Game reviews - Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection revives the original epic, but Lego Dimensions doesn't have staying power
Series virgins are in for a treat with the collected Drake but, after the laughter subsides, the Lego toys-to-life effort isn't very special
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection Naughty Dog
This collection of the first three of action-adventure gaming series Uncharted gives you a chance to reacquaint yourself with this dynamic franchise, which seamlessly blended storytelling with interactive gameplay, before the next game in the series hits stores in March. It's available exclusively for the PS4, and gamers assume the role of the sub-titular smartass treasure hunter as he scours the fortune-filled developing world alongside his ageing but spritely mentor and a spunky young female journalist-slash-love interest.
It's Indiana Jones in game form obviously, a classically clichéd set-up that serves incredibly well for its series of ever-intensifying action scenes. Fighting off helicopters on the roof of a rickety moving train, escaping a burning building as it constantly collapses, desperately swimming out of a sinking cruise ship, jumping off a flaming plane without a parachute.
The stakes just get larger as the series progresses, and a big part of what made it so great was how involving everything felt - as if we were thrown into the middle of a blockbuster summer movie. That goes double for this remake.
Developer Naughty Dog has ramped up the visuals for the next-gen world through high definition graphics, 60-frames-per-second fluidity and an overall polish that accentuates the already incredible art direction. There's nothing else here but the games, no development info, no concept art, not even aself-congratulatory making-of clip. You do get early beta access to the upcoming fourth entry, but we'll get back to you in December if it's really worth it.
It doesn't really matter though, as the games are so, so good. Here are three of the most thrilling adventure games from the past decade, arguably the first games of their kind to truly capture the exhilaration of blockbuster Hollywood adventure films through stunning visuals, engaging story and immersive gameplay.
Uncharted veterans know all this already, but if you're a series virgin, I kind of envy you, because you're in for a fun ride.
Lego Dimensions Traveller's Tales
The whole recent toys-to-life gaming fad is a bit of a scam when you think about it. The fact that you not only have to fork out for the game itself but also scores of NFC-enabled toys to unlock content is a cynical money-grubbing tactic aimed at spoilt youngsters with parents who can't say no.
Nevertheless, it's a multi-billion-dollar market, and while there will always be developers who only see cash on the horizon, others are trying their hardest to better utilise the trend. Case in point: Lego Dimensions, possibly the only franchise where the whole idea makes sense, considering it's a series based on toys.
Available for the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One and Wii U, the concept here is standard Lego-style fighting. But the developers have gone all out by bringing together nearly every one of their licensees for a kitchen sink slant.
From classic comic books ( Batman) and retro-TV shows ( Doctor Who), to big-screen franchises ( Back to the Future) and even the odd cult game or two ( Portal), the gang's all here.
The starter pack only allows you to play as the Dark Knight, Lord of the Rings' Gandalf or The Lego Movie's Wyldstyle, and none of the extras are compulsory, meaning you can easily complete the 10-hour campaign with the three free characters. But you'll also miss out on a lot of the fun, including racing the skies as the witch from The Wizard of Oz, blasting away bad guys with your Ghostbusters proton pack, or even just watching Homer Simpson recoil in fear from a stoned-out talking dog named Scooby Doo.
And that's where the fun's at. Like the rest of the Lego games, the absurd humour - that fine balance between amusing, child-friendly asides and cheeky adult humour - shines.
It's only when the laughs stop, which they frequently do, do you really realise how simplistic the combat system is, how basic the puzzles can be and how absolutely futile all these damn coins are.
Children will love this game without a doubt, but will adults this time? Not so much.