Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves Collection Review(PS5)
''ONCE A THIEF. ALWAYS A THIEF'.''
Developed: Iron Galaxy and Naughty Dog
Published: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action Adventure Shooter
Release Date: Jan 28th, 2022
*Review copy provided to me by SIE and Playstation*
''Thief in the night''
Uncharted Legacy Of Thieves Collection is an action adventure shooter developed by Iron Galaxy and Naughty Dog and is published by SIE. Being a remastered release of both Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, with both having been released individually previously on Playstation 4 in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Sony attempts to honor the long legacy of the Uncharted franchise by giving us arguably the two best entries in the series. But do they warrant another release or should our fond memories have stayed back where we remembered, on the Playstation 4. Only one way to find out, so lets go!
So because this is a two in one review, we are going to have to switch up the format again from how It's usually done. First I will cover Uncharted 4 and give my thoughts on its story, gameplay, performance and then transition into giving the same point of view in relation to Lost Legacy. I am well aware that no one here lives under a rock, I mean heck, if you did, you'd be small like the cartoon ''The Littlebits''. Do you guys remember that show? sorry, back on topic. The reason I say that is because nearly everyone has played Uncharted 4 or Lost Legacy before, but when I do reviews, I go into it with the impression that someone HAS NOT played something, so it will be treated the same way here. As you start your game, you're already thrusted into the high octane action that Naughty Dog brings to you as Nathan and his brother Sam are involved in a major boat chase during a thunderstorm on the seven seas as they're being chased by the mercenary organization by the name of Shoreline. But suddenly without warning, SLAM, their boat is hit and Nathan goes flying into the cold ocean. They're hit so hard that Nathan goes back in time and now wakes up in the catholic orphanage from when he was a kid, crazy. Oh wait. This is a flashback? Never mind. My idea was kind of cool though. In this opening segment for the orphanage, it's basically your tutorial for the game with some story mixed in to make it seem less of a tedious or daunting task. It is here where you were learn the basics from crouching, stealth, platforming with your jumps and shimmying, as well as the backstory for Nathan and his older brother Sam, with each of them discovering new secrets about their mother, her history of treasure hunting and how they both adopted the name of Drake. You also get to give a little old lady a heart attack by telling her bingo night was canceled, pretty cool!. Relax. I'm joking. Kind of.
After this short backstory and run down of the basic mechanics of the game, you transition to years later with both Drake brothers, now being adults, stuck in prison. But really, its on purpose. Their reasoning for being here is to try to find clues to uncover the secret pirate treasure of the pirate, Captain Avery, who has eluded not only them, but everyone who has ever dared to look for it. When searching for your first clue during a tread of a nearby tower, you're then introduced to the next gameplay mechanic, grapple hooking. Oh my lord. This might seem like such as small feature, but you have no clue how fun this thing is to use, whether you're just grabbing and swinging or jumping over a cliff, then throwing your rope at the last second to glide ,and even combining them all together for one quick jump, swoop and then freefall with a powerful punch onto an enemy below. It's so damn satisfying to do. But we'll get back to the gameplay in just a second, trust me. With your team of Nathan, Sam and Rafe now having the artifact they need to continue their search, it is now prudent to make your grand escape. That's what I would say anyways if it was actually grand. You see, Michael Schoffield wasn't around to plan this Prison Break, so you had to make ends meet with your wits and cunning ingenuity. Which doesn't work out, as during your intense running and jumping to avoid enemy guards, Sam is shot and falls back into the prison, forcing Rafe and Nathan to leave him for dead. I don't know what would've fit better, Gandalf saying ''Fly You Fools'' or Simba screaming ''Nooo!'', as you watched your brother fall. But moving on. Flash forward to fifteen years in the future and Nathan is a kid trapped in a mans body that plays with Nerf guns, making pew pew sounds and being stuck in a mid life crisis as he ignores his wife like a good husband does and becomes transfixed on a picture on the wall, yearning again for one last adventure.
