Reviewing art, be it a painting, music, or in this case a video game can be difficult outside of its original release time period. To truly understand and appreciate such creations, one must take into account the time, culture, and period of that products release. In the case of the Uncharted series, this review has been one was most challenging I have written. I say this because 2015 was the first time I played Uncharted. Yes I’ve heard it clamored about for years on Podcast Beyond and on twitter, but last generation I owned a Wii and a 360 until The Last of Us was released. The fact that I already played the Last of Us before ever stepping foot in Nathan Drake’s world of adventuring also hinders my ability to appreciate the Uncharted series in the same way that so many other gamers do. In my opinion, the Last of Us is the definitive Uncharted game: bettering Uncharted in visuals, gameplay, and story across the board. However, the Uncharted collection represents just how Naughty Dog arrived to such heights.
When I purchased the Nathan Drake Collection I wanted to have a 30 hour experience where I fall in love with the story, each character and be stoked to jump onto Uncharted 4. It just didn’t happen for me. I think not playing these games when they mattered most ultimately has lessened the experience for me.
It should be stated that Drakes Fortune was released in 2007 and Among Thieves was released in 2009. Even though they’ve been updated for the Nathan Drake Collection release on PS4 in 2015, they have not been remade and tweaked mechanically outside of a shared control system. The Nathan Drake Collection is more focused on enhanced visuals and frame-rate. Also, none of the three games in the compilation feature any of the multiplayer modes from the original releases.
- Both Drakes Fortune & Among Thieves look and move great. The work they put into the visual update, when compared to the original releases, are stellar and definitely jump off the screen.
- I can now safely say, Naughty Dog is the best at water physics & visuals in the industry.
- The Nathan Drake Collection has one of the better interfaces I’ve experienced for a compilation game. All 3 games share an intuitive menu and control schemes and getting in and out of each one is simple.
- For those that haven’t played them before, the Uncharted Series (at least the first two) is a great tomb raiding action adventure game that lets you shoot, jump, drive your way through an Indiana Jones like narrative.
- Cut scenes, set pieces, and overall narrative provide a good tale to keep you interested although I didn’t find new characters introduced in Uncharted 2 as fleshed out as they could have been.
- Photo mode (and I’ll include Share Factory) lets players share their Uncharted experiences via Twitter and YouTube with others, a minor but nice addition not available last generation.
- Having played The Last of Us beforehand – I can’t help but feel that Uncharted, albeit unfairly judged, doesn’t stack up. Not to say the games aren’t good, but the Uncharted narrative definitely didn’t keep me chomping at the bits for the next reveal. This is where judging a game out of its initial time of release can become problematic. I’m sure the characters and story of Uncharted in 2007 and 2009 were among the best video games had to offer at the time. In 2015 however, there are stronger alternatives.
- The puzzle solving in the first two games I found to be mostly obtuse and tedious. I referenced a walkthrough for help with two of them and during those times I kept thinking if I didn’t have the guide that I wouldn’t have put everything together. Specifically in Uncharted 2, there is a puzzle that requires carrying stones, matching them to paintings and colors with symbols was just time consuming, obtuse, and for me personally not very entertaining.
- I wished the puzzles were more inline with those found in a Zelda temple. Introduce a mechanic, then add a level of complexity over time. Throwing me into a room and having me reference Drake’s journal for some weird never before used note seems like padding.
- Both games have too many enemies and puzzles that I think are just to extend the game. Upon completion of the first two games, I largely forgot many of the chapters that got me to the story’s pivotal moments and felt like the journey could have been quicker without impacting the narrative.
- The platforming in Uncharted 1 & 2 show their age. Several frustrations occurred when I would attempt to lean and jump only to watch Nathan careen off into the depths of a cavern or off the side of a cliff.
- I also got stuck in a wall and a wood platform on separate occasions.
At a 59.99 retail release, The Nathan Drake Collection provides a great narrative based action game in the realm of the Tomb Raiders, Zelda’s, and Batman’s. When compared to these games, the Collection represents a great value as a 3 games priced for one. However, many action / adventure series such as a Batman or an Assassins Creed have adopted open world exploration environments that allow more freedom for the user and extends the replay ability. The Nathan Drake Collection without any multiplayer support offers little replay value.
The Nathan Drake Collection had a big media push from Naughty Dog when it was leaked. Like the Master Chief Collection before it, the Uncharted Collection was marketed as this developer celebration of one of the flagship characters in the Sony wheelhouse. Because of that, I really wish there was some developer commentary, behind the scenes, interviews or more work put into some of the gameplay.
Those looking to jump into the world of Uncharted have a great starting point in the Nathan Drake Collection. Unfortunately, visual upgrades and DualShock 4 support can’t hide the age of the original releases or the flaws that are remain present with the gameplay. Although, some might prefer that the gameplay has left mostly unchanged and true to the original releases. Its easy to nitpick at every flaw and loose sight of the forest. In that mindset, the Uncharted Collection gives a player a great romp through an adventure tale and sets the groundwork needed for Uncharted 4’s release on PS4. Naughty Dog is easily one of the best devs in the biz and this collection is a chronicle of how that came to be.