Title: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Developer: Naughty Dog
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
Available On: PS4
Reviewed On: PS4
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy honestly just feels like more Uncharted, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually something that fans of the series can appreciate, because once you’ve played the other four games, jumping into this standalone adventure is a smooth experience. Nothing phenomenal has been added to the gameplay, unless some of you have a particular affinity for lock picking (and even that new addition gets bit tedious after the third time you have to do it). Despite the same-old, same-old, running, jumping, and shooting gameplay staples, though, the The Lost Legacy really shines with its characters, an area that was not unexpected given Naughty Dog’s history with delivering quality story and narrative development.
We haven’t seen Chloe since the first half of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. There was a brief mention of her in A Thief’s End, and Nate even pulled out a letter addressed to him from Chloe in chapter 4, “A Normal Life”. Aside from Nate himself, Chloe has been my favorite character in the series since she was introduced in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, so just the simple fact that we play as her in the The Lost Legacy was enough to boost my anticipation for the game.
I admit: I was worried about The Lost Legacy, mostly wondering if Chloe’s adventure would feel cheapened just for the sake of saying we finally had a female lead who was every bit as capable as our favorite half-tucked shirt, treasure hunting thief. I was worried Naughty Dog wouldn’t find a balance between giving fans what we’ve come to expect from the Uncharted series, while creating a new story that felt fresh and, most importantly, necessary. Choosing Chloe to expand on the world of Uncharted was a wise decision, overall, as she’s one of the few characters in the series whose positive qualities can also double as negatives.
For one, Chloe’s elusive and witty. While it’s enough to keep her interesting, it’s that elusiveness and her strong sense of self-preservation that make the player unsure of her motivations a lot of the time. (Remember when she dipped out right after Syria in Uncharted 3?) Chloe’s the type of person who has no trouble calling it quits when things get a little rough, and that mindset, coupled with her wit and unpredictable comebacks, created a solid foundation for the narrative in The Lost Legacy.
Throughout the game, Chloe is partnered with Nadine Ross, (first introduced in A Thief’s End), who is trying to regain control of her company, Shoreline. Together, and with their personalities severely at odds with each other, the women venture through the the beautifully designed Western Ghats mountains of India in search of the Tusk of Ganesh.
In a developer diary, Naughty Dog spoke about how Chloe and Nadine could be at odds with each other and how that tension could potentially spill over into the gameplay, with Nadine either helping or ignoring Chloe in a fight depending their relationship at the time. While the two definitely had their moments of disagreement, I found that Nadine rarely left my side once enemies came pouring out. That’s not to say she was a huge help during battle, though. I still found myself doing all of the work, killing not only the enemies shooting at me, but all those shooting at Nadine, too.
Speaking of enemies- the fights were noticeably short in The Lost Legacy. Every time I started to find my rhythm and get into the groove of setting off C4 or engaging in a stealth kill, the fight would be over. This picked up significantly toward the end of the game, where the fighting became nearly incessant, but actually getting to that point felt pretty mild as far as enemy encounters went. Those brief moments of fighting that I experienced, though, were always paired with (extremely) high action sequences that left me with a mix of shock and excitement. While it’s hard to top the action from A Thief’s End, there are some moments from The Lost Legacy that come pretty close, and which had me in disbelief. It may be a standalone, but it’s definitely up there as having some of the best action in the series.
The audio was also great and felt noticeably different this time around, to the point where all I did was comment on it for ten minutes. I wore a headset for the entirety of The Lost Legacy, and it was uncanny to hear a rushing waterfall in the game and have it sound like it was flowing right there in my bedroom. It was something I’d never experienced to that extent in any of the other Uncharted games. There were also times when Nadine would wander away from me, but whenever she called out, it sounded like she was standing right in front of me.
Henry Jackman returned to compose the score, and while the music was definitely present in this game, it sounded like it took more of a backseat this time around. I mostly noticed the music in the beginning and in moments of intense action, but it lacked a consistent presence throughout to make it memorable, especially during the quieter moments between Chloe and Nadine.
Something that was memorable for the wrong reasons were the puzzles. My god. The puzzles in Uncharted never really did anything for me, but the ones in The Lost Legacy were some of the most challenging (see: annoying) puzzles in the entire series. They also seemed to happen with an unusual frequency, to the point where Chloe would walk into a new area (especially near the end of the game), and I would silently pray that it was puzzle-free. Excuse me while I try to wipe the “shadow theater” puzzle from my memory.
Don’t let the fact that it’s a standalone title, or the fact Nate isn’t in it, deter you from playing Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. It definitely holds its own, and its level of enjoyment, at least for me, falls somewhere between Among Thieves and Drake’s Deception. The narrative was well-deserving of an Uncharted game, and it didn’t feel thrown together for the sake of having a story.
Oh, and you can have Chloe make faces like this.