Love them or loathe them, remasters are now a relevant part of the gaming landscape. While some feel like a cheap cash grab, others, such as the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Collection or Gears Of War Ultimate Edition (which incidentally lost out on this award by a solitary vote) show the value of the concept.
Since I was overwhelmingly an Xbox 360 player previous gen, the Uncharted series, for the most part, completely passed me by. I played through the first of the three PlayStation 3 games but, despite owning them, never got around to playing through the two sequels.
During the recent Tesco pricing cock up I managed to land a copy of the Uncharted Collection, a remastered bundle of the series to date, for a mere £9. Again, however, they sat on my shelf untouched. A recent bout of illness gave me some unexpected free time and, resisting the urge to boot Destiny up, I thought it time to finally remove the wrapper and get stuck into the games before the much anticipated fourth game arrived.
One of the main things that a back to back playthough of all the titles made me appreciate was how Naughty Dog upped the ante with each installment. Bolder, more action filled, more cinematic, brasher, braver and, fundamentally, better than the previous title. Drake’s Fortune, Among Thieves, and Drake’s Deception are each brilliant in their own right but, especially when played in a continuous sequence, the improvements are standout. With every title they grew in confidence. I also felt that there was a certainly layer of maturity added with each new iteration. Whilst I’ve since learnt that this wasn’t always well received by players and reviewers at the time, I found it intriguing how as Naughty Dog grew up, I felt Drake did in unison. That maturity carried over into The Last Of Us, and looks to be further explored A Thief’s End.
Bluepoint Games have become industry specialists at porting games to different hardware, with their CV including the God Of War Collection, Metal Gear Solid Collection, plus a magnificent job on the Xbox 360 version of Titanfall, a feat which I am still baffled they managed to pull off. With these successes behind them, it’s no surprise to find the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is technically superb. Each environment is beautifully rendered, from the lush jungles to the streets of Yemen, and performs at a buttery smooth 60fps throughout. Whilst not as close to photorealism as we see in some games these days, I feel it was the correct creative choice to not stray too far away from the original titles.
I know I’m late to the party on this, but now I understand why the series is held in such high esteem by so many. Naughty Dog created a series of exemplary cinematic shooter platformers which in turn led to other series, such as the rebooted Tomb Raider, upping their game. Drake’s wisecracking, action filled adventures have won me over, and I’m now eagerly anticipating the upcoming fourth title. A well deserved winner of our We Pushed The Button award.