Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Review

In the age of the HD remasters, it was a wonder it took this long for the Uncharted games to see a re-release. But wonder no more, as the collection is here, and for all intents and purposes, it’s pretty much the way you’d want to play these games if you own a PlayStation 4.

The Uncharted games were the unofficial heirs to the Tomb Raider crown after the latter fell in mediocrity after a few failed attempts for a revival of the franchise. Without taking into account the current re-invention of Lara Croft, that series took a dive because its ambition of scale kept growing without any sort of quality to follow it through.

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Amazing action set pieces are the stars of Uncharted.

The same can’t be said about Uncharted. Every new entry upped the ante even further and had excellent, refined gameplay to back it up. Starting with Drake’s Fortune, the very first entry in the series, one of PlayStation 3’s first games to make a dent on Xbox 360’s reign of that generation of consoles, took the best aspects of Tomb Raider, like the exploration of exotic locales for treasure, a crazy backstory and frantic action, and made a fantastic game for the time. Surely, since then, its sequels overshadowed it by miles in just about every department, but there’s no denying that Drake’s Fortune helped put Naughty Dog on the map as a true art house for incredible first party games on Sony’s systems.

Even though HD remasters aren’t anything new at this point, as it was alluded at the beginning of the review, there’s no denying that there are varying degrees of quality when it comes to these re-releases. And while Naughty Dog scored a home run with its remaster of The Last of Us, basically making its original release obsolete, especially for those who missed it the first time around, the Nathan Drake Collection, albeit featuring these older games looking as good as they possibly could, doesn’t feel as tightly packed.

The single player portions of these games remain intact and play as great as they did when originally released, now in a smooth frame rate and at the maximum resolution that the PlayStation 4 can output. For anyone who hasn’t played any of the Uncharted games when they were first out, this collection is easily the best they’ll ever look and play. On the other hand, if you’ve experienced them before and are looking to replace your original discs or are in for any new content, you’ll find this collection lacking.

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Ah, Agrabah…

The sense of scale in these is absolutely awesome, as well as the set pieces, action scenes and overall challenge. Speaking of the latter, if you’re in for a punishing experience, there’s a new difficulty option that makes encounters even more dangerous and reliant of sensible and expert use of cover and precision. I’ve had my share of agony finishing these games in their original incarnations on the top difficulty, so I’ll be taking a rain check on that…

It bears mentioning that a key element from the two sequels is absent in this collection. Unlike in The Last of Us Remastered, Naughty Dog has opted to drop the multiplayer mode for both Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception and replace it with a boring speed run mode that’s tied to a second, separate list of trophies for both of these games. Granted, TLOU‘s multiplayer basically outgrew the base game into something of its own warranting its transition to PS4, but Uncharted‘s own online portion was fun on its own in the previous release. So much so that it was split into its own free to play version on PlayStation 3. It’s a glaring omission to be sure, since the multiplayer in Uncharted was a quite unique blend of co-op and deathmatch. That’s even disappointing considering how weak its replacement is and what little else there is aside to really bundle these games together.

If you’re in the market for fun and great looking games to play on your own on PlayStation 4, you can’t go wrong with this collection. No multiplayer is a bummer, sure, but the remaining content is quite excellent and shouldn’t be missed. Just don’t bother trying to speed run these gems.

4 Stars

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