Game: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Reviewed on: PS4 (Review code provided)
The Uncharted series has always featured a strong and varied cast of characters and with Nathan Drake retiring from his treasure-hunting days around the world and putting his feet up for a well earned rest, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy takes you through the story of Chloe Frazer and mercenary sidekick Nadine Ross as they search the mountains of India in the midst of a civil war for the elusive treasure that is, the Tusk of Ganesh.
Before I dive into the main portion of the game, let’s talk about how it looks from a graphical standpoint. As you can imagine from Naughty Dog’s reputation at developing some of the best looking games available anywhere and on any platform, it’s safe to say that The Lost Legacy does not disappoint. The change of locale (in this case, India), looks absolutely incredible and the perfect setting for a new Uncharted story. Not only do the environments look incredible, but the way parts of the Indian culture has been replicated speaks volumes for a developer like Naughty Dog. In the grand scheme of things, some will say that replicating real-life objects that represent the culture like capturing traditional Indian clothing or making sure their accents are right isn’t that important for instance, but they really are as it immerses you into the world that has been created and its done with such brilliant detail that it can’t be ignored. Naughty Dog seems to outdo themselves every time they release a new game (and yes, this is a standalone entirety in the Uncharted series and not DLC). Graphically this is, without a doubt, one of those titles that you would show to friends while showing what a PS4 can do.
As I mentioned above, the story is set in the Indian mountains with you taking control of fan favourite, Chloe Frazer. The one thing that hit me with the story itself is not only how brilliantly crafted it is, but just how good the general pacing is within The Lost Legacy. One minute you might be having an intimate conversation with Nadine and in the next moment, you’re being thrown through into a fully-fledged gunfight before then being sent through one of ND’s trademark cinematic set pieces. Pacing is key to any action-adventure game and Naughty Dog is one of the best in the business at getting it right. It’s safe to say they’ve got it absolutely spot on here in The Lost Legacy. The story is absolutely incredible and there were moments during my time with the game that left me speechless because of how good the writing is. One section of the story towards the latter part of the game was one of those “WOW” moments and I’m not going to say anymore as I don’t want to spoil it for you all, but you’ll know when you get to the part I’m talking about here.
For those that are familiar with the Uncharted series, most of the gameplay mechanics generally are pretty much identical to what we’ve had before in the previous titles in the series. Shooting doesn’t seem to have changed, climbing is as it was and the way you interact when finding hidden treasures is what we’ve always seen for the most part. This isn’t to say it’s a bad thing though as, as the saying goes “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. The mechanics work and they work well. There are slight differences in terms of Chloe’s melee combat when compared to Nathan Drake’s melee style though. While Drake was a brawler when it came to melee combat due to his size, Chloe (who is more slender and agile) is more focused towards a martial arts style of fighting and that’s a great little feature as they are both totally different types of characters and its good that Naughty Dog wanted Chloe to act differently to Drake when put in a melee combat type of situation. A familiar part of the Uncharted series is the brilliant puzzle sections and thankfully more of those can be found here too for you to tackle. Speaking personally, the puzzle sections in The Lost Legacy are some of the best in the series to date and not only offer a break from the usual gun fighting or climbing elements but also gives you a chance to look at some the fantastically designed elements to the game.
Chloe has a new ability that see her use her phone to take pictures on her travels through the mountains of India. Every so often (normally an important part of the story), a prompt will come up inviting you to take a picture and you can view these by pressing on the touch pad to bring your cellphone up. Not only is it a cool little feature but at times during my play through, taking a picture uncovered more dialog between Chloe and Nadine which was nice to see. While Its nothing amazing in terms of how it effects your experience with the game generally, its still a nice new little touch on something that we haven’t seen before.
With Nadine as your sidekick in The Lost Legacy, one of my biggest worries was how well she adapts to certain situations like getting in the way of your path or helping you out when being attacked by soldiers for example and if she ends up being an hinderance rather than a helpful companion. While its still not perfect (still the annoyance of the AI character getting in the way at times), it didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the game at all. There are times when similar to that of Ellie helping Joel in The Last of Us during melee sections, Nadine takes down guards to help you out when in need and it works very well indeed. The game also features cooperative takedowns which look and work well when needed due to both character having a more nimble and quick approach to melee. Another small gripe (which thankfully doesn’t spoil the experience) is how the camera and character movement feels a little clunky at times in tight spaces. The Uncharted series has always had an issue with this and its still present but thankfully it doesn’t happen enough for it to be an issue as such.
Chloe has a new gameplay element that gives her the ability of picking locks on doors or weapon caches that are dotted around the environment. While its execution is simple, its place within the Uncharted universe is a great one. It works by rotating the analogue stick and hitting a spot that vibrates and holding it until it goes green. Do that two or three times on one cache (depending on the cache) and it will open to reveal ammo and new weapons amongst other things. Be warned though as its ‘risk-reward’ as to whether you want to risk trying to open it while guards patrol or wait until you’ve cleared the area of all the guards first. Its a great new feature and one that adds a more strategic element to the game.
One section of any Uncharted game that always seems to be done so well is the audio and everything surrounding it. The dialogue between each character is not only brilliantly written, but delivered by the likes of Claudia Black (Chloe Frazer) and Laura Bailey (Nadine Ross) perfectly. The chemistry between each character and their dialogue back and forth is incredible. It doesn’t just happen during the cutscenes either as they question each other or throw a comedic dig at each other and its all delivered perfectly. This is down to not only the two incredible voice actors, but also down to incredible script writing as well. While on the subject of voice actors, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy features the best antagonist in the series to date. Asav (voiced by Usman Ally) does an amazing job at voicing a character that is calm but ultimately menacing at the same time. It’s an absolutely breathtaking performance.
One of the biggest new features of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is its free-roaming part of the game where you get to drive around in your 4×4 in the Western Ghats and take down main and side objectives in whichever order you choose. Theres no linear path for you to follow like there has been in the previous Uncharted games here and its all down to you as to how you wish to tackle it. Chloe has a more traditional map compared to Drake’s journal that she scribbles on and updates to objectives for you to go to so you know whats left and where they are on the map. Its such a refreshing new approach from Naughty Dog and one that we’ll maybe see in a future title from the studio like say The Last of Us Part 2. Did they add it into The Lost Legacy as a test bed for future projects? Who knows but it wouldn’t surprise me if we did see this approach turn up in other games. While the open section of the map shows main and side objectives, its not an open world like you see in say Horizon Zero Dawn or Zelda: Breath of The Wild for example. Don’t expect to see hundreds of side quests and whatnot as this isn’t what this free-roaming section is all about. Its about giving you the freedom of choice, but also making sure that the story progresses at the same time.
Aside from the main single player story, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy also has competitive multiplayer, a co-op survival mode and an all new survival arena mode (think Horde Mode) but unfortunately, this hasn’t been tested because at the time of writing, its currently switched off until the games launch. If you have played Uncharted 4’s online modes, it will be similar here id imagine.
One worry I had was how would Uncharted be the same without Nathan Drake but thankfully this is something that I really didn’t need to worry about at all. Its actually refreshing seeing and exploring a new part of the world with a new character like Chloe (who is a total badass I may add) and it would be nice to see this happen more in the future with the series be it from Naughty Dog or another 1st party Sony studio.
Overall, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is an incredible game from start to finish. A brilliantly written story alongside some of the best voice acting in the medium and its all tied up in a part of the world that is incredible to explore, The Lost Legacy adds another fantastic game to an already privileged and well-received series. If you own a PlayStation 4, you need this in your life. Let Nathan Drake take his early retirement and step into the world of Chloe Frazer.