Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
A HD collection worth exploring
In the interests of being transparent and honest with you, the Uncharted franchise was my favourite new IP of the Wii/PS3/Xbox360 generation. There were some truly wonderful new experiences introduced to us in the last generation but the Uncharted franchise stood taller than the rest due to its incredible rollercoaster ride feeling, immediately loveable characters and some of the most incredible set pieces that I’ve seen in gaming or film. With Naughty Dog currently hard at work on the concluding chapter for Nathan Drake, Sony has tasked Bluepoint, a very experienced porting studio with the daunting job of trasferring the core Uncharted gamed (Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception) to the PS4. Lacking the multiplayer modes, players are only getting the three core campaigns so the question many are left to ask themselves is simple, is it worth buying all three Uncharted games once more?
The greatest strength of the Uncharted franchise has been its ability to completely immerse players in the plights of Nate, Elena and Sully, immerse us in the incredible set pieces and impressive world, something that wowed me when I initially played the games, and has done so again in 2015. Nathan Drake is a globetrotting thief, and is always moving on to a new target, but his life, as well as that of mentor Sully change forever when Nate happens upon a lead that puts him on the path to finding long lost ancestor Sir Francis Drake and El “Goddamn” Dorado. Over the course of three games, Nate moves from the lush forests of the Amazon in Drake’s Fortune, to the Himalayas in Among Thieves and the Rub ‘al Khali desert in Drake’s Deception. These vastly differing environments and the constantly escalating threats have significant impacts upon the relationships between Nate and friends, building an intriguing dynamic between the cast. Uncharted 2 and 3 are regularly discussed in topics of the best games of the last generation and you’ll see why when you encounter famous sequences such as Uncharted 2’s train scene or Uncharted 3’s ship sequence. The perk is that these already fantastic moments look and feel even better with all the visual enhancements that come with this PS4 remaster.
There are some tweaks that have been made to all three games. Bluepoint have introduced speed running modes, new trophies, two new difficulty modes that make the games both easier and harder than they’ve ever been. A couple visual glitches are present that I certainly do not recall encountering in the PS3 versions of the game, but it’s offset by the fact that the gunplay is better than it has ever been, environments seem more densely populated and the action is more fluid. Some welcome changes have been made to the controls, no longer do you need to use the L1 and R1 buttons, but you can switch shooting to the much more comfortable L2 and R2 triggers, Sixaxis controls have also been removed, much to my delight. Greg Edmonson’s epic soundtracks have again returned, and as they did over the course of the last decade, they superbly complement an already amazing visual experience with an equally fantastic musical score.
What I often question when playing a remade or remastered game is whether the title/s still hold up against modern standards. It’s been nearly five years since Uncharted 3 released and while many games in the same genre have expanded in scope since then, the most important piece in the Uncharted puzzle is the pacing, and if players take the time to stretch their legs and explore, momentum is lost. While conflicting with the more recent trends, I wouldn’t have wanted Uncharted 1-3 any other way, and to see the games immortalised on the PS4 in their original, linear form puts a large smile on my face.
There are two different types of Nathan Drake Collection players. There are those who are replaying Uncharted 1-3 once again with the perk of this time enjoying them in 1080p at 60fps, or you’re one of the first timers, making you either new to the Playstation ecosystem, or you’re among the 80% of PS3 owners who never played an Uncharted game. Regardless of your rationale, The Nathan Drake Collection delivers in spades. There are a few visual quirks but the overall experience remains as impressive as it ever was, only now this collection includes handy new additions that serve to make these already fantastic games, even greater.
Born and bred on the Super Nintendo era, Paul relishes any opportunity to sink his teeth into an RPG, action or platformer. Despite being an owner of all major platforms, Paul does have a particular love of the Playstation family of consoles – take only a few minutes to skim through his Twitter and you’ll see him ranting about the next big thing on PS4. We swear he’s sane.