Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection — out Friday on PS5 and later in 2022 on PC — brings the acclaimed action-adventure franchise to its third successive generation of PlayStation consoles. Having begun life in the late aughts as a PS3 exclusive before delivering four titles in total in the span of four years (including one for the handheld PS Vita), the Uncharted series finished in style with its fourth and final mainline entry — Uncharted 4: A Thief's End — on the PS4 some five-and-a-half years ago. Except a year later, what was meant as Uncharted 4 DLC became the one-and-done spin-off Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, released as a standalone expansion. Fittingly, as Uncharted makes its way to PlayStation 5 (and theatres), the two — Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy — are being offered together.
Except the PS5 versions of the two most recent Uncharted games aren't identical to their PS4 counterparts. In terms of content, that is. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection only features the single-player campaign portions from both Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. For those looking to dive into Uncharted's multiplayer side of things on their flashy new PlayStation 5, well you're out of luck. Naturally, that also means no co-op survival mode in Uncharted 4. All you can do with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is experience Nathan, Sam, and Sully's adventures from Scotland to Madagascar as they chase a pirate fortune, and Chloe and Nadine's journey across south-west coastal India in and around the Western Ghats as they look for a Ganesh artefact.
And in that regard, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is (obviously) the best way to experience both Uncharted 4: A Thief's End (Review) and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (Review). Technically speaking. There's higher dynamic range across the board, and you can see a lot more in dimly-lit areas where blacks might previously have gotten crushed. Yes, HDR was offered with the PS4 Pro version of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End too — but here, it's undeniably better. There's more detail in textures, be it faces, objects, or environments. And the updated The Lost Legacy — the latest title and the only spin-off in the Uncharted franchise — is appropriately rich and colourful, steeped in south Konkan roots. And you can capture all of that glory with the built-in Photo Mode (that can be toggled on or off).
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That said, this isn't the first time we are getting a 4K HDR remaster for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Is it really that much better than the PS4 Pro version then? Well yes, because that PS4 Pro 4K upgrade was false advertising in some ways. Though it claimed to offer 4K resolution — that's 3840 x 2160 pixels, or 2160p in other words — Uncharted 4: A Thief's End topped out at 1440p on PS4 Pro. That's a far cry. Multiplayer didn't even try, scratching up to full-HD 1080p (from a paltry 900p on PS4). In essence, the Uncharted franchise has never actually been offered in 4K at all. Until now.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection boasts a total of three graphical modes: “Fidelity” (that's native 4K with a 30fps target), “Performance” (60fps target at 1440p upscaled to 4K), and “Performance+” (120fps target at 1080p). Unfortunately, there's no 4K 60fps mode or ray-tracing functionality here, despite the power that the PlayStation 5 promises. Of the three available modes, I could only experience Fidelity and Performance given the TV I have — and of those two, I definitely preferred Performance given the difference in perceivable quality was minimal to my eye.
Remasters are better believed seen, which is why I've attached gameplay videos from both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, captured on the PS5 in the time I spent with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection in the past week. As you'll find out for yourself, load times are near instant.
Additionally, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection also brings support for the PS5's fancy DualSense controller features. You will feel haptic feedback across both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, and the adaptive triggers offer varying degrees of tension when you're driving a 4x4, shooting with pistols and machine guns, or swinging with your grappling hook. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection also makes use of Spatial 3D Audio — Sony's own take on Dolby Atmos — available via both stereo speakers and headphones. The first (DualSense features) is more immersive and immediately felt than the second (3D Audio tech).
Structurally and narratively, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection delivers the same two games we got five or so years ago. Everything that can be said about them has already been said. Neither of these titles are helped by the fact that at the end of the day, they feature mostly white people going around the globe looking for treasure in exotic places — and causing all sorts of chaos and mayhem in the process — with little to no acknowledgement of the locals and how their lives are impacted. First, white folks benefited from colonialism and now they're back for “adventure”. Like ugh, just go home Nathan Drake and Chloe Frazer, process your guilt and daddy issues in another manner.
