In a move that must be timed to coincide with the impending Uncharted movie release date, the developers from Sony's Naughty Dog studio are releasing remastered versions of their two most recent Uncharted games.
When the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection lands on PS5 this week (and on PC later this year), players will be able to revisit 2016's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and 2017's Uncharted: The Lost Legacy with a bevy of visual options that were not available before.
Reviewing a remaster is always something of a tricky proposition, though - are you actually reviewing the games themselves (which already got a round of positive write-ups when they initially launched), or should you focus instead on the upgrades that have been made in the new version and whether they're worth paying for?
If you'd like some insight in the former camp, well, we're pleased to report that A Thief's End and The Lost Legacy are both still really good games, among the most ambitious and re-playable titles in the Uncharted franchise. Between the two games, you'll see how Nathan Drake's story concludes and how his legacy lives on afterwards, playing from a number of different perspectives as you do so.
The opening segment of A Thief's End is particularly worth a look at the moment, with its extended flashback about Nathan's younger years seeming like the pitch-perfect prototype for Tom Holland's role in the upcoming big-screen adaptation. This opening level is both an introduction to Nathan as a character and a tutorial to the franchise's common gameplay mechanics, making it a perfect place for new or returning fans to jump in.
If you're looking for an Uncharted fix to accompany your excitement about the film, this brace of games will do the job nicely - they've got great action sequences, twisty narratives and an array of interesting characters to meet and areas to explore.
But what about the second camp? What does this remaster add to those pre-loved games? Uncharted 4: A Thief's End already boasts a 93 Metacritic score, while The Lost Legacy has a respectable 84 on Metacritic, so why should you pick up this remaster rather than just playing the original games (which you can probably find cheaper than the remaster package)?
Well, the perks of this remaster mostly fall into the visual category, with Sony and Naughty Dog ramping up the options when it comes to graphical fidelity and frames-per-second performance. The games have now been bolstered with no less than three different visual modes.
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Your options are Quality mode (which offers frame rates up to 30 fps and a resolution of 3840 x 2160, more commonly known as 4K), Performance mode (up to 60 fps and 2560 x 1440 resolution, better known as QHD) or Performance Plus mode (up to 120 fps and 1080p resolution, which is your standard Full HD). That's a really nice range of options, but you will need more than just a PS5 to be able to see all the benefits of those choices.
If you've got yourself a really nice gaming monitor or one of the best TVs for gaming (like the LG C1, for example), you'll be able to take your pick from those options. If you're able to get Performance Plus mode running, you'll be feeling the game in a smoother way than you ever could've done before. Or if you can run Quality mode, the characters and settings in the games will look sharper than before. All of these options are great to have, and they'll surely go down well when the Legacy of Thieves Collection gets its PC release later down the line.
It's worth stressing here that your mileage may vary when it comes to seeing and enjoying these visual upgrades. If you haven't upgraded your TV since you last played these games, and you can't run 4K or reach 120 fps on your screen of choice, you might find yourself struggling to see the benefits of buying these games again in this fancy new package. (Remember when the Mass Effect: Legendary Edition came out and the second and third games felt very similar to their original versions? If you don't have a powerful screen backing you up, you might get a comparable feeling here.)
That being said, there are a few other changes to be enjoyed beyond the new visual modes. Whichever mode they're able to run, eagle-eyed players should also spot some on-screen enhancements within the games' chapters themselves, with the level of detail increased in many key areas, making the overall feel a smidge richer and more realistic. You might also notice that the contrast has been ramped up in some places, making the colours pop that little bit more. Greyed out visuals aren't as trendy as they once were, after all.
There are changes going on behind the scenes, too, with faster loading times being deployed as well as 3D Audio and DualSense controller features like Haptic Feedback and Adaptive Triggers. Naughty Dog has turned these PS4 games into PS5 games, basically, so it's worth checking these new versions out if you've got a PS5, a good telly and a desire to jump into the Uncharted franchise (either for the first time or as a returning fan).
It is hard to shake the feeling that Naughty Dog could have done something a little bit more showy to mark the release of the big Uncharted movie, though. While a brand new Uncharted game might have been too much to hope for (Naughty Dog has been pretty busy with The Last of Us franchise in recent years), it would've been nice to see a full remastered collection that gave this same treatment to the first three Uncharted games as well as the more recent ones.
As it stands, the original Uncharted trilogy hasn't been given a polish since 2015's The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4. Of course, retooling those older games would be a much bigger and more time-consuming task. You can't really blame the developers for it, but what we've got instead of a full remastered box-set feels a lot like Uncharted: The Ones That Needed The Least Work Collection.
To call it a cash-grab would be overly harsh, as the improvements here are noticeable and admirable, but you could argue that Nathan Drake's arrival on the big-screen deserved a bigger splash for his video-game counterpart.
Read more on Uncharted:
- How to play the Uncharted games in order
- Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection trophies - full list
- How many chapters in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection?
- Who is Henry Avery? Uncharted 4's opening quote explained
- How to upgrade Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection - transfer your PS4 save
- How many hours it takes to beat Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
- Uncharted movie release date
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection launches 28th January on PS5 with a PC launch coming later in 2022.