Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Third Person Shooter, Action/Adventure, Open World
Rating: T for Teen
Following the big success of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End comes another story that was previously going to be DLC, but was changed to be its own stand-alone release. Industry perception of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was initially skeptical, due to the absence of its flagship character, Nathan Drake. But soon after its release, it gained much praise and continues to score high reviews.
The game is its own story with characters new to the helm, but they have appeared in the series before. While Naughty Dog playfully dipped in open world gameplay in the fourth entry in the series, it tries its hand at it again in this one, implementing an entire lengthy chapter of freely roaming around the literal map. Encounter gameplay is much like its predecessor, giving the player just a few more options in weapon choice, which make for good additions as well. Despite its short length, The Lost Legacy is one of the best games in the franchise—if not the best.
Spiritual Content: There is not much spiritual content other than the discussion of the Hindu deities and the different gods that reside over different aspects of life (e.g. the god of good fortune or of destruction).
Violence: Weapons and gun fights have always been a major part in Uncharted games, and they can get pretty violent. Granted, there is little blood, but the game has the main character stealthily killing men by breaking their necks and other violent methods. There is one scene of a man bloodied and beat up who is shot in the head, but it is not that visible.
Language/Crude Humor: As usual in Uncharted, there is the common use of Da*n, Sh*t, and Godda*n every now and then. There is little to no crude humor.
Sexual Themes: The series has always attempted to stay away from being graphically sexual, but still has had implied sexual moments. This game has almost no sexual content, other than the two main characters, Chloe and Nadine, talking about the men they have slept with in the past—and even that is mostly implied.
Positive Themes: As far as positive themes go, The Lost Legacy tends to focus on the main theme of friendship and trust. Up until Uncharted 4, its predecessors never really focused on the growth of the characters too much and had few positive values. Themes like revenge and vengeance permeated the narrative. Positive growth has never been so deeply explored as in this adventure. Throughout the story , you can see a real change in both characters, but a more visible change in Nadine, who has every reason to be bitter and angry if you played Uncharted 4. It’s this deep change and growth that makes for a great story and will grip the players attention the entirety of the game.
It is difficult to make a fourth installment in a game series, let alone a spin-off and still be successful, but Naughty Dog really hits a home run with The Lost Legacy. The game stars Chloe Fraser, the adventurous and daring thief we first met in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. To help her find the fabled Tusk of Ganesh, she has contracted the help of Nadine Ross, a mercenary and former villain from Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. It begins as an alliance made solely for the purpose of money, and the tension is high. But as the game progresses, we see the two characters open up to each other and get to know each other well.
As usual with the Uncharted franchise, the story is one of its strong points, but more so than ever. A quality story must have good, deep characters that feel real and relative. In The Lost Legacy, we dive into Chloe’s past, the struggles she has had with her father, and why she is on this expedition. We also take a dive into Nadine’s aspirations, seeing as she has now lost her father’s mercenary company and her goal to reclaim possession. Both characters have reason to distrust each other, but they work through their problems and end up supporting one another. The player ends up rooting for reconciliation and friendship.
Another great and fun addition is the use of C4. You are able to place it anywhere on the ground and wait until enemies arrive around it before detonating. It’s great for taking out groups of enemies, since grenades only do small blasts. There was a part in the game that had the player using C4 to take out a big armored truck with an armor-piercing turret gun. This was a first since usually, the player is not able to get rid of these annoying trucks. Cinematic kills are back, allowing Chloe to swing from a branch to come crashing down on an enemy. While the kills are far-fetched, they are fun to watch and more fun to execute. As long as Naughty Dog continues to create new ways to take down foes, they’ll keep the combat fresh and leave the players less likely to groan every time another enemy encounter occurs.
As a sidenote, one would think by now, enemies would either be tougher or perhaps even be an option to avoid them all together. While the violence is a major staple in an Uncharted game, it is not always necessary to make a game great or fun. Even though it does not seem like that is something that will be changed soon, it is definitely something for Naughty Dog to consider, especially with the idea of a treasure hunter being the protagonist. Treasure hunters most likely do not know how to take down entire troops of war-hardened soldiers. Going from this, perhaps it’s time for the Uncharted series to not only add more open world gameplay, but non-violent way of playing as well.
