Uncharted really knows how to do openings. From the first time we see our intrepid hero Drake, we get an idea of what the series is all about. On-board a beat-up looking boat with series heroine Elena Fisher, Drake wastes no time getting into trouble with a band of pirates out at sea. Without thinking about it, he hands a pistol to Elena; the two otherwise cheery characters now armed and ready to fight.

“Just point and shoot, right?”, Elena responds when asked if she knows how to fire a gun – a charming moment before she and Drake gun down more than a handful of enemies without flinching. Uncharted has always possessed a weird disconnect between its loveable characters and its otherwise murder-focused shooting, but it’s only a nostalgic look back that makes this more apparent.

Uncharted Collection Review 3

That’s present in all three adventures bundled up in the Nathan Drake Collection, but it’s one softened by the inescapable fact that all three games are essentially shooters. In this regard, this curation by remaster veterans Bluepoint Games is a notably great one, with refinements across the board making the third-person action a little less floaty and a lot more precise. Shooting, especially in the first Drake’s Fortune, still feels a bit off, but it’s a stark contrast to playing the 2007 game again on PS3.

This is complemented by an excellent implementation of touched up environmental detail, coupled with the locked 60FPS gameplay at 1080p. Simply put, all three games look absolutely gorgeous by modern standards, with even the eight year-old debut sprucing up its lush green rainforests for an incredible amount of visual detail. Uncharted 3 stands even taller here, with arguably one of the best looking PS3 titles around truly shining with the extra layer of polish. Naughty Dog are masters in art direction and stylisation, and this collection makes a strong statement about their skill yet again.

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Uncharted Collection Review 2

But the sprucing up has come without its fair share of faults. The added fluidity of the doubled framerate is certainly better, but it does make some of the older animations and movement systems far more apparent. Drake’s Fortune again struggles the most with this, with Drake feeling imprecise in his movements and inconsistent with his platforming.

Being the first game in the series there are a lot of elements from Naughty Dogs first foray into Uncharted territory that screams mediocrity so many years on. It’s an oddly-paced adventure that takes many even weirder leaps of logic, like the short time of grievance Drake seems to hardly endure after his long-time partner has bitten the bullet. Add to that sections of gameplay that just feel out of place (that jetski chapter is a particular nuisance), and you’ve got a debut that worked at the time, but doesn’t shine at all now.

Uncharted Collection Review 4

The later two games, however, don’t suffer from this. Uncharted 2 in particular is still the polished jewel of an adventure title that it was when it first launched, and makes an even stronger statement on being the best in the series here. It’s not so much the remaster at work, but rather the testament that good design never ages. From the climactic train chase sequence to the quieter, more character driven platforming segments directly afterwards, Uncharted 2 is a whirlwind of excitement and near-perfect pacing – and it shows a massive leap forward in understanding of the genre from the first game.

Uncharted 3 keeps this momentum going, save for a few pacing missteps along the way. It’s still an excellent title with the most perfect balance of gunplay and bone crunching melee systems (which was ported into all three titles thanks to the masters at ), but suffers with predictable story beats and peculiar set-pieces. Still, both games manage to succeed Drake’s debut by leaps and bounds, showing how finely Naughty Dog managed to tune their craft before embarking on The Last of Us (and soon the concluding chapter of Uncharted).

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Uncharted Collection Review 5

But it’s through looking at life after Uncharted that you soon realise how much the industry has changed around he franchise. Uncharted’s whimsical band of characters brings the narrative to life through witty and humorous writing but disconnects entirely when actually stepping into the boots of Nathan Drake. The Last of Us, in comparison, featured violence in an otherwise violent world. It thematically made sense, while Uncharted struggles to justify its frequent rampages with the story that envelops it (a fact pointed out in Uncharted 2 by the villain himself no less).

