)
12. Tomb Raider Scavanger Hunt Code (Pre-Order incentive for various stores)
13. Shanty Town Multiplayer Map DLC (Pre-Order incentive for various stores)



The Tomb Raider CE comes in a rather clever little package. I quite like it. To start with, it’s small. I understand that many collector’s editions actually NEED to have large boxes in order to accommodate the contents, but it’s nice to see a small box every once in a while. The box that holds the contents is itself one of the extras given to CE purchasers. The container, which is made of tin, is made to resemble a piece of wreckage from the ship Lara takes in the game.


It is mostly well made. The top of the tin has two logos, which have a pop up effect that raises them up a tiny bit. It’s nothing major, but that little touch makes the tin feel a bit more special. The graphics on the tin are made to mimic the kind of damage one might see on a metal box that has washed ashore after a shipwreck. It’s got scuffs and scrapes aplenty, though none are actual scrapes.


Aside from that, cardboard spacers, a foam spacer, and a traditional plastic blister for the coveted figurine hold the contents safely. It’s nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. Just about the only problem I have with the packaging is that the lid fell off when I first opened it. The small metal rod that holds the lid in place had slid out. It was simple enough to put back in place, but it looks like the reason it fell out was due to the use of an overly cheap and flimsy rod.


All in all, a good start, but not great start for the Tomb Raider CE.



The not too small but not too big poster has, as already mentioned, two sides. The side with the map is kind of nice to have, but also about as exciting as a map usually is. Let’s face it, this isn’t Link to the Past’s overworld. Now, it may turn out that this game is so incredibly good that a map of the island will end up being a really cool extra, but I sort of doubt that the island is memorable enough for its map to be something treasured.
The opposite side is the same image of Lara that graces the game’s box. As an added bonus, the image on the poster is free of all logos present on the game’s case. Not even the game’s title is present. It’s a very nice image and it’s a good choice for the poster’s second side.


The double-sided poster is a nice inclusion that is lacking only in the odd choice of dimensions. It’s a pet peeve of mine when posters are not made to fit inside standard frame sizes. This poster continues a longstanding trend with video game special edition posters being the wrong size for easy framing.



The lithograph is a joke. It probably shouldn’t have even been included because of how little it adds to the package’s overall value. It’s a tiny little piece of heavy paper stock (and included glued on matte board) that has a very clichéd image of Lara on it. Having recently been to the official Tomb Raider web page, I am extra disappointed in the Litho because of how many better images Square readily had access to.
As if to really drive home the point of how paltry an offering the lithograph is, the back of the litho has a “certificate of authenticity.” Keep in mind, this isn’t your usual quality certificate. This is just a statement saying that the litho is authentic without the usual signatures and edition numbering that commonly comes with such a certificate. The certificate also states that “This document certifies that this lithograph is an authentic collectible, prized for its superior quality.” If that isn’t sarcasm, I don’t know what is.



If you’ve read my reviews before, you know how I feel about game soundtracks. I don’t particularly care for them. That said, I usually appreciate it when companies put them on a disc instead of making them available only as digital downloads.


I say usually because this time I am in no way going to give any credit to the soundtrack. The inclusion of it is more insulting than anything else. The soundtrack is a total of 10 tracks. It seems like a decent offering until one reads the back of the disc sleeve. There, it asks you to “Go to www.sumthing.com to purchase more tracks and complete your collection.”



Complete my collection? I thought that part of paying my 40 extra dollars was that I was being given a collection. Out of curiosity, I went to the site to see just how much I was missing out on and how much it would cost to complete my collection. Turns out that the sampler in my collector’s edition contained only 10 of the 20 songs on the real soundtrack. In order to complete my collection, I would need to buy the10 missing  songs for a dollar a piece. That, alone, wouldn’t have been so bad if the price for buying the full album wasn’t discounted (a common practice) to a total of 10 dollars. So, if I didn’t have the CD, I could buy the full soundtrack for the same price as I would need to pay to “complete my collection.” Thanks for nothing Square.

Weapon Pack DLC:


I have not yet had a chance to use this. If the DLC turns out to be exceptional in any way, I will update this section. If I don’t, it is safe to assume that the DLC is a nice addition that does not add anything significant to the Tomb Raider experience. Which is exactly what exclusive DLC should do.



            The three included patches are embroidered with iron-on stick-em on the back. They look nice for what they are and I could easily see myself putting them on a back pack or jacket. I can also see myself having to explain what they are.
            Even though the patches are of nicely designed logos, it would have been better to have patches that didn’t require such specific knowledge of the game to fully appreciate.