The reason for this yearning is because even though he told his wife that he would give up the treasure hunting life, he still misses the feeling of adventure and discovery. Staying true to his word, he turns down a job in Malaysia and is content with his life for now, that is until his brother shows up back into his life, after fifteen years, he's still alive, but he needs your help, he's in trouble big time with a drug lord and if he doesn't get a hefty sum of money within three months, he will be killed and Nathan is the only one who can help him. Reluctantly, Nathan decides to help Sam and go in search of Avery's treasure with him, but not before calling his wife, lying to her, like a good husband does, and telling her he will only be gone a few weeks, when in actuality, he could die and she'd never know. Hey, that's what husbands are for and that's what heroes do. Now, your adventure finally truly begins and oh boy is it a whirlwind. As you know by now, the Uncharted series since its inception on PS3 is all about fast paced action sequences with narrowing close calls, Michael Bay explosions, intense gun fights, witty humor between the main characters that give each individual person in the story their own unique character arc or personalities and the astonishing feeling of accomplishment from exploration. This is the core of what makes an Uncharted game... well uhh.. Uncharted. Everything I named here is still alive and present in the fourth and final entry into the Nathan Drake saga and has you go on his biggest adventure yet.
Adventuring and exploring your environments in Uncharted has never felt more fun and satisfying than it does here in A Thief's End. Each environment, scenery or story piece has its own unique perspective that offers you new ways to play or even old ways to play that feels enhanced further by tweaks to its core mechanics. For instance gun play in A Thief's End is now snappy, fluid and more responsive compared to how sluggish and locked down the combat felt in titles like Uncharted 1 to 3. This could be in large part due to the performance upgrades of this title now that its on PS5. Fidelity mode let's you enjoy this title in all its full graphically glory by offering a 4K 30 F.P.S experience, which is absolutely gorgeous to look at, Performance Mode, which is my preferred way to play, offers you a graphical scaling of 1440P at 60 F.P.S. that not only makes the game look and stay beautiful, but run like an absolute dream, and then Performance Plus Mode that allows you to play in a scaling of 1080p but a faster 120 F.P.S, which is not really ideal if I'm going to be honest, since you have to have a proper setup to even utilize the benefits of this. Sure all the cool kids that use it will be like ''You're too slow!'' like Sonic, but shush it kid, to me, Performance Mode is the way to go to get both the benefits of a graphical upgrade and user experience. A Thief's End does not shy away from the classic tropes of old or even from the charm of its both funny and cringe dialogue that takes place between characters, mainly Nathan and his one liner jokes. I swear, every time he makes some of these, you're waiting for a laugh track to play as his quips are being said. Granted, I do laugh quite a lot at them because Nathan as a character is really damn charming, so don't worry, his jokes aren't as bad as the ones in Big Bang Theory.
After getting the mission update from Sam, it's now time to get started as you infiltrate a lavish party to steal back one of Avery's artifacts by pulling an FBI and rope jumping through a window like you just downloaded illegal music off Napster and Lime wire, trek your way through chilling ice caverns as you watch Sam teleport from one area you just left him at, to another one right above you in the matter of seconds, seriously what the crap. Proceed to explore and solve engaging puzzles in the lush scenery and oceans of Panama, cool down with the frostbite ridden Scotland, traverse the beautiful lands and volcano of Madagascar without Chris Rock and Ben Stiller, become engrossed in the sight of a pirate ship graveyard, use grappling hook to swing and jump from mountain to mountain as you use your hook to climb up walls, duck and cover like an old nuclear war P.S.A. to dodge enemy gun fire or stealth your way to victory. There's so much here that just keeps the game entertaining all throughout its 15-20 hour journey, depending on what difficulty you play on, so your time spent with this title will differ depending on how much you die and hear your NPC's yelling ''Nate! Nate!!''