Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PlayStation 4) – PS4 cartography

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I know that not everyone has played Uncharted‘s first three games. And I can forgive you for that, if you are one of them. Maybe you only had an Xbox 360. Perhaps you just didn’t own a game console. Perhaps you were sick for a decade. I don’t know. Hence: forgiveness. But if you got yourself a PlayStation 4 then Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection had better be sitting in the tray right about now or you and I are going to have words.

History Lesson

Uncharted 1If you played the PlayStation 3 games, you can skip this bit. The rest of you, listen up. The Uncharted series stars one Nathan Drake, he of the title of this little anthology. Nathan Drake is an adventurer who is part Indiana Jones, part Lara Croft (who precedes him in terms of video game tradition) and all Nolan North, the voice actor who portrays Drake’s character. Which makes Nathan a sarcastic, optimistic, often amusing guy to have around. Especially when the excrement hits the fan, which it usually does because of something Nathan did or someone he pissed off.

Nathan Drake is a thief, a con man, a trickster and a damn good friend, an orphan and wanderer in some of the world’s most scenic locations, someone who is extremely lucky considering how many times he dodges death. He’s also obsessed with the life of legendary explorer Sir Francis Drake, from whom Nathan claims descent. This obsession serves to send players on the three adventures contained in this remastered collection, which literally span the globe. The gameplay is fairly samey across the three games but you’re spending time here more for the stories, which are all excellent. As a whole, anyway.

The Lineup

Uncharted 2Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection includes the three main games in the series. There is a fourth game, Uncharted: Golden Abyss, which remains a PlayStation Vita exclusive. You won’t find that one here. Instead you will find (in order of release) Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, from 2007, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, from 2009  as well as Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, from 2011.

That’s a lot of game for your money, even if that money is full price for a PlayStation 4 release. If you missed the original releases then you’re getting more than your money’s worth – even at a full R800. If you played them all before, having to shell out R800 for the Uncharted trilogy all over again might be a tougher sell.

Changelog

Uncharted 4There are three games here, which means three sets of changes. But first, what hasn’t changed: the stories are unaltered, the gameplay has only had patch correction applied by the look of things, and there’s nothing extra included with the three games. This is both good and bad. The Uncharted series was fine as it was but a purely visual overhaul isn’t going to be enough to entice some gamers. Gameplay, which consists chiefly of shooting, sneaking (badly), climbing and watching cutscenes could have done with a slight overhaul but it’s still not much to complain about.

What has changed considerably is the level of detail across all three games, with first title Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune benefiting the most from the paint and polish. Nathan and co.’s faces are noticeably better lit, exhibiting more lifelike properties than were evident the first time around.

Though the upgrade is the most obvious in the first game, Uncharted 2‘s update is nothing to sneeze at either. Like Drake’s Fortune character faces are improved, environmental lighting looks more natural (to the point of feeling odd, if you played the original games) and flame and particle effects, which Among Thieves did well enough the first time around, are also more polished.

The third game, Drake’s Deception, is the hardest to assess, simply because it looked so good when it released in 2011. Even on the PlayStation 3 this is still a very attractive game, the resulting visual update here has set a bar for most PlayStation 4 titles that will stand until Uncharted 4 lands. Almost certainly, anyway, I haven’t had hands-on time with A Thief’s End as yet.

Verdict

Uncharted 3Honestly, if you missed the Uncharted games the first time around and are at all fond of the adventure genre of movies (think Indiana Jones or anything else where the hero succeeds against all odds in a feel-good kinda way) then you owe it to yourself – and whoever is watching – to play The Nathan Drake Collection. If you’re an old fan looking to brush up on the storyline ahead of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End then you might also have a reason to pick the collection up. But if you still have a PS3 and the original trilogy, they’ll serve just as well.

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