Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection Review: Not-So-Buried Treasure

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a set of two previously released video games, 2016's Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and 2017's Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, remastered for the PlayStation 5 and PC. And that is… exactly what it is. That's it. Both titles have improved visuals, framerates, and take advantage of PS5 features like the DualSense wireless controller's haptic feedback and adaptive triggers, but if you're looking for something more than that, you're likely to be disappointed. Taken at face value, however, it's hard to find the work that Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment have done here as anything other than stunning.

While the combination of the two titles might at first seem odd to some folks not familiar with the franchise, there are plenty of reasons to include both of them together. First and foremost, neither was part of the previously released Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, which came out prior to either's release. Secondly, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was at one point at least potentially being considered as DLC for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End before the scope and breadth of it bloomed into a standalone expansion of sorts. Thirdly, both were released on the PlayStation 4.

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(Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

That said, Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy are admittedly two very different video games with the same core gameplay loop and conceit. In the former, retired treasure hunter and longtime protagonist Nathan Drake helps his brother, Sam, search for the fabled treasure of pirate Henry Avery as mysteries behind it deepen, while the latter sees fan-favorite secondary character Chloe Frazer taking the wheel with help from former mercenary (and antagonist) Nadine Ross to find the Golden Tusk of Ganesh. At its most basic premise, every Uncharted video game still sees a treasure hunter hunting treasure in Indiana Jones style, but the specifics change.

And that's the case with both titles in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. Nothing about the stories or gameplay first presented years ago have been updated or changed significantly, and it'd be easy enough to argue that the remasters are simply a fresh coat of paint. But the Uncharted series has the benefit of the fact that its individual coats of paint are genuinely significant, and every single installment has been praised for the quality of its graphics and art direction. Updating basically only their graphics might not sound significant, but given that it's been one of the most fundamental pillars of their overall design, it makes a serious impact.

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(Photo: Sony Interactive Entertainment)

And while both Uncharted 4: A Thief's End and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy have certainly aged, it's the graphics that have done so most obviously. Bringing the full weight of the PS5's graphical capabilities to bear on two different Uncharted video games makes it clear that while players might have seen a beautiful vista presented within Uncharted 4: A Thief's End back in 2016, it's still something different to see that same beautiful vista within a remastered version on the PS5. If these games were pushing the envelope previously in terms of graphics, there's now a much bigger envelope on which to push. And hopefully, the PC version manages to push things even further.

If you played and enjoyed Uncharted 4: A Thief's End or Uncharted: The Lost Legacy years ago because you enjoy the feeling of climbing wild structures and unearthing treasure, the good news is that's all still here in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection. If you played those two video games previously because the series is known for stunning locations and exotic locales, neither has ever looked better than in the new PS5 remasters. If you want something entirely new, well, this isn't that, but it also doesn't pretend to be. And sometimes that's more than enough.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

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Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is set to launch for the PlayStation 5 on January 28th. It is also expected to launch for the PC this year. A digital code was provided for the purpose of this review, and it was reviewed on a standard PlayStation 5 with a disc drive.