After bringing us a definitive conclusion to Nathan Drake’s character arc in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Naughty Dog has served up another slice of greatness in the form of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, shining a whole new light on the franchise.
This time round, the focus is shifted on the adventures and endeavours of the feisty Chloe Frazer, who first made her debut in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and briefly reappeared in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. Chloe is out on a quest to locate an ancient artefact, the Tusk of Ganesh. She is joined by the rather stoic Nadine Ross, who was introduced as one of the supporting characters in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, who is looking to rebuild her family-owned military company Shoreline. But of course, it wouldn’t be an Uncharted game without a nefarious villain. In this case the main villain here is the power-driven Asav, an Indian rebel leader who is also after the Tusk of Ganesh.
Originally a DLC which eventually evolved into a standalone campaign, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a condensed version of all of the other of the titles from the Uncharted franchise. It’s very much a ‘Here are your best bits’ compilation from the entire franchise thus far. It features all of the immediately identifiable landmarks from the Uncharted series that the fans have become accustomed to over the past decade, including the highly elaborate puzzles, the familiar combat system and gameplay mechanics, set pieces, and of course, the scripted falling sequences. It also contains many familiar mechanics from its preceding titles. In particular, the grappling hook and the piton both make their return from Uncharted 4.
What’s exciting and refreshing about Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is that it adds a new set of mechanics, including the lock-pick, where Chloe can pick locks of doors and various supply crates. There’s also the inclusion of a map of Western Ghats. The Western Ghats is a much more expansive level in comparison to Uncharted 4’s Madagascar sequence, where there are lots of collectibles and clues and highly structured puzzles to uncover the location of the Tusk. Not the most exciting, but it is so picturesque and will keep you busy in Photo Mode – providing that’s your thing. Also, Chloe proves to be a little bit more tech-savvy as, unlike Nathan Drake, she uses her phone to take pictures as opposed to sketching in a journal, allowing for some serious virtual tourism.
Anyone who has ever played a Naughty Dog game will know that the studio’s storytelling skills are second to none. Its unique ability to create multi-dimensional, multi-layered characters is also proven in which the interactions between the characters are so believable and enjoyable to watch. Almost like a mini movie…
The scenes, banter and interactions that spring from Chloe and Nadine’s conflicting personalities and often volatile relationship, makes for entertaining viewing and it also has its fair share of heart-warming moments. Whether it’s their Thelma and Louise style car journeys or the occasional tensions they go through, the game offers a nuanced portrayal of female friendship and makes them very relatable. With a particular scene in the game, it also shows the fragility of female friendships. However, it doesn’t quite pass the Bechdel test in which the Drake brothers are mentioned quite a bit throughout some of their conversations!
The visuals in this game, just like any other Naughty Dog titles, are just absolutely mind-blowing to say the least. The landscapes are beautifully designed and you’ll probably find yourself whipping out the Photo Mode more than usual. Whether it is the smallest intricacies like a little lens flare or even the scuff marks on a character’s clothing, the level of detail that has gone into this game is absolutely exceptional. The cinematic cut scenes are amongst the most pleasurable aspects of the game and are just incredible and breath-taking and completely compelling to watch. They make you feel like you’re immersed in the story and like you’re in a movie, except you’re actually a part of the movie. Hey, now you’re a movie star!
What’s more, while the game delivers all of the fun core gameplay elements that Uncharted fans have become accustomed to, there were certain times, particularly regarding a few set pieces, which looked as if they were copied and pasted from other entries in the series. They felt very repetitive and uninspiring. As a result, you can’t help but feel that there was a missed opportunity to do something completely different and mind-blowing with an incredible, highly creative and unique set piece to really add some ‘oomph’ to the action of the game. This is where Uncharted: The Lost Legacy falls short. While many fans will think, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, many may feel a little disappointed and left wanting more.
It follows the same plot formula as previous entries in the franchise – protagonist sets off to find a long-lost artefact, some adversaries are also after the treasure, puzzles and lots of shooting, explosions and gunfire – but feels like exactly what you would expect from an Uncharted game despite the absence of its iconic protagonist. It doesn’t feel off-putting for the player though. Fans of the series will feel right at home playing Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
For those who are looking for something extra to do after completing the main campaign, then there’s the competitive Multiplayer and Survival modes. While not a particularly integral part of the game, they are fun and provide some light entertainment. If Naughty Dog ever wanted to tell more stories within the Uncharted universe, this is the foundation to start afresh, minus the wise-cracking Nathan Drake.
Lost Legacy is a great achievement and a genuinely good game. However, it does have quite a slow start to begin with but as the game progresses, the pace picks up and there is so much action to be enjoyed and there are also a few surprises and unexpected moments thrown into the mix too. Like, c’mon, it wouldn’t be Uncharted without them, would it?
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy PS4 Review
Even though it may not be quite on par with the preceding titles from the series, ‘Uncharted: The Lost Legacy’ is still a highly enjoyable, swashbuckling ride and well worth playing, whether you’re already a seasoned treasure hunter or a complete newbie to the already eminent franchise.
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Reviewed using base PS4.