Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection review

By Kes Eylers-Stephenson,
Uncharted: A Legacy of Thieves Collection took me to utopia... again. Twice. It is the kind of gaming treasure with limitless worth — two experiences that make you want to endlessly journey through the world hunting treasures and exploring crumbling ruins. Just as The Nathan Drake Collection polished up the trio of PS3 games, this remastered collection contains both Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and its 10-hour spin-off, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. In the former, you take adventurer Nathan Drake on a personal journey to find the lost pirate colony of Libertalia, shooting, climbing, and puzzling through a globetrotting narrative. In the latter, a former colleague of Drake, Chloe Frazer, and mercenary Nadine Ross tag team the jungle marshes of the Western Ghats in India to search for the Tusk of Ganesh. In both, original developer Naughty Dog crafted moments of exploration and discovery that are unparalleled in execution on PS4. Now, upgraded for PS5 by Iron Galaxy Studios, they look stunning, sound perfect, and even feel better to play — even if this is nothing more than a clean and competent upgrade.

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The games

Let's touch on the fact that these two games are simply two of our favourites from the last generation. I played both to completion on PS4 and then ported my old saves into this new PS5 collection seamlessly. I then played the opening five chapters of both titles, picked out some sequences I loved and played them again, and unlocked some of the trophies that didn't pop when I ported my save (there is a dedicated trophy section at the end of the review). In total, I would estimate that I spent around ten hours with Legacy of Thieves, but around 70 hours total with the two games on PS4.

Uncharted 4 tells, presumably, the last of treasure hunting rogue Nathan Drake's tales in which he seeks out Libertalia — the forgotten pirate utopia founded by Captain Avery. The adventure begins as a figure from his past comes back into his life unexpectedly, destroying any semblance of normality built in his stable home life with his wife Elena. Thus begins what I think is the perfect narrative action-adventure. Aside from the presence of pirates — which are my thematic vice — the central mystery of what happened to Avery's colony is a startlingly compelling background to what is an emotional and maturely told final chapter in Drake's saga. Nathan's relationship with mainstays like Elena and Sully are touching, and new characters — despite inserting a bit of narrative incontinuity into the prior games — are so well written that it adds retrospective depth to Drake.


The locations and levels are so inventive, vivid, and tightly constructed that it always feels like the adventure is unfolding at a rapid rate. The way the dim light shines in Scotland, or the Madagascan market has a hum-drum of life, or the decimated streets of taverns and stables of once populated pirate townships have an ambience that will live with me forever. Blast me barnacles, there is even a diving sequence early in the game that is superbly executed. It helps that the set pieces are spectacular, with bell towers crumbling and lookout towers crumbling and... a lot of towers crumbling now I think about it.

The developers even finally relented from the linearity of prior games and opened out some sections into a gorgeous semi-open world playground for you to drive around by boat or jeep. Always visually stimulating and with banter popping off like a radio station, these sections actually help fuel the sense of player-empowered adventuring. Hell, even the game mechanics like shooting and platforming have improved, even if they will be a little restrictive for some players.


Those improvements in gameplay mechanics are matched by the tighter and less sprawling experience awaiting you in The Lost Legacy. It is around 10-hours long compared to the seventeen-or-so needed for A Thief's End. Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross' adventure in the Western Ghats serves as a bit of an epilogue to the fourth title while serving up a deliciously well-executed race to find the treasure of the ancient Hindu Hoysala Empire. It is an amalgamation of the best of the exploration in four, with slightly more hokey narrative chops, and a really charged atmosphere given that the villain is a genocidal maniac. The portrayal of India in the civil war is staggeringly well-realised, given weight by a carpet-bombing of a city that is the most serious and surreal moment in Uncharted history.

With an entire section of an old capital city nestled in the ghats to be traversed, complete with side missions and bonus treasures, it is also a game that knows how to keep the player engaged with fresh ideas. The environment, even though it is predominantly jungle, is lush and teeming with life — it does more than enough to convince me that Uncharted would work with a God of War-like open-world. The only downside across both games is that sometimes platforming sections require you to push a comrade up and over a ledge or to clamber on a box you've pushed to the right ledge. These sections are tedious and tired. It felt like an old level design in 2016/17, and it feels even older in 2022 — even if Uncharted dresses it up with panache. I would also note that the shooting is good, but not excellent, and the games can feel a bit on rails at times. That is fine by me because every other facet of A Thief's End and The Lost Legacy is as pristine and valuable as the treasures that await you. This is a pairing of perfect narrative adventure games for you to sink your teeth into.


The upgrades

Iron Galaxy Studios are responsible for this PS5 bundle of both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy which were released on PS4 in 2016 and 2017, respectively. I want to spend time discussing the actual quality of the remasters of the two games, as there is no new content here nor the fantastic multiplayer and co-op modes from the original games. Aside from a new launching screen for both games, you are looking at the now-traditional remaster upgrades for PlayStation exclusives like the Ghosts of Tsushima and Death Stranding.

That means a selection of modes to run the game in. In Fidelity mode, the game supports native 4K resolution, running at 30fps. The colours are really, staggeringly rich and every detail a lot sharper, but I'm afraid the choppy 30fps was intolerable for this reviewer. There is the Performance mode, which is upscaled 4K from native 2K at 60fps. This is how I played the majority of my time. It a was perfect balance between quality and smoothness, while having a static 60fps actually made action-packed gunfights and platforming much better. Not in an "it looked better" way, but in a substantive "this looks and feels better than the original" way. The Performance+ mode is a new addition, which plays the game at a basic 1080p but with 120fps. If you want to talk about smooth gameplay, this is it. There is no choppiness or break in the frame count, but the cost is that the games lose a lot of their vibrant colour palette. It's a shame, but a trade-off a lot of players after the cleanest camera movement will happily make.

