UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection Review
No other series has defined PlayStation’s legacy within the last two decades as Uncharted. “Sic Parvis Magna” isn’t just a phrase that’s thrown throughout the series as a story beat, but exactly how from its humble beginnings, Uncharted elevated the bar for many development teams among the Sony family, including the Santa Monica based development team themselves. Naughty Dog have gone above the threshold and strove for greatness in each and every release, and has been instrumental in PlayStation’s ongoing successes in the hardware market. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End sought to end the team’s post at the helms of our mighty, yet overly-confident treasure hunter Nathan Drake, with his mentor Victor Sullivan attached to the hip. But it was also an emotional stretch that saw a twenty-something year old kid become a man.
A man that would eventually fall in love, settle down, become domesticated and have responsibilities to his family. While a ‘Domesticated Drake’ was living the simple life, the treasure trove was endless and the world kept spinning with a sea of thieves still at it for gold, leaving ex-cohorts to do their deeds respectively. Chloe Frazer took the lead in her own spin-off with Uncharted: Lost Legacy; an amazing once off that saw the Australian plunderer travel through a similar path we saw in Uncharted 4, with an unlikely partner at her side in Nadine Ross – one of two lead antagonists in the aforementioned Drake title. The two games packaged does this final chapter justice as Naughty Dog bids a fond farewell to a cornerstone of PlayStation’s legacy, in Drake and his preposterous perils. Is it goodbye? or just a ‘catch you later, kid?’ Who knows?
So, let’s begin with the obvious question here. What’s actually new about this collection, and why do I need it when I already own both games? Well, for starters; both have zero load times. Not once did I run into any loading issues that were more than sufficient to run bot Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy. Recalling both title’s PlayStation 4 version, just booting the game was well over a minute long whereas the PS5 port has existentially removed anything that resembles an Uncharted loading screen. This playing in part of the new NVMe M.2 hardware that’s capable of incredible hard drive speeds. Graphically, both titles are still a marvel. Little to no texture pop-in occurred during my playthrough of both games, and indeed looked incredibly crisp and vibrant on a 4K monitor. The detail laid is immaculate in comparison, making the PlayStation 4 version seem well ahead of its time.
But in terms of grasping its sensation, the Dualsense haptics double-down on the Uncharted experience from the smallest snap of Nate’s fingers, shaking a vile of resin, to collapsing down a rocky mountainside and explosive canons off a pirate ship. The controller LITERALLY, and I mean LITERALLY in every sense of the word, jumped out of my hands while escaping a Panama prison. Scraping the sides of a hill scape and torching a van to flames, these are all unique feelings and senses that should be impossible to translate into a motorised mechanic within a gaming controller, but the PS5 somehow manages to immerse and evoke feeling in these incredible cinematic joyrides. Now gameplay wise, for the initiated it’s like riding a bicycle. Just jump in – no-pun intended – strap yourself with as much ammunition needed and get hunting for gold.
For newcomers however, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this collection as an entry point to the franchise unless you’re already well acquainted with its lore. I would however highly recommend Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection for starters, gaining the experience and knowledge needed, then returning here. It is quite befuddling that a collection dubbed “Legacy” omits the first three chapters of such a magnanimous series. Regardless, Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy Remastered have come out on-top winners in re-appraising its ports on new hardware. This is more than an upscaled remaster that had was seen in Bluepoint Games’ bolstered bunch of Naughty Dog originals for PS4, rather taking the framework of the individual games and assets, plus adding a layer of needed polish and abolishing anything that may resemble a stutter or shortcoming, perfecting each respective game with stunning visuals and re-rendered cinematics.
Skeletons in the closet...
✔️Remastered to perfection. Graphically untouchable and incredibly immersive.
✔️Dualsense haptics are on another level in this collection.
✔️Zero load times, Native 4K 60FPS, crisper detail in graphics and HDR? A masterclass in gaming.
❌Some bugs, but nothing a quick patch can’t fix.
Let’s not beat around the bush here, Uncharted is in a league of its own when describing each integral facet and feature of its respective line-up. The Legacy of Thieves collection cements this by giving Nate his moment again, only with a little more detail, while The Lost Legacy shines with those that may have missed it on the PlayStation 4. Chloe’s sidequest with Nadine gives Laura Bailey’s role some legging upon experiencing A Thief’s End, to understand the newcomer’s character and background, while Frazer remains as mischievous as ever. Meanwhile, Nate’s more contemporary life has lead the treasure hunter into finding rare commodities for Jameson Marine Incorporated; an excavation company that salvages sunken items.
Now married, Nate leaves his old life behind committing to his once rocky relationship to his wife Elena. The reporter continues her work as a writer, while Drake reminisces on old finds while working. But the need for adventure lingers and only gets stronger upon the re-emergence of his once thought dead brother Samuel Drake. The abandoned brothers had believed they were the heirs to the Drake fortune, while they also investigated the long lost treasure of Pirate, Sir Henry Avery. Only, the two would need an insurance policy by the name of Rafe Adler, who’s obsession over Avery’s gold never wavered.
Now reaching mid-life, Nate and his estranged Brother secretly head off in hopes of discovering the city of Pirates and Avery’s riches that was said to be buried there. If this truly is Nathan Drake’s final arc, then its story is excellently concluded with what is quite possibly one of gaming’s greatest feats in gameplay, writing, graphical fidelity and cinema. It’s bowed in a neat re-release that personifies what was a unique period for PlayStation fans, and how inspirational this series truly was not just for gamers, but for the industry as a whole. Without it, there would be no Last of Us, or Tomb Raider reboot. Assassin’s Creed wouldn’t be as diverse, nor mechanically ranged. It’s games and franchises like this that live on forever through conversation. That’s backed by the amazing talents of its performers that do more than stand in a booth here. Nolan North IS Nathan Drake, the swagger, the personality, the character is all engrained into the experienced and revered Voice Over artist.
Troy Baker as Samuel Drake is a match made in heaven with Nolan, sharing a brotherly bond the two had in real life. Emily Rose as Elena Fisher is almost like looking into a 3D rendered mirror of the actor herself, while Richard McGonagle’s portrayal as long-time father figure and rapscallion Victor Sullivan, footprints the Cigar smoker’s gravelly vocals with mentorship. Claudia Blacks Chloe Frazer puts the actor on a pedestal to take over the series and bring it to new heights, while Laura Bailey’s Nadine Ross has a mysterious path in the Uncharted legacy that will surely be seen down the line. While these two titles omit some foundations of Uncharted’s longstanding ties to Naughty Dog’s in controversial dismissals and departures – most notably series creator’s Amy Hennig who left during pre-production – The Last of Us Team of Neil Druckmann and Bruce Straley did the final chapter justice and has concluded Uncharted with one of Drake’s most intense and memorable escapades, ever.
Uncharted - PlayStation
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Seek your legacy and leave your mark on the map in UNCHARTED: Legacy of Thieves Collection. Experience Naughty Dog’s thrilling, cinematic storytelling and the iconic franchise’s largest blockbuster action set pieces.