I have a history with the Uncharted franchise. I’ve half-finished two of them, bought the first three on PS3, picked up the PS4 compilation, and then grabbed the collection again when it was offered for free for PS5 owners. Something always comes up that derails my intentions of playing through the series. (Usually, it’s a JRPG, as the genre is my Achilles heel.) With Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on PS5, there was no way I could allow myself to be sidetracked by anything else.
Starting with Lost Legacy, and then heading into Uncharted 4, I spent the last week or so diving, climbing, dodging bullets, taking punches, and swinging from places where you will never catch me in real life. I met Sam Drake and Nadine Ross for the first time. (Gotta say, not a huge fan of in-game Sam. Retired Sam seems like a better dude.) There were gods and pirates and a surprising lack of torn clothing. My palms were sweaty from the intensity of it all. Nearly every minute spent in this world was amazing.
Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the most recent Nathan Drake-headlined game in the action-adventure series. Nathan’s life is up-ended when his brother turns up out of nowhere and pushes him to resume their hunt for the lost treasure of the legendary pirate captain Henry Avery. The Drake Brothers, accompanied at times by con-friend Victor Sullivan and Nate’s wife Elena, pursue clues tied to the St. Dismas crucifix that caused Nathan and Sam’s estrangement in the first place.
Lost Legacy features a tenuous partnership between Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross following the events of its predecessor. In this stand-alone expansion, people take a historical trip tied to expeditions Chloe’s father led when she was younger in search of Ganesh’s Tusk. Nadine’s life is a bit of a mess after getting tangled up with the Drakes. She teams up with Chloe in an effort to find the tusk before a warmongering egomaniac gets his hands on it.
For the purposes of this review, I played Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection on two different TV screens. One is a standard flatscreen that’s about 10 years old, and the other a newer 4K UHD television. All of the screenshots I used for this review were taken with Performance+ turned on. Yes, everything is sharper and brighter on a higher resolution display. But if you don’t own a 4K or UHD television, these games are still going to look really good and run well in Performance mode.
Using Performance+ pushes your system to aim for 120 frames per second. This does mean that you might be sacrificing resolution. Cruising through the muddy Indian countryside at 120fps was wonderful. Even when I smacked into trees dead-on, because I was too distracted by the beautiful nature and people with guns chasing me. Naughty Dog’s art department kept bringing stunning views that made me pause. A simple lemon tree took my breath away. It was so well crafted, I spent ten minutes in Photomode taking pictures of it. Dangling for my life on the side of a cliff? Picture time!
Graphics aren’t the only thing getting an upgrade here. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection takes advantage of the new technology on the table with the PS5 DualSense controller. That haptic feedback is everywhere and kicks in with nearly everything that you do. Combat encounters might be where you notice it the most. There’s the impact of taking a bullet or struggling to break free from a hold. When lugging around a minigun, reloading your equipped weapon, even rolling into cover, it’s sometimes so subtle you might not notice it. But it’s there and makes it that much more “real.”
When you aren’t caught up in the heat of battle, it may be more apparent. One of the selling points claims that haptics have been added to the grappling rope. I failed to notice this while playing through Uncharted 4. I even triple checked to see that there wasn’t some setting I overlooked. So I went back to Lost Legacy. Sure enough, it was there with the slight tug on the rope securing itself to the branch and pull when Chloe leapt into her swing. I’m a little disappointed I didn’t have that same experience with Nathan, but he does reap all the other benefits. Grabbing handholds, hanging precariously, and walking very very carefully on narrow ledges all have varying degrees of rumble. There are also the satisfying clicks and clunks as you slide a puzzle piece. Oh lordy, someone get my fainting couch ready.
I only ran into a handful of bugs while playing through the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. First up were a few character path issues. I primarily ran into them during Lost Legacy. Nadine would somehow walk exactly where I wanted to go, and I’d have to bump into her to make her move. Another bug happened during Uncharted 4 while forcing an exhausted Nathan to climb up super slippery rocks. The prompt to grab handholds with the Left stick kept popping up when it turned out I needed to pull myself up onto the ledge. The scuff marks that denote a shimmy spot were obscured by the water on my non-4K TV, and it wasn’t until I accidentally pushed up that I even noticed them.
There was one very weird hiccup where I was in the middle of a cutscene and suddenly the video stopped, putting me back in control of the game. The audio from the cutscene was still playing and, if I moved toward the chair where the cutscene character was supposed to be seated, all I could see was an open book floating. Restarting from the checkpoint corrected this and let the game progress properly.
Despite those small things, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection blew me away on the PS5. The breathtaking landscapes and fluid gameplay heightened by the addition of improved feedback from the DualSense controller took a fantastic experience to another level. Both of these stories still resonate nearly six years later, too. The conflicts, deception, and questionable redemptions haven’t aged to the point where the storytelling comes across as dated. Whether you’re coming to this release with a fresh pair of eyes like myself or excited to relive this adventure, you won’t be disappointed.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection will be available for the PS5 on January 28, 2022.