A series worth collecting?
As an Xbox gamer for the last generation of consoles I had heard good things about one of the flagship franchises for Sony but had no real experience of playing them. To be honest I was unsure if it was a genre I would even be interested in but when a friend drew a parallel to the 2013 revamp of Tomb Raider then I thought I would give it a shot.
Attractively priced the ‘Nathan Drake Collection’ remaster is a perfect introduction and cheap backlog of the Uncharted’s series first three games.
I think the reason I enjoyed these games so much was down to timing as much as it was the quality of the games themselves. Off of the back of playing through the Witcher 3 and Fallout 4 the tight, linear gameplay of Uncharted was a delight to sit and finish in 3-4 sessions per game. Whilst in the collection I see this as a plus point, I feel I would have been disappointed to be paying release prices for a single game that could only last me a few evenings with (personally speaking) little replayability.
So what does Uncharted do well? It was described to me before playing as similar to being the lead character in an action movie and that is as close to my experience as I can explain. The game does a great job of creating set piece moments that seem full of peril and urgency without breaking the flow of the game too often by making it difficult and stopping play with death. What comes from this is the feeling of excitement of a Hollywood blockbuster with that added accomplishment buzz of you being the one to guide Drake from the latest peril. The characters are well fleshed out and by the end of the three games in the pack you do have a sense of connection with them and wanting to know where the story will lead.
Gameplay tends to be loosely split between three styles. The first are those described above which are very cinematic, often trigger reaction based set pieces which are a joy to play and watch. The second being the exploration and climbing sections of getting from A to B. These sections also involve some puzzle solving skills which give that warm glow of satisfaction if solved without a walkthrough. The third and in my opinion possibly the weakest of the sections are the regular shoot outs Drake and friends have with the seemingly never ending henchmen. Whilst it is a trope of many a computer game that it is one man against the world, never in a game I have played has this felt so forced. It seems they literally come out of the woodwork and as the cover and fire mechanics of the games and the arsenal of weapons available are pretty standard in gaming the shoot outs often become a way to pad out a section rather than further the story.
One negative I did drawer from the game is that for a game about an explorer, exploring is not actually well rewarded. The treasures which are loosely littered around the game’s world often only purchase skins or the odd weapon for a second play through so unless you plan on replaying each of the game’s roughly 8 hour stories then this feels a little flat.
The game looks great, controls well and the camera and sound add to the Hollywood feel of the title. I’d definitely advise the Nathan Drake Collection to anyone who, like me, missed it the first time around.