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You also get DualSense support, which I think has been handled really well. It isn't overwhelming, it just gives an extra kick to weapons and a hefty bump when — I don't know — you ring a clock tower bell and accidentally swing the entire thing off of its hook and crash it down a historical landmark in Madagascar. Drake hates towers, okay? Little bumps and tremours also help keep you involved in cutscene-like moments by just reminding you that no matter how good these games look — and they do look absurdly good — you are always engaged.

The 3D audio hasn't been as impactful as I would have liked in the early stages of PS5 life, but that doesn't mean it isn't cool. Being able to hear the precise spot a bullet hit is a little like magic initially, as is hearing Nadine's voice stealthily sneak up behind you chatting about the cute monkeys you found in this little temple paradise in the ghats. All the audio disappears into the background really quickly. I'm waiting for the point in time when the audio is implemented such that environmental effects become rendered in the 3D space, as opposed to a few voices, bullets, and loud noises.

Loading screens are also infinitely shorter and the most noticeable upgrade, after the graphical modes. In fact, they are so fast, there are no more interstitial screens with an artefact rotating in 3D. It made dying less of a chore in crushing difficulty and has made trophy hunting as easy and quick as selecting a combat encounter and... yep, there I am running over blokes in a jeep. I think it probably saves you much more time than you will realise, especially if you are a completionist replaying chapters, encounters, playing on a harder difficulty, or just picking and choosing what sections to play as I did.

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That is it. There is no additional content, there are no special features decorating the game. Personally speaking, anything would be welcome to round to the package for seasoned players — a directors commentary, an explorable treasure room with historical details of all your collectables, or some behind-the-scenes featurettes. But listen, everything in this upgrade works to perfection: all the upgrades make these games look native to PS5. Everything runs better than ever and plays better than ever. There is no fault in any of the work that has been done here by Iron Galaxy. Uncharted: A Legacy of Thieves is a fantastic way to play two best-in-class games on PS5 with no quibbles to speak of.

However, Sony is cheekily charging a $10/£10/€10 to existing owners for upgrades that most third-party games have been giving away for free through a patch. If you are a new owner wanting to check these games out, you will be charged £44.99/$49.99/€49.99 for the pleasure of playing games that are six years old and have been on sale numerous times. If these games were coming out as a collection after the games had been out for two years and hadn't hit bargain bin sale prices, that would be one thing — Legacy of Thieves isn't, though. Games from smaller publishers like Wreckfest, Metro Exodus, Control, A Plague Tale: Innocence, and many more have had upgrades like this free of charge. I'm not altering the review score for it, but whether A Legacy of Thieves Collection is worth the price of admission for a clean upgrade for all-time great games with no additional content and no multiplayer is down to you as an informed consumer.

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Trophy wise, this collection is bizarre. There is a new overarching game category with a new list named Legacy of Thieves, obviously. Within that, there is one list for Uncharted 4 with a platinum trophy. There is no platinum for The Lost Legacy, but it has a separate DLC list that counts towards the completion percentage of the overarching collection. If you complete that single DLC group — it is 49 trophies long, a length unprecedented for a single DLC pack if we are correct — you unlock a trophy in the Uncharted 4 list for completing The Lost Legacy trophies, which then unlocks that single Platinum trophy for Uncharted 4. That brings the total trophy count to 102 in a unique list of a similar style to Mass Effect: Legendary Edition.

As for unlocking them? Well, if you have a save previously with the Platinum of your PS4 games on, it will unlock trophies, including everything related to collectables and difficulty. For me, it left a few combat trophies and unique chapter-related bronzes to do, but I am uncertain of how it tracks your imported save. Don't worry though, the importing process is easy and you don't have to do it at all if you don't want to. If you are a new player, never fear. A completion will probably take you a single run in Crushing difficulty with a treasure guide, or two runs — one in easy with collectables and one on Crushing using the gameplay modifiers that will unlock after finishing the first playthrough. Then, it's all about finding the right encounters to replay for fun combat challenge trophies. Now, with no loading times, it's quicker and more painless than ever!

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Uncharted: A Legacy of Thieves Collection is a simple PS5 upgrade with no bells and whistles. What it lacks in additional content, is made up for by parcelling together two exceptional games with better graphical options and frame rates, DualSense support, and 3D audio. A Thief's End still stands out as the emotional finale to Drake's saga, balancing the adventure with his personal tale perfectly. The Lost Legacy is an outstandingly well-composed outing in a leaner and denser experience for the Uncharted franchise. In both, the locations pop, the set-pieces surprise, and the shooting is crisper than ever. We still have concerns about paying the entrance fee for what could have been easily patched in, but this is a clean PS5 upgrade of two of the best games available on the PlayStation platform. By our own metrics, these two Uncharted games are no doubt a "genre-defining release" for third-person action-adventure and a "pinnacle of what gaming can offer" — a ten it is for the utopias of gaming adventuring!
10 / 10
* Kes spent 10 hours playing the opening chapters and a few set pieces in both games. He transferred his PS4 saves for both games, which he had platinumed after a collective 70 hours, and spent extra time popping the extra trinkets needed for the single platinum here (totalling 102 trophies). A review copy was provided by Sony.
Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Written by Kes Eylers-Stephenson
Editor Kes is our resident expert in PlayStation and other gaming news. He writes about PS5 exclusives like The Last of Us and Horizon, PS Plus news, and his favorite games — The Witcher, Assassin’s Creed, and God of War — before an evening swim.
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