During the PS3 era, Naughty Dog struck gold with Uncharted’s cinematic narrative-driven set piece-fueled formula, spawning a legion of clones and pretenders that still has a strong presence in the games industry today. Uncharted wasn’t as popular on the PS4 as it had been on the PS3, but even with fewer titles, the franchise grew stronger. It’s unclear how long until the series continues and we get another brand new entry, but Sony has decided to take a half-step with Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, remastering and combining the PS4’s Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy into a single package early in the PS5’s life. Even if the conservative nature of these remasters makes this release feel far less eventful than an Uncharted release should (even for a remaster), there’s no denying that both of these games’ inherent strengths hold up even now, and getting the chance to dive back into them is, as always, a welcome one.
Naughty Dog has been on a relentless mission to push the limits of whatever hardware it’s working with in order to provide games with gorgeous visuals that set the industry standard for well over a decade. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End did just that when it came out for the PS4 in 2016, to the point that it’s still considered one of the best-looking console games out there, and The Lost Legacy followed suit the following year. Given this, and the fact that both games were released relatively recently, neither game required significant technical improvements, therefore the visual quality improvement was never going to be dramatic. By that same token though, when you take two games that still look as good as these two do, there’s very little chance that their remasters aren’t going to be visually impressive as well.
The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection boasts the best-looking versions of games that were already technological marvels. The two remasters look and play well in all three visual settings, with Fidelity Mode running at 4K and 30 FPS, Performance Mode at upscaled 4K and 60 FPS, and Performance+ Mode at 1080p and 120 FPS. In the vast majority of games, I choose better performance over higher visual quality, and that’s exactly what I did here—which worked out nicely, because Legacy of Thieves Collection hits its performance targets with very few if any, dips. The sharpness of the visuals does drop noticeably from mode to mode, which might bother some, but even with those concessions, both these games still look amazing.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection also includes support for the DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptable triggers, which can be used for everything from combat to swinging on ropes to driving a car and more. Other recent PlayStation 5 remasters, such as Ghost of Tsushima and Death Stranding, make significantly better use of the controller’s capability, but Uncharted does a good enough job with it that I noticed it at least a few times while playing the two titles. Meanwhile, the console’s SSD is used to reduce loading times—though, to be honest, load times have never been an issue in Uncharted games.
Overall, the Legacy of Thieves Collection adds a small number of improvements to both of the games it remasters. Each improvement is well-implemented, but they’re all rather conservative in nature—which is to be expected for games that don’t require any significant changes. The collection will undoubtedly be a considerably stronger value proposition when it launches later this year for PC when a whole new audience will be able to experience these titles for the first time on an entirely new platform. But for those who’ve already played either Uncharted 4 or The Lost Legacy on a PS4, it’s not as easy of a recommendation, especially when even the cheapest possible way to get into it right now is a $10 upgrade.
There’s no telling when Uncharted will return with a new installment, what that installment will look like, whether it will be able to live up to the series’ standards, or even who will develop it. Whatever happens, we can be sure that the next game will have a lot to live up to. Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, which offer perhaps the best realization of the Uncharted formula yet, are perfect reminders of that, and while their Legacy of Thieves Collection remasters are a little too unambitious, I always welcome the chance to revisit these two modern action-adventure classics.