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The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection swings with extra Hz

Naughty Dog's PS4 treasure-hunting duology finally makes its way to the PS5, bringing along some higher frame rates.


Undoubtedly one of the premier franchises for the Sony PlayStation brand, the Uncharted series has nearly perfected the action-adventure genre. Developer Naughty Dog has long been one of the best assets under the Sony umbrella and their attention to detail has shown through in every outing in the series so far. During the PS4 era, Naughty Dog released two full-length Uncharted titles, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End in 2016 and Uncharted: Lost Legacy the following year. Now both games have been assembled into a new collection for PS5 owners that spruces things up with better shadows and resolution.

In search of treasure

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves collection is about as straightforward as could be. The package offers both A Thief’s End and Lost Legacy in their entirety, save for the multiplayer modes, which failed to make the cut for this release. While some will find this omission disappointing, the stellar single-player campaigns have always been the focus and this re-release opts to keep the spotlight in that direction.

A Thief’s End follows series protagonist Nathan Drake as he scrambles to find a long-lost pirate treasure before a bloodthirsty drug lord murders Nate’s older brother. Presented in a style that resembles a AAA Hollywood production, complete with best-in-class voice acting, animations, and art, the fourth Uncharted game takes the lessons learned from the PS3 era and puts them to fantastic use. From white-knuckle free climbing to chaotic firefights and a few pirate ships in between, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End is the epitome of what big-budget video games can be.

Lost Legacy arrived just a year after the stellar Uncharted 4 and follows the exploits of Drake’s companions Chole Frazier and Nadine Ross. The game includes everything that makes the franchise so appealing, even when things aren’t so rigidly focused on Nathan Drake. The unlikely duo of Chloe and Nadine get to experience a romp that is every bit as epic and dangerous as we’ve seen in the series prior. At no time does it ever feel like filler or a reskin, despite how quickly it followed up the preceding game.

The first thing players should fiddle with when loading up the Legacy of Thieves Collection is the new performance options. Players can opt for one of three different performance tiers across both titles. Performance Mode offers a 1440p rendering resolution that is then upscaled or downscaled, depending on the capabilities of your display. Those with 4K displays will get upscaled, while those with 1080p displays will get the downscale. The downscaled version is a slight improvement over what we saw with the PS4 Pro editions of these games with slightly less shimmer and blur.

There is also a Performance+ Mode available that will drop the rendering resolution down to 1080p and the PS5 will attempt to run the game at a refresh rate up to 120Hz (on supported displays). While I don’t have access to the equipment needed to accurately test the frame rate in this mode, you can easily tell the game is operating over 60Hz. Sadly, because Sony still hasn’t figured out how to offer the variable refresh rate (VRR) support they promised when the PS5 was announced, any chance for better visuals with an unlocked frame cap has been dashed.

Finally, players can opt for the Fidelity Mode. This offers visuals exactly the same as the other modes, but at a native 4K resolution. Toggling this mode on from the regular performance mode offers an immediate upgrade in overall clarity and detail. Most of the shimmering artifacts in distant foliage and shadow map edges have been alleviated. Sadly, Fidelity Mode only works at 30 frames per second. Coming from the upscaled 4K PS4 Pro version to this and still being stuck with 30fps is a bummer. Hopefully, the rumored PC version of Legacy of Thieves Collection will offer series fans 4K60 output.

This collection also brings along explicit support for the DualSense gamepad and all that entails. Much of the marketing materials have focused on how the advanced controller technology can improve the gameplay experience. After spending lots of time with the Legacy of Thieves Collection, I’m not sure I can honestly say it’s an improvement. Sure, the amount of rumble in the pad can be more subtle when needed and that’s fine and dandy, but the adaptive trigger stuff actively made my experience worse.

While I agree that the ability to add resistance to the triggers is a cool idea, it just didn’t work for me with Uncharted. Anyone familiar with the series knows that Nate and friends have a proclivity for using firearms more than most red-blooded American rednecks. Yes, real-life guns can have heavy trigger weights, but this is ridiculous. After about the 150th round I popped off from Nate’s sidearm, I wanted to throw the gamepad into my TV. It’s literally easier to pull the trigger on a real-life Mosin Nagant rifle (or insert any random dual action revolver from 1917 here) than it is to spray your pistol in-game. I went back to the PS4 version of Uncharted 4 (via the PS5) and played with the DualSense without the fancy stuff and had a wonderful time. Load times are somewhat improved over the PS4 originals, but you aren’t gonna see instant loading as you may have in Spider-Man: Miles Morales or Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.

One more adventure

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is undoubtedly an attractive package. For those who haven’t played an Uncharted game or somehow missed out on the PS4 releases, this is an easy recommendation. You get two absolute bangers for a single price along with 60hz (or higher) performance options. While I would have liked to see some more meaningful visual upgrades (perhaps to bring the games’ graphics in line with 2020’s jaw-dropping The Last of Us 2) it may have been out of the scope of this project. It clearly isn’t the best PS5 upgrade we’ve seen and I personally found the default DualSense controller feature setup to be a detriment to playing, but Uncharted is still gonna be Uncharted. If you need a diversion (or globe-trotting tour of fantastic video game vistas), this will be the ticket.

These impressions are based on the PS5 version. The game key was provided by the publisher for coverage consideration. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection will be available on January 28.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

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