After introducing the world to both Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter, Naughty Dog decided to venture into new territory with its third IP. It was this fearless approach and willingness to try something different that gave us Nathan Drake and his spectacle-filled Uncharted series, which debuted with a bang and hasn’t let up since.
Following three very successful and critically acclaimed titles for PlayStation 3, the developer is now hard at work on a fourth instalment for the PS4. In the meantime, though, Bluepoint Games has delivered on its promise to remaster and re-release all three of Naughty Dog’s adventurous classics for the very same current-gen console. Their goal? To deliver the best possible versions of all three games, in order to allow both newcomers and longtime fans to experience each quest in 1080p/60 frames-per-second glory.
Dubbed Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, Bluepoint’s latest porting effort is a sight to behold. Not only does it present tightened and more polished gameplay, but it truly lets the three best Uncharted games shine, thanks to noticeably improved and stunningly detailed visuals.
Included in this full priced package are all three of the mainline Uncharted games: Uncharted: Drakes Fortune; Uncharted: Among Thieves and Uncharted: Drake’s Deception. Missing is Bend Studio’s 2011 Vita exclusive, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which was held out because it doesn’t fit in with the mainline trilogy’s arc, as it leads into 2016’s Uncharted 4. It’s understandable, but I guess some will also see it as an excuse. Either way, the important thing is that the three best Uncharted games are included here. Golden Abyss is a fine title as well, but it’s plodding and isn’t up to par with the rest.
What’s most impressive about all of these games is how well they hold up. Sure, it’s not as if they’re decades old or anything like that, but the reality of it is that Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was released eight years ago. That’s a decently long time in video game years, but you can hardly tell when you boot the game up via Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. The gameplay has been tightened, the core mechanics remain great, and the whole thing is simply fun. I loved this game when I first played it years ago, and it’s held a place in my heart ever since, so going back to it in 1080/60 was an absolute treat.
Like its peers, Drake’s Fortune starts with a bang. And, from the get go, you’ll notice visual improvements and updates to Nate’s character model that make him look a bit ‘different.’ Not in a bad way, mind you – just in a way that takes a few minutes to get used to. His model has been improved upon, for sure, and looks more lifelike. The same is true for the supporting cast, although some of the enemies still don’t react all that realistically to being shot with lead bullets.
Uncharted 2, which is largely considered to be the best of the three, fares just as well. It was beautiful to begin with, but looks even better now, and plays just as well. Some of its early enemies look a bit too similar and could’ve used some updating, but it’s not a big deal.
Last up is Uncharted 3, which is only four years old. It’s no surprise, then, that it’s the best-looking of the bunch. This remastered version is absolutely stunning, though, and rivals some PS4 games in the presentation department. Its character models, colouring and general aesthetics all pop off of the screen and look fantastic.
If you’re new to things, all you really need to know going in is that each of these titles is set up as its own adventure. The storylines intersect and carry through, but all three send Nate and his pals to different locations, where they risk their lives and limbs in the name of fortune hunting. As such, there’s lots of climbing, punching, shooting and light puzzle solving, along with similarities to Indiana Jones and the pulp serials of yesteryear. There’s also some Tomb Raider influence to be found within, although the reverse can also be said about the 2013 Tomb Raider reboot.
Don’t go into this world expecting extremely serious adventures, either, because there’s a lot of tongue-in-cheek dialogue, as well as some extravagant set pieces. It’s all in the name of fun, though, and is quality through and through. If there’s one thing that these games are, it’s entertaining, even years later.
In order to find any downsides here, we really need to nitpick. But for one, it would’ve been nice if Bluepoint had made this more of a celebratory release. There is some bonus content, in the form of two new difficulties, a neat photo mode, and new skins, but the developers could’ve gone bigger. Going further, there’s no multiplayer to be found and the price could be considered a bit steep for remasters. Then again, you’re getting three great and beautifully enhanced retail games, all of which are bonafide classics.
Honestly, there’s no reason to skip on Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, regardless of whether you’re a longtime fan or a newcomer. It’s an absolute winner, and one of the best remastered experiences we’ve come across.
This review is based on the PlayStation 4 exclusive, which we were provided with.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection presents fantastic remasters of three incredible games, and is an absolute no-brainer as a result.