An Explorer’s Journey
While we’re beginning to accept various instances of remasters on the current-gen systems, it’s been the reimaginings and collections that have been the most prominently praised and well executed. In saying that, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, while another collection of remasters, is an absolutely quintessential title to pick up on PlayStation 4, spanning across three of Naughty Dog’s greatest games. This is quite truly the best of the best.
The Nathan Drake Collection is comprised of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The collection doesn’t include Sony Bend’s PlayStation Vita exclusive Uncharted: Golden Abyss, but that doesn’t affect the story that’s being told across the three main titles. These are Naughty Dog’s workings, and each game lends itself well to creating one of the best and most well-produced collections available.
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, while the oldest of the three games, is brought back in stunning detail. Each game sits at 1080p and 60FPS, and the upgrade is most clearly evident in the first Uncharted game which was originally released almost eight years ago. The story, while not as good as Among Thieves or Drake’s Deception, is still one that shouldn’t be missed, setting up the cast in great fashion. Having only recently returned to Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune on PlayStation 3 in 2014, Bluepoint Games’ upgrade is absolutely brilliant in every way. Besides the graphical upgrade, the most noticeable change has been the scrapping of the game’s clunky and floaty aiming in favor of Uncharted 2’s more accurate aiming. Similarly, the tedious Six Axis grenade throw has been scrapped, allowing for less frustration during the more intense sections of the game.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves still ranks as one of my favorite games of all time, and playing through the remaster felt amazing. The graphics have been updated, and while the change isn’t as evident as that of Drake’s Fortune, it’s still a sight to behold. Jumping off the rooftops of Nepal taking out enemies and running through the entire train sequence, which is still one of the best Uncharted moments, was breathtaking. Meeting Chloe and diving further into the story of Nate and Sully made for a refreshing change to the very quick-fire story of Drake’s Fortune.
The final entry in the Uncharted series thus far, titled Drake’s Deception, is the most stunning of all three games. While it only came out four years ago, the upgrade is still clearly prevalent and playing through at 1080p and 60FPS makes a world of difference in the more chaotic moments surrounding Drake’s third main adventure. The dynamism and grace of Drake’s Deception is still wonderful to experience, and while it doesn’t quite stack up to the excellence of Among Thieves, it still remains as one of the best titles available on the PlayStation 3 and now on the PlayStation 4.
While the upgrades across the board are completely apparent and change up the Uncharted series for the better, it’s also the remastered and rerecorded sound design and score that truly completes the package. Each game has a distinctive feel to it, with each really pushing a certain theme and idea over the other, and the reworked soundtrack really pays dividends to complete one of the best remastered packages out there.
Bonuses and unlocks have been confined to game progress, but there’s still a bit to see and investigate when you’ve finished all three games. There’s a bunch of concept art that you can sift through, which usually unlock following the completion a select set of chapters, and it gives a great insight into the development of some of the Uncharted series’ best and most vibrant locations and characters. Other than that, though, there’s not really much in the way of extras – there’s no documentary and certainly no other art or blooper reel to enjoy, which is ultimately a bit disappointing considering how high the quality of the collection is overall.
There are a few added changes across all three games, of which the most notable are the added Photo Mode, which allows you to snap screens in-game and share them with friends, the new Brutal difficulty mode, which is similar to The Last of Us’ Grounded difficulty, and the Explorer Mode, which is for those that just want an easy experience without the worry of facing difficult enemies. You’re also able to jump straight into the Crushing difficulty mode across all three games now, too, and when you’ve completed the game on that you’re able to jump into Brutal. Trophies have been changed around too, although I haven’t been able to access them as the trophy list is still offline on PlayStation Network at the time of writing this review. It’s safe to assume that the regular trophies which are mapped to collectables, difficulty, and kills with weapons are still featured, though.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is one of the best remastered collections available, and is a must buy for both newcomers to the series and Uncharted fans alike. It’s the perfect preparation for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and Among Thieves is, if anything, a game absolutely worth experiencing. Lack of bonuses aside, The Nathan Drake Collection is this year’s best remaster by an absolute mile.
Developer: Naughty Dog (series), Bluepoint Games (remaster)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed)
A review copy was provided by the publisher.