Title: Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
Developer: Bluepoint Games
Release Date: October 7th (EU), October 9th (NA)
Price: £50 (standard), £60 (special edition)
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Verdict: Three great games bundled into one, but not a PS4 worthy remaster.
It is not a very well hidden fact that I adore Uncharted. It’s funny, it’s witty, and it never ceases to amaze me how much depth the characters have. I was ecstatic to see they were remastering the series, but the first thing I noticed was the price; £60 seemed a little steep for a remake. But I did get three games in one, plus a gorgeous steel book and mini art book, so I was okay with that. It was Uncharted. It was worth it.
But alas, it was not to be. I’ll break it down game by game, and you can see why:
Drake’s Fortune is my favourite of the three, but it’s showing its age, eight years on. It was impressive for a PS3 game, with the series being one of the earliest to adopt motion capture techniques, and I was hoping the remaster would just build on this. Unfortunately, it’s not to be. The character models don’t look low res or pixellated, but the only other way to honestly describe it is outdated.
I think Roman is the best example of this; he’s almost edging into the Uncanny Valley here. The skin has no glow or reflection on it, so it’s almost tacky and waxy looking? He doesn’t look like he’s natural part of the world; the lighting isn’t right, and the lack of detail really stands out. Nate and Sully don’t look much better, but, as always, the CG cutscenes at the end of the game look nicer, but here’s the thing. I can’t tell that much difference from the PS3 version.
Notice while the models look nice, they don’t look PS4 nice; it almost seems to be a standard now to have beautifully motion captured character models that have damn near nothing wrong with them, and Drake’s Fortune isn’t accomplishing that. The hair textures are exactly the same, and it doesn’t move or fall in a way that current gen games now use, and most tellingly, Nate’s ring isn’t a separate part of the model. It doesn’t sway or move when he does, and now? It’s really noticeable.
Among Thieves has, unfortunately, fallen into the same trap; it looks a little better than its predecessor, but not by much. The models are a little more detailed, though weirdly, it seems everyone but Nate looks a little more realistic. Flynn looks the best, but otherwise, it’s the same thing. The models are awkward and very obviously dated, whereas the environments are, as ever, stunning and vibrant, no matter if it’s the cities of Nepal, or the snowy mountain ranges.
In all honesty, it feels like nothing much has changed; the scenery the first time round was stunning, and there really wasn’t much you could do to improve it.
To me, it almost seems like, on a grander, zoomed out scale, everything looks gorgeous, but when you look closely, the little details have been overlooked. I already mentioned Nate’s ring, but look at the blood on Nate’s hands after the train crash:
It just looks like paint. I thought this when I first played Among Thieves, and I realised, that along with the miraculous full head of hair and beard on Francis Drake’s skeleton, it hadn’t even been changed to look a little better for current gen. And then there’s the matter of Chloe’s hair:
It looked bad by PS3 standards, but for current gen technology, which, if you remember, animated every individual strand of Lara Croft’s hair, isn’t good enough. Interestingly, you can also see Nate’s ring swinging in this picture, which begs the question as to why it wasn’t done like that in Drake’s Fortune, since the whole point of a remaster in PS4 graphics is to make it look better!
Finally, we come to Drake’s Deception:
So this is the newest game in the franchise, and as a result, looks the best out of the three, though I’m still convinced, as a native Brit, that the devs had mixed London up with Yorkshire when writing it in. I think I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve seen a guy in a flat cap in a pub in Central London.
The level of detail is better in this one, but again, it’s just not up to the standards of current gen tech, especially considering what we’ve seen them do with Uncharted 4. However, the zoomed in features, so to speak, hold up a little more; the small details on Nate’s young model are particularly cool:
But, as always, it’s nowhere near perfect. Hair is still one block that’s terrifyingly wig-like (though Chloe’s looks much better) in its stasis, and the Uncanny Valley hasn’t disappeared:
But, on the other hand, the environments look gorgeous:
If you’re wondering why I’m harping on the graphics so much, it’s because the gameplay hasn’t been tweaked at all; the infuriating lack of an option to break away from cover, which means you’re stuck jumping around like an idiot until Nate finally decides to unstick himself from the wall, clipping through multiple objects, and simply sliding to the next climbable object rather than reaching for it. Impressed, I was not. The only other possible new thing I discovered was that the treasures in Drake’s Deception were now physical objects on the ground rather than little glowy lights, but that was it. The skins were cool, but only showed up in gameplay, so all in all, it felt rather pointless.
Photo mode, on the other hand, was pretty nice. It allows you to pause the scene, though unfortunately only within gameplay, and rotate your field of view, zoom in or out, add filters, and generally set up perfect shots for your screenshot library. A good addition, if it wasn’t the only new one in the entire collection.
So, in summary?
- Photo mode is pretty cool
- All the games on one disc
- Drake’s Deception is easily the best out of the three
- Genuinely looks like a PS3 game
- No noticeable changes to gameplay
- Sub par for a remaster on next gen tech
I love Uncharted, but this isn’t a good remaster, in short.
While Uncharted isn’t the goriest or most violent of games, there’s a heavy amount of threat, swearing, and identity crises. Give it to your 15 year old, like the rating suggests, but not to the younger ones.
This game was reviewed with my own, personal copy.