The environments are lush and absolutely breathtaking—beautiful, and in most cases, you can traverse them! There are moments during the game when you will want to stop just to take a look at where you’ve been, and the alluring cliffs and structures that litter the expanse. There are photo ops that allow Chloe to take a picture from her smartphone, which I assume is waterproof, life-proof, and basically indestructible considering all of the tumbles she goes through during the game. Find all of the photo ops to receive a trophy, which is worth it anyway, since the views are just great. It makes one think of just how far video game graphics have come to be able to digitize amazing, life-like landscapes; he fact that you can go explore them is another reason why The Lost Legacy is fantastic.
The combat in this adventure is very much the same as Uncharted 4. Like Nathan, Chloe is able to swing from a branch or a tree and come crashing down on her enemies to make a cinematic take-down. Cover is still a big part of combat, in that you will need to get behind something in order to recover your health. The Lost Legacy tends to focus more on stealthily taking down groups of enemies, since it starts Chloe already in stealth in almost every encounter. The silenced pistol is like gold in the game and is treated as such due to its rarity – it can only be found in hidden places and it is never dropped by enemies. Stealth can be fun and it avoids enemies calling for reinforcements, but one can also easily take down enemies in an all-out gunfight.
The fourth chapter features Chloe and Nadine driving around in a rental jeep to get to three major markers. The primary area is called the Western Ghats, and is great fun to drive around in, since it features little “stops” where you can get off and explore freely without any time restraint or invisible wall blocking your way. As an optional sidequest, there is a secret temple that houses a bracelet with a red jewel. If you go to the temple, it will point you to eleven spots on the map to track down these tokens in order to be able to unlock the jeweled bracelet. Once acquired, the bracelet will shine and alert you whenever a treasure is nearby. It’s extremely helpful and I highly recommend the player find all eleven tokens since it not only gets one the bracelet, but allows for the player to get the full open world experience of The Lost Legacy.
Unfortunately, only Chapter four is truly open world. The rest of the game is linear and moves the story along just like all of the other Uncharted games. It is almost as if Naughty Dog is slowly experimenting with this new direction and making sure players will like it before going all-in. I would love to see more open world in future Uncharted games. I think it would be largely welcomed and could prove to be successful and fun. To allow players to go to different temples and puzzles and solve them at their own leisure sounds too good to be true. But it could very well be Naughty Dog’s next step in the Uncharted franchise. I very much hope they do.
The puzzles tend to be a bit on the easy side and don’t add too much challenge. They consist mostly of lining up tiles in order to form a complete picture. One of the best puzzles in the game, however, is when I had to jump from pillar to pillar, dodging giant weapon-swinging statues and crossing to the other side of the gap without getting hit. Other than this one and a few more, the puzzles are simply too easy. Perhaps a good balance of easy and hard puzzles would be best in future entries in the series.
Climbing is the same here as it is in Uncharted 4, with little difference other than how you are able to use Nadine to climb onto for aid in reaching a hard area. Random ledges still give way every now and then. Jumps and falls are still preposterously absurd in that no one can jump that far or fall from such a distance and survive. But that’s the thing with Uncharted: it’s a “movie” game. Movies stretch the truth and deal in dramatics. When you play through an Uncharted game, you feel as if you are playing through an action/adventure blockbuster film, which is exactly the reason for the over-the-top mood of the series. Arguably, it is the reason people love the series.
The Lost Legacy is surprisingly short, coming out to approximately 8-10 hours of gameplay. Even if one collects everything in the game, it would still be less than twenty hours of complete gameplay. At forty dollars retail value, I feel that’s a bit overpriced. While yes, it is meant to be short and sweet, the price must reflect that. Twenty-five to thirty dollars would have been a better price.
Despite the minor setbacks, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is one of the strongest and most fun out of the games in the series. Its best features include open world gameplay and strong characters that make a great story even though it’s so short. Its puzzles are easy, but the amount of little things to solve here and there will keep players interested and amused. As long as Naughty Dog continues to change up the formula, the franchise should continue to be relevant. If we see more of Chloe and Nadine in the future, we can look forward to some great games and stories.
The Bottom Line
The open world mechanic adds so much to the Uncharted series, almost giving it a fresh look . With a great story, strong lead characters, and compelling visuals, this is one of the best Uncharted games yet.