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Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves Collection

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 5
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: Jan. 28, 2022

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PS5 Review - 'Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection'

by Andreas Salmen on Jan. 26, 2022 @ 7:00 a.m. PST

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a remastered bundle that includes Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

Buy Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection

We're at a point in the PS5's lifecycle where all major PS4 releases have either received a patch unlocking the frame rate on the PS5 or have gotten a dedicated port job to Sony's latest console.

That's the case for all but one of Sony's largest franchises.

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection drops just in time for its first major movie release in February, and it includes a promotion for a free movie ticket as well as Uncharted 4 and the DLC-turned-sequel, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The question is whether Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a smart marketing campaign or a genuinely worthwhile update for one of its most renowned franchises.

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a straight port of the single-player campaigns of Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost legacy. Both horde and multiplayer modes have been stripped out, so if you hoped for a new Naughty Dog multiplayer experience, you'll likely have to wait for Last of Us 2's multiplayer. I've never really bought into these modes, so their absence is a minor inconvenience to me, but others may feel differently. That means that what we'd said in our initial PS4 reviews about the campaigns in Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy applies to this collection as well, but it's interesting to take a look at how well both titles have aged in the intervening years. The short answer is "excellent."

While Uncharted 4 is the big finale of Nathan Drake's story, The Lost Legacy focuses on a set of familiar characters from previous entries, with Chloe (present in Uncharted 2 and Uncharted 3) and Nadine (one of the antagonists in Uncharted 4) in a separate adventure that's set after — and largely unrelated to — Uncharted 4. Both titles are fun from start to finish.

Both are built on the same foundation and share most gameplay mechanics, but they have different approaches to the game. Uncharted 4 is heavy on character development and dialog, which it handles exceptionally at times. Nathan's relationships to his long-lost brother, his wife Elena, and partner-in-crime Sully are believably written and leave room for crucial character development, but that all comes at the cost of drawing things out. With a runtime of 15-20 hours, depending on how much you get sidetracked with collectibles and taking in the scenery, the adventure can feel a bit padded with extensive moments of downtime. The emphasis on dialog pays off, especially if you've played the trilogy of titles leading up to this finale.

The Lost Legacy, however, doesn't have the same number of known characters and relationships to draw from. At half of the runtime, that doesn't leave much room for the same level of storytelling. While still an enjoyable ride, the one-dimensional bad guy and an over-reliance on cheesy back-and-forth dialogue is as enjoyable as it is forgettable.

While Uncharted 4 comes out ahead in the story department, but I enjoy other aspects of The Lost Legacy. Both retain the Indiana Jones vibe of uncovering an ancient mystery, but I enjoyed Nadine's and Chloe's quest to hunt down an ancient artifact. Whereas Uncharted 4 leads you through relatively recent pirate structures across the globe, The Lost Legacy has a similar atmosphere as Uncharted 2, which I still consider to be the best entry in the series, with its exploration of traditional temple structures.

Both titles play fundamentally the same, with large puzzle and on-rails climbing sections interspersed with calm moments of exploration, explosive set-pieces, and flashy firefights. The main difference is structure. Uncharted 4 features several open areas where you can explore at your leisure, but the areas are relatively small, while the rest of the experience falls back on the more linear approach of previous titles. The Lost Legacy largely takes place in the same open-world environment and offers several options to stray off the beaten path or solve its early objectives in any order.

The open-world section alone can last several hours, and I hope it's a sign to come for future Uncharted games. Making an open-world area part of the overarching puzzle to reach your destination is infinitely more satisfying than completing a set of levels in an established order. Everything still feels familiar and over-reliant on the established formula. While the two titles contain arguably some of the best action set-pieces of the entire series, such as the phenomenal chase scene in Uncharted 4, they start to feel familiar, like a callback to previous entries rather than charting their own paths. Coupled with the fact that a huge portion of both games is relatively easy to beat without requiring much thought, and things can occasionally start to drag.

