Brutal is a new difficulty introduced in Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection. In each game it is unlocked after completing all chapters on Crushing, the previous hardest difficulty, which is now available by default.
Brutal is the hardest difficulty, surpassing Crushing; Nathan Drake can die even faster, enemies are more accurate, and ammunition is scarcer. In Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, enemies no longer drop stealth-killed weapons when stealth-killed. Tweaks and the ability to equip weapons at any time is disabled. Just like Crushing, combat tutorials and some button prompts are disabled.
Brutal's biggest change is in regards to the significant scarcity of available ammunition: any weapon already in Drake's inventory that is picked up will only supply a handful of bullets, regardless of how much ammunition it had when dropped. However, new weapons are not affected and will have the same amount of ammunition in as other difficulties.
Completing the game on Brutal is not required for any of the platinum trophies in the collection, but certain rewards only become available after it's been completed, such as Eddy's Golden Gun in Uncharted: Drake's Fortune and Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and the Golden AK-47 and 92FS-9mm in all three games.
- As with Crushing, using the "cover trick" is crucial, rather than pressing to get in cover, stand behind it and position Drake in such a way that his body is behind cover, but the reticle is not. This gives the player the advantage of shooting at enemies in relative safety (unless they charge the player or throw grenades).
- As ammo is only reduced when picking it up for a weapon Drake already owns and not a new weapon, this can be exploited by swapping a weapon out for another one before picking up a desired weapon; for example, if the player has a Wes-44 with 1 bullet left, picking up another Wes-44 will likely give 1 or 2 additional bullets, but if the player picks up a different sidearm first, and then picks up the new Wes-44, it will have around 6 bullets.
- Brutal combos, while very risky, still supply double ammunition, so as long as the player doesn't own the weapon the enemy is holding (to maximize ammunition picked up), it may be a viable strategy.
- It is possible to play Uncharted: Drake's Fortune on Brutal difficulty with Tweaks enabled and still get the related completion trophy.
- To do so, start the game on Brutal difficulty. Pause the game during gameplay, change the difficulty to Crushing, and press the Options button when prompted to restart from the last checkpoint. Now activate the desired tweaks and weapons, change the difficulty back to Brutal and, again, press the Options button when prompted to restart from checkpoint.