Graphics:
9.1
Gameplay:
8.7
Sound:
9.5
Control:
8.5
Replay Value:
8.8
Overall Rating:
8.9
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
SCEA
Developer:
Naughty Dog, Bluepoint Games
Number Of Players:
1-16
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Release Date:
October 9, 2015


One wonders how PlayStation 3 would’ve fared without Uncharted last generation. After getting off to a very slow start and spotting Xbox 360 to a one-year head-start, it seemed as if the glory days of the PS2 had disappeared in the blink of an eye. But eventually, PS3 clawed its way back, due in large part to several important price drops and an ever-increasing array of excellent exclusives. Leading the way was Naughty Dog’s new franchise that served as a pioneer in the third-person action genre, which needed lots of refining after the previous era. Now, looking back on the excellence of Drake’s adventures, we find that while the first didn’t age particularly well, the remarkable quality of the games is still quite evident.

In Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection , fans and newcomers alike get the benefit of beautiful 1080p visuals presented with super-slick 60 frames per second. Don’t forget that these productions always settled around 30fps so to have the 60fps upgrade is indeed noticeable, especially when it comes to large-scale battles. The character models, wonderfully detailed and immersive backgrounds, great special effects and overall presentation is remarkable and better than ever. The only downside is that, as I stated above, the first game hasn’t benefited as much from the upgrades. Back in 2007, Drake’s Fortune was a fantastic achievement but by modern standards, even the graphical enhancements can’t quite bring it up to snuff.

The sound hasn’t changed much but then again, it doesn’t really need to. We have some of the best voice acting in video game history, a stellar soundtrack that continues to mold itself to the ceaselessly engaging on-screen action, and a heady, atmospheric mix of subtle and hard-hitting audio effects. I can’t tell if Bluepoint Games has refined this category because I’ve always associated sound excellence with Uncharted and that excellence hasn’t altered one iota. I think there’s a curious balancing issue in the first game that I don’t remember when first playing it but I can’t be sure. Aside from that, there isn’t much to talk about; Uncharted has always sounded great, from top to bottom, and the Collection does, of course, feature almost unparalleled audio.

There are two reasons why this package gets an 8.9, which is below the review score I’d give to any of the entries when they first arrived on the scene: Beyond the technical boosts, there isn’t much here to entice fans who have already played and completed the titles in question. I realize that many such collections are similar, and they’re produced mostly for those who haven’t played all the games, but when it comes to Naughty Dog, I always expect something more. Secondly, it’s true that the first entry, Drake’s Fortune just doesn’t fare well when in direct comparison to the other two installments. Uncharted 2: Among Thieves won just about every conceivable industry award, not merely because it was amazing in its own right, but because it was a significant if not dramatic improvement on the first franchise offering.

The good news is that Bluepoint worked to make the control a little tighter and more reliable in that original production, so it’s not quite so floaty and awkward. Unfortunately, this upgrade doesn’t cancel out the movement issues which, 8 years ago, we didn’t really bother about. The control was actually much better than most third-person adventures at the time; as I stated earlier, the genre had a lot of growing up to do in that period. However, when you toss it into a collection with two later entries that are indeed superior in terms of basic control and movement, the age of Drake’s Fortune is all too evident. The cover mechanic didn’t work as well as the team wanted, climbing was more demanding and often imprecise, the story progression doesn’t have great pacing, and it lacks bombastic set pieces.

I was actually surprised at how old the game really felt. Just about everything, from the fundamental mechanics to the narrative – which seems rather disjointed and unemotional when I play it now – feels…well, outdated. It only proves just how far we’ve come in such a short span of time so in point of fact, it’s not a bad observation. It’s just something fans will have to accept if they choose to sit down and play through this revolutionary series again. What worries me are the newcomers who have never played an Uncharted and they start things off with Drake’s Fortune . They will make incorrect assumptions about the later titles, and might not realize just how much better everything gets across Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception .