There are moments in gaming where you’re brought back your first experience with a franchise, and even better moments that shape your interests in gaming for the future. Uncharted was one of those games for me. I remember going over to my friend’s place in November 2007 because he got this new game that he wanted to try called Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Everything changed after that, and my love of story-driven narratives and elaborate set-pieces grew from there. Which brings us to today, and the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection.
The thing about the Uncharted series is that they stick to what they know. And what Naughty Dog knows, especially with the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, is how to create a beautiful environment, an elaborate but believable story, and characters that the player actually cares about. I identified with Nathan Drake almost immediately, as he is just as funny, sarcastic, capable, and heroic as I want a main character to be. With every new Uncharted game I played in the series, I found that Naughty Dog just kept on improving this formula.
On to the actual games themselves. The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is made up of two games in the series: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Having only played one of the two of these games (Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, with platinum trophies no less), I figured I’d jump in there and see how this remastering looks.
The game opens with Nathan, and someone named Sam (we learn who he is later), on a speedboat in perilous weather. They’re trying to reach an island off in the distance but are being pursued and fired on by an awful lot of other boats. This scene goes on for a bit, and ends rather abruptly.
“The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is made up of two games in the series: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.“
Another jump in time brings us back to the present-day, where Nathan and Elena (She’s back for another entry in the Uncharted franchise and is married to Nathan) have given up treasure hunting and are living a quiet and comfortable life where Nathan works as a marine salvager, and Elena is still writing. Various story-essential events happen, and Nathan is once-again sent out on an adventure that sees him visiting Scotland, Italy, Madagascar, and more to find a very specific treasure that is thought to either be lost or not exist at all.
This is a remastering, and in short, it’s stunning. Uncharted 4 was a visual masterpiece when it came out on the PS4 in 2016, and this update for the PS5 looks even better. The character models look as real as I have seen from Naughty Dog, and there were no frame issues, or any other kinds of graphical glitches I could see. As for the landscapes, there were more than a few times I found myself stopping to look around to admire the scenery, especially in Madagascar, as there are a number of very high points to climb to, so you can see the amazing landscape they have created.
Every location feels like it could be a real place, especially the market in Madagascar. It’s teeming with life, as there are vendors, tourists, locals, and more, creating the feeling of being in a real marketplace. Add this to the already gorgeous graphics, and you’d almost think you were watching a live action movie instead.
“As for the landscapes, there were more than a few times I found myself stopping to look around to admire the scenery.”
In terms of gameplay, it’s just as good as the original release. Nathan moves around with a level of ease you’d expect from a lifelong treasure hunter. He doesn’t really sprint like you’d see in other action-adventure types of games. He’s quite happy moving along at a jogging pace. This is absolutely fine for me, as I like to take in the landscape anyway. He climbs exceptionally well and can handle himself in a gunfight.
Everything I loved about the original release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is here: the captivating story, amazing voice acting, the incredible visuals and locations, enjoyable gameplay, the whole lot. This next-gen remaster has truly made this incredible game seem like it was made for next-gen. I can’t find a single thing wrong, either mechanically or visually, and I couldn’t have been happier about playing one of my favourite games again.
After all of that, we can now move on to the other game in the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection: and that’s Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Now, full disclosure, I have never played this particular game in the Uncharted series. It was one of the couple that I missed out on. I even played Uncharted: Golden Abyss for the PS Vita, but not this one.
“I can’t find a single thing wrong, either mechanically or visually, and I couldn’t be happier to play one of my favourite games again.”
Now, one of the things I didn’t like about Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was that it didn’t include Chloe Frazer, one of the characters from Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and my favourite part of that game. Chloe is basically the female version of Nathan, in that she is just as sarcastic, charismatic, heroic, and a myriad of other character traits that I love. She partners up with Nadine Ross to search for the Tusk of Ganesh in the mountains of Western India.
This particular game is not a full game in the same way that Uncharted 4 is. It only has about 9 chapters whereas Uncharted 4 has 22, and this would be my only complaint about this game. I needed more! That’s not to say that the game is lacking in terms of things to do. There are treasures to find, a full open map to explore for a large section of the game (a first for the series), and plenty of fantastic dialogue between our two main characters.
Visually, this game is breathtaking. The mountains of India make for some stunning backdrops while we explore the map. Naughty Dog absolutely did not disappoint with the quality on display here. There was one point in the middle of chapter 4 where I found myself standing on top of a very high tower, just slowly turning the camera around to take in the vastness of the area and the beautiful landscape around me.
“Visually, this game is breathtaking. The mountains of India make for some stunning backdrops while we explore the map.”
This game plays like all the other Uncharted games, in that you’re climbing around on ancient structures, trying to find treasure, shooting loads of dudes, spouting hilarious quips from time-to-time. There’s more to an Uncharted game than those things, but those are some standouts.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection brings some new things to the table. For starters, there are three different graphics settings available. However, one of them is dependent upon you having a display that is compatible with 120hz. The three graphics settings are called Fidelity Mode, Performance Mode, and Performance+ Mode.
Fidelity Mode is designed for those players that have a 4k display and want to prioritize that sharp resolution and are comfortable playing at 30fps. Performance Mode is designed for a 60fps frame rate. Lastly, Performance+ Mode is for players that have a compatible 120hz display, are happy playing in 1080p resolution and want to experience a 120fps frame rate. Personally, I was not able to try out Performance+ Mode as my TV does not support 120hz, but I was quite happy to play in Performance Mode and have a 60fps frame rate.
“There are three different graphics settings available.”
Aside from graphics settings, another important addition to this collection employs the DualSense controller’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. One of the first things I noticed when I began playing, is that when holding a gun, pressing the L2 button to aim causes the adaptive trigger to provide resistance, so you don’t accidentally press it whilst sneaking around, thereby alerting all the enemies in existence to your presence. In addition, they’ve tuned the rumble features so that you can almost feel the terrain whilst driving, punching (or getting punched), and firing your weapons.
Lastly, Spatial 3D Audio has been added (it does require a compatible headset or TV speakers), so you’ll know exactly where the guy shooting you is on your 11th attempt at the boat standoff on Crushing difficulty. To be honest, it absolutely helped me get through that part, as I remember exactly how much of a pain it was in the original release. It still took me multiple attempts, but I could figure out where I was in relation to the person shooting me, whereas on the original release, I had to navigate based on the visual feedback that the game gives when you get shot.
These added features in the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection take advantage of the amazing capability that the PS5 has to offer, add to that the lightning-fast speeds of the console itself, and getting back into the game has never been faster.
The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection brings two great games to next-gen, and somehow made them even better. The combination of amazing storytelling, incredible graphics, and easy-to-use controls have made the Uncharted series what it is, and this release is the culmination of everything the series has to offer. It belongs on next-gen and it fits in perfectly.