By Andrew Street
Naughty Dog, the creators of the iconic “Jak and Daxter series,” “Crash Bandicoot” and “The Last of Us” are often regarded as industry leaders in terms of triple-A gaming development. Throughout the years, they’ve managed to innovate gameplay, storytelling, design and even motion capture, all while delivering captivating video games. Just like all the previously mentioned titles, their PlayStation 3 originating blockbuster series, “Uncharted,” is among the most lauded games of the last decade. Now, with the release of “Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection,” all three “Uncharted” games are back and better than ever for the PlayStation 4.
The remastering of the famed series was done by one of the best porting studios in the industry, BluePoint. As a result, all three games perform excellently on a technical level. As it goes with most remastered games these days, the three “Uncharted” titles have been given a fresh coat of paint. Textures are more crisp, the resolution is bumped to 1080 pixels, and the frame rate remains locked at a constant 60 frames per second.
The resolution and texture improvements are less significant for the second and third editions of “Uncharted” because of how great the games looked originally on PlayStation 3. However, a look at the original game, which is nearing its ninth birthday, shows that the improvements are substantial with textures and fidelity matching its two sequels. The switch to the current generation has been undoubtedly kind to the “Uncharted” series.
This remastering isn’t only bringing updated visuals to the table. The gameplay has been reworked in some cases to feel more natural. For example, you can change the shooting mechanics of the first game to the second one’s if you find it more appealing. This alleviates the somewhat dated controls that were originally implemented.
The gamemakers have also taken the effort to make all the games play in a seamless and uniform fashion. Jumping between all three games showed me just how well they made the different mechanics match up perfectly. In all, the gameplay is enjoyable and entertaining. The combat is fluid, climbing is great and the puzzles add an Indiana Jones feel to it all. Fans of the series can expect to remember why they love these games, and newcomers will be enthralled with what they find.
The highlight of Naughty Dog in recent years has been their captivating delivery of narrative. The “Uncharted” games are an absolute testament to this ability. Each game focuses on Nathan Drake, a goofy and lovable treasure hunter who battles mortal and mystical evil, and treads near death. The cast of characters from Drake himself to the witty Sully and beyond, are all well written and casted. You’ll find yourself growing more and more attached to them as you trek across each individual journey. Coupling these characters with narratives that are well written and a cinematic styling that is unmatched in the games industry creates an enthralling and fun ride. It becomes hard not to invest yourself in the characters and weaving storyline.
At some point in your life, you have probably experienced a Naughty Dog game, which is a unique experience. Their latest release of “Uncharted” is unparalleled in what it accomplishes. Making the jump to the next generation has allowed for better visuals, smoother gameplay and more opportunities to experience the iconic series. Whether you are a die-hard fan coming back for more Drake, or a first time treasure hunter, “Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection” is a must own for anyone with Sony’s latest console.