These games are not easy, though. On the contrary, once you go beyond the medium difficulty setting, the shooting sections are just as challenging as they used to be. I've never been a fan of the shooting mechanics in the Uncharted titles, but with the introduction of stealth to thin out the opponents and the grappling hook for fast traversal, things are looking up. They still feel overly floaty and pressure you into a very specific play style to succeed as you increase the difficulty, but when they click, you can expect some of the most polished shooting sequences in some of the most beautiful locations of any game in recent memory.

Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy are still some of the best-looking titles released on the PS4, especially considering their age. Uncharted 4 was released almost six years ago, followed by its stand-alone expansion about a year later. They're a cinematic tour de force and an action aficionado's dream. A mix between Indiana Jones and a Michael Bay movie, the games feature production values that are rarely seen in the industry, so it's not surprising that they look phenomenal. If these weren't ports, you'd be hard-pressed to find any indication that the titles are years old. In more drastic terms, you won't spot any earth-shattering visual differences between this compilation and their original releases.

Legacy of Thieves Collection offers three separate modes: Fidelity runs in native 4K at 30fps, Performance runs upscaled 4K from 1440p at 60fps, and Performance+ runs in 1080p and provides up to 120fps for monitors that support higher refresh rates. That said, I find it curious that there are three modes to begin with. I had hoped that Sony might be able to pull off a native 4K at 60fps and perhaps rudimentary ray tracing at 30, but neither is present.

The most interesting mode is Performance+, and Legacy of Thieves Collection is one of the first titles to support it, although we couldn't test out 1080p at 120fps due to the lack of a capable monitor. It's still an option that I'd like to see implemented more often.

As for visual differences between the settings, apart from a loss of sharpness for faraway objects and level of detail due to resolution, I have not been able to catch many differences between the Fidelity and Performance modes. I also wasn't able to accurately identify any major visual differences between this remaster and the original PS4 release, apart from what seem to be higher-resolution shadows and increased texture detail here and there. Due to how great these titles already looked, this is neither a big loss nor a compelling enough reason to upgrade to the PS5 version, with the exception of the increased frame rate. To be clear, that bump in frames is transformative to the experience, especially in the fast-paced action sequences and firefights. It's an upgrade that a patch for the PS4 version could've equally accomplished.

Legacy of Thieves Collection also utilizes the other features of the PS5. Loading times are almost instantaneous, and the DualSense controller is fully supported, so it adds haptic feedback and adaptive triggers to the experience. They're not the best implementations I've seen, but there are some neat tricks here, like rumble to simulate rain and very satisfying reload feedback. It's better than the original DualShock rumble, but it hardly feels like it enriches the experience.

Sound-wise, 3D audio is present, although the PS4 releases of both titles already featured impressive sound quality, including some great spatial audio effects. From the iconic soundtrack to voice acting and environmental soundscapes, both Uncharted titles fare marvelously across the board.

The companion AI is probably the most dated part of the experience, with your NPC partners in crime often wandering around aimlessly during and outside of firefights and often blocking you in narrow passageways. The grappling hook also had a few issues, with the scenery blocking me from properly swinging from certain anchor points in the environment. I also had a few isolated incidents of objects not loading in cut scenes, causing Sully to smoke an invisible cigar in one example. There isn't much to lament unless you're nitpicky, but at the same time, it's also not a substantial upgrade.

Thankfully, Sony has made good on the promise to not charge more than $10 for any kind of PS5 upgrades if you own a PS4 copy of the game, so these subtle improvements are easier to swallow. If you own a PS4 copy of either or both games physically or digitally, you can upgrade to the new release for a discounted price. I would've still preferred and appreciated a 60fps update to its original versions, but if you only own one of the titles, the upgrade is well worth it to gain access to both, since they are well worth experiencing at least once.

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a no-frills, straight-to-PS5 port that checks all of the required boxes, and that's about it. A couple of performance modes support up to 120fps, there's a rudimentary DualSense implementation, and the great loading times make experiencing these games more enjoyable than ever, but it's hardly a phenomenal upgrade even at the lower price point — both for those upgrading from a PS4 copy and those buying into the franchise for the first time. While the Uncharted gameplay formula has become slightly predictable, both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy are enjoyable because of the stories they tell and their highly polished production values.

Score: 8.5/10

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