. Dadduh Dun DUN DUN!. Sorry that was supposed to be the Metal Gear Solid death sound. I bet you hear it now in your head though, don't you? ya I thought so. Heck besides all the near death experiences, humor and fast paced gun mechanics, you even get to have a climatic battle in a sinking pirate ship in a setting that would be befitting of even Pirates Of The Caribbean. Ha Rafe! Remember this as the day that you ALMOST caught treasure hunter extraordinaire, Captain Nathan Drake. But.. its not all gold coins and lost artifacts around here, there are still some issues that are present here in this entry that plagued the series in the previous games or weren't fixed here in these remasters. I'll go over these real quick before we wrap up and move on to Lost Legacy. Lets get to it. First issue on my list is the Sam and Nathan kid back story segments, don't get me wrong they aren't bad, it's got some stellar voice acting, however mood wise they feel like filler gaps to me. I could never get into them and anxiously awaited to get back to the parts of the story I really wanted to engage in. Over use of the jump, grab and break gimmick is another issue I ran into because yeah sure these are old civilizations and structures, they're bound to break, but the excess in which it happens goes from making situations intense, to making you groan and say to yourself ''oh wow here's yet ANOTHER platform that's going to break'' and that takes away from the immersion to me. Hand to hand combat is also still as wonky as ever and doesn't quite feel natural, smooth or as engaging as the bread and butter gun fighting. Lastly, my smaller gripe is Nathan's constant screaming of No no no no. Its the same sound byte over and over for a lot of the main danger scenes and it got on my nerves a little bit. Nothing immersion breaking, but when you hear it roughly three times in like a half an hour or less its a tiny bit off putting. You could insert a joke here like ''Drake, did you do your homework?'' ''No No No No!''. Overall though with my gripes and issues aside, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End is a fantastic game on its own with fascinating areas to explore, fun and intuitive puzzles, superb character development and voice acting that lets you feel every characters plight and emotions, bombastic gun play that offers up just enough challenge for any player to have fun no matter skill level, and down to the varied performance options for fidelity and frame rate, makes this title a must own even by itself. But what of the second game in this remaster, Lost Legacy. Well... that's a hit or miss. Some people love it, others don't, but how do I see it?. Its a toughie, its like Indiana Jones trying to replace the Golden Idol, do I switch out Lost Legacy for another title in the series or keep it?
Taking place after the events of Uncharted 4, this is the first entry that does not star Nathan Drake and instead follows the story of Chloe Frazer, who you may be familiar with if you've played Uncharted 2 and 3, as well as ex antagonist, Nadine Ross ,who constantly tried to kill Nathan and Sam in Uncharted 4, as they search for the Tusk Of Ganesh in order to keep it out of the hands the nefarious and evil Asav to prevent him from doing something dangerous with it. Now I probably won't go into depth as much here as I did with Uncharted 4, mostly because all the mechanics that took place in Uncharted 4, take place in this game with no real big deviations other than slightly improved melee combat that feels a bit more responsive during the double team melee segments that happen throughout the game. But that's not to say that there's NOTHING to talk about, no way. Being able to see the civil war ready India through the advantage point of Chloe as she tries to find a way from prevent a war from happening, explore vast temples to uncover their secrets to find tokens and artifacts, view the absolutely gorgeous looking mountain sides, solve puzzles to open cave aqueducts and unleash ravishing waterfalls, all of these are great, well mostly. What gives this title the advantage over A Thief's End is the semi open world you're able to explore. Think of Ocarina Of Time but with Uncharted and you roughly have an idea of that type of freedom you will have. In this large hub area, you're free to traverse anywhere that you wish to go that you see, within reasonable measure that is. There are still invisible walls that block you off and bushes made of solid concrete, but overall, the sense of freedom you get in Lost Legacy is far more immersive and engaging than a single area of the previous 4 titles of Uncharted give you. As stated above, the game play roughly remains the same throughout, same breaking ledges after you grab them trope, bodies made of pure iron steel that seemingly will never break no matter what happens to it, amazingly fun grapple hook that again here offers you a chance to change up combat by swinging with L1 and changing your position in your terrain, whether it be to get to another advantage point or get the jump on an enemy soldier, gun play feels just as smooth and responsive as it did in A Thief's End, hollywood blockbuster movie action set pieces are even more insane than before with some of them leaving you in awe or bewilderment and questioning how the heck did they even survive that? Seriously. Everyone in this universe is like a cartoon character that gets injured, but is fine just a few moments later. Only thing at this point needed would be to take Chloe and Nadine to toon town and put them in The Dip, right, Judge Doom?. Of course no game would be very enjoyable if the main characters weren't any fun, right? I mean who would want to play a game with a petulant child minded soldier who's dumb enough to see a scratch and sniff sticker on the bottom of the pool and actually try it? like someone missing their dose of Thorazine and then, there you go, that's your main character. You wouldn't want that right? of course not. Thankfully it isn't the case and Chloe and Nadine are actually even better in Lost Legacy than they were in the previous entries.