Lara Croft Figurine:


Here’s where the real value of the Collector’s Edition needs to be. For those of you not in the know, the Tomb Raider figure included in this set is made by Square. It is part of the Play Arts Kai line. This is a line of upscale action figures that has been around for quite a while but has recently started becoming very popular as the line is acquiring more and more character licenses. These import figures are available through many online retailers and through a few small specialty shops here in the states. The price for these figures rarely dips below the 40-dollar mark. The fact that this collector’s edition includes a Play Arts Kai figure (along with all other extras) for less than the usual price of one of these figures makes the Tomb Raider figure’s inclusion a home run.



Many people have said some less than flattering things about whether or not the figure correctly captures Lara’s likeness. Those people are completely right. This figure does not correctly capture Lara’s new likeness. This is not a mistake. The Play Arts line of toys is not known for being 100% accurate. In fact, the Play Arts line usually reinterprets the characters and stylizes them with the Play Arts look. Usually, this means exaggerating certain aspects of a character’s appearance. This figure is not supposed to look exactly like Lara. It is a Play Arts version of Lara.


And it is simply amazing. The sculpt is breathtaking. The level of detail is of the highest quality. The wrinkles, tears, bandages, boots, and equipment have all been created with a careful eye and steady hand. The Paint application, like the sculpt, is absolutely perfect. There is nothing about this figure’s appearance that I dislike. The only thing that I could even come close to criticizing would be the obvious points of articulation. Even in the case of the plain as day ball joints, however, I cannot fault the figure. The use of such blatant articulation may be a problem for people used to companies that try and hide articulation points, but that perceived problem is actually a benefit. The level of posability afforded to this figure by its unsightly articulation more than makes up for the loss of aesthetic value. This is a Lara that is almost infinitely posable. It even allows for somewhat believable poses involving a bow and arrow (a pose that is deceptively difficult for any figure to achieve).


Like I said earlier, this figure is a home run. Had the collector’s edition included only this figure, it already would have been worth the price. Scroll to the bottom for more pics!

Art of Tomb Raider Art Book (Amazon Exclusive):



The tiny Art of Tomb Raider book is kind of like the lithograph. It’s almost insulting how cheap it feels. It is a total waste and adds very little to the overall package. To not have included the art book would have been better as it would have saved the owners of it the disappointment of owning it. Even for its size, it feels cheap. And considering how small it is, that’s saying a lot.


Hunter Skin (Amazon Exclusive): 


See section for weapon DLC.

Final Hours of Tomb Raider Director’s Cut Kindle Edition (Amazon Exclusive):

I do not own a Kindle. This inclusion does nothing for me. It actually does nothing for almost everyone including Kindle owners. The Final Hours documentary is available via Amazon for free.
This is a pretty pointless addition to the Amazon edition.

Scavenger Hunt Code (Pre-order incentive from various locations):

This was actually really cool. It was a code that let pre-order customers participate in a series of web-based challenges for a chance to win DLC. I participated in it and had a great deal of fun. I also scored some free DLC. It was a neat idea that kept pre-orderers excited about the product before its release. I would say that I hope other companies follow this example, but some already have.
Darksiders II did something similar via an app and God of War Ascension is currently the same right now. Clearly, the idea is making the rounds and we are all better for it.

Shanty Town Multiplayer Map (Pre-order incentive from various locations):

See section for Weapon DLC. Also, curiously, this is the only piece of DLC that is large enough to NOT be disc locked content.



So, is the Tomb Raider Collector’s Edition worth the price of admission? Most of what’s included is pretty lackluster. The tin is nice but flimsy. The poster is nice but oddly shaped. The litho is terrible but also terrible. The DLC is, so far, fairly bland. The art book is ugly and cheap. The soundtrack is an insult. The Amazon Kindle bonus is useless. The only winning part of this set is the Lara Croft figure.
Like I said earlier, though, Play Arts figures like the one included are almost impossible to find for cheaper than 40 dollars. Considering that the mark up for this edition was only 40 dollars, this set easily shows that it is worth the asking price of 100 dollars.
If you are a fan of Tomb Raider and action figures, the Tomb Raider Collector’s Edition comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. See you next time, when I review the “Injustice: Gods Among Us: Battle Edition.” That’s the one with the fight stick.

As Promised, More Pics of the Lara Figure:







1 comment:

enesis said...

Thanks for your review.
Now I'm going to buy it