February is nearly upon us, and so too is Sony’s film adaptation of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series. While thankfully we aren’t getting a Spider-Man-esque Tom Holland skin, we are getting a re-release of the last two PS4 games in the Uncharted franchise, with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection for PlayStation 5.
The collection brings together Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, respectively the closing chapter of Nathan Drake’s story and a fun epilogue that may hint at a new (as yet uncapitalised-upon) direction for the series. I was hugely positive about both titles upon their original release, and this re-release proves they still pack a punch as riveting, polished cinematic adventures.
There’s a range of improvements that have been made in the journey over to PlayStation 5, but by far the most noticeable is the frame-rate. Playing the original PlayStation 4 version of Uncharted 4 on PS5 is a bit of a shock to the system, particularly if you’ve gotten used to the buttery smooth frame-rates that Sony’s latest console has been offering up in modern games. Yes, the original Uncharted releases run at frame-rates comparable to film, which in some ways helps contribute a cinematic aspect to them. The Legacy of Thieves Collection raises this to 60 fps or even 120 fps (if your display supports it) on the new Performance modes, and once you’ve experienced it, there’s really no going back. High-speed car chases, platforming, and just the subtleties of the game’s motion captured performances all benefit greatly from the increased frame-rate. Aside from anything else, the smoother frame-rate makes it very hard to go back to the original release which is un-optimised for PS5.
A native 4K fidelity mode is also available, and while it looks good, it’s not really necessary. Textures have been slightly cleaned up, and models have more definition and more anti-aliasing, appearing sharper and more defined particularly in some of the spectacular vistas these games offer. To be honest, the trade-off in frame-rate for the increase in resolution isn’t quite worth it, given there is no massive significant touch-up across both games.
As part of being optimised for PS5, both games also feature fast-loading, support for 3D audio and pretty well-integrated support for the haptic feedback in the DualSense controller. Each gun has its own distinct feel that is represented in the controller’s vibrations, although other actions feel a little more generic and more like standard rumble-features.
That’s really all that the Legacy of Thieves Collection brings to the table for this PS5 re-release, as there are no other extras or inclusions, not even a flashy splash screen to let you pick your game upon booting up, instead just using Uncharted 4‘s existing title screen to do the trick.
Fortunately, you’re still getting two fantastic adventure games for your money’s worth. While some of the mechanics are starting to show their age, as they were built upon popular climbing-puzzle and cover-shooter elements of the late 00’s, both games did enough differently to evolve the Uncharted formula in ways that made more sense for the story. A common complaint of the first three Uncharted games was just how many people our hero Nathan Drake, a charming rogue with a quick tongue and knack for getting into trouble, just flat out mows down in shootouts. It’s in the hundreds. Uncharted 4 recognises this disparity in character and action and tries to remedy it with stealth based encounters, where the player can choose to help Drake hide in the shadows and dispatch enemies quietly or avoid them all together. It lends some needed pacing and puzzle solving to the combat, which had previously been a Gears of Wars-esque constant push forward through the corpses of the poor mercenaries sent after you.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, meanwhile, opens things up with a medium-sized map to explore on your own terms, albeit in a shorter overall experience. Bits of The Lost Legacy feel like testing the water for future Uncharted titles, from using series mainstay Chloe as a new protagonist, to allowing the player to choose the order in which they tackle some of the game’s traversal challenges, and break up the previously strictly linear Uncharted experience.
Of course, both games feature spectacular action set-pieces and constant nail-biting moments, still working superbly as the video game versions of a popcorn action blockbusters. I mean that in the best way, of course, as both games also take the time to make invest you in their casts, both through well-directed cut-scenes but also the constant banter between characters during actual gameplay, and wonderful performances that lend a real heart to moments and scenarios where there could have been some real cheese. You can check out our full reviews of both games to get more of an idea of their individual strengths.
At AU $79 for the pack, the Legacy of Thieves Collection doesn’t represent bad value for money necessarily, especially if you’ve never played these games before. However, the real bargain is for people who own Uncharted 4 or Uncharted: The Lost Legacy already on PS4, as it’s only a AU $15 upgrade from your existing copy. With the performance improvements on PS5, that price is actually pretty fair.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection doesn’t add a whole lot of extra content, but it is absolutely the best way to play these games. The smoothness the 60fps and 120fps modes offer makes it impossible to imagine ever going back to the original PS4 releases, while small improvements to detail as well as nice inclusions like haptic feedback help the games feel a little less like the five year-old re-releases they are. As a two-pack with some of the best adventure games of the last decade, it’s a fantastic bundle to pick up.
-Two excellent popcorn adventures that look better than ever
-Buttery smooth performance mode frame-rate makes these the best versions to play
-Cost of upgrade if you own a copy is thankfully minimal, and the pack represents good value
-The actual differences between this and the initial PS4 releases are minimal, with the Collection essentially just representing a performance boost