We all new it was coming. There was no way that the PlayStation 3 Uncharted trilogy wouldn’t get a remastered collection. Not with the acclaim around the original releases, the esteemed status of Naughty Dog, and the hype for Uncharted 4. Not after the success of The Last of Us Remastered, and of remastered releases in general.
The only thing surprising about Naughty Dog’s announcement of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection was the timing (I thought for sure it’d be an E3 announcement). And yet, I still leapt from my chair when I saw the news on Friday morning.
Forget Rise of the Tomb Raider, forget Persona 5; this is now the game that’s highest on my wishlist as far as 2015 releases go. (This is, of course, hyperbole – Rise of the Tomb Raider and Persona 5 are most definitely going to be fantastic, and should certainly not be forgotten.)
Why am I so excited about a package of games I’ve played to death on PS3? For exactly the same reason I played through the originals at least three times each and got all the platform trophies: they’re really damn good. And not only that, they’re the type of really-damn-good that somehow doesn’t lose it’s enjoyment factor even on multiple runs, like that old, worn-out VHS tape of your favourite film that you’ve seen over and over again.
Sure, the Uncharted games have their problems. The gunplay is overdone and underwhelming, there are some very disturbing race dynamics, and Chloe Fraser only appears in Uncharted 2 and one co-op mission in Uncharted 3, despite being, hands down, the most fantastic character ever written.
That’s exactly what makes them so infinitely enjoyable – the writing, the over-the-top adventures underscored by deep, fascinating, compelling characters like Chloe. The stories the Uncharted games tell strike that perfect balance of action, humour, and humanity that is the foundation of the action-adventure greats like Indiana Jones, (most of) the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and, most recently, Mad Max: Fury Road.
There’s always a lot of talk about “replayability” when it comes to games, but this is almost always focused on mechanics – difficulty levels, randomly generated content, diverging story paths. The things that make each playthrough ever so slightly different. For me, replayability comes from something being so enjoyable that I want to experience it over and over again, exactly the same every time, bringing those same emotions to the surface. Just like that old tape.
For me, Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is offering the Blu-ray to that VHS. The same games, the same stories, the same characters, the same emotions the pull to the surface – only in a higher native resolution, with an improved frame rate, and a slew of new trophies to collect.
Drake’s favourite word might be “no”, but Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection has me saying “Hell. Fucking. Yes.”