For PlayStation owners, the Uncharted trilogy was undoubtedly one of the highlights of the last generation, as Naughty Dog pushed against the limits of what the PS3 could do while honing their own expertise in storytelling and gameplay.
However, with Uncharted 4 on the horizon and the potential for Naughty Dog to set a new high water mark for games on the PlayStation 4, Sony will have been quite aware that millions of newcomers and console family switchers won’t have experienced the first three games. Much like jumping into a TV show half way through its run, there are characters and relationships they won’t know, gameplay they’re unfamiliar with and simply three of the PS3’s best that they will have missed out on.
The oddly named Nathan Drake Collection looks to fix all of that, with a simple, one stop solution to getting that trilogy of games on to the PS4. There are certain cutbacks in the process, and it’s a real shame to see the multiplayer and co-op modes getting the chop from the second and third games, but what remains are three great single player adventures with quite impeccable presentation.
Bluepoint have worked wonders with their ports of the three games, with a flawless looking 1080p60 presentation that marks a quite significant improvement on the 720p and often inconsistent frame rate of the originals. In particular, the original game suffered with a lot of screen tearing, which has been banished in the update.
Flitting between the three games, you can quite clearly see Naughty Dog’s craft advance and improve over the course of the trilogy, with leaps and bounds being made in the lighting and the quality of the character models as well as improved performance capture and better animation techniques that use this raw data. There’s a huge leap between the first and second games, to go with much improved storytelling and characterisation.
However, Bluepoint haven’t rested on their laurels with a simple upscale and have looked to improve upon each game’s assets as and when they can. Though level geometry remains the same and you can see the progressive step up that each game took on the PS3 through some of this, Bluepoint have been able to then make use of the higher quality character models from cutscenes and more detailed textures, as well as pushing the draw distance further out and making tweaks to lighting and various effects. All together, it brings the visuals during gameplay just that much closer to the pre-rendered cutscenes.
Of course, in keeping with this generation’s trends, Bluepoint have also added a new photo mode with which you can try to capture some of the best scenes and moments from the game. Once enabled in the menus, pressing down on the D-pad in most situations freezes the game, letting you move the camera around freely and tweak things like the depth of field or apply filters. While you can easily grab some good looking shots, it’s not quite as flexible as that of Driveclub, for example. Applying filters and effects depends on the use of the triggers, which simply aren’t capable of letting you shift up or down by a single percentage point, and there’s no visual indicator in the game world of where the focal point of your depth of field is.
You can also see and feel the natural progression of Naughty Dog’s gameplay mechanics as you go through the games, just through the opening tutorial-like levels of each game. Where Drake’s Fortune centres around combat, traversal and environmental puzzle solving, the first hours of Uncharted 2 and 3 demonstrate a stealthier approach to combat and show off a more fluid form of brawling respectively. The fundamentals of traversal and combat remain the same throughout, though.
Though partially down to DualShock 4’s tighter analogue sticks, gunplay feels just that little bit easier to get to grips with, and I found myself much more able to pull off headshots in The Nathan Drake Collection than when I went back to the PS3 originals and my ageing DualShock 3. Bluepoint have tweaked certain aspects of the gameplay as well, to give a slightly more unified feeling to the controls and gunplay. These apply most heavily to Drake’s Fortune, where tilt motion sensing has been banished and things like the aim down sights grenade toss have been brought back from the later games, though it remains the roughest of the trilogy.
Newcomers to the series are the most likely and most obvious audience for this game to target, but a handful of features do also help to appeal to series veterans. A new Brutal difficulty mode sits above Crushing as the new pinnacle which, when Crushing is already ludicrously hard in some places, will be a particularly stern test. Thankfully, though you do need to complete each game on Crushing before you can play on Brutal, it is unlocked from the very beginning. You can also add a speed run timer to keep track over the course of an entire playthrough.
I don’t really find playing on those high difficulties particularly fun, though. Yes, they’re a challenge on the path to a platinum trophy, but they also mean that every combat encounter is a case of trial and error, as the game throws waves of enemies at you while you cower behind a rock waiting for colour to return to your view. It highlights some of the weaknesses in the gunplay, with generally ineffective feeling weaponry going up against enemies that can take far too many bullets, unless you nail a headshot with the minimal aim assist and somewhat sluggish controls.
