Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Review
~Drake in a Box~
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is a must have for gamers that missed out on these last gen titles, either because they didn’t own a Sony console back then, or simply wasn’t interested in the series. Now there isn’t any excuse with Sony’s huge flagship title Uncharted 4, coming out March 18th 2016, this is the perfect time to get ready by playing all 3 console games. There isn’t much new here for veteran’s of the series such as myself, but I still found myself enjoying the series the same as I did the first time around. There is just something about this franchise that warms me up inside and makes me smile, and all the good memories will come flooding back as soon as you get to the games title screen and hear that classic Uncharted theme music.
Bluepoint games, took Sony’s biggest franchise right now and did an amazing job with the remastering. All three games are now in 1080p, run at 60FPS, have better textures, lighting and character models have been improved. The collection also features a new photo mode so you can capture your favourite Uncharted moments and share them, you can now compare your stats and finish times with your friends. They added a few new trophies but nothing special and of course the collection will grant you access to the upcoming Uncharted 4 beta. As you know the Nathan Drake collection features 3 games, and while all 3 look amazing and will easily be mistaken for current gen games in terms of graphics, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune really shows its age, the shooting mechanics can’t stand up with games of today. Drake’s Fortune is so dated at times it will put new players off the series before they can try the fantastic and improved sequels that get going with a bang from the start and doesn’t let go until the end credits.
Playing Uncharted 1 for the first time back in 2007 on the PS3 left me speechless and so proud of my purchase, the game looked like nothing I’ve ever seen before in terms of graphical power on consoles. I could have never imagined games could ever achieve such brilliance. Character models looked realistic, the scenery was breath-taking and felt like I was there myself, oh and those water effects, When Drake got wet due to being in water, you could see the part of he’s body and clothing that got wet, drenched and soaked full of water, and slowly change and become dry again over time. 8 years later, added with some great remastering and those feelings I had back then, I still have now, The game still looks fantastic and has aged incredible in terms of graphics, sadly the rest of the game particularly the combat starts to show its cracks.
Drake’s Fortune mixes heavy amounts of combat, with light puzzles, great platforming and linear exploration. It’s a great recipe and has all the ingredients but doesn’t mix very well due to the game getting the balance wrong. For most 3rd person action adventure games, combat and gun-play are the bread and butter of what drives the game forward, in Uncharted 1, combat is tiresome and gets repetitive really early on, with nothing to mix the gun-play up until really late on. The combat could get away with being so bad back in 2007, but it doesn’t hold very well with games of today and its very jarring going back. Combat is slow and sluggish and it doesn’t help that you have to fight and kill wave after wave of enemies in order to progress through the game, and if you die in the process be prepared to start all over again at wave one. It’s beyond frustrating and will leave you ripping your hair out and begging for more puzzle and platforming sections of the game. I’m no stranger to the Uncharted series, I have all 3 platinum trophies, having beat all 3 games on PS3 more than twice, finishing them all on both hard and then crushing mode,this time unfortunately I couldn’t take that punishment of going though all that again and lowered the game from hard to easy just in order to finish the game and enjoy it, but boy what a difference that made. The game was much more enjoyable and I could look past the combat that I dreaded and focus on the story and the start of the characters relationship.
Among Thieves & Drake’s Deception
Uncharted 2 and 3 are easily two of the finest games on the PS3, and now that you can play them in 1080p running at 60FPS, they feel and look like games made for the PS4. Uncharted 2 and 3 are such improvements over Uncharted 1, It would have been impossible to tell they was part of the same franchise if 3 of the characters didn’t make a reappearance. While Drake is the heart and soul of the Uncharted series, he’s witty, funny mentor and dear friend Sully and he’s on and off girlfriend help add humour and serious moments to the game. The writing is superb, creative and funny from Naughty Dog. Plus side characters such as Chloe, Flynn and Cutter are interesting and you wish you could get more of their back story, same can’t be same about the villains. In each game there’s a villain but we don’t really get to see enough of them and they never reach their full potential. Among Thieves and Drake Deception feature some of the best set-pieces I’ve ever since, from fighting on top of a moving train, a rooftop chase out as kid Drake to getting blown out of a cargo plane and fighting for you life in the air. Which makes the new photo mode a new welcomed addition as you can take pictures of your favourite moments as long as it’s not during a cut-scene.
You’ll get to travel and discover different locations, While Uncharted 1 was just set in one place in a jungle, Uncharted 2 and 3 take you to varies places, from snowy mountain tops, lush green jungles, the amazing London Underground to dusty sandy cities in Yemen. But for all the good, there are still a few bad things the series just seems like it can’t get rid of. Uncharted as a series has a great formula that works, combat, platforming, set-pieces and puzzles all mixed into one, but its the gun-play that’s the least fun to play. The Uncharted games suffers from throwing wave after wave of enemies at you. The two latter games aren’t as bad because the combat has been improved and there are a lot more stealth sections and different enemy types but it’s still a problem and needs to feel more organic in Uncharted 4.
“Sic Parvis Magna” Which means Greatness from Small Beginnings. Is the motto of Sir Francis Drake and engraved on the iconic ring Nathan Drake carries around him in all 3 games. And that saying can be said about this entire 3 game collection. Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune is the small beginning of the franchise, while very good when it first debuted, hasn’t age the best in terms of gameplay. But greatness soon followed 2 years later with the huge sequel Uncharted 2: Among Thieves that refined, tuned and improved everything by 100. Uncharted 2 is most people’s favourite game out of the 3, because it had an explosive and kept getting better and better. Set pieces that you only thought were possible in big Hollywood movies are some of the games best qualities, as well as the mixture of more puzzles and light exploration.
And last but not least Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception, which had a lot of weight on its shoulders and hype surrounding the game to be better than the former game, while it’s a must play game, it doesn’t quite achieve or had the same impact as Uncharted 2, and it started to feel like the game revolved around set-pieces in an attempt to outdo Uncharted 2, instead of forming its own identity. Uncharted 4 has the potential to become the best game in the series, but they need to get the balance right. Thanks to The Last of Us which showed Naughty Dog can change the tone of a game and make it dark and gritty that doesn’t revolve around major set-pieces but story and characters, I have faith that Uncharted 4 will be talked about for years to come.
For more great reviews and features please check out;
A more in-depth review of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune from our retro expert (HERE)
A fan of Naughty Dog or Crash Bandicoot? Well seems like D.G.M is as he talks about he’s gaming life as a kid on the PS1 (HERE)
You can also check out my Character Bio of Nathan Drake (HERE)