Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune launched in 2007 to a very mixed reception. Little did we know that this game would lead to a trilogy of games regarded as some of the most cinematic character-driven adventure games on the PS3.
With the release of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, players are able to return to the world of Uncharted and playthrough all three games in glorious 1080p at 60fps on your PS4. Bluepoint games have done an excellent job with the collection as textures and models have been updated and mechanics have been tweaked. What is most evident in the collection is that Bluepoint games where able to create a consistency across all three games.
Drake’s Fortune, the first in the trilogy has benefitted a lot from the various visual upgrades. The updated character models and textures, as well as the elimination of the screen tearing which plagued the game on PS3, helps a lot in trying to hide the age of the game. Although the game succeeds in looking really good, it has still aged the worst of the three. Even with the upgraded aiming mechanics I still found myself struggling to come to grips with how floaty aiming seemed. The cover system is still just as frustrating as I remembered, especially when facing waves of bullet sponge enemies. It is not that Drake’s Fortune is a bad game; it is just that when comparing the three it is obvious how far the Uncharted games have come. Drake’s fortune is one of those games where even though its mechanics might fail it from time to time its heart is in the right place.
Uncharted 2: Among Thieves is the fantastic follow-up to Drake’s Fortune, and bests its predecessor in every way imaginable. Even when comparing the game to many PS4 games Uncharted 2 looks gorgeous. The Himalayan environment that the game takes place in is still just as awe inspiring as I remembered. The impressive texture work in the re-master makes each little detail in the levels stand out; everything just looks sharper and more colourful. The aiming and cover mechanics have been vastly improved, which makes getting into guns fights a lot less frustrating and a lot more exhilarating. Uncharted 2 also has some of the most memorable set pieces in the trilogy, from the gunfight on a moving train to a shootout with a tank, these moments adds to the great cinematic feel that the game so successfully achieves. I did, however, find the stealth sections to be forgetful as they tended to become annoying. Uncharted 2 also takes more time in fleshing out its characters making the player care more for them than they would have in Drake’s Fortune. Overall Uncharted 2 is a masterwork of pacing and brings the heart of what makes an Uncharted game so great and adds the benefits of improved mechanics.
Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception is the third game on the series, and although it had a lot to live up to after the amazing Uncharted 2, it did struggle to reach the heights of its predecessor. Uncharted 3 is definitely the best looking game of the three and the visual upgrade has just made it look even better. Running through the burning French chateau is still a great spectacle and with the enhanced visuals feels even more cinematic. Uncharted 3 is where the series characterization is at its peak as we explore more of the relationship between Drake and Sully and what drives and motivates them. Shooting and cover mechanics feel better and I didn’t find myself getting frustrated when engaging in gun fights. Overall Uncharted 3 feels more like a Hollywood movie than its predecessors, from the colossal set pieces to the varied environments, the game takes you on a journey that you will be hard pressed to forget.
Bluepoint games have not only tweaked the gameplay mechanics and visual fidelity of the three games in the collection but have added a speed run mode to them. Players are now able to speed run through levels, which can be a run per level, or continuous. When in speed run mode a clock tracks your time of completion which can be compared to your best overall times. Personally I don’t see myself ever using this mode, but I know that there are gamers out there that would enjoy this added feature.
Another new feature that has been added is that the game now tracks a number of play statistics, these include a number of total kills, kills per weapon, time spend in each game and much more. The game also has the option to compare your stats to your friend’s, paving the way for some friendly competition.
Lastly, players have access to unlockable costumes, weapons and other tweaks to gameplay. These are unlocked by completing various objectives and collecting treasures. I should mention that none of the multiplayer modes have been included; I would have loved to have had these as part of the collection.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is a must have if you haven’t ventured into the adventure-filled world of Uncharted, especially with the release of Uncharted 4 around the corner. It’s great to have all three these games, running in 1080p at 60fps, this coupled with the updated models and textures really makes this one of the best re-mastered collections out there. Sure the games have moments when they show their age (particularly in the case of Drake’s Fortune), but in the case of Uncharted 2 and 3 their faults are outweighed by the story they weave and the heart at the centre of the experience. Playing through the collection isn’t only about enjoying these three games and the tales that they weave, but also about experiencing how the Uncharted series has evolved over the years and how far the games have come.