If you haven’t played it already, the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves is a superb slice of fried gold on PS5. Although not entirely necessary (A Thief’s End and The Lost Legacy are still outstanding on PS4 and PS4 Pro) Naughty Dog has made some clever next-gen refinements to both games, just in time for the Uncharted movie.
However, as good as Nathan and Chloe’s epic adventures still are, there’s something missing from the Legacy of Thieves Collection. Something dear to myself and a minority of Uncharted fans: online multiplayer.
Since Uncharted 2, the series has featured a strong suite of modes for both co-op and competitive play. We saw Naughty Dog evolve and expand this offering with the launch of Uncharted 3 before later reinventing multiplayer for Uncharted 4. Still running more than half a decade later, it borrows the refined cover shooting and dynamic movement from the core game which, unsurprisingly, translates incredibly well for online play.
Competitive play is where I spent most of my time with Uncharted 4 and its standalone spin-off. Dozens upon dozens of hours racking up kills, collecting treasure, and locking down objectives. Since Uncharted 2, one mode that always stood out to me was Plunder – a scrappy take on capture the flag that had you transport a massive relic back to your team’s base. The ability to launch this giant treasure or swing it at foes for an instakill, coupled with the verticality of map designs turned each match its own slapstick heist.
Over the course of three games, Naughty Dog would also refine its online co-op. Story-driven missions quickly fell by the wayside in favour of Horde-style shootouts where you and your fellow plunderers fought through waves of increasingly lethal enemies while crossing off objectives.
Again, the servers for Uncharted 4’s multiplayer are still online and it’s not like Sony pulled the plug and shelved these modes like antiques in a museum. However, accessing them on PS5 is a pain. They don’t appear at all in the Legacy of Thieves Collection, meaning you’ll have to download the full PS4 version of Uncharted 4. Not at all convenient, especially if you’re clinging onto precious hard drive space.
There’s also the technical side. Naughty Dog made the great decision to get Uncharted 4’s multiplayer to run at 60fps, even on base PS4, but it means that when playing via backward compatibility on PS5, you’re limited to playing at the 1080p resolution of the game on PS4 Pro. Legacy of Thieves can easily handle 1440p at 60fps, and even has a 120Hz mode at 1080p. It would have been great to see that technical improvement brought to the multiplayer as well.
This helps expose a hole within Sony’s much-hyped software lineup. Preoccupied with prestige single player blockbusters, there’s been a lack of first party multiplayer experiences over the past several years that’s only became more apparent the further we march into the latest generation of home consoles. Addressing that weakness is long overdue, but the wheels are spinning at Sony, as they aim to release 10 live service games in the next five years. That will no doubt include the next games in development at Bungie, which Sony is acquiring in a surprise $3.6 billion move, but there’s also a long rumoured new multiplayer game by Guerrilla Games, and everyone’s patiently waiting for Naughty Dog’s standalone The Last of Us multiplayer game.
Hopefully, one day, Uncharted multiplayer can make a comeback as well.