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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection review – Nathan Drake at 60fps? Yes, please

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection brings Nathan Drake and the Uncharted franchise to PS5 for the first time, with an updated version of A Thief’s End, and its spin-off, The Lost Legacy. It’s not a proper remaster – more of a paid next-gen upgrade that slightly touches up the visuals of some of the best PS4 games.

Considering the incoming Uncharted movie with MCU’s Spider-Man actor Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and Antonio Banderas on its way, the collection makes business sense. In fact, you get a ticket for the film with your purchase, allowing you to see Nathan Drake’s origin story as you wave goodbye to him in the games. But is the collection worth the price of admission? 

Both Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy came out at a time when PlayStation exclusives were starting to move from linear designs to smaller open-world-like sandbox titles. Naughty Dog managed to alternate between exploration of semi open-world areas and the high-octane blockbuster moments the Uncharted series is known for: Bad Boys 2-esque chase sequences, grappling from the back of a runaway train, and shimmying over terrifying chasms – it’s all here, and it still looks close to photorealistic despite originally launching last-gen. 

The grappling hook did a lot for Uncharted 4, opening its playspaces up for more combat and exploration opportunities. Back in the day, it might have just looked like a checkbox to justify another sequel, but it’s actually a class act in design that truly enriches the game and allows you to appreciate the vastness of its gorgeous environments. 

Looking back on its open-world-like Madagascar, you can see how Uncharted 4 shaped the Santa Monica developer and the rest of PlayStation Studios’ modus operandi

These days, these semi-open worlds are everywhere – even over on Xbox in Gears of War 5 – but back in 2016 it was a trailblazing approach. Naughty Dog had found the perfect middle ground between the linear action sequences it was known for with allowing the player to feel like an actual explorer – key, you’d think, for a game about being a treasure hunter. This is further explored in The Lost Legacy, which is basically an extension of that level, and you’d later see The Last of Us Part II take the concept a step further still in its downtown Seattle hub.

Despite how influential the game was, you’ll notice at least two things that clearly show Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy’s age. Moving around with Nate is a bit clunky by today’s standards, both in climbing and changing direction on the run. Moreover, the relative emptiness of that Madagascar level makes it almost feel like a prototype for The Last of Us Part II, whose level of detail is nowhere to be found here, and not just because this is a barebones remaster.

It’s instantly clear that A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy don’t need full remasters just yet, however – vistas, character models, lighting, and animations still look great, six years on. Coming out towards the end of PS4’s lifespan, it pushed Sony’s then-latest machine to its limits, and makes me excited about what Naughty Dog will be able to do on PS5.

This package features several different graphics options, the first being a 30fps mode like the original games but in a native 4K resolution. Most importantly, though, there’s a 60fps mode that lowers resolution down to 1440p, but without visibly losing definition. This mode feels like the way Uncharted should have always played. 60fps is also unlocked through the cutscenes, which now feel as natural and smooth as they could possibly be. A third mode brings in a 120fps frame rate, going for 1080p.

Another new feature is the introduction of super-fast loading times thanks to the PS5’s SSD unit. Entering a game from the main menu, both for a new game or loading a save, only takes a few seconds now. Transitioning between cutscenes and gameplay has always been instant, so it’s nice to be able to get right back into the action when you die, too.

Similarly, you’ll be surprised by how realistic 3D audio is. Especially in the first few hours, you’ll find yourself turning around because you’ll hear people talking from your back, as this setting really gives the games a sense of spatiality during dialogue, shooting, and even stealth sections they didn’t have before.

Finally, the DualSense controller is also fully supported. Haptic feedback doesn’t provide a memorable difference compared to the original rumble, while adaptive triggers are something you’ll encounter a lot during gameplay. Every bullet has ‘weight’ now, with the right trigger opposing resistance when shooting, and the left feeling heavier when aiming. As in Deathloop, it’s always fun to notice the trigger jams when ammo is spent. It’s definitely one of the most fascinating among PS5’s features, but it’s also one of the most controversial as it can lead to fatigue over longer sessions. Uncharted won’t push you to deactivate it, like I had to in Far Cry 5, but it can sometimes throw off your aim, which is already a weak point in the series.

Legacy of Thieves Collection is a fairly decent next-gen upgrade, and it’s nice that owners of the original games are allowed to upgrade for “only” $10. But this is still a cost that players on other platforms and even from the same developer (look at The Last of Us Part II, for example) have not been required to spend on similar, if not identical, updates.

On top of that, it’s worth noting that PS5 Digital Edition’s owners are not eligible for the $10 upgrade, and the same goes for PlayStation Plus subscribers that have downloaded Uncharted 4 back when it was included in the monthly selection of free games.

So, if you’ve not played Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy, this is something that might interest you, as these two games are still excellent gameplay-wise and look gorgeous. It’s just a shame playing an amazing game at 60fps is locked behind a paywall.

Written by Paolo Sirio on behalf of GLHF.

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