Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection Accessibility
Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection is a remaster that focuses mostly on enhancing immersion and visuals. Those looking for an overhaul of previous accessibility efforts won't find it here, instead, the games are the same as they were at launch with only minor changes.
Score6.5 out of 10
- Tap and hold inputs
- Simple management of inventory and collectibles
- Haptics help with puzzles
- Subtitles available with speaker labels
- Lots of timed gameplay moments
- Combat feels tiresome, even with aim assist
- Lack of waypoints and a focus on immersion
- Haptics and triggers cannot be adjusted at a software-level
It was only a month ago I was playing the PS4 version of Uncharted 4 on PS5, and now I’ve had the opportunity to jump into the new collection that includes Uncharted 4 and Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. With Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection mostly boasting improved visuals and framerates for PS5 I wasn’t expecting much in terms of accessibility, but there are some new features with the Dualsense to look into.
Let’s just make a point quickly first. It’s entirely clear that this collection is just a remastered edition which more often than not means very few accessibility improvements. So don’t come into this review expecting a massive overhaul of the existing features available. However, as we saw with the PC port for our God of War accessibility review, there are some accessibility additions that haven’t been highlighted.
When you first load up the Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection, you are presented with some boot menus. These allow you to shift through display settings, brightness, audio, language, camera controls, and accessibility. When you start either of the two games, each will display these menus separately.
There are more options available this time around for that accessibility menu. You’ve got the features available from Uncharted 4 which include:
- Camera Assist
- Vehicle Camera Assist
- Aim Mode
- Lock-on Aim
- Sticks While Aiming
- Repeated Button Presses
In addition, there are 2 new options available from this menu. These are:
- Persistent Dot Rectile
- Mono Audio
As for Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the only addition to the accessibility menu is the Lockpick Controller Vibration.
Exploring with Haptics
PlayStation is proud of its DualSense controller haptics, especially when the developers go all out for immersion. And let me tell you, as I booted my PS4 save up and forgot I had saved in the middle of combat on a rickety elevator system, I felt everything happening in less than a minute. The immersion was sensory overload, I was feeling haptics for the enemy gunfire nearby, the bullets hitting me, my heartbeat on low health. When I fired my weapon, the haptic feedback from each shot was heavy, so much so I contemplated seeing if there was an intensity slider anywhere. There isn’t.
Then I started feeling haptics when I was scaling ledges and cliffs, only to notice that every hand placement offers haptic feedback. This was fine though, after all, I felt immersed into what Nathan’s hands were feeling. It wasn’t until a bit later when I’m walking around some pirate ruins when the controller started to continuously and lightly tap, enough to be noticeable and enough to be annoying. I had no idea why it was tapping, I figured there was a hint nearby, then I wondered if maybe if there were nearby explosions…but not this frequent, surely?
It turns out, as the rain grew heavier, it was the rain. I was feeling every constant raindrop landing on Nathan through the controller. To quote Courtney: “Don’t make fucking haptics for raindrops unless players can toggle them off (without toggling off all vibration/haptic feedback)”
One thing I do like with the games is that vibrations are used to indicate that you’ve completed a puzzle, and they’re also used when lockpicking in The Lost Legacy so you know where the spot to unlock is alongside the visual animation of the mechanic.
Trigger Finger and Controller Spanking
One of DualSense’s features is adaptive triggers, a feature that locks or puts pressure on the triggers to simulate various scenarios, such as drawing a bow, a gun jamming, etc. The triggers apply resistance for both aiming and firing weapons, but I found that it wasn’t overwhelming. However, those wanting to turn it off will have to do so through the system’s settings.
At one point in Uncharted 4, Nathan’s flashlight dies in a cave, and as it is also required in the PS4 version, you need to whack the bottom of your controller to jolt the flashlight back to life. This prompt appears on a completely black screen meaning those who cannot see have to rely on figuring out Nathan’s grunts. To add, I was spanking my controller wrong and was sat there hitting it lightly with my free hand for a while until I realised the controller itself needs to be physically lifted and tapped. This flashlight sequence happens twice in the game.
Both games allow players to use tap or hold inputs for when sequences require them, however, when it comes to actual gameplay, there are hidden QTEs throughout. I found there to be lots of jumps that needed to be activated at the right moment, or tapping the rope button at the right time to avoid falling across both games. There are also various moments where you have to escape something that can kill you in one hit, and this is while running toward the screen in a similar way to Crash Bandicoot.
The focus on providing these games with an immersive and cinematic experience means that they both go largely without waypoints. Instead, players are encouraged to follow the clever level design, which does of course mean having to see the subtle changes and cues in the environment to know where to go. There are moments where audible hints are delivered if you take too long to progress, but these are often quite vague. Sometimes, you’ll be offered the chance to press Up on the d-pad to focus the camera on the hint or area you’re meant to reach.
What’s more, there are many times when I was running around a small enclosed area struggling to find where I was meant to go. Then by chance, I had the cameras at the right angle and saw prompts appear, such as “X to climb”.
For those who are blind or have low vision, you’ll likely be falling off a lot, or needing assistance to find subtle climbing points on cliff faces. There’s not really anything in terms of ledge detection, so you’ll just slip off and either hang or fall to your death. However, this brings me to my next point.
When you’ve completed the story for one of the games, you unlock bonuses that can be applied in gameplay for that completed game. These bonuses range from skins, gameplay modifiers, and render styles. Each bonus can be unlocked using unlock tokens, and I’m not entirely sure how you get them except by just…playing the game I guess?
The reason I’m mentioning this is that there are accessibility uses locked away here. Bullet time and slow motion, for example, can be unlocked then enabled from the in-game bonus menu, which could give players that reaction time they may need to process situations. There’s also infinite ammo which would have helped me as I struggled to run around gathering new weapons in the heat of combat. And finally, there’s a Thief Vision render style which is basically the high contrast mode from The Last of Us: Part 2.
These features were all available in the original version of the games, but due to the time they launched, accessibility wasn’t as big as it is now, so these options were treated as fun extras. However, I would have thought, given accessibility advancements, Naughty Dog would have at least unlocked bonus features such as high contrast from the start for Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection without the requirement to unlock them.
Combat is fairly brutal, either consisting of timing melee attacks and parrying or trying to aim guns. Even with aim assist whacked up to max, I still found it to be fairly soft, I’d waste ammo on badly aimed shots, and most cover breaks that force you to move. The reticle shows you when you’re making successful hits, and it’ll change when you’ve killed, and incoming damage is shown as a large bloody-red arrow. Although, the screen also goes black and white and brighter when health is low, which makes the contrast awful and often makes enemies harder to see.
In general, I really enjoyed Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection for its story, but not for its gameplay accessibility in most cases. Half the time I felt like I was dying far too frequently due to bad timing or struggling with gunfights too much. Other times I felt like I was struggling with seeing simple cues and level design. In honesty, sometimes the gameplay felt too depleting.
As expected though, there are no major changes to accessibility since the games original launches. For mobility, it feels like there are too many timed and precise moments, and there’s only some minor controller remapping adjustments available. For vision, there’s not much there to help increase text or highlight enemies and items clearer than current. Cognitive play isn’t too bad as everything is linear and straightforward, although some puzzles may require physically writing down clues to avoid constantly opening the journal. For hearing, there’s no sense of direction a lot of the time, and subtitles aren’t brilliant with no backgrounds.
Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection is another Sony title focusing on the visual and immersive enhancement with only a small number of accessibility additions.
A review copy of Uncharted Legacy of Thieves Collection was provided by the developer / publisher.