Still, it’s only looking back that these issue seem glaring, considering the age the games come from. In that regard, the Nathan Drake Collection simply is the best possible remaster of the series you could’ve hoped for. If you want nothing more than to relive some of the best moment in PS3 gaming history and experience Drake’s tale one more time before next year’s conclusion, then there really is nothing to fault here. The same goes for anyone who hasn’t yet experienced the trilogy, as last week’s statistic made so clear.

Uncharted Collection Review 6

But it’s with the latter group that these problems will be more prominent, as the teachings of modern design have made us more attuned to recognizing the key roles that gameplay and narrative so closely perform together. In that regard, Naughty Dog has some thinking to do – and it’s going to be next year’s Thief’s End that ultimately answer whether Drake is a relic of a generation past or not.

 

 

Last Updated: October 12, 2015

Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Summary
A wonderfully remastered trip into Nathan Drake’s past rekindles some of the joy the franchise has brought to its thousands of fans, but also makes some of its more glaring shortcomings far more noticeable. Still, the best Uncharted Collection you could’ve hoped for is finally here.
8.0
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection was reviewed on PlayStation 4
86 / 100

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • oVg

    TOP TIP, turn aiming sensitivity to full. It totally changed the game play. I got more head shots thanks to the 60fps.

    The best thing about this collection is you get to see first hand “Greatness from small beginnings”

    • Awesome tip., Will do so!

      • oVg

        When are you back from Quarantine?

        • FRIDAY! You better have the beers ready for Sat man, I MEAN IT!

          • oVg

            lol

          • I brought you a present to make you love Drake even more 😛

          • oVg

            COOOOOOOL I must say, his character is cool. I went in with the Vita version first and thought he was just the run of the mill wise ass. But he grows on you. Kind of reminds me of a young Kirk Douglas from Romancing the Stone.

  • Francois Knoetze

    Got my special edition last week. so glad I can play these games again

  • Nikola

    I never played these games so on Saturday I sat down and played, I just coudn’t put the controller down and finished the first Uncharted game (that might be the reason why I missed the LG meet up on Saturday) and I must admit now I know why everybody was also giving the games such a high praise excited to play the rest now:)

    • Yeah, they’re good..but are they R850 good? (please don’t hit me)

      • oVg

        I paid R850 for The Order 1886. Lets just leave it at that 😛 Those were the most expensive 5hours of my hobby.

        • Nikola

          Duuuuude what a rip off, luckily I lend it from a friend and finished it! Was actually a cool game but it was WAY too short!!!

          • oVg

            Ya, the game should have been the same price as the MGSV demo 🙁

      • WitWolfy

        I paid R550 at Rage. muhahaha

        • Hammersteyn

          Most of us did XD

          • oVg

            R850 🙁 but seeing the disappointment on the other faces when they found out I brought the last copy, PRICELESS 🙂

          • WitWolfy

            You should’ve licked the cover while staring their souls out of their bodies.

          • oVg

            tee hee hee 😉

          • Skyblue

            LOL!

          • Hammersteyn

            LOL!!!

          • Nikola

            shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Not me.. Guild seemed to ‘forget’ when I called him from the BT stand… Probably too busy playing with other people to remember… 😛

          • Hammersteyn

            haha

        • Nikola

          Dude day before Rage I bought it for R850 -:|

          • Really? Did I tell you I bough tit for R600? And Guild like, just R550? Tehehehehehe (remembers party chat, you deserve this bully! *RUNS)

      • Hammersteyn

        LOL

      • Nikola

        Hahahaha I would never Geoff;) If I just waited I day I would have paid R550…

      • Who pays R850 when you can buy it at rAge for R600 😛 (or even R550!)

        • Skyblue

          Worst rAge I ever attended was when I walked out with a Forza 3 racing seat and new Razer headphones on the same weekend. Couldn’t find a single reason to attend this past weekend and my kids never even asked so we skipped it.

