Review: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Shows Greatness From Small Beginnings
The inevitable Uncharted collection for PS4 is here to ease up the wait for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Is it a quick cash grab, or a remaster worthy of the name?
- Worth The Time?Yes, especially if you're a newcomer
- Things LovedIt's incredible to witness how much Naughty Dog improves with each game; the fantastic technical performance; the effort put in to make a unified playing experience; the quality of this remaster is top notch.
- Things HatedThe first game has aged badly; unlocking extra skins is tedious.
- RecommendationIf you're a series fan The Nathan Drake Collection gives you a more convenient and improved way to own all three games. If you're a newcomer this is the perfect remaster to get into before Uncharted 4 arrives.
- Name: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
- Genre: Action Adventure
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PS4
- Developer: Naughty Dog, Bluepoint Games
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Price: $60 / R765
- Reviewed On: PS4
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection was the most obvious choice for a remaster, and it’s no surprise that we have it just before Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End gets here. If Naughty Dog is correct about their research, which revealed that around 80% of PS4 owners haven’t played an Uncharted game, then this is absolutely a no-brainer. At least on paper as remasters don’t always go the way they should, with reference to Sleeping Dogs for instance.
However it looks like in this case Naughty Dog struck gold with handing the reigns over to Bluepoint Games, who put a fantastic amount of effort into this collection. Usually developers are content to bump up the resolution and frame rate and then call it a day, but that’s not the case here.
Bluepoint Games has not only significantly improved the visuals of Drake’s Fortune, bumped up the visuals of the other two games and delivered three games basically locked at 60fps, but it also went one further to tweak and improve the gameplay of the games to provide a unified experience. As an example Drake’s Fortune’s gun combat has been improved to more closely resemble its sequels, which makes you feel at home across all three titles.
The other noteworthy aspect of The Nathan Drake Collection is just how smoothly the compilation operates. It’s really fast and efficient to swap between the three games, which are all accessed via a simple title menu. You can even tweak the options across all three games from one menu. It’s just exactly how you expect to pick up and play a remastered collection of a classic franchise.
However visual improvements and gameplay tweaks don’t change the underlying game, and it becomes impossible not to see that Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is clearly from 2007. It’s just aged badly, especially in its design and mechanics. Knowing the quality that this series later delivers it was difficult for me to play Drake’s Fortune, even with the visual upgrade.
Yet in many ways that’s a positive for Naughty Dog as playing Drake’s Fortune, also known as a Tomb Raider knock-off, will slap you right across the face with how far the amazing developer has come since then. Greatness from small beginnings indeed.
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It’s this journey from the series’ beginning to where it ends up in the brilliant Drake’s Deception that makes this collection especially enjoyable for any fan.
When you jump into Uncharted 2: Among Thieves you’ll be shocked at how massive a leap it is over its predecessor. Need I remind you that this is the game that enjoyed universal critical acclaim, many Game of the Year Awards and the one that established the Uncharted name as one of the best in the business for blockbuster action.
The game only benefits now from its 60fps upgrade, and it still looks great despite being six years old. Never mind the visuals though, because the quality of the writing, the magnificent gameplay, the astounding set pieces and the brilliant chemistry of the main cast is what set Uncharted 2: Among Thieves apart from the rest of the industry’s action games. If you’re a first timer, you’re in for a definite treat with this game, even today.
It’s true that many people were divided about Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception and many felt that the second game was the best, but for me the third entry is the pinnacle of this series. It’s the perfect Uncharted game with more exciting and varied gameplay, better level design, improved combat, louder and more memorable set pieces, wonderful writing and a sweet blend of darkness and humour.
It helps that it looks phenomenal even by today’s standards, which is indicative of the quality Naughty Dog became capable of delivering. If I had to point to my favourite Uncharted game Drake’s Deception would be it, and it was the cherry on top of a fun journey through the series in this collection.
Honestly though this collection is worth the price of admission just for that particular journey, and of course the stellar Drake’s Deception.
If you’re hoping for bonus content to make up the absence of the multiplayer modes, you won’t really find it here. There are lots of extra skins to unlock, like the memorable Doughnut Drake, but it’s hard to imagine many people wanting to slog through collecting a bunch of random stuff to acquire them. It would have been better if they were available from the start. If not that, you can also challenge yourself with the Brutal difficulty mode, or remove the challenge entirely with the Explorer option.
In the end though The Nathan Drake Collection gives you what you want, which is the original three games all improved and delivered in a convenient manner. I’ve seen quite a few comments from fans upset about the absence of Golden Abyss, the Vita exclusive Uncharted game, but I can’t say I missed it or felt it was necessary.