If you own a PS5 and have never played Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, or its standalone expansion The Lost Legacy, then thanks to Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection there’s never been a better time.
It beggars belief that Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is now over five years old. Bringing treasure hunter Nathan Drake out of retirement for one last adventure after his older brother, Sam, waltzes back into his life, it’s aged like fine wine. The pair end up on a wild goose chase, seeking out the treasure of legendary pirate Henry Avery. Though along the way, they have competition in the form of a former business associate Rafe Adler, and the private mercenary group he’s hired headed up by the fierce Nadine Ross.
A little darker than the trilogy that came before it, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has it all. Stunningly realised environments just beg to be explored, and the introduction of a grappling hook presents another dimension to the traversal. To add some gameplay variety, stealth also plays a major role, as does combat. In fact, enemy encounters are a highlight; the mechanics might not be as tight as those found in other third-person shooters, but the need to keep on your toes and think fast make each firefight an adrenaline-fuelled affair.
But it’s the numerous set-pieces found within Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End that really cement it as one of the all-time greats. From desperately making your way through a collapsing structure, to being chased by shoreline vehicles, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has more moments that will have you on the edge of your seat than any other game in memory. It’s a masterclass in storytelling, too, with a scene towards the end of the game in which Nathan gets a little too excited about a table of dead pirates really making its mark.
As much as we love Nathan Drake, however, follow-up The Lost Legacy proves that the Uncharted series doesn’t need him to continue. It puts players in control of Chloe Frazer, who first appeared in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, who’s determined to recover an artifact called the Tusk of Ganesh before a group of insurgents headed up by a warlord called Asav. She’s not working alone though, having recruited the very same Nadine Ross who you were up against in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End.
Set in India, The Lost Legacy presents more of the same environment-traversing action interspersed with bouts of intense combat and puzzles – only this time it’s a little more balanced. And while Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End dipped its toes into the open-world format in places, The Lost Legacy takes things even further, allowing you to chart your own course though multiple objectives for a substantial portion of the game. Needless to say, if another Uncharted game ever does come to fruition, we imagine it taking a leaf or two out of The Lost Legacy‘s book.
While some may pick at Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End‘s pacing, the only complaints we can really levy at both it and its standalone expansion are the result of its messy melee combat occasionally troublesome controls. Getting into a fist fight feels unrefined for the most part, but thankfully it only makes for a very small portion of the gameplay. Perhaps more troublesome is Nathan’s and Chloe’s stickiness in the heat of battle. You might be close to death and running for your life, aiming to drop off a ledge and flee to safety. They might have other ideas, however, turning around and catching the ledge as you go, keeping you in harm’s way for a second or so that could prove to be disastrous. Still, in the grand scheme of things, both of these issues are minor.
Remastered for PS5, those who have already played Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End or The Lost Legacy, especially on PS4 Pro, might look at screenshots of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection and wonder how the games have actually been improved. The truth is, both Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy were already stunning-looking games despite their age, and so visual upgrades are scant. The only really obvious enhancement is improved shadows. Instead, this collection focuses on the implementation of PS5-centric features such as 3D sound and DualSense support. It also has dramatically reduced loading times, and more importantly, improved performance.
Three graphics modes are available in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. Those who are all about the visuals can select Fidelity, which pushes 4K albeit at 30fps. It really does make the visuals shine, but playing at 30fps seems a bit old-hat now. Most, then, will settle for Performance mode, which renders at 1440p before upscaling to 4K, and runs at a smooth 60fps. It both looks fantastic and plays great; at 60fps, the gameplay of both Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy is transformed, with gunplay being noticeably improved.
The action can be made even smoother if you have a cutting-edge TV up to the task. Performance+ graphics mode takes the resolution down further – to 1080p – but allows the framerate to go all the way up to 120fps. Those sensitive to the difference between 60 and 120fps may want to make to use of it, especially given that it only makes the visuals that little bit more blurry. It’s just a shame that the multiplayer aspect of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, which would really benefit from the upgrade, isn’t included.
While improved performance is no doubt the biggest benefit of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, other improvements do also make their presence welcome. Thanks to Activity Card support and lightning fast loading times, for example, you can actually be playing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End or The Lost Legacy within seconds from the PS5 dashboard. And while its DualSense implementation may not be the best, haptic feedback and subtle use of the adaptive triggers do add considerably to the immersion.
No doubt some will have expected more of a visual overhaul, but it’s hard to find fault with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. Both Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy still look stunning, and thanks to better frame rates and other PS5-centric features they are more immersive and fun to play than ever before. If you own one or both of these games on PS4 and are considering playing them again, it’s well worth upgrading. And if you’ve never played them? Well, you’d be mad to let the opportunity pass you by again if you own a PS5.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection Review – GameSpew’s Score