Crash Bandicoot was always bursting with accessibility, and their next big franchise - Jak and Daxter - had a solid, polished, quality that made it feel different to everything else. Somehow more finished.
Indeed, the worst day of Mr Biffo's life was the day he realised that his daughter had wiped his Jak II save files, when he was about three quarters of the way through the game. Fortunately, he found it easier to put her up for adoption than you might think.
But what both those series were rooted in, over and above the polished gameplay and the slick visuals, was character. That, for us, is the hallmark of Naughty Dog, and why the studio is one of the best in the world.
The Last of Us, which we know we keep banging on about, is the only time we've ever actually cared for the characters in a game. That's as much a feat, as much a leap forward for video games, as the move into 3D, or the rise of CD-ROM, or the first appearance of flushable toilets.
Naughty Dog's games display an intrinsic understanding of story and character - and while their stories and characters may not be the most original - the fact that they're being applied to video games is.
Indeed, on paper there was nothing original about Uncharted.
The world, the characters, were shamelessly "inspired" by Indiana Jones, and the play mechanics were as much a descendent of Tomb Raider as Nathan Drake was supposedly a descendent of Sir Francis Drake.
And yet, somehow, Uncharted surprised everyone when it arrived on the PS3 in 2007. Dipping into the series again, it's easy to see why; it was a refining of the DNA that had been mixed into its soup bowl. Admittedly, there are tweaks in this collection - a graphical overhaul, improved controls - but what Uncharted: Drake's Fortune achieved beyond anything else was just sheer likeability.
It's a romp; ridiculous, over-the-top, but rooted in humour and characters that you want to be around. Drake - thanks to the unquestionably warm and witty delivery of Nolan North - is unlike any other video game character.
His bond with his partner Sully, the way cut-scenes blend seamlessly with action beats, the way the series - particularly as it goes along - uses that action to reveal character (they even successfully manage to convey vulnerability - despite Drake being a virtually invulnerable video game avatar)... it all conspires to make us invested in what happens. To make us care.
That's the real innovation on this series, and it continues to build over the subsequent two games (although, for us, Uncharted 2: Among Thieves has the most iconic action set pieces; the train, the tank...). We enjoyed the Tomb Raider reboot - which was, ironically, clearly inspired by Uncharted just as Uncharted was inspired by Tomb Raider - but it missed out on giving us a central character who we could love.
Lara Croft might qualify as eye candy, but she's achingly dull as a person. The grim adventure she goes through in that game is the antithesis of why Uncharted is so much fun to play.
Let's say you walk into a party and Lara Croft and Nathan Drake are both there. Who are you going to choose to talk to - the cold, intense, teenage girl who wants revenge for the hell that men have put her through... or the guy who shrugs off everything bad that's ever happened to him with a flippant wisecrack, and who likes a beer?
Should you get The Nathan Drake Collection? If you've missed out on any of the Uncharted games - then yes.
Don't go in expecting all three to be perfect: the first one is showing its age (though not to the extent that you wouldn't want to play it to the end). But if you already own these games, it's up to you whether you need to play them again in slightly better resolution. It's a shame they couldn't have included the PS Vita-only Golden Abyss on here... but maybe it would've required too much of an overhaul.
Regardless, there's no question that they're three of the finest action games of all time - and the perfect reintroduction to Drake and his world before he bows out with next year's Uncharted 4. Apparently. We'll see how long that lasts.
SUMMARY: Three of the most likeable games of all time, for the price of one. You might say they're "Drakingly" good. But don't. Don't say that.
SCORE: 100,000,000 out of 100,000,001