Naughty Dog is one of the most famous names on PlayStation hardware, thanks in large part to the phenomenal success of its Uncharted franchise across two generations of the machine. It’s only fitting, therefore, that the studio’s first major release for the PlayStation 5 honours that illustrious heritage by bringing two of the series’ best entries to modern hardware, along with a slew of enhancements that make playing the treasure-hunting adventures a joy once more. The Legacy of Thieves Collection is the finest way to enjoy Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: Lost Legacy, despite some of the underlying design choices showing their age.

The most noticeable differences between the two games may be found in the game’s three modes of play. Fidelity mode aims for a native 4K presentation with a locked 30 frames per second frame rate (and sticking there for pretty much every scene). The new performance mode, which is probably the greatest way to play, lowers the resolution to 1440p while increasing the frame rate to 60fps, which it easily maintains for considerably more responsive gaming.

Review of Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves - Charted Once More

Performance+, the third setting, reduces the resolution even further, with a native 1080p presentation and a frame rate of 120 frames per second. You’ll need a display that supports it to begin with, and even then, it’s a difficult visual compromise to make for increased fluidity that isn’t really necessary for the narrative-focused adventures in this collection.

What the PS5’s extra processing power gives you is more options, something you didn’t have with the initial PS4 and PS4 Pro releases. Backwards compatibility allowed both Uncharted 4 and Lost Legacy to be played on the PS5, although both campaigns were painfully stuck to the same 30fps ceiling as the PS4 versions. Both games’ higher frame rates were set aside for their respective multiplayer modes, which aren’t included in this Legacy of Thieves Collection.

Both games benefit greatly from the improved performance, especially when it comes to balancing resolution and total frame rate. The Performance mode keeps the distinctly detailed levels and scenic surroundings appealing, while the increased frame rate makes the moment-to-moment action feel better than ever. Uncharted’s sometimes sluggish shooting seems swift and responsive, and I felt more confident clearing enemy confrontations quickly than I did in the original games. It’s up to you how much this factors into your replay decision, but it’s a terrific chance to get a firsthand look at both games.

It’s when you’re replaying Uncharted 4 that the game’s slow but deliberate opening hours become tough to overlook, especially since the narrative revelations that they build toward get dulled for players who’ve previously experienced them. When you’re trudging atop the roofs as a young Nathan Drake or going through the motions of a jail breakout that’s designed to set up the primary conflict of the sequel, admiring the game’s ability to make use of superior hardware only gets you so far.

It’s a storey where the initial surprises are so important that revisiting them doesn’t have the same impact, something you should keep in mind given that this upgrade isn’t free. This won’t apply if you’re playing Uncharted 4 for the first time, but the game’s subtle shift in overall tone and climactic conclusion to Drake’s journey haven’t diminished in the years since its release.

Because Sony has committed to the increased $70 retail pricing for their PS5 games, Legacy of Thieves requires either a full purchase or a $10 upgrade charge if you already own Uncharted 4 or Lost Legacy on PS4. It’s a painful charge to pay, especially because The Last of Us 2, Naughty Dog’s most recent game, received a free patch last year to unlock the frame rate on PS5.

Review of Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves - Charted Once More

Thankfully, you only need one to obtain access to the complete collection, which may come in handy if you skipped over the great side-story starring Chloe Fraser and Uncharted 4 antagonist, Nadine Ross, and instead went straight to the end of Nathan Drake’s adventure. Given that countless other games have received identical enhancements without charging the same price, you may find the premium unjustifiable, but at the very least, you’re receiving both games with a single purchase.

If you missed out on Lost Legacy the first time around or are revisiting game, it hasn’t suffered nearly as much from the passage of time as Uncharted 4. Taking everything of Uncharted 4’s new innovations (small, open hub areas and the inclusion of a grappling hook), Lost Legacy tightens the pacing and shortens the overall length, making the tale punchier and the flow more enjoyable. It’s still a long trip, clocking in at approximately 10 hours, but the speed with which set-pieces come and resolve–not to mention the significantly more exciting opening–make it a better opportunity to taste these new technical advancements than a time-consuming revisit of Uncharted 4.

The Legacy of Thieves collection adds compatibility for both the PS5 DualSense and the console’s 3D audio, in addition to the added visual flair. The DualSense’s improvements should come as no surprise, with adaptive triggers providing some weapon resistance and the controller’s vibration providing a lot more granularity than the DualShock 4. While the work Naughty Dog has done with these elements is no longer groundbreaking, it still feels high-end, with some of the greatest adaptive trigger tuning I’ve seen on the platform.

Review of Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves - Charted Once More

The most impressive improvement, however, is that provided by 3D audio. With this setting enabled, you can identify so much more in Uncharted’s levels, even down to the slight ping that Drake’s grappling hook makes against his belt when he moves or climbs. It’s one of the best examples of this technology, making it stand out even more than the majority of games that support it.

There’s no doubt that the more powerful hardware of the new generation of consoles provides you with a far greater method to experience both Uncharted games on the PlayStation 4. The upgrades are comparable to what many other publishers are offering for free to gamers, but the upgrade mechanism here allows you to get both games for a nominal amount even if you only own one.

That lessens the impact somewhat, but it’s something to consider if you’ve already played both games, with Uncharted 4 faring worse due to its exceedingly slow start when replayed. These are still excellent games, made much better by more powerful hardware, so if you’ve missed them over the years, they’re an easy recommendation.

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