READING MODE  

For the record, one question usually pops up whenever a HD remastered game gets released: Is it worth buying if you played the original? While graphic upscaling and better frame-rates are the standard answers, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection takes it to the next level.

Hailed as Naughty Dog’s greatest masterpiece, this remastered bundle – packing in all three Uncharted games into one glorious HD update – allows fans and newcomers alike to re-live the adventure and great moments that Uncharted has put out since its inception. Of course, all this now can be seen in Full HD right on the PlayStation 4 (PS4). To make this package an even sweeter deal, those who picked up the game will be able to play the Beta Version of Uncharted 4’s multiplayer mode.

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Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection
 Publisher  Sony Computer Entertainment
 Developer  Naughty Dog, Bluepoint Games
 Platform   Sony PlayStation 4
 Release Date   7 October 2015
 Genre   Action Adventure
 Player(s)   1
This game was provided courtesy of SCE Japan Asia

 

Three Great Adventures

The Nathan Drake Collection contains all three main campaigns from the Uncharted series. For the uninitiated, the protagonist is Nathan “Nate” Drake, a modern treasure hunter who has claimed, many times, that he is the direct descendant of a very famous European explorer – Sir Francis Drake. Together with his partner/mentor Victor Sullivan – affectionately known to pals as Sully, and several regular accomplices, players are given an interactive Hollywood-like narrative experience that sees Nate explore vast jungles, uncover mysteries that hide equally as provocative rewards, and overcome all sorts of impossible odds – all in the name of discovering untold riches.

One thing to note about the Nathan Drake Collection is that it only contains the single player campaign and lacks the multiplayer mode. This is understandable since its three big games fit into one Blu-Ray disc and, rightly so, the main focus for the bundle is the series’ storyline.

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Graphics Booster

Bluepoint Games, the team behind this remastered effort, did an outstanding job in reworking all the assets that the three Uncharted games used. However, in comparing all of them, the first game – Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune – had the biggest facelift. Originally, when the first game had been released, many consider it as an adventure games that packs in exceptional graphics. One of the best adventure games ever made. This, of course, had been overshadowed later on when the sequels appeared. In the Remastered Collection, the graphics for the first game are now on par with the newest entry into the Uncharted bundle. Even the gameplay experience has been updated with a few new enhancements that allows the first game to be in sync with the second and third entries.

Like most PS4 remasters, the game runs at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. While this enhances the overall gameplay, the frame-rate bump did make some of the pre-rendered cinematics look awkward and fake.

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Personally, this minor issue is an easy trade-off when the entire game looks so awesome on Full HD.

As for Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, both games are at the pinnacle of graphic processing and, thus, do not receive much in terms of visual tweaks and gameplay improvements. Among the two, only the former had been given the necessary updates to ensure its controls are in sync with the most current entry into the Uncharted franchise.

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Almost Like Universal Controls

To get a clearer idea on how well matched the core gameplay is for all three titles, each still has their own uniqueness as it reflects the charm of each game. While the basics have been updated and tuned to maintain consistency, Bluepoint Games has revamped the controls for the first game, such as removing the Six Axis motion controls and the grenade tossing mechanics, to make it less complicated and more uniformed with the sequels. The entire collection has also switched the previous mapped Aim and Fire buttons on the Sony PlayStation DualShock 4, originally L1 and R1 Shoulder Buttons, to the more conveniently located L2 and R2 Triggers.

Of course, those who prefer using the original controls can re-map them back to how it had been like in the original game. After all, nothing can ever contend with muscle memory and easy-to-recall reflexes.

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Even with all the changes, some odd aspects of the original game had not been addressed properly. In keeping the core gameplay intact, the first game brought forward some of the gameplay sufferings that it is known for such as unresponsive movement when climbing ledges, lack of stealth kills, and enemies being able to take on more damage than they should.

Brand New Offerings

There is no such thing as a Remastered not having any new features. To spice things up, Naughty Dog included into the Nathan Drake Collection two new difficulties: Explorer and Brutal Mode.

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With the former, newcomers can easily enjoy the trilogy and narrative with no major roadblocks as it reduces the combat difficulty significantly. Veterans who want to re-live the story but not go through the pains of duking it out with tough enemy hordes can pick this mode as well. As for the latter, it is known to be the ‘ultimate’ difficulty setting that can only be unlocked when the games are beaten in the hardest setting that is openly available – Crushing Mode.

There is also a Speed Run option that is made specifically for long-time Uncharted players. When engaged, it will test the mettle of these seasoned users as they try to beat the game with the fastest time possible.

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As for the not-so-challenging aspect of the game, Bluepoint Games also included a Photo Mode that can be tapped onto within all three games. This feature allows gamers to capture that perfect screenshot of them playing Drake as he does some excellent dungeon runs and share them online. By pressing the Down button on the D-Pad, the game instantly freezes and players could then adjust the camera’s position, change the brightness, or apply filters onto the picture. Despite this neat feature, not all parts of the game allow Photo Mode to be used.

A Real Must-Own

The Uncharted series, with each iteration released, proved that it is – hands down – the most amazing game on the PlayStation 4. This is a given fact and proven beyond measure many times. Being able to replay them all in Full HD and experience the entire narrative that spreads across the three games have been nothing but pure bliss.

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The Nathan Drake Collection is clearly one of the best remastered titles on the PS4 and is the set to go for when preparing for the upcoming 2016 Uncharted sequel. If, somehow, one hasn’t had the chance to play Uncharted just yet, then this collection is, indeed, the best choice to add into the gaming queue. Not only does it offer better value in terms of monetary investment, it is also the best videogame series to truly waste time over since it has an exceptionally high replay value.

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