If there ever was a poster-boy for Playstation it would be Nathan Fillion, erm, Drake. Anyway, he’s back for a digitally remastered trilogy to get us excited before Uncharted 4 beaches on our shores next year and there is much to be excited about.
Developers Naughty Dog are masters of their game, after winning accolades all over the shop you know that they can deliver. The Uncharted Collection takes the previous Drake games into the workshop for more than a quick polish by Bluepoint. They’ve tweaked gameplay in Drake’s Fortune, building on the successes and improvements made in Uncharteds 2 and 3. They have upped frame rates, removed screen tearing, added a photo mode, opened up a new Brutal difficulty and added a speed run mode for competition with friends.
As a short history lesson it’s interesting to see how far they moved on from Drake’s Fortune to Uncharted2. While trademark gameplay mechanics are still present today – even through to The Last of Us, the game feels a lot rougher round the edges. Voice acting, character models and enemy waves all offering a good experience, but nothing like the cinematic thrill-ride that Uncharted2 exploded with. Considering I reviewed that game back in 2009, it has proven that Naughty Dog make solid value entertainment that stands the test of time and is well ahead of the pack as my personal favourite.
That said the graphical improvement is worth the ticket across the board, environments are suitably lush and inviting, water effects include wet clothing which is something that I love to play with. Even the view from the hotel in Nepal, which was borderline breathtaking the first time on the PS3 is now a high definition treat for the eyes. There are also plenty of little details to enjoy, like how Drake is a touch out of breath after a burst of energy.
The gameplay isn’t broken so it didn’t need fixing and therefore still plays like a dream. Nate can run climb, jump, shoot and quicktime his way out of anything. Often making those daring leap of faith jumps with something of an invisible push from behind, but that doesn’t matter, because it keeps the game fun. For newcomers his character is equally funny and charming which helps keep you going with the story, while the supporting cast are pretty much high value co-stars that have more to do than just filling in.
Also, those being familiar with the titles find their knowledge helps keep the pace up, which leads itself to the Speed Run mode. No doubt there will be some bragging arguments setup over this mode, along with the handy pop-up message that keep you abreast of your tally in certain activities versus your friends. Yes, I do make more head-shots than you Mr Campbell.
Throughout the games the narrative is always captivating enough to stop me skipping dialogue scenes and the levels seamlessly draw you on until you realise it is two in the morning – again. When the story calls for a boss fight they can swing from genius to frustrating, by example the Tank level in Uncharted2 far outweighs the frustrating encounter with a Yeti. I felt the same about both of them back then as I do now. I also still feel the same about the spectacular train level, simply gorgeous and I’m certain the photo mode will confirm this once it gets out in the wild.
With Uncharted3 being more recent it is more familiar and might not have that same thrill for replay right now, but there is no denying the franchise is head and shoulders above most of the competition and this package is something that any self respecting PS4 owner should have safe in their collection without question.
Bring on the fourth instalment, I’m hungry for more.
Note: The Nathan Drake Collection releases on sale 7th October, 2015 and includes access to the Uncharted4 Beta in December.