Chloe is very sassy, has great quips, extremely knowledgeable on her history of ancient artifacts, always cool and collected, while her counterpart of Nadine is more blunt, act first think later and ass kicker who can take the fight to just about anyone, male or female, she's pretty bad ass. With both of them having very different personalities and at the beginning, they do not trust each other much with Nadine being ex-leader of Shoreline, a ruffian mercenary crew who does terrible things such as murder or destroy, and Chloe who is a treasure hunter following in the foot steps of her father and is basically a glorified thief. Due to their personalities clashing, they become a ying and yang situation and due to the amazing job by the voice actresses here, they bounce off each other so seamlessly that all conversations feel effortless and natural. Watching them grow from being hostile at each other with each refusing to save the other, hearing them open up to each other about their personal lives and leaving themselves vulnerable, getting angry at each other for keeping vital information from the other, discovering friendship means more than artifacts after they help a trapped elephant from underneath rubble and then proceed to take Dumbo home to the rest his family and take a selfie, it's all done great and its easy to relate to both characters. But like Uncharted 4. It's not all happiness here as I have some very big issues with this game, mainly in regards to its puzzles. Ugh. The puzzles in this game are extremely tedious and time wasting, sure not all of them are bad like finding the right pillars to press as statues try to slice your head off, I loved that one, but the ones I'm talking about are puzzles that take a good 30 minutes or more to complete.
As you venture into open world as part of Chapter 4 and 5, you're going to hit your snag with quests that require you to back track over and over to find tokens and spin dials to form a puzzle picture of a bow and arrow or a trident, and every time you complete one, you must back track to the other side of the map. On top of this, you have a shadow related puzzle where you must tip statues forward or back in water to align shadows. This one frustrated me so much that I was going to quit for the night until the game realized how tedious its own puzzle were and mercy killed me the option to completely skip it. THANK YOU. Keep in mind, those are mandatory. Don't even get me started on the fountain mini game that requires you to swing from water fountain to water fountain in a set time limit to get a token. This one isn't mandatory, but that still doesn't mean its good either. This title from start to completion isn't a long one, running you a good 7 to 8 hours tops and at least 3 or 4 those will be spent on Chapter 4 and 5 respectively. No joke. It get's mundane quick. Difficulty also runs along the same lines as A Thief's End and includes the three different graphical settings of Uncharted 4 too. So not only does this game look stunning, but it runs blistering smooth too. When you're not enjoying the view and wondering just how the heck Naughty Dog and Iron Galaxy managed to make something this gorgeous, you will be engaged in anxiety inducing combat with shielded enemies, be on alert from snipers, use RPG's to take down armored vehicles or helicopters, discover secrets hidden away from the main story tucked inside tombs and trying to stop a run away thomas the tank engine from terrorist bombing a city with thousands of people. While Lost Legacy has a lot of great ideas and sights to see, for me personally, the tedious puzzles killed a lot of the fun for me in this title and put a damper on my spirits overall. Would I buy this if it was standalone, probably not, and I know differs from the vocal majority, but this is just my views.
At the end of the day, Uncharted: Legacy Of Thieves Collection gives newcomers and previous fans of the franchise, some great Uncharted action to enjoy, with both titles having their pros and cons. Uncharted 4 having wonky melee combat or overuse of the grabbing trope, but making up for it with fantastic areas to traverse, fluid combat, fun and engaging puzzles and loveable characters, Lost Legacy having really bad and borderline boring puzzles to solve, but making up for it slightly with a semi open world with tons of secrets to uncover and relatable characters in Chloe and Nadine, its easy to recommend this title to new or older players. This is in regards to Uncharted 4 more so than Legacy for me. Individually I'd say stick with Uncharted 4, but since this is a bundle, it's an absolute steal and for people that love action titles, this is definitely one for you to try. So with all this having been said, my verdict is clear. GameNChick says BUY NOW