As I began my playthrough of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on PlayStation 5, it really sunk in how much I had missed Nathan Drake and co. It’s now been five years since Naughty Dog closed the book on the quick-witted treasure hunter and his inner circle. Suffice to say it felt good to experience the end-cap to Drake’s quadrilogy and transition straight into the spin-off helmed by Chloe Frazer.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy were such special games for their time. They released back-to-back and capitalized on the long-established hype the franchise once started on PlayStation 3. However, they were both released before the transition to true 4K at 60FPS started becoming the norm. Thus, the demand for these two titles to get the next-gen treatment began to surface.
With Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection running on PlayStation 5, the games now feature all the bells and whistles we’ve gotten accustomed to since the console was released. These are two of PlayStation’s most refined experiences. Now, they run the best way possible. However, beyond providing performance and fidelity options and DualSense features, there isn’t anything new to sink your teeth into. From a content standpoint, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is very safe and doesn’t push the now dormant franchise in any particular direction.
Sic Parvis Magna
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy are intrinsic to one another. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End introduces the final chapter in Nathan Drake’s story. For new players, Uncharted 4 sees Nate torn between settling for a quieter life with his wife Elena and his old thrill-seeking ways. When his brother Sam arrives on his front steps, Nate is convinced to set off on a hunt to find the lost pirate treasure of Henry Avery.
As with the Uncharted games before its time, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is an epic-scale blockbuster with larger-than-life moments and genius puzzles – though I still hold onto my original criticism that the crate-pushing mechanic kills the otherwise strong pacing.
The adventure serves as a final hoorah for Nate, Elena, and Sully while also exploring more of Nate’s upbringing. Plus, it’s great to hear Nolan North’s take on Nate once again. Globetrotting and solving detail-rich puzzles was an absolute delight. I adored the opportunity to re-experience the more open Madagascar map and to travel through the pirate caves of Libertalia.
Of course, the game also introduced great villains who oppose the Drake brothers in their quest for lost riches. This includes Nadine Ross, leader of the private Shoreline militia company. Ross has since become one of my favortie characters. This is partially due to how much we get of her not only in Uncharted 4 but in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy where she steps up to be the main character.
Stepping off the bench
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is Naughty Dog’s direct spinoff of Uncharted 4. It gave the team a chance to put some of the more secondary characters up front and centre. It brings Uncharted 2: Among Thieves’ Chloe Frazer into the fold once more, and she’s paired with Nadine this time. This unlikely duo becomes embroiled in the search for the Tusk of Ganesh in India. Along the way, the two make enemies with insurgent leader Asav, and run into Sam Drake.
I’ll admit, I didn’t retain a lot of what The Lost Legacy brought to the table. Though, my second playthrough gave me a deeper appreciation of the story. The Lost Legacy builds on the open-map elements and the grappling hook. Though, overall, it’s the game’s modest length that I’ve grown to love. It’s quick and to the point. Cutting out a lot of fat, Chloe and Nadine are able to shine as stars of the show.
A shiny new treasure
Of course, a huge draw of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is the excuse to play through two of the very best PlayStation exclusives there are. Only this time, players have the opportunity to get all the PlayStation 5 features integrated into its gameplay. Sony Interactive Entertainment has been continuously releasing these PlayStation 5 upgrades. Whether it’s a collection, Director’s Cut, or bundled in upgrades, many high-profile PlayStation 4 games have leveraged PlayStation 5 features.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is no exception. This is the first time that players get the opportunity to experience the game in a native 4K HDR at 30FPS Fidelity Mode. Alternatively, the collection can be played in Performance Mode of 60FPS in 4K supersampled resolution from a 1440p base. Those with a display capable of 120Hz can achieve 1080p at 120FPS. However, I can’t speak on that myself.
Personally, the standout experience is made when playing with the higher 60FPS. Naughty Dog already sets such a high bar in terms of resolution that visuals aren’t really impacted. I did notice that when in Fidelity Mode, the frames did become a bit choppy when swinging the camera around.
From the visual improvements, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection uses HDR to its fullest. The contrast in shadows and lighting when exploring caverns is brilliant. The colors of the sea or lush forests pop on the screen. It’s truly a marvel to look at while playing. Thankfully, Naughty Dog retained Photo Mode in both games.
DualSense in the holster
As with many other PlayStation 5 upgrades, Naughty Dog has taken advantage of DualSense features. Here, the PlayStation 5 controller gives an extra layer of immersion while playing either game. You gain the tension from the adaptive triggers when shooting guns to swinging from the grappling hook. Haptic feedback is utilized for more dynamic responses to punches, explosions, or driving over mud or water. 3D audio support is present too and helps make those gunshots more punchy.
This far into the PlayStation 5’s lifecycle, these features are a standard practice that is expected more than anything else. They do improve the overall gameplay somewhat, though it’s surprising that Naughty Dog – who’s known for innovation and setting the bar so high – played it safe this time around. There’s no difference in trigger tension when shooting a pistol versus a rifle, nor does the game use the onboard DualSense speaker.
It’s wasn’t my expectation that Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection would reinvent the wheel of PlayStation 5 upgrades, but I was hoping we’d see every facet of the controller used in some way. It’s that I’m so used to Naughty Dog surprising me with something unexpected.
One more time around the sun
For PlayStation 4 players who wish to bring their progress over to their new PlayStation 5 consoles, it’s easy and straightforward. As with games like Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut and Death Stranding Director’s Cut, as long as the save is in the cloud, you’re prepped and ready. Having progress carry over means Trophies pop automatically, which will surely speak to the Trophy hunters out there in the world.
As far the upgrade path is concerned, those who have purchased Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End or Uncharted: The Lost Legacy on PlayStation 4 either digitally or physically can upgrade for $10USD. This also applies to the digital two-game bundle released on PlayStation 4 as well.
For anyone who has not played the conclusive installments of the Uncharted series (thus far), Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection should be a no-brainer. These are two of Naughty Dog’s best-developed games. Both titles feature exhilarating gameplay moments and incredible script work and voice acting. Many games still try to outpace what Naughty Dog did five years ago.
As for returning players, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection uses enough of the PlayStation 5’s core features to warrant the $10 upgrade. The now-standard hallmarks of the DualSense controller and improved visuals bring the best versions of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy to the table. Beyond those accouterments, it is an arguably safe upgrade for players. Though, for games as high caliber as these, it’s hard to imagine what more could be done.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is available on PlayStation 5 on Jan 28, 2022. A PC release is expected later this year.
A review copy of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection was provided by PlayStation Canada for review purposes.