The Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is a timely reminder of just how great Nate and Chloe’s adventures were all those years ago. However, the upgraded collection is also the perfect showcase of how the PS5’s unique features can substantially impact the overall experience. And boy, do they make a difference.
Both games now include a 60fps ‘performance’ mode and 120fps ‘performance plus’ mode (a first for a PlayStation Studios game) that completely transform each game’s look and feel. There’s also satisfying DualSense controller support, seriously snappy load times, and the ability to import your PS4 save file so you can watch all the trophies you previously earned pop once again.
But it’s the more understated PS5 upgrade that’s had the most significant impact on my playthrough. The PS5’s Tempest 3D audio implementation in Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is genuinely remarkable and makes both games feel like I’m discovering them for the first time.
A real treasure
(Image credit: Sony / Naughty Dog)
If you’re new to Sony’s proprietary spatial audio technology – dubbed Tempest 3D audio – it’s a sophisticated type of virtual surround sound that cleverly tricks your ears into thinking that audio is coming from all around you.
PlayStation 5’s 3D audio, similarly to Dolby Atmos and DTS Headphone: X, can also add height cues. That means a helicopter no longer sounds like it’s hovering a few hundred feet away from you but instead can sound as though it’s flying directly over your head.
It’s a dramatic improvement over PS4’s 3D audio, which could only replicate around 50 unique sound sources at a time, compared to the hundreds of sound sources PS5’s 3D audio can replicate – and at higher quality to boot.
Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection is the perfect source material for 3D audio to shine, then, as it involves countless lines of dialogue that can often come from all directions, a lot of verticality during combat, and some awe-inspiring set pieces. However, I didn’t expect it to ever sound so real.
(Image credit: Sony Computer Entertainment Interactive)
When you’re clambering across the face of a cliff, hundreds of meters above the ground, you can distinctly hear the sea thrashing violently below you. Move through the lush flora of India’s Western Ghats, and bugs will buzz past your ears, almost making you instinctually swat them away. Fire a gun, and you’ll hear the shots reverberating from the other side of a canyon.
But it’s not just firefights and the games’ death-defying moments that benefit from 3D audio. It can also be surprisingly subtle. For example, the auction scene in Uncharted 4 sounds noticeably different from how I remember it. The auctioneer’s voice echoes around the marble halls, which makes it feel as though you’re standing directly alongside Nate, Sully, and Sam as the bidding begins.
The games’ stealth sections, which tend to be the weakest parts of any Uncharted game, are far easier to navigate, too, as 3D audio helps you determine where an enemy is before you accidentally expose your position. You can also get a better grasp of where a treasure is hiding in Uncharted: A Lost Legacy if you’ve got the Queen’s Ruby bracelet, which hums when a collectible is nearby.
And then there’s the voice acting. It was already sublime, but it’s now crystal clear in the PS5 versions and is no longer muddied or drowned out by other noises, despite how hectic the onscreen action can get. I often found myself hanging onto every word, despite having heard it all before.
(Image credit: Sony)
Audio is often woefully underappreciated in video games, and I’m keen to see more titles invest in Sony’s Tempest 3D audio tech as the generation unfolds. Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection isn’t the first PS5 game to take advantage of 3D audio, of course – Resident Evil Village, Returnal, and Demon’s Souls all sound great – but it’s easily one of the best implementations of the tech I’ve heard yet. Nate and Chloe are a real treat for the eyes and ears.