Instead, the Uncharted games are best played at lower difficulties, with Crushing and Brutal reserved for those who want to go for the platinum trophies. It’s here that you can enjoy each of these games for what they are: an action-filled romp in the vein of Indiana Jones and the 1930s matinée serials that inspired that character.
With an excellent trio of ports from Bluepoint and the fourth game on the way in March, there’s never been a better time to play these games, whether a newcomer to the series or someone looking to relive some of the PlayStation 3’s best games.
Honestly I think the original looks better,It don’t like the way drakes hair moves or plants move, it just looks weird and force. It means I won’t be buying it on the ps4 as I can just fire it up on the ps3 without shelling out £50 but it also means that I am very excited to see what naughty dog will do with the power of the ps4!
Based on the demo, I have to disagree. There was pop-up; where you first pick-up a gun there are areas where Drake’s head can merge through the walls; and Drake often fell through the scenery at times when I died. Also found the Triangle prompts rather annoying – they areas at which you’re prompted seem smaller, so a fraction of movement means it’ll disappear or you’ll pick up the wrong thing.
The game doesn’t look that much better although that’s definitely due to what Naughty Dog were able to achieve on PS3, but it is beautifully smooth.
The gameplay feels dated and just basic. Perhaps nostalgia is being cruel to me. I do have fond memories of the games, and I know when released they were amazing, but people who have never played them before may buy this and wonder what all the fuss is/was about.
Yup the demo is a buggy mess, I had missing textures, cut scenes that didnt trigger, fell through a wall at one point.
Also agree it felt very dated and simple, I think I’ll be remembering it fondly how it was, rather than replaying.
There was definitely plenty of the ragdoll, canned animations and some dodgy collision detection in the original games though. Altering the lighting and the renderer and how the game looks is a very different task to ripping out the game physics and updating them.
Maybe I didn’t say it quite so explicitly, but you can see that some parts of the gameplay isn’t really best in class. Uncharted really helped the industry push to greater heights in terms of storytelling, performance capture and graphical fidelity, but the main shooting bit wasn’t really all that great and, especially at higher difficulties, just ends up being frustrating.
I agree about the physics etc, it’s unrealistic to think they’d build the game from scratch, and so I guess I meant it more of an observation of how the game has aged rather than a criticism of the remaster itself.
Had I not played the demo I’d have asked for a remaster of Uncharted all day long, but now that it’s here and I’ve played it, perhaps it would be best kept as a loving memory.
I still hold the series in high regard, the PS3 games were up there with the best, no doubt.
Having just last week blitzed and finished U2 the demo segment was still fresh in my mind, so it was good to compare like to like without rose tinted goggles. I found the controls much easier when it came to shooting, moving around seemed a little better too but not much in it. Still managed to make some funny angle leaps, or get stuck on bits of rubble.
Graphically though a bit better looking, but I wasn’t blown away by it – and some parts really stood out as dated, like how from the top the towers of smoke in the distance are mirrored and at the wrong angles according to the perspective. I never really noticed any framerate issues on PS3 so being smoother now doesn’t really matter either.
I might pick it up later next year for a tenner to play the first game, but playing any more now will just leave me uncharted out when 4 lands.
I’m also debating The Last Of Us remastered that is on offer – on the one hand I want to play Left Behind, but if I buy that standalone I’ll probably regret not buying the full package. But at the same time I don’t want to be disappointed by the PS4 version of the full game as the videos don’t suggest to me it offers much over the PS3 version, so it’s probably much like this demo compared to the original. Decisions decisions…
Yeah I guess the controls and the Dual Shock 4 will help with shooting accuracy etc!
In truth I think the TLOU will probably be much the same – although I’ve only played the multiplayer of the remaster – it wasn’t that much better graphically than PS3 although it was very, very smooth.
However, the TLOU remaster didn’t come too long after the original, so in gameplay terms nothing too innovative happened in-between so I think (and hope) I won’t be disappointed in the same way as Uncharted, when I finally get around to replaying the campaign on PS4.
have to agree. the game is very dated and everything from the controls to the graphics all have become dated. so glad they gave us a demo as its stopped me buying it on impulse. not really sure who this collection is for as its too date for both new and old comers and the only interesting thing left is the story which you could just watch on YouTube. if more demos of remasters existed it would save me alot of money.
Just a thought, if people really want to play these games again then why not play them on PlayStation Now?
I tried playing a few games on PS Now during the beta and the quality was awful. I didn’t bother with it after that.
