Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection PS5 Hands-On Impressions – A Finely-Polished Bauble

By Nathan Birch  / 

The Uncharted franchise didn’t define the PS4 generation like it did the PS3. Still, Naughty Dog did deliver two solid adventures for the console in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and the standalone expansion Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Now both those games venture forth onto the PlayStation 5 in the Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection, but do they hold up on the new hardware? Or is it time to pursue new horizons?

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One of the things this new collection confirmed most strongly for me was that Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is actually the better game than Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Don’t get me wrong, Uncharted 4 isn’t bad by any stretch, as it pushed the series combat forward in significant ways, toyed with more open level design, and delivered a good number of the series’ trademark action set pieces. All that said, the game sometimes felt like a greatest hits collection and its story strains to bring greater emotional depth and a conclusive ending to a series I don’t believe was ever really meant to have either.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, on the other hand, is a tighter, lighter adventure, with a refreshing new hero in the form of Chloe Frazer. While it’s a smaller, more compact spin-off game, it actually feels bigger in some ways, as the experiments of Uncharted 4 gave way to a full open-world section in The Lost Legacy. Ultimately though, while I have my preferences, both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy remain top-notch Naughty Dog thrill rides.

Another thing both games have in common is that they’re both really, really pretty. Even today, over five years after the launch of Uncharted 4 and over four since Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, both games are perhaps the best-looking exclusives you can play on the PS5 (although they’ll likely soon be eclipsed by Horizon Forbidden West). While the games may lack some modern bells and whistles like ray tracing, the level of polish and artistry on display here remain industry standard.

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For the most part, it doesn’t seem like Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection upgrades the original look of the games much. While some small tweaks may have been made to lighting, shading, and some small background details, the base assets seem to be mostly the same. Thankfully, the collection’s new display modes really make the visuals sing.

Fidelity Mode offers a full native 4K, which looks absolutely dazzling with HDR turned on. Granted, this mode only runs at 30fps, but these games were designed to run at 30fps to begin with, so it doesn’t feel amiss. That said, the collection’s 60fps Performance Mode feels even nicer, and its 1440p picture remains impressively sharp thanks to clever post-processing on Naughty Dog's part, to the point I really barely noticed a difference from Fidelity Mode. There’s also a 1080p/120fps Performance+ Mode, but I wasn’t able to test that. For most players, I think the regular 60fps Performance Mode will provide the best experience with only minor costs. As for those other standard first-party PS5 features, DualSense support, and 3D Audio, both are implemented rather subtly and aren’t game-changers.

Now the question of value – if you already own either Uncharted 4 or The Lost Legacy on PS4 (you only have to have one of them, not both), you can upgrade to the new collection for only $10, which is a pretty good deal no matter how you cut it. Meanwhile, Sony is asking newcomers to pay $50, which may seem a bit steep, but again, these games still feel very contemporary and between the both of them, you’re getting a nice 20-to-25-hour treasure trove of action.

Final Thoughts

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a tasteful update to two great, but perhaps not quite classic, adventures. Whether this collection is for you will largely depend on your situation. Those who haven’t played either game probably won’t feel their $50 has been misplaced. Perhaps the folks best-served by this collection are those who bought Uncharted 4 on PS4 but skipped Uncharted: The Lost Legacy (based on sales numbers, a large number of people did that) – they’ll get the PS5 upgrade and essentially an all-new game they haven’t played for only $10. If you’ve already bought both Uncharted 4 and The Lost Legacy, the value of the PS5 resolution and performance upgrades are more debatable. In the end, it’s up to each thief to decide how to spend their fortune.

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection arrives on PS5 on January 28 and PC later in the year.

Products mentioned in this post

Horizon Forbidden West
&nbsp
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection
USD 49.99

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