Platform PlayStation 4 Genre Action Adventure
Developer Naughty Dog/Bluepoint Games Publisher Sony Computer Entertainment
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is easily one of the most flawless remastered collections I have played in a long time. The Nathan Drake Collection brings all three of the console entries in the Uncharted series to PlayStation 4, with sublime quality.
Playing through The Nathan Drake Collection from start to finish was an absolute pleasure, reminding me why Uncharted is one of my most beloved franchises. Better yet, this collection helped emphasise how much the series has evolved from that first moment we meet Nathan Drake. Which makes this collection an excellent preparation for Uncharted 4’s release in 2016.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the game that benefits most from the remastered treatment, with all technical issues from the original release removed. Drake’s Fortune also looks fantastic due to the improved lighting and textures, but it is obvious that the game doesn’t look as detailed as its Nathan Drake Collection counterparts. Drake’s Fortune might be the weakest in the series, but it’s still a great game in its own right, laying the groundwork for future entries in the series. Uncharted 1’s overall package does lack the epic cinematic moments of its series counterparts, simply because essentially the entire story takes place within one (extremely large) location, with jungle areas taking up a majority of the locations.
Impressively the new 60fps gameplay has a great impact on shooting scenarios, which is noticeable throughout all three games. This is one of the few remastered releases where the 60fps gameplay actually makes a big difference. Traversing and climbing through areas is more fluid than the original releases, but Uncharted veterans will certainly love how the new improved frame rate effects shooting. The Uncharted series has always felt slow when encountering enemy gunfire, but the doubled frame rate makes a big difference. I felt more in control of Drake while taking down dozens of enemies and the added fluidity encouraged me to make risky moves to cover that I wouldn’t normally make. The improvements certainly haven’t make Uncharted any easier, but the frame rate improvements do a great job at creating a more impressive experience.
Arguably the best in the series, Uncharted 2: Thieves Among Us feels ahead of its time. Juggling amazing cinematic set pieces, one of the best adventure narratives around (one that would make Indiana Jones jealous), and an extended cast of characters that deliver witty banter better than any gaming series. Uncharted 2 is able to deliver so many memorable moments, from simple instances like playing Marco Polo in a pool, unforgettable moments like the opening scene, or action packed battles across a moving train; Uncharted 2 always delivers something entertaining.
Thieves Among Us also looks incredible, the added lighting and the improved textures look fantastic. Uncharted 2 is also benefited by an array of simple, yet effective animations; such as Drake sliding into a table, only to push it over and use it for cover. As I mentioned Uncharted 2 feels ahead of its time and the fact Naughty Dog was able to create such a cohesive narrative, while globetrotting across the entire globe is a testament to the studios talents. Uncharted 2 isn’t without some problems. Which includes some insane difficulty spikes at times (but certainly not to the extent of Uncharted 3) and a final boss that feels as out of place as the Joker battle in Arkham Asylum. But overall Thieves Among Us is one of the most memorable adventures available on any platform, and it’s even better on the PlayStation 4.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is without a doubt the most cinematically ambitious entry in the series. Unlike the past two entries where the narrative has mainly revolved around ancient treasure, Drake’s Deception explores the back story of one of gaming’s most beloved bromance’s – Drake and Sully. The narrative itself is strong and certainly left some questions for the overall series to address (hopefully in Uncharted 4), but the main take away is the impressive graphical display on the PlayStation 4. Like The Last of Us on PlayStation 3, Uncharted 3 originally pushed Sony’s last generation console to its graphical limit. But somehow Uncharted 3 has been made to look even better, the detailed textures on every character, the breathtaking desert scene, and the beauty of the flaming chateau. The PlayStation 4 visual improvements look immaculate.
Drake’s Deception also has the best gameplay of the series, period. Shooting feels smooth, hand-to-hand combat is refined, and every gun delivers a powerful audible sound. This improvement to the sound of weaponry in Drake’s Deception is exceptional, with my ears sent to audio heaven when I finally got the chance to fire my first shot. Unfortunately Uncharted 3 does suffer from insane difficulty spikes. There will be times when enemies appear out of nowhere, cover is almost completely absent, and when you are completely outgunned these moments are borderline unfair. So I wish you the best of luck trying to finish them on the new Brutal difficulty mode.
Uncharted veterans will remember Crushing difficulty, a mode that already pushed players to the brink of their talents; well now meet Brutal. Instead of be locked from the start, players can now hop straight into Crushing in order to unlock Brutal difficulty. This mode is for the masochistic gamer with an iron temper, as one bullet can send Drake to death’s door. Fortunately Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection doesn’t making completing Brutal mode compulsory to earn the three platinum trophies included in the collection. The same selection of trophies from each release are still included to earn each platinum trophy, but extra trophies have been added to give players even more challenge. And yes, this includes beating Brutal mode.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection also adds Explorer Mode and Speed Run features. In Explorer difficulty is set even lower than easy, with one or two shots taking down most enemies. The bad side to Explorer Mode is that all statistics, collectibles and trophies are turned off during this mode. On the other hand Speed Run times your game time through the campaign, and that’s about it. Both modes feel like throwaway extras, as Explorer (surprisingly) removes the exploration elements, while Speed Run features a non-stop timer that cannot be removed from the screen. Players can also use with the newly added Photo Mode in order to capture images, which includes the common features of changing filters, borders and the location of the camera to take some beautiful images.
The Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection does lack a lot of extras that have been included in other remastered collections; worse it actually removes the original multiplayer features from Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3 from their remastered counterparts. The lack of additional content and the actual removal of multiplayer features is disheartening. That’s not to say the compilation of all three Uncharted console campaigns isn’t enough, but I would have loved some additional extras to sweeten the deal and truly celebrate the franchise.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is a brilliant purchase for anyone who hasn’t experienced the franchise before, or a veteran wanting to re-experience the series in its best form possible. Even without an abundance of extras and the unfortunate removal of multiplayer content, The Nathan Drake Collection still offers dozens of hours of thrilling adventure action.
Unlike most remastered collections the improved frame rate actually makes a positive difference to gameplay, alongside the improved visuals that look even better on the PlayStation 4. Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is the perfect way to prepare for the upcoming release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and even includes access to the upcoming multiplayer beta – no too shabby.
In the wise words of Victor Sullivan, “Greatness is what you do with the hand you’re dealt”, and Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is by far one of the best hands you can receive.
- Frame rate enhancements improve gameplay.
- Three amazing adventures.
- Gorgeous visuals.
- Slim extras compared to other collections.