Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
The Uncharted series has been known for providing some of gaming’s best-looking and most exciting moments for over a decade. No matter whether you enjoyed the series on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, or even the Vita (okay, and the PSP counting the pinball game), the franchise has always been attached to high-quality releases. Last year’s release of Uncharted 4 was one of the finest in not only the history of the PS4, but also one of the franchise’s best entries. Every game has also had Nathan Drake in a lead role – but The Lost Legacy changes things up dramatically. This stand-alone experience stars Chloe Frazer from Uncharted 2 and Nadine Ross from Uncharted 4 as they search India for a lost treasure.
The Lost Legacy keeps enough familiar trappings from past games while still changing things up dramatically. Chloe and Nadine aren’t like Nathan and Sully – they aren’t old buddies or even really friends. They’re reluctant business allies joined together to find the Tusk of Ganesh. This quest sees them not only try to gain this, but do so without being killed by Asav – a warlord with tons of cronies. Chloe and Nadine play as completely different characters while also feeling familiar enough to not alienate longtime fans of the series.
Chloe is more of a closed-quarter combat fighter with a lot of punches, kicks and chokes at her disposal. Nadine is stronger with a gun, but Chloe can hold her own with a firearm too. Their chemistry doesn’t quite top Nate and Sully, but they do work well together and the core adventure is one that series veterans will be able to get used to quickly. Combat and puzzle solving are back, as is driving from Uncharted 4. The car-based puzzles are more involved here than they were there – with far more environmental exploration available to the player. This doesn’t hold true during the smaller-scale areas, but those areas also allow the game to shine in new ways.
Normally, areas that you’re only in once are still fairly large. Here, they are much smaller and are not only easier to explore for treasure, but also more detained. The most impressive example of this is when the game starts out and Chloe is negotiating a price on garb and then you can explore the entire shopping area. People are engaged in their own conversations and deals, and the game world actually feels like a real world instead of something created just for Nate and Sully to cut wisecracks in.
Puzzle solving is still a major part of the adventure, but combat will tell the tale more often than not. The puzzles range from simple pulleys and levers to new things like timing-based puzzles that require you to blend speed with careful precision platforming. It’s a neat twist and brings a touch of speedrunning to a series that really hasn’t had any in-game need for it – or even a fast pace outside of set pieces. Adding a dose of speed to puzzle solving works nicely and changing up the pacing from “action, action, action, walking, brain-teaser” even if everything does eventually work its way back to that formula at some point.
Given that everything is based off of Uncharted 4, every part of the game’s design is well crafted. Gunplay feels natural and the hand-to-hand action is a bit better thanks to the improved animation for Chloe compared to Nathan. With Nate, his animation seemed pretty much the same when it came to kicks and punches – with only major changes showcased for things like throws and environmental attacks. Chloe has far more variety with her attack types and I found that her decreased focus on combat and increased focus on agility made her a bit easier to get into using as a stealth character. You’re used to coming up with smarter ways to fight using her and it puts you in a better mindset for the stealth sections.
The actual story isn’t as compelling as prior games – which is definitely a bit of a shame. Chloe and Nadine just aren’t as interesting as Nate and Sully, and that does hold the adventure back a bit even if this does build them up as characters. The Lost Legacy is put in a tough spot of playing off of a decade of history built-in between the player and two major characters, and shifting the focus to side characters. It’s very much like a popular show focusing on B-level characters and it resulting in a good episode that may not be the most rewatchable due to the lack of the main cast, but still very fun to partake in as you’re going through it.
There’s nothing really wrong with the game, but it is definitely on the lower-end of the franchise’s high marks. The Lost Legacy’s multiplayer keeps things in line with Uncharted 3 and 4. If you experienced it there, you know what to expect. In keeping with Uncharted 4, there’s a lot more rope-swinging here and the new maps definitely keep you interested. The new skins are fine, but with everyone playing more or less the same anyway, this isn’t like a modern-day character shooter where you have major tactical advantages playing as one character instead of another.
Visually, The Lost Legacy looks on-par with Uncharted 4, but with more lush environments. Early areas showcase some of the best-looking fabric in gaming yet along with some incredible rain and lightning effects. Animations are top-notch and the franchise’s well-known cinematography is back with a vengeance. New areas start out with sweeping shots of the world you’re in and everything in it gets a brief moment to shine. As is the norm for AAA-level games, the in-game photo mode allows you to make things your own and bring out the beauty in the world and the characters.
The Lost Legacy brings back the Uncharted theme that was missing in Uncharted 4, and the Indian setting allows the music to take a new direction. Everything sounds good in the game, but unlike prior entries, there’s not much that stuck with me after the fact – let alone made me want to listen to it outside of the game. The voice work provided by Claudia Black as Chloe and Laura Bailey as Nadine is solid, and easily the best work either has done with the character. They are given far more to work with here than they were before, and it allows them to make bolder acting choices that pay off and make you care about what’s going on.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy offers up a lot of thrills even with its different cast. It’s a testament to the franchise’s character strength that two side characters can carry the tale. It doesn’t change the formula up much, but the revamped combat helps things from feeling too repetitive. The story takes players to new locales , but the cast of characters just doesn’t gel together as well as past games, on both the sides of good and evil. It’s a very good game, but one that casual fans of the series can wait on. Series die-hards will definitely enjoy another exploration and combat-filled romp through the world as we get a large glimpse into the post-Nate era of the franchise.
Reviewed By: Jeremy Peeples
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
This review is based on a digital copy of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy for the PlayStation 4 provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.