With the story of Nathan Drake well and truly wrapped up, many wondered if there was a future for Uncharted. To that, Naughty Dog says “why limit the franchise to one character?”. And good on them for doing so. Unlike other games of late, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy continues things with people we already know. To that end, Uncharted could be immortal. Simply take a known character from a previous trilogy and make them playable in the next one. To be fair this has proven very effective in helping the player not to cling on to the memory of Drake, making the entire new experience feel more like a new beginning than an epilogue.
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Avg Game Length: 7hrs
The Lost Legacy’s Protagonists Prop Up Great Storytelling Methods
Claudia Black returns in fine form as Chloe. As you would expect, idle conversation between her and reluctant sidekick, Nadine sounds natural. It sounds real. Suffice it say, voice acting is as top quality as you would expect from Naughty Dog. It is surprisingly pleasant to see Chloe again since Uncharted 3. Only this time, she’s no mere NPC to prop up some story beats. She’s now a fleshed out character with backstory. She has her own motivations as a person. And the same kind of character development has been poured into Nadine as well.
Intriguingly, this rule can apply to just about any other Uncharted character you can think of for potential future titles. Naughty Dog’s writers are good for it which makes me doubt this is the last we’ve seen of Uncharted.
Not Much Is New In Lost Legacy. Is That A Problem For You?
The Lost Legacy was a tough one to review while staying on point. Primarily because The Lost Legacy is basically a reskin of Uncharted 4. After all, it was originally supposed to just be DLC for Uncharted 4. This explains the agreeable £30 price point. This price point also softens the blow of having finished the game in just three sessions. Don’t get me wrong, they were long weekend sessions and the average player is looking at around seven hours of fun here.
As far as gameplay is concerned, The Lost Legacy is no far cry from the other games. The simplistic formula of run, climb, shoot, solve a puzzle, repeat is still here. While this overly simple formula having never evolved further since Uncharted’s inception has always been a bugbear for me (except a grapple and a tow hook), there’s no denying The Lost Legacy is just as engrossing as we’d expect.
Akin to many players, we found ourselves impatiently pressing on to the next visual spectacle. This being Uncharted, we know some great sights are on the way. Perhaps more so than its predecessor, The Lost Legacy is constantly wowing the player with spectacular vistas. Be they an Indian warzone or verdantly floral forgotten cities, The Lost Legacy’s horizons stretch far away from the player. With brilliant lighting and perfect collision physics on plants, it’s hard not to get lost in the sandbox The Lost Legacy has to offer.
Naughty Dog Have Begun Experimenting With How We Experience Uncharted
That’s right. For a good portion of the game, Chloe finds herself driving around a kind of mini open world. I hadn’t expected it to be so big what with the “was going to just be DLC” thing. What I had expected was for the rest of the game to take place within this sandbox. Going from place to place with set pieces in separately loaded areas would have been a cool idea. It would have changed Uncharted finally for the better. Yet, almost as if Naughty Dog couldn’t decide to take the leap to open world altogether, this sandbox exploration comes to an end at chapter five. Afterwards, we are returned to classic linear Uncharted.
This is no criticism from me. It’s simply something that happens within the game. However, there’s no denying that The Lost Legacy has begun playing around with some interesting ideas in the wake of this. Unmarked optional objectives lie scattered around this large area. Usually they come in the form of a puzzle. Solving said puzzle will reward Chloe with a “token”. Although, anticlimactically, they seem to serve no purpose. They just seem as useless a collectible as the staple Uncharted treasures. Full disclosure – I hadn’t completed all of these optional puzzles. Perhaps there is some conclusion to all of this. But knowing Naughty Dog’s approach to collectibles, I doubt it’s more than a trophy to add to your collection.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Rise Of The Tomb Raider offering up similar distractions. Only they were far more satisfying as they rewarded the player with new skills. I suppose, in the linear cinematic world of Uncharted, messing with player stats would wobble the design compass for The Lost Legacy. What was particularly interesting, despite this, was a sense of freedom I’d not previously experienced in Uncharted. I could do things in whatever order I pleased and this played into conversations between Chloe and Nadine.
It felt a bit more like I was shaping events for the first time in Uncharted. While at the same time, being kept within its narrative trajectory. It was this flexible trajectory that led me to feel a little confused about the choice to go linear after chapter five. Although, while playing post chapter five there was no hindrance to my enjoyment of the game. Hindsight simply got me scratching my head a little.
Uncharted Is Still Great But Shows Signs Of Repeating Itself
Throughout The Lost Legacy, I noticed a lot of thematic parallels with previous titles. It’s gotten me a little worried that Naughty Dog are starting to run out of ideas for Uncharted. Of course, combat remains the same. Snap necks for as long as you can until things go loud. This simple formula is satisfying no matter what game you use it in. It was even something I praised in the Uncharted 4 review as I was getting a little fed up up Uncharted 3’s silly wave survival with no cover segments. Interestingly, the sandbox segment encourages stealth as you sneak close to enemy encampments and try to wipe them all out without getting spotted in these open areas. Climbing segments have the obligatory “something breaks oh no” moments.
The villain, Asav, is sadly as one dimensional and forgettable as previous Uncharted villains. He has no backstory and we learn his only motivation is that he wants to wipe out “lesser people” in a kind of twisted purification. The only reason he’s getting in our way is so he can make enough money to bring his evil plans to fruition. Typical of Uncharted, we have shedloads of context for our beloved heroes and next to nothing for our villain. Why does he have all this money to buy an army? But then not enough money to buy the thing that he needs? This nonsensical badguy design has always been a little jarring to me in Uncharted. As an extension, our foes just turn out to be faceless mugs to gun down.
7 Hours Of Fun For £30 Can’t Be Denied. But Where Next For Uncharted?
Like Uncharted 4, there’s a bunch of stuff here that doesn’t make sense if you stop to think past all the explosions and beautiful lighting effects. After all this time, I’m still unclear on whether Naughty Dog are simply aware of this and cracking on anyway, or if their creative goals have yet to be truly achieved. I’ve had a lot of fun with Uncharted over the years. But it’s starting to get numbingly predictable. It’s this sense of predictability that made me rocket through the game, pushing toward the next spectacle. I felt like I wasn’t taking it in as much as I should have. Or perhaps I was, who knows?
There’s no denying the quality of production here. Graphically, Uncharted is as astounding as ever. Voice acting is top notch and the sound design did not go by unnoticed. But ultimately, The Lost Legacy is just more of the same. For a lot of people, that’ll be just fine and a lot fun will be had… while it lasts. But for finicky critics like me, we’re left wondering if anything new will be brought to the table in future installments. Which I’m pretty certain will happen. But will Uncharted become a creative victim of its own success? Will it dare to branch out into new ideas? Or will it fall back on the simple formula that has earned that success thus far? Time will tell.