Review: Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection

Naughty Dog has been on a roll these past four generations, bringing us the likes of Crash Bandicoot, Jak and Daxter, Uncharted and The Last of Us. The PS4 generation was especially fruitful for the company with its pair of Uncharted titles, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. The former was a graphical showcase for the PS4, and the latter launched with additional PS4 Pro support out of the box. Fun, adventurous and filled-to-the-brim with exciting moments, both Uncharted titles were classics of that era that can be played on PS5 today, but only through backwards compatibility. Now, both titles get a new lease on life thanks to native PS5 support with the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, doing away with the limitations of backwards compatibility. Is Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection another Naughty Dog treasure or can this remastered collection be left behind?

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection bundles together remastered versions of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. In A Thief’s End, Nathan Drake is united with his long-lost brother, Sam Drake, and is pulled into a globe-trotting adventure to uncover the lost treasure of infamous pirate Henry Avery. Racing against them is a rich boy trying to make a name for himself, Rafe Adler, and mercenary leader Nadine Ross. Meanwhile, The Lost Legacy takes Chloe Frazer and Nadine to India in search of the fabled Tusk of Ganesh, pitting them against the local warlord, Asav, who’s seeking the tusk for power.

Both stories remain as well-told as ever thanks to excellent writing and performances. A Thief’s End’s exploration of both brotherly and marital relationships and the cost of obsession remains impactful today. Meanwhile, The Lost Legacy serves more as a character study, delving deep into one of the series’ more beloved side characters, Chloe Frazer, and fleshing her out into a developed protagonist. The game also does a solid job with Nadine, helping to rehabilitate her image from A Thief’s End. These are both fun and engaging stories, but there’s an issue for returning players.

Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cut, this is not. The Legacy of Thieves Collection is merely a remaster of the 2016 and 2017 games. There’s no new or expanded story content in either title. While it can be thrilling to revisit these swashbuckling stories, and new players will undoubtedly have a blast experiencing both for the first time, there’s nothing new here for returning players. If you’re just here for the story, it also doesn’t help that the PS4 Pro versions can easily be played on PS5 through backwards compatibility.

Despite not having any new content, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection does offer plenty upfront. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End will run you about 15 hours to complete just the campaign but can easily go another 5-6 if you aim to find all the hidden treasures and 100% complete the title. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, as a side game, runs much shorter, wrapping up in about 6-8 hours. Like A Thief’s End, there are quite a few side activities to pursue. Completing each campaign unlocks different skins, bonuses, cheats and weapons to use in New Game+.

Like their original incarnations on PS4, both remastered titles are mostly linear games. You’ll proceed through chapters solving puzzles, partaking in gunfights and occasionally traveling off the beaten path for a collectible treasure. Both games do dedicate a chapter to a semi-open environment with additional sights to see and puzzles to complete for in-game rewards. Of the two Uncharted: The Lost Legacy nails the semi-open world better with more sights to visit, an optional side quest with a tantalizing reward and great enemy encounters. Like with the story, however, there isn’t anything new within the game’s content.

Unfortunately, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection does lose something from the PS4 releases: multiplayer. Like Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection on PS4, this remastered collection arrives on PS5 without the multiplayer component. While not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s disappointing to see the multiplayer removed, especially when servers remain live and active. Considering there’s no third title in this collection like there was in The Nathan Drake Collection, getting that multiplayer would have injected a lot more value into the Legacy of Thieves Collection.

The effects of the remaster come into their own within the gameplay. The same great gunplay, traversal mechanics and controls make their return but are bolstered by a rock-solid 60fps when playing in Performance Mode. When activated, this mode drops the resolution to 1440p, much like on PS4 Pro, but unlike on last-gen, it doubles the frame rate. The result is the smoothest way to enjoy either game on console. A bonus Performance+ mode is also available for those with TVs capable of outputting at 120Hz, though it drops the resolution to 1080p. Overall, Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is the best Uncharted has ever played and a big reason to play this collection over the PS4 versions on PS5.

The collection takes advantage of the PS5 in other subtle ways. The SSD nearly eliminates load times, making getting into and staying in the action fast and simple. The DualSense’s haptics is utilized relatively well to give melee combat, vaulting and vehicles more oomph. Probably the most impressive of the PS5 features is the 3D audio, which captures the feeling of being on a beach or traipsing through the jungle. It’s put to especially good use in some of the more creepy sections of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, adding additional layers of tension to an already tense atmosphere. If you have a 3D audio headset, you’ll want to pull it out for this collection.

For games released in 2016 and 2017, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy hold up remarkably well. The lush vegetation, immaculate character modeling and texturing, gorgeous water shaders and cinematics are all still there but with additional clarity from the increased resolution. Neither game may be cutting edge compared to recent PS5 titles like Demon’s Souls and Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, but both look decent enough. Unfortunately, not much else has been done with the presentation.

The final of the collection’s graphics modes, Fidelity Mode, outputs the game at a native 4K resolution but drops the frame rate to 30fps. While the game does look sharp at 4K, the mode doesn’t include additional bells and whistles like higher-res assets or ray-traced reflections. Considering how much of a game-changer 60fps is for these titles, the lack of any other graphical incentives makes it difficult to recommend Fidelity Mode. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection holds up well in the graphics department, it’s just a shame Naughty Dog didn’t go above and beyond what was already there.

Closing Comments

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a slam dunk on paper, with it containing two of the PS4’s best exclusives remastered for a new generation. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End stunned in 2016 when it launched thanks to its heartfelt story, endearing characters, stunning presentation and revamped gameplay. While Uncharted: The Lost Legacy didn’t get the same fanfare, it still wholeheartedly accomplished its goals and provided a roadmap for continuing the franchise post-Nathan Drake. The Legacy of Thieves Collection succeeds because these games are so excellent, and the upgrades, while minor, enhance what’s still there. New content, additional quality-of-life improvements and multiplayer would have been icing on the cake, taking this release above and beyond being just a remaster. Still, this is the best these two games have ever played, and for those who haven’t played the titles before or returning players who can take advantage of the $10 upgrade, it’s the best way to play them. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection might not be the shiniest of Sony’s remastered treasures, but it’s a treasure nonetheless.