Feature: 7 Upgrades That Aren’t On The Map: The Nathan Drake Collection Feels Fresh On PS4
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is a remaster worth treasuring, as we explained in more detail in our first impressions last week. But while the presentation and overall packaging are commendable, developer Bluepoint Games has gone the extra mile with this lovingly compiled collection. In fact, there are a handful of new features that you can dig your dirty nails into, as well as some general improvements that increase the quality of each included game. With our review still a few days away, we thought we’d share a little insight into all the additions that make this long-awaited reissue great.
Explorer mode unlocks the series for everyone
There are two new difficulties available in every game in Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection: Explorer and Brutal. The first one might not sound very interesting to the hardcore among you, but it’s a smart addition. The Naughty Dogs series has always been praised for its presentation of the story, and it’s a game that many of your family members have probably enjoyed watching you play in the past. But with Explorer – an extremely easy difficulty setting where the challenges of combat are significantly reduced – all three titles suddenly become much more manageable. Beginners will still have a hard time getting to grips with the dual analog sticks, but at least they won’t be killed over and over again as they acclimate to the scheme.
How fast can you go?
One of the coolest additions to Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is the speed run mode. This is a simple feature – it essentially smacks a clock in the top right corner of the screen – but we imagine it’s going to add a ton of fun for fans of the franchise. Your entire game is timed, in addition to your progress through the individual chapters. And you can go back and try to beat your best times, with the interface showing your records at all times. The only disappointment for us so far is that we can’t find a ranked option, but we may be overlooking it. And if there really isn’t a bookmark, we can only hope it gets fixed.
Brutal mode is a new challenge for fans of the series
One of the reasons we’re not running our Uncharted: Nathan Drake Collection review today is because we haven’t unlocked Brutal mode in any of the games yet. This is the challenging new difficulty level that has been added to the title, and it requires you to complete Crushing to unlock it. The good news is that Crushing is available from the start, so you won’t have to play through each entry multiple times to unlock the top level – just once. We’ve been told that this mode offers the “ultimate challenge”, but Bluepoint Games has rebalanced pretty much every installment – bullet sponges are much less common for beginners – so hopefully this isn’t just a punishment for punishing for punishing.
Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception is now, you know, finished
Remember when Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception came out and you, unfortunately, searched through its menus for the extra costumes and other bonus content that have been a mainstay of the series since the beginning? At first we thought we were missing something, but it turns out it wasn’t there in the first place. Naughty Dogs made many excuses for this, but the conclusion many have come to is that the release was simply rushed. Thankfully, features like Mirror Mode and the Next-Gen visual filter have been added to the title for its Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection release, as well as over 100 selectable character models. Speaking of going further…
The goal is more consistent in all aspects
There will be people who will tell you that Uncharted has never been a good third-person shooter, and maybe we can understand where they’re coming from. Drake is a much looser and more mobile protagonist, which means his arsenal can feel like he uses potato ammo at points. But whatever his take on the shootout, it’s hard to deny that something felt off about the launch version of Uncharted 3: Drakes Deception. It’s fixed now, as Bluepoint Games has incorporated a sort of control mega-shuffle, taking the best animations and input algorithms from all three titles, and pasting them onto the chart. This means that baseball grenade throwing has been added to Uncharted: Drakes Fortune, while it no longer feels like you’re aiming through molasses in the third game. It’s still not a losing domain or binary, but it’s pretty good.
There is a suitable photo mode
Ah, photo mode: the almost accidental addition of FAMOUS: Second Son that has become a necessity in almost every new generation game. The functionality of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection is good, allowing you to press the down button at almost any point to frame the frozen action on screen however you like. You can change focus, apply filters, and much, much more. And starting today, once you hit the share button, you can save it in the superior PNG format, so no horrible compression. Bonuses!
Dynamic leaderboards that show your progress
This is a nifty little feature: as you play the game, leaderboards will appear on the screen comparing your progress with your friends. It can, for example, show you how many stealth kills you’ve made, or how many bad guys you’ve manically killed with explosives. Granted, this isn’t a game changer in the slightest, but it’s a fun way to see how your progress stacks up against your friends. It’s a shame that just like with the sprint speed option, we couldn’t find a way to see all the information in a separate scoreboard.