Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection

It's a steal.

legacy of thieves

It’s been five years since Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, and four since The Lost Legacy, so it’s fair that they’re ripe for a reappearance on the latest Sony hardware – they know how to keep reminding us of their successful franchises…  We could be really cynical about remasters appearing rather than new instalments or IP’s, but given that we’re about to enter a pretty heavy period of 1st party titles it’s actually hard to be unhappy about these two games surfacing again combined in the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection.  In fact, it’s probably a timely reminder of what (probably) the best narrative studio in the world can produce, and how engaging they can make an exploration-cover-shooter.  As we’ve reviewed both the games before head to the links at the beginning of the paragraph to find out more about them in detail, and stay here to see what we think of their conversion to PS5.

On offer in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves collection are the full single player portions of both games with some tweaks and upgrades to make the most of the new hardware they’ll be played on.  These are PS5 exclusive titles so we expected them to leverage the loading times, haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, as well as gaining from the superior processing.  What we didn’t think would happen would be overhauls of the light and shading to make the images punchier; and whilst there’s nothing listed about ray tracing, the reflections are absolutely superb with whatever implementation Naughty Dog have gone for.  The Uncharted series has always been a showcase for looks and graphical fidelity, and in a way these feel as fresh now as they did on the original release.  Having played them first time around without a 4K HDR TV, that’s probably the biggest leap I’ve noticed with the higher pixel count ramming home the detail in every frame, and the graphics options open up more choice for players too.

Up first is the performance mode which runs the game at 60 frames a second and targets 4K, with a bit of dynamic resolution scaling to keep up the pace.  Can you tell it’s not 4K?  If you’re Digital Foundry then yes; if you’re an average Joe then no.  It won’t even cross you mind, you’ll just be getting used to the increased responsiveness and how much more effective that feels in the encounters.  The fidelity option is there to lock the 4K image and run at 30 fps so you can be assured of the picture clarity, and it works a treat.  There’s a noticeable change from 60 fps, though both these titles were designed to be played at that framerate originally, so there’s no real loss in the action.  It’ll come down to personal preference and how you want to experience them on which you pick.  For those with 120 Hz capable TVs there’s an option that supports that as well.  The only thing to note is that in most games with fidelity and performance options there’s usually pause menu options to flick between them, not here though, you’ll need to trek back to the Legacy of Thieves main menu to switch it up.  Not that it takes long mind.

The DualSense gets a thorough workout across both titles, with the adaptive triggers being used for both the shooting and driving, and the vibration coming into its own to punctuate the action.  It’s interesting that the physical feedback has a much more tangible effect on how you play, especially when you feel all resistance in a trigger disappear to indicate that the clip is empty, or your tyre grip has gone.  There’s no change to the combat – it’s still a blend of stealth and cover shooting – it’s simply the increased information at your finger tips makes it more immersive.  Much like using the touch pad to swipe around Chloe’s camera photos still remains satisfying because that’s what you do with your own phone.  The 3D audio adds another layer of atmosphere so that those without dedicated surround setups can experience the next level of aural positioning, as well as simply enjoying the stirring soundtrack and the wonderful “crump” of the explosions.

Maybe the biggest element of Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection I enjoyed though wasn’t actually the new features.  Sure, they’re welcome and offer some additional incentive to replay; but after the hard hitting story of The Last of Us Part II this was a reminder of the bombastic, exciting and thrilling work that Naughty Dog can do.  They absolutely nailed the buddy caper with the ridiculous stunts and wisecracking jibes from the very first game, and improved on it with each entry, truly defining that style of play where there’s a constant banter as you progress through a level.  These two games are the perfect examples of that, and they know it by making sure you don’t lose snippets of conversation by wandering off.  Your companions will pick up stories and continue anecdotes when you’re back from clinging to ledges by your fingertips.  It’s a trick that’s gone on to be used in a lot of games, and with great effect in the latest God of War.  It builds empathy and connections to the NPCs that really cement all the relationships in the game and still manages to surprise.

There’s a wonderful moment about two thirds of the way through A Thief’s End where you think the story telling style of the game has thrown everything at you.  From a brother that’s not really dead, to open world driving, and intense gunfights with more enemy soldiers than you can shake an AK47 at… you’re just waiting for the next set piece to get thrown in your face.  It doesn’t.  Instead, the conversation becomes muted, the environmental sounds drop away, and melancholic music starts to fill your ears as you’re driving along.  It’s a moment of reflection designed to make you think about what Nathan’s got running through his mind at that point; about how he’s losing everything he holds dear; and that the future he wants is on a knife edge.  It’s a consideration and deliberate impact on pacing that happens in different ways at several points, yet that section in the mountains of Madagascar made me appreciate just how far the series (and entire medium) has come, as well as realising I hadn’t really grasped what that section meant before.  Of course, it ends and you start shooting MF’s in the face again.  It is an action game after all.

Even if you’ve played both titles in the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, I’d recommend going through them again.  Not just for the visual upgrades, or for the controller features, but simply because they are great games.  Both feel entirely at home on the PS5 and don’t really show any signs of their half decade age.  There are a couple of bits which could always do with looking at improvements (like having dodge as the same button as taking cover, that never stops being annoying), though you’ll be hard pushed to find a more polished and complete set of adventures in A Thief’s End or The Lost Legacy.  The fact they manage to give some of the current AAA third party titles a run for their money shows just how well they were crafted originally.  If you’ve the original versions on your hard drive, or on the shelf, the upgrade is only £10 too, so it’s almost a no brainer when you’re looking for a good 30 hours of entertainment.  They’re well worth the investment.

The Verdict

10Perfect

The Good: Performance mode feels very smooth | Fantastic adventures | Reminds you of how good Naughty Dog is

The Bad: Nothing

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Matt

Co-founder & Editor at Codec Moments

Gamer, F1 fanatic, one half of the Muddyfunkrs DJ duo (find us over on Hive Radio UK), MGS obsessed, tech geek.


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