Release Date: October 9, 2015Platform: PlayStation 4Developer: Naughty Dog, Bluepoint GamesPublisher: Sony Computer EntertainmentGenre: Action-adventure
The revered Uncharted games from Naughty Dog have long been regarded by many fans as some of the best PlayStation 3 exclusive titles that money can buy. Now with the release of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which combines remastered versions of the core three games in the series for next-gen, the same could also very well be said of the PlayStation 4. Although the multiplayer component from Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception have been stripped away in favor of focusing on the single-player experience, a few extra difficulties and game modes have been added in to help make up for this loss.
Drake’s Fortune, the first game in the series originally released in 2007, definitely shows its age at times. This becomes most apparent during the game’s cutscenes, where Drake, Elena, and Sully seem a little dead-eyed and plastic. I also encounter a few disappearing plants and other textures during earlier chapters, but this went away after a while. Elsewhere, the remaster positively shines. The greatest thing about The Nathan Drake Collection is that the refined gunplay mechanics are absolutely spot-on. Firefights are both snappy and quick, with smooth animations and a thrilling sense of movement all around. Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception have both fared much better over the years than Drake’s Fortune, and look especially spectacular here in their new high-res form.
In addition to the upgraded specs, The Nathan Drake Collection incorporates several brand new game modes to squeeze a few more drops out of the replay department. Two of these are in the form of extra difficulties: There’s Explorer, an easier than easy adventure for people who just want to experience the story alone, and then there’s Brutal, which ramps up the already frustrating Crushing difficulty by having Drake die from only one or two hits (Brutal is only unlocked upon completion of Crushing in each game). To be honest, I always thought Crushing was difficult enough, perhaps even too difficult during certain chapters. None of the games really benefit from the stricter parameters in a rewarding way, and so both Explorer and Brutal can feel tacked on or even arbitrary at times.
The other new additions include a Photo Mode, which lets you pause the game and manipulate the camera to snap the perfect action shot of Drake and friends. Finally, a Speed Run Mode simply tacks a timer onto each game and lets you challenge your friends to see who can run through from beginning to end the fastest. Again, these are all things that may capture your interest for a few minutes here and there outside of the campaigns, but won’t be a huge selling point for anyone who needs some extra incentive to replay these action-adventure gems besides the enhanced graphics and upgraded performance.
But at the end of the day, The Nathan Drake Collection gives us the gorgeously remastered single-player campaigns of three of the greatest action-adventures in video game history. If you’ve never had a chance to experience Nathan Drake’s treasure hunting adventures before, then picking up this trilogy is a no-brainer decision, especially in preparation of the sure-to-be stunning Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End when it releases next spring. Even if you already finished each game to full completion last generation, the updated graphics and performance alone are still enough to warrant another playthrough of these harrowing and cinematic adventures.
Joe Jasko is a game critic.