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But the bigger issue is how Sony — which owns PlayStation — has been handling PS5 upgrades of PS4 releases. While Microsoft — which owns its rival Xbox — handed out free Xbox Series S/X upgrades for Xbox One titles around the console's launch, Sony's strategy has been to charge even existing owners. Those who bought Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, or the combined digital bundle can jump over to the PS5 version for Rs. 500 / $10/ €10 starting Friday. For what it's worth, that's better than Ghost of Tsushima's PS5 upgrade that cost Rs. 2,497, which developer Sucker Punch seemingly justified by tying it to extra content. In front of that, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection's upgrade asking price seems modest.
But this is only for those who “own” either game. If you have access to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End via the PlayStation Plus subscription, there's no upgrade route for you. Like everyone who have never played Uncharted 4 or The Lost Legacy, you will need to pay full price for Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection — it costs Rs. 2,999 digitally and on disc. If you are in this position, I believe the best route might to be buy either disc and then follow the upgrade route. Assuming you don't have a PS5 Digital Edition (like me), in which case: you're out of luck. What are discs? PlayStation Store for life ✌???? And you won't be surprised to know that thanks to the release of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy cannot be bought standalone digitally anymore.
Meanwhile on Xbox, you can get the latest version of Xbox Game Studios titles through its arguably-superior subscription Xbox Game Pass for no additional charge. (Sony reportedly has plans to rival Microsoft's offering later in 2022, but we'll see how it fares in this regard.) Since the launch of the Series S/X, Microsoft has given us free 4K 60fps upgrades for the likes of Gears 5, Forza Horizon 4, and Halo: The Master Chief Collection. On top of that, Microsoft's Smart Delivery system means you can enjoy those titles as you move between Xbox and PC. Meanwhile, when Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection arrives later in 2022 on PC, all PS4 and PS5 players will have to pay for the game wholesale if they want to play the game on PC. Once again.
That — Uncharted's arrival on PC — is naturally the more exciting development for the franchise, as it opens Uncharted up to a whole new player base. Since its origins in 2007, Uncharted has only ever existed on PlayStation platforms. (I'm excusing the mobile puzzle game Uncharted: Fortune Hunter which has nothing to do with the series from a gameplay standpoint.) That's about to change in 2022 when porting veterans Iron Galaxy deliver the PC remaster. Uncharted maker Naughty Dog says the PC version “will release shortly after the PS5 version.” I'm also hoping that Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection brings the much-coveted 4K 60fps gameplay for Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, given the near limitless resources at hand with modern computers.
And maybe now that a couple of Uncharted games have been updated for the PS5, we can get a sequel to The Lost Legacy at some point. Though the timing of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection's release makes me think otherwise. In about three weeks' time on February 18, Sony Pictures and PlayStation Productions are set to unveil the first Uncharted movie, led by Spider-Man himself Tom Holland. With the film expected to take inspiration from Uncharted 4, the arrival of its remaster seems more than a little coincidental. After all, Sony doesn't have a new Uncharted game for the PS5, so this is like the next best thing. Is that why this exists? Corporations can be very cynical, mind you. Plus, Sony is offering movie tickets with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection in select regions.
Sony Pictures is clearly hoping Uncharted will turn into a long-running successful movie franchise, which is why it has cast the 25-year-old Holland and set the first film years before the events of the first game. Naughty Dog is unlikely to be persuaded into tie-in games though — and a studio of its calibre shouldn't be wasted on such pursuits anyway. Sadly, it's happening in a way. A report from last year claimed Naughty Dog was working on a remake of its zombie survival horror title The Last of Us — the original 2013 game in the series — which could potentially line up with the upcoming Pedro Pascal-led HBO show later in 2022. There's also apparently a standalone multiplayer take on The Last of Us Part II in the works.
Rather than a new Uncharted game then, what's more likely (unfortunately) is a PS5 version of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, the PS4 remaster of the first three Uncharted PS3 titles. A studio like Naughty Dog shouldn't be ground down into churning remasters of its old games — it should be looking ahead to new entries or new IP. But this is just the world we live in.
- Looks, sounds, feels great
- Much better than PS4 Pro version
- Not a free upgrade
- No multiplayer
- No 4K at 60fps
- PC port to be sold separately
Rating (out of 10): 7
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is out Friday, January 28 on PlayStation 5. It will release later in 2022 for Windows PCs. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection costs Rs. 2,999 on PlayStation 5.
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