Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and the standalone expansion, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, both get the PlayStation 5 remastering treatment with the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection.
Continuing Sony’s reissuing of old as premium remasters rather than free updates or backwards compatibility, the most recent Uncharted games get a next-gen reissue. Originally released on the PlayStation 4 in 2016, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and the 2017 standalone expansion Uncharted: The Lost Legacy have been polished up for this new collection on PS5.It was the original Tomb Raider that sold me on getting a PlayStation back in the 90s. I’d borrowed one from the guy who would one day be my brother-in-law, and we all sat around taking turns with the adventures of Lara Croft until he wanted it back. So, I went out and bought my own to finish the game.
Funny that years later and half a world away from that UK shared house, it would be Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, a game that owes so much to Tomb Raider, that would make me put my hand in my pocket for a PlayStation 3. Nathan Drake’s 2007 adventures outshone anything that Eidos had published of Lara’s for the last decade.
Melding action, puzzles, exploration, and intrigue, along with a gripping story, the Uncharted games cemented the developers at Naughty Dog as masters of their craft. From Uncharted the developers went on to create the post-apocalyptic The Last of Us games, titles with very similar gameplay. The success of The Last of Us had that game’s director, Neil Druckmann, take over from Amy Hennig on Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End along with co-director, Bruce Straley.
The Uncharted games primarily follow Nathan Drake, a slightly roguish treasure hunter who, along with his mentor, Sully, and other supporting characters, seeks artifacts like a modern-day Indiana Jones. Like the Indiana Jones movies, the games feature plots that meld fantastical archaeological sites with a touch of the supernatural. As action games, they mix combat with amazing scalable environments and puzzles with some outrageous set-pieces thrown in for good measure.
The fourth instalment, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, one of the two games included in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection starts with a prelude that introduces Drake’s previously unmentioned older brother, Sam, and reveals the boys’ upbringing in an orphanage. It’s a far cry from the aristocratic origin of fellow treasure hunter, Lara Croft.
The game then switches to an older Nathan Drake, seemingly happy with a more regular job, one that doesn’t involve getting shot at all the time. He does still pine for the old days, though. When his past comes back to haunt him, Drake, once again, gets involved in a treasure hunt, this time for the booty of the English pirate, Henry Avery.
Uncharted 4 sticks to the same formula as the previous games. There’s epic adventure, action, shooting, and some interesting puzzles tied up in an exciting plot. Personally, I’m torn as to if this is the best game in the series, even if it is the most refined.
The collection also includes Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. This is a game that started out as a DLC expansion for Uncharted 4 but ended up being released as a fully-fledged game of its own.
The Lost Legacy features Nathan Drake’s sometimes partner and even more roguish treasure hunter, Chloe Frazer on the trail of the Tusk of Ganesh in India. She is joined by mercenary Nadine Ross, one of the antagonists from Uncharted 4.
Whilst The Lost Legacy is every bit as epic as other Uncharted games, the characters do less globe-trotting with the action constrained to locales in the mountains of India’s Western Ghats. The game has players trekking through the jungle in a 4×4 stopping off to investigate and explore ancient ruins. The exploration is punctuated by shootouts between the protagonist and a band of rival treasure hunters.
For plot-heavy, linear experiences, the Uncharted games are some of the few titles of their type that I’ve played through more than once. But they are such polished games, and just so much fun. Yes, you could argue that they are just cover-shooters, but the adventure-movie stylings elevate the games beyond that. Characterisations and dialogue give the games a buddy-movie feel, but with action sequences rivalling anything that Hollywood has to offer.
The thing with these two particular games in the series is that the native PlayStation 4 versions both play, and look very nice on the PlayStation 5, anyway. Sony asking fans to shell out on updated versions of the game for their new equipment is a bit sad, even if the upgrade cost is only $20 or so.
If you’ve not played the originals, you are still playing a fair amount of dosh for a six-year-old game and its five-year-old expansion. Saying that we have all paid a lot more money for a lot worse.
From a practical point of view, both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy likely lend themselves to remastering a little more than previous entries, as they didn’t need so much work. It’s a bit of shame, as Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception are all games worthy of an update and ones that would better appreciate the graphical overhaul.
The previous Uncharted games are available on PlayStation 4 as Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and will work on PS5. Whilst there’s no need to play these before The Legacy of Thieves Collection, the relationship between the character makes a little more sense if you have.
With the PlayStation 5’s graphical enhancements, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection does provide players with the definitive versions of both Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Players can choose from performance- targeting 60 fps, fidelity- 4K at 30 fps, or the 120 fps performance+ mode in 1080p for those with suitable equipment.
Playing on performance mode the games are both slick and smooth. The visuals, even supposedly toned down for the faster frame rates, still look amazingly crisp and more like those of a graphic novel than a pixelated video game.
These new editions of the games make use of the PS5’s fast storage with near-instantaneous load speeds. The games also utilise the new DualSense controllers with haptic feedback and the dynamic adaptive triggers.
PlayStation 5 owners that have not played these games should see the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection as an essential purchase. Upgrading for those with the PS4 versions of the games will be a personal decision but highly recommended if you intend on playing through them again on the PS5.
A copy of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection was provided by the publisher for this review.
Rating: Very Good