The current trend of updating last gen games with a current gen polish doesn’t seem to be going away any time soon, with the Uncharted Collection being the latest game to get the updated treatment. The Nathan Drake Collection bundles together the first three instalments in the Uncharted series; Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, putting three of the best games from the PS3 era onto one handy little disc (or download should that be your cup of tea).
I love the Uncharted games. The combination of wisecracking protagonist Nathan Drake, platforming and puzzle based action, with a hefty combat system and developer Naughty Dog’s natural talent for telling engrossing, cinematic stories meant that they were on to a winner when Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune was first released on the PlayStation 3 in 2007. Truth be told, it was the desire to play Uncharted that actually made me (and no doubt countless others) buy a PS3 so that I could play this console exclusive, and I wasn’t disappointed.
Uncharted 2 came along in 2009, and continued to build on the successes of it’s predecessor, exploring the mythos around titular character Nathan Drake, expanding his supporting characters and filling in some of the blanks around his past, while developing the gameplay elements and concepts that made the first game so enjoyable to play. Finally, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception was released to complete the trilogy, continuing to expand and develop the series’ characters and gameplay even further, while allowing Naughty Dog to develop three of the most cinematic, beautifully presented stories that are not only some of the best games from the last console generation, but create one of the best trilogies too (well until that is expanded upon when Uncharted 4 releases next year).
Having played and loved the original trilogy (and the PS Vita release, Golden Abyss) I was already sold on the Nathan Drake Collection when it was first announced. Enough time had passed since I last played any of the Uncharted games that I had allowed them to drift into that area of my memory known as nostalgia, having forgotten enough to want to play them again but remembering enough to know that I would enjoy it. If like me, you have played the Uncharted games before, the decision should be an obvious one when deciding if you want to dive in and explore the beautifully crafted landscapes and lost cities of the Uncharted series. If you have never played the Uncharted games before, this is the perfect package to introduce you to the series in time for Uncharted 4 next March.
Reviews of Uncharted are all united in one thing – each game is a joy to play, and manages to blur the line between game and film, and this still stands true 8 years after the original games release. Exploring the jungles and overgrown lost cities is still a feast for the eyes, having received a visual touch up, helped along by the fact that the games looked so good to begin with, but at times it is hard to believe that these games are the best part of a decade old.
Gameplay is as good as it ever was, running and jumping and gunning your way through jungles, deserts and Siberian vistas is still as fun now as it was when the games first came out. Uncharted comes into its own in the level design, with one level flowing smoothly into the next, mixing the gameplay elements seamlessly. Each section, or chapter, only helps progress the story along, and the result is that none of the levels feel like fillers. Each game comes with the original set of trophies, plus an extended set added as part of the collection that encourage speed runs and extra play throughs. Alongside the under the hood improvements made by Bluepoint, the trophies seem to be the only other added bonus to the Collection. Previous collections such as The Halo Master Chief Collection or the excellent Rare Replay seem to have added extra nooks and crannies to explore around the games themselves, but there are none to be found here which does seem a little disappointing for true fans of the series, but is a truly minor complaint in what is an excellent and lovingly recrafted series.
The original Uncharted was a console seller, helping to boost the original sales of the PS3 in the run up to Christmas 2007, and while the PS4 has already grown roots and doing well for itself, the Uncharted Collection can only do a similar job now, such is the power of the Uncharted series. If you’ve played the games before then the Uncharted Collection serves as a great reminder of the story up to now in preparation for Uncharted 4, and for those of you who have not played any of the previous entries, or only played one or two, then this game is a must.