REVIEW – Available from tomorrow, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection (or old games can be upgraded), the two hit Uncharted games now with PS5 capabilities. This collection includes Uncharted: A Thief’s End, first released in May 2016, and Uncharted: A Lost Legacy, released in August 2017. So the two titles are back and better than ever, thanks to the power of PS5 and the passionate work of Naughty Dog.
Uncharted 4 was a huge bestseller in 2016, preceded by a long development period and constant delays to the release date. When it was finally released in May ’16, Naughty Dog’s masterpiece came, saw and won (or rather, sold) and became one of the biggest titles of the PlayStation 4 era.
Of course, there’s so much to be said about how fantastic the Uncharted series is, especially the last two episodes. Nathan Drake’s latest adventure saw the hero go out in style. Meanwhile, The Lost Legacy gave players the chance to take control of Chloe Frazer, one of the best characters, not Drake. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection includes both exceptional titles, enhanced for PS5. When both were released, they already had beautiful graphics. Now they’re as close to perfect as you can get. Not only have the visuals been improved, but both titles have technical improvements that make them unmissable games for those who missed them the first time around and those who are already big fans (like me).
Professional story, even more professional TPS action
Anyone who has played Uncharted or The Last of Us knows that the story and characters are a massive part of the overall experience. With that in mind, and for those who haven’t played these games before, I’m reluctant to say much more about them concerning Uncharted 4. I will add that Uncharted 4 is partly what makes it the best of the franchise in terms of story and character development as it unfolds over its twenty-two chapters. The plot takes many exciting twists and turns, and of course. At the same time, some story elements are predictable, the story and character development, in general, is fascinating and enjoyable.
An excellent story and characters are two of the core elements of any Uncharted game, but all of that would be in short supply if Uncharted weren’t also the now-crowned king of platform games and third-person action. Few games are as adrenaline-pumping as Uncharted, thanks in part to the hair-raising wall-climbing and rock-climbing sections in which Nathan has to take his place. The sense of heights and danger that Nathan and Chloé literally leap into is both overwhelming and realistic and eerie in its own way. There were perhaps only one or two wall masks where the gameplay felt a little draggy or repetitive. Still, even those were primarily set in picturesque surroundings, which amply compensated for the slightly repetitive experience. If you’re in Photo mode, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to capture some of the game’s most picturesque, life-like scenes.
Uncharted: James Bond, Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider mixed together
The gameplay of Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy felt like a combination of the best aspects of James Bond, Indiana Jones and Tomb Raider; Indiana Jones’ treasure hunt combined with the gunplay and some espionage of the Bond films (like No Time to Die), and Lost Legacy is up there with the best of the Tomb Raider games. Uncharted 4’s pacing showcases many of the game’s standout moments of exploration, stealth, shooter action and platforming, all set in some of the most exotic and small-town landscapes ever made. These parts are memorable and compelling, they indeed felt a little too linear at times, but I’m not sure that could have been avoided. Still, even if things feel a little too contrived or linear, the little surprises along the way distract from this, making the whole experience exciting.
Uncharted 4 (you can read a review of the original game here) was one of those games that I didn’t want to put down, and I finished the game on normal difficulty in just a few hours of gameplay, about seventeen hours in total. After this, I reviewed my game stats and saw that I had only found nearly half of the hidden treasures, although I had almost all diary entries, journal entries and optional conversations. You can also view Nathan’s diary from the main menu, and it shows many of the story details and so on that you discovered along the way. The optional conversations are just that – extra character and story development details that you can choose to have conversations with the NPCs you’re adventuring with. As well as being able to check your stats, which range from total distance travelled to the number of enemies killed (for me, it was721 the number), you can also replay the game with a surprisingly wide variety of bonus material. You unlock points that you can spend on various bonus goodies as you play through. These include concept sketches and alternate character skins, weapons (so you can start a new game with your favourite weapon (mine was the ARX-160), a bunch of cool rendering modes (including a nostalgic retro eight-bit mode), voiceover mods (like the helium one that makes all the voice dialogue sound funny), and even cool game modes like gravity-free or infinite ammo.
Is Chloe banging Lara too?
Moving on to Lost Legacy (you can read the original, full test here), which features the first Uncharted game not to feature Nathan Drake or Victor Sullivan (Sully) at all. The developer decided to focus instead on Chloe Frazer, the thief first introduced in Uncharted 2. Players take on the role of Chloe, but her constant companion this time around is Nadine Ross, the leader of the Shoreline mercenaries from Uncharted 4, who will be on hand for help and interaction. Sam Drake also plays an essential role in the story, in which Chloe tries to find a jewelled fang that supposedly belonged to Shiva’s son. Chloe is just as skilled as Nathan, as players can engage in melee combat, stealth (including melee weapons, a new addition to the series) and heavy action combat, as well as wild platforming/climbing sequences. Although Lost Legacy is shorter overall, it still offers essentially the same quality story, interesting characters, exciting action, spectacular graphics and exotic locations that the series is known for.
PlayStation 5 extras
Both of these excellent games will benefit from the PS5 upgrade. Performance+ mode allows gamers to target 120fps and play in 1080p (obviously, you’ll need a 120Hz TV to take advantage of this), while the base Performance mode targets 60fps. I’ve chosen the default Fidelity Mode, which offers 4K resolution (upscaled from 1440p) with HDR and 30fps framerate. I played through both titles in this mode, and the games were perfectly smooth and enjoyable for me while looking absolutely stunning throughout.
3D Audio support and, of course, the power of the PS5 makes for a fast, almost instant loading time that’s immersive. Still, my favourite feature of these two games on PS5 is the haptic feedback of the DualSense controller. The R2’s adaptive feedback is excellent, especially for gunplay (trigger tension) and driving sequences. I really liked the way the R2 stiffened up when I accelerated, it added more to the feeling of immersion and fun than I expected. When driving the SUV for the first time, driving was much more fun, thanks to the use of DualSense.
Oh, by the way, if you have any save games from a title on your PS4, Sony makes sure you can quickly transfer them to your PS5. But whether you’re revisiting these games or just playing them for the first time, you’re in for a treat.
The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection contains two of the best titles in the series, perfectly enhanced. This is a beautiful collection with improved visuals, faster load times, and DualSense features that do wonders for further gameplay mastery. I was totally impressed with both parts when I played through them. Each title holds a special place in my heart, and with the further enhancements to the PS5’s performance, it was a pleasure to dive back into their world. I cannot recommend them highly enough. If you’ve missed the nextgen versions of either title or are trying them for the first time, you’re in for a treat.
+ Fantastic gaming experience, with two separate heroes in two separate meaningful games
+ Even more amazing graphics on PS5
+ Great, twisty, witty, engaging story
– One or two climbing sections are a bit long and repetitive
– At times, a little too linear gameplay
– The final boss fight is a bit tedious
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Developer: Naughty Dog
Genres: Action, adventure, TPS,
Publication: January 28, 2021