I thought these remasters looked and played as well as you would expect. My only issue was that I would have preferred the original character models. It looks like they tried to make Drake look more like he did in the third game, which was when I thought he looked the worst.
3 of my fave PS3 games, I was looking forward to playing them again on PS4. However I had a run through the demo last night and wasn’t overly impressed. Forgot how annoying it is when a perfect headshot from a few metres away does next to no damage. I also had various glitches, pop-ins, etc.. Gonna hold back until it’s £20, which probably won’t be that long.
I never thought any of the Uncharted games were THAT hard on Crushing.
I’ve played some games on their most difficult setting which would turn even the calmest gamer into THE HULK. Uncharted by comparison is fairly tame.
There are some frustrating parts here and there but it isn’t overly difficult at all imo.
Yeah, bring on the Brutal mode!
Go through Uncharted 1 again and you will be surprised at how much you have to adapt.
I only really started getting back into gaming when the first Uncharted came out and I was only interested in one or two genres. I had a handful of games that I re-played over and over and Uncharted was one of them. I must have completed the first Uncharted game at least 50 times when it first came out. Then I completed it a few more times when they patched the trophies in. I could pretty much play it with my eyes closed back then, so that might explain why the difficulty didn’t bother me. We’ll see how I get on in a few weeks when I play the collection.
It’s funny actually, when I was playing the Uncharted 2 demo the other night, I remembered exactly where artefacts should be, even though I haven’t played the game in years. They weren’t there in the demo but I bet I could collect them all, in all three games, without a guide.
I can’t imagine re-playing a game over and over like I used to . These days, as soon as I complete a game 100% or earn all the trophies, I move onto something else and rarely look back.
Agreed but there were a couple of areas in all three that caused me a wee bit of fuss. But all in all, Crushing wasn’t too taxing. Although I’m pretty sure in the first there is a section in a water filled room that caused a lot of people to give up. Pretty sure I glitched it and managed to pick everyone off from up high and relative safety.
“Instead, the Uncharted games are best played at lower difficulties, with Crushing and Brutal reserved for those who want to go for the platinum trophies.”
Disagree strongly…anything lower than crushing and these games are just far too easy…I’m not a pro at these types of games and I hate FPS games but I romped through crushing on all 3 games…Brutal mode might make it a tad more challenging but your review is right about the trial and error part.
In TLoU I did Grounded Mode simply by repeating what I did in previous playthroughs…have less health or getting more damage doesn’t stop trial and error tactics that you find work all the time.
But you need to recode AI for that.
The Uncharted games were my favourite on the PS3. I cannot wait to get through the original game again. I still play it from time to time and I loved how tight the gameplay was as well as the storytelling which is the most focused in the series.
Shame about the multiplayer not featuring too-probably looked at the issues with Halo and Street Fighter 4 decided to play to the series’ strengths.
I’ll pick these up no doubt, maybe rent. The demo did leave a bi of a sour taste in my mouth though just without it feeling dated. Still, it’s worth playing again for the story alone!
Meant to say, I heard there was a whole new trophy list. Anyone know if this is true? If I had one major gripe with the series was the trophy lists were pretty dull.
Yes there is a new one (something more re-masters should do, for returning players). There are speedrun and Brutal trophies, although apparently those are not required for the plat and are in a separate DLC lists. Allegedly each game is done as a DLC list, so that you can 100% them individually, although there is only one platinum trophy. Treasures are in the same locations.
Cheers Youles. Think I’ll pick this up then for definite. A speed run could be a lot of fun.
All of a sudden people seem to think that the Uncharted series was kind of rubbish?
I’m not a fan of remasters and I’m not getting this one either (I have all three on PS3 and that’s sufficient) but to me the lighting in the demo was significantly improved. Everything was just updated.
I can’t believe some people call the games’ gameplay dated!?! I recently replayed the first one and while it took some time getting used to the controls, it was relatively fast that I felt comfortable with them. It didn’t take long to get aquainted with UC2 remastered demo controls either.
I’m also surprised (and not pleasantly at that) that most players feel that the crushing was too easy. I don’t feel that I am THAT bad at shooters but I’m certainly no master at it either. However, to me the higher difficulty levels in Uncharted were always too much to my liking.
I didn’t find it glitchy graphically but the controls were awful. I’ve played a lot of U2, quite recently too, the grenade was wrong, looking around was dodgy too.
I’d buy it cheap.