I’ve spent the last month playing all 3 of the Uncharted games that are apart of the Nathan Drake Collection, quite thoroughly down to the trophy hunter side of me. I’ve been eagerly wanting to play this collection for quite some time, with it previously being my favourite game series until The Last of Us came out (I know, not a series… yet) and I was delighted when I got to put the disc in my console for the first time.
So of course, the first port of call was Drake’s Fortune, and to be honest, I’ve been looking for an excuse to play this one again for quite some time. I can’t quite compare the controls in all honestly, though there’s been some updates from the original revolving around the us of grenades to bring them in line with the two sequels. I have to say, it is a phenomenal looking game, and from what I’ve heard, required the most attention to remaster (again I haven’t compared with the original, though I still have all 3). A nice addition to all of the games is the photo mode. I spent quite a bit of time, as you might be able to tell, messing around with angles trying to get a great shot in certain situations, though there are some limits to the distance from Drake, presumably to prevent you from seeing something you shouldn’t, and you can’t go in to photo mode while shooting, which was admittedly disappointing. But as you can see from this review, I’ve got some good screenshots.
Playing all three games again was like reigniting a love affair with the series, making me that much more eager for the final chapter in Drake’s story next month. Returning to those characters that are instantly lovable, or hateable, more notably Harry Flynn and Talbot which I find to be the most dislikeable characters in the games, in a good way of course, something Naughty Dog seem to be incredibly good at throughout the majority of their games, Joel, Ellie and Sarah in The Last of Us, and you know how long the latter character was in the game.
The strength of the characters adds greatly to each game’s story, although many have commented on pacing issues in Drake’s Fortune and Drake’s Deception, I can’t really fault the stories personally, well, maybe except the third which does have some plot holes with a few things unexplained. And as brilliant as the cruise ship in the third game is, story wise, it does just seem to be put in because they had the idea with not much to tie it together, with a pirate that just randomly shows up midway in to link it with the rest of the story.
The gameplay is as solid as I remember, though I did have the occasional annoyance on the newly implemented speed runs, with getting through the game as fast as possible and what I wanted to do not exactly being portrayed on screen, but that is usually the case when you’re frantically rushing with one eye on the clock trying to get that trophy.
Gunplay is now mapped to the L2 and R2 buttons, just like the majority of other modern third and first person shooters, with grenades being mostly handled with the L1 button and reload on R1. The face buttons remain the same with the touchpad now bringing up Drake’s Journal and options bringing up the pause menu.
Some of the sequences still give me just as much as a thrill as before, especially Among Thieves on the train with all the scenery joining seemlessly together as you progress up the carriages, is still an incredible technical feat. All the big set pieces are incredible, the plane as it comes apart over the desert with Drake scrambling through the air for dear life, the sequences where everything crumbles around the characters as they try to avoid being caught in the collapse, they’re absolutely mesmerising and still absolutely wow me.
It’s not all about the action though, as great as it is. Nolan North does a fantastic job at bringing Nathan Drake to life, with his acting in the FMV scenes, to his commentary as Drake moves through the environments, such as the famous words, “is that a popcorn machine?”. It’s not just Nolan North, but the rest of the cast as well, and they all bring that humour, which is another thing I love about the series, it’s not all about the serious action, but the lighter moments too, such as Nate grabbing Sully’s hand after being told by Elena that hugging was frowned upon.
For the trophy hunting side, there’s plenty to go at again, and it’s not overly difficult stuff… for the platinum that is. Crushing does, to me, and I’m sure a few others as well, seem easier than the original versions of the game. Though, if you want 100% trophy completion, prepare for a challenge. Brutal difficulty is a new mode for the Nathan Drake Collection across all three games, each has a juicy gold trophy and are really quite difficult, some sections insanely so. I consider myself a good gamer, quite a bit above average but not up in the elite leagues like others, and some points were just crazy. 1-2 bullets cause instant death throughout, and veterans of the series know how hectic some of the shoot outs can get.The difficulty is definitely above that of Crushing on the PS3 games, and some sections are just stupidly difficult. For instance, there’s one point on the train where there’s a guy shooting at you a couple of carriages down. You have to take him down instantly pretty much, and of course, the train’s moving and you have one to two other guys climbing either side of you, and he’s stupidly accurate. So I died, probably close to 50 times, or more, just on that bit, and then there’s the Djinn in Drake’s Deception just before you get to the pool, another stupidly hard part.
So, what else can be said? There’s 3 absolutely beautiful games here, miraculously all on a single disc, brought up to 1080p and all run more or less constantly at 60fps. The FMV sequences are brought up to the same, but to me at least, I can tell there’s a slight dip in the video quality compared to the game play, where it doesn’t quite seem as crisp, but you can’t have everything, with three previously 30+gb games on a 50gb bluray disc. If you’ve never played an Uncharted game before, then what the hell are you waiting for?