      • Skyblue

        I don’t think R850 for a remastered trilogy as enjoyable as Uncharted is that much tbh but then again I bought The Master Chief Collection for SP…

    • ElFakio

      That was me with uncharted 2 . Sat down on a Saturday morning thinking I’ll start it after finishing Uncharted 1 a day earlier . 9 Hours later (i was playing on hard) I was done and apparently missed a dozen phonecalls from friends trying to find out where I was

    • oVg

      LOL 1 and 2 are like chalk and cheese. If you loved 1 then 2 will blow your mind. I rate it higher than The Tomb Raider reboot. ENJOY 🙂

    • Jac7

      Uncharted 2 is mind-blowing. Epic. Enjoy 😉

    • Skyblue

      Awesome, just enjoy!

  • oVg

    I finished 1 on Friday night. A good 7hour dress rehearsal from the year 2007

    I finished 2 on Saturday, those 9hours flew by. The game BLEW MY MIND, it was relentless. As for those Vistas and 30minute set pieces, WOW

    3 hours into U3 and its graphics are better than TLOU remastered and I love the more mature approach. Charlie Cutter the foul mouthed Cockney made me laugh my arse off. The beginning is like a Guy Richie film in London. LOVE IT.

    Charlie Cutter FTW

    • WitWolfy

      ND’s very own Jason Statham.

      • oVg

        lol he cracked me up. Especially his claustrophobia and the way he stereotypes Americans 😛

        • WitWolfy

          Just a heads up, UC3 feels like they jumped the shark in the end.. I wont say what happens or spoil the climax, but there is a certain part that totally pissed me off near the end…

    • Skyblue

      Haha, only finished U3 a few months back on my PS3 so won’t be buying this collection yet but I also LOVED Charlie Cutter in the game!

      • oVg

        Im 6 hours into it now and I actually prefer it to 2. There are more exploration scenes and puzzles to solve. As for the graphics? DAM Just a 20 minute foot chase passes by the same level of detail and level design as a full blown game. Then its gone, never to be cut and pasted again.

        It looks so sweet in 1080p and as for the lighting and sharp shadows, I just squinted my eyes a little and it could be a real life movie.

        The pacing is like the last of us. Very cool game. I’m in the Uncharted 3 camp even if they ran out of budget at the end.

  • WitWolfy

    I took the dip and bought this at Rage for like R550, Drakes Fortune disappointed me beyond belief.. Why didnt they port the whole friggin game to UC2’s engine?? WTF, man… Opening Drake’s journal in DF and seeing those crappy rendered finger tips made me thrrow up in my mouth a bit…

    At chapter 17 at the moment.. Forgot how irritating those laser pointer dudes can be…

    • oVg

      Those BLOODY JET SKIES and exploding barrels, arghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!

      • WitWolfy

        Urrgh yea no doubt! Can’t wait to unlock those unlimtied ammo cheat to kick all them asses!

  • Brady miaau

    As I have said before, this seems to me to be a damn good reason to buy a playstation. Wow, it looks awesome. So much fun to be had.

    Hmm, maybe I can hide the PS4 in the Xbox 360 case or something. Wife will never know (except show is very tech savy, so that might not work.

    Maybe I can distract her long enough.

    • oVg

      Why not? the PS4 would easily fit inside the BETAMATIX, power brick included 😛

      RUNS

  • Jac7

    Really, really awesome and well written review.

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      ^-^ Thanks!

  • Buying this was the first thing I did when I got to rAge! Look forward to playing it if I ever make it back home…

  • damn, did Sandy drink some clever juice or something? The piece is well written and has like, long words and shit…

    • Alessandro Barbosa

      Awwwww <3

  • Willie Roberts

    Got the game on Wednesday and took a break from Destiny. Finished the last one after work today and I am truly impressed. I owned it for the PS3 but never really got into playing it, but the remaster was well worth the play time. I will admit I really enjoy the story line and I love the continuity in the 3 different games which so many other titles lack.

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