If movies have Indiana Jones and James Bond, gaming has Nathan Drake.
Naughty Dog & Bluepoint Games make revisiting the adventures of Nathan Drake, Victor Sullivan, and Elena Fisher worth your time and money – Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection should find its way to every gamer’s collection.
GREATNESS FROM SMALL BEGINNINGS
The Nathan Drake Collection is a celebration of 3 of gaming’s best action adventure games of all time. Regardless if you experienced these titles originally on the Playstation 3, there’s no better way to play them than on the Playstation 4. The PS Vita classic Uncharted: Golden Abyss unfortunately isn’t apart of the collection, which is disappointed but not expected.
The story recounts the adventures of Nathan Drake, a treasure hunter, thrill seeker, and is in the lineage of the famous Sir Francis Drake. The three games take you to various places on the globe, featuring breathtaking visuals and an exceptional sense of spirit and adventure.
Gunplay feels roughly the same as it did in the original games, which was oft-criticized for being loose, though I disagreed with that sentiment to a degree and felt it wasn’t totally warranted. The variety of weapon types is superb, with your basic handguns, riffles, and shotguns making up the majority of your arsenal with varying degrees of powers. It’s your basic run-and-cover style shootouts with villains that makes up the action, much akin to the Gears of War franchise. As you move through the games sequentially, Uncharted 3 features the most hand-to-hand combat, which keeps the action fresh. There’s also no shortage of cinematic set pieces that rival the best Hollywood has to offer. When Uncharted inevitably finally hits the big screen one day, the already mega franchise will reach a new level in popularity.
There are chase sequences in both boats and automobiles that will long stay in your memory. Playing through the collection will dig up those fragments of fond nostalgia, assuming you’ve already played the games.
What’s special about Uncharted is not just its wow factor and sense of thrill around every corner – though that’d be enough for a lot of games. The characters, their stories, and the way they interact is what makes Uncharted truly memorable. Voice acting is absolutely top notch, with gaming’s leading man Nolan North voicing Nathan. Richard McGonagle lends his voice to “Sully,” while Emily Rose does the same for Elena. Their relationships and the depth to which they reach are a necessary part in helping to capture the essence and love that we have for them.
UNCHARTED: DRAKE’S FORTUNE
Original PS3 Release: November 19, 2007.
I’ll never forget running through Drake’s Fortune for the first time and how special it was to me. Searching for the lost treasure of El Dorado in South America, you meet journalist Elena Fisher for the first time. The sights and scenery of the forests and waterfalls bring to mind another sense, as I can hear the Uncharted theme song running through my head. Though it might have been the least polished of the series, that’s not saying much. The game originally debuted to the PS3 in 2007 and with the new 60 frames per second on the PS4, it holds up incredibly well. The main villains Roman & Novaro were also memorable.
UNCHARTED 2: AMONG THIEVES
Original PS3 Release: October 13, 2009
The beauty that is Uncharted 2 takes us to Nepal and the Himalayas in search of the lost city of Shambhala. What is widely regarded as the best in the trilogy, Among Thieves rivals many of the PS4’s best offerings when it comes to visual prowess. It also introduced us to very compelling characters such as Drake’s on-again off-again love interest, Chloe Frazer, as well as the suspicious Harry Flynn. The gunplay is tighter than it was in Drake’s Fortune, and stealth mechanics were introduced (though I could have gone without that). Lazarevic is the antagonist, providing another Bond-like villain.
UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION
Original PS3 Release: November 1, 2011
I remember where I worked and what I was playing in the lead-up to the anticipated third installment in Drake’s story. Certain things just stick with you. This is the definitive entry and in my opinion, the standout, the best the series has to offer. Despite searching for the “Atlantis of the Sands,” the underlying theme of the story is Nate’s relationship with Sully. There are a few flashback levels that explore the meeting between Sully and Nate when Nate was a child. This not only shows us the origins of their partnership, but ties in the game’s villain Katherine Marlowe and gives meaningful depth to her involvement in the game. Marlowe is a fantastic villain, seemingly crafted and inspired right from a 007 film (Helen Mirren should absolutely play her in a live action setting).
The Nathan Drake Collection is an excellent standout among its peers, even a full generation later. The added power of the PS4 pushes Uncharted to a new level, setting the stage for the highly anticipated Uncharted 4: A Thieve’s End. The items that hold this back from being a perfect 10 include the lack of multiplayer (which is a more than notable part of 2 & 3) and no real anniversary/collection treatment. The games absolutely more than hold up on their own, but after Microsoft set the bar for Halo: The Master Chief Collection, all other games must be judged similarly. In short, whether you are new to the Playstation family or just appreciate games as art in general, this is a collection that must be in your library.
+ Best way to play Uncharted
+ Cinematic-ally rivals some of the best the native PS4 can offer.
+ Perfect mix of story, game play, and sense of attachment thanks to the depth of the characters.
– No multiplayer.
– No Uncharted: Golden Abyss
– No anniversary treatment that celebrates Sony’s flagship franchise, like Microsoft did with Halo.
Josiah LeRoy is the host of The Geekiverse Show and is a big Uncharted fan. Uncharted 4 is mere weeks away!
All pictures used were captured using the PS4’s Share option.