Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review – Who Needs Nate? (PS4)
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy marks the series’ first side story to release on home console. Treasure hunter, thief-for-hire, and all around badass Chloe Frazer stars alongside former Shoreline leader Nadine Ross in a standalone adventure that promises to deliver all the same Uncharted action and drama we have come to expect, in a slightly smaller package. Let’s see if Naughty Dog has delivered the goods.
First off, what you probably already know: The Lost Legacy looks amazing. Naughty Dog has one hell of an engine on their hands, and India has never looked more beautiful in any game. While there wasn’t much to do in the city portion of the story, some of the best-looking tropical areas included some jaw-droppingly gorgeous landscapes and wildlife. Some of this wildlife was also interactive, in a way that was a genuine surprise.
Sound design is also top-notch in The Lost Legacy. Beyond the superb voice acting of Claudia Black as Chloe and Laura Bailey as Nadine, other audio work is as you’d expect for an Uncharted game. I could tell what material Chloe was walking on just by the sound of her footwork, and of course with the area being tropical, it never got too quiet. The chirp or buzz of an insect, the howl of a distant primate, or even the growl of something possibly a little more predator in nature kept my ears perked up. The Western Ghats is one of the most biodiverse regions in the world, and that is something I believe Naughty Dog worked very hard to reproduce, to wonderful effect.
Gunplay hasn’t changed much from Uncharted 4. As the phrase goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There’s the usual cover options and a wide array of long guns, pistols, grenades, C4, and other explosive options at Chloe’s disposal. Cover-based tactics help to keep her alive. Enemies provide a fair challenge on Moderate difficulty, and ramp up or down from there in the series’ traditional five levels of difficulty. While stealth has always been an option in Uncharted games, you’ve mostly been limited to getting the drop on your enemies and taking them down before they know you are there. Now, a silenced pistol is available to take out enemies from afar, without alerting others. It’s a cool option, but one I didn’t use all that much because I had been trained in the previous four games to melee enemies if I wanted to take them out stealthily.
Clueing in to Chloe
What has changed is giving gamers back story to Chloe. Naughty Dog actually achieves this without the use of a single flashback. Instead, they rely on their masterful facial animations. Combining a look of nostalgic pain, with just the right wording, told me all I needed to know about Chloe’s upbringing with an obsessive parent. It explained so much, without explicitly telling me certain things about her parents. There was some incredibly subtle, yet strong, storytelling going on in between set pieces, which provided for some genuine emotion and bonding on display between Chloe and Nadine. It presented a different take on the classic bromance of Nate and Sully and felt almost as strong.
The main campaign of The Lost Legacy took me around 8 ½ hours to complete on the Moderate difficulty setting. This even included a detour to complete an optional side objective, which helped to find a good chunk of the game’s trademark treasures. The campaign may be shorter, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less entertaining. Chloe’s epic adventure has enough high-action set pieces compressed into a shorter time frame that it kind of seems like she’s asking you: who needs Nate? Combine this with the multiplayer options included in The Lost Legacy, and you do arrive at about two-thirds’ worth of content for about two-thirds the price. As fair a deal as you could hope for.
It wouldn’t be an Uncharted game if there weren’t puzzles interspersed between battles, and there are a handful to solve in The Lost Legacy. Sadly, though, most of these are almost insultingly easy. The need to balance a puzzle’s level of challenge while also not hindering player progress too badly must be very hard to get right. It would have been nice to see more challenging puzzles as optional objectives, but what is here does make interesting use of Hoysala imagery.
A Complete, Compressed Package
Multiplayer is also present in The Lost Legacy, including everything from Uncharted 4. A new survival arena mode is available. In this mode, you and up to two other players attempt to survive ten dynamic waves of enemies. Things start simply in the first wave, but as the game progresses, new modifiers are added to change up what constitutes completing a wave. In some waves, you only score points/money in a designated area. Other waves generate enemies that are immune to your guns, and must be taken out via melee. Enemies are tough even on the regular difficulty, and after the fifth wave, coordination between teammates is a must if your group hopes to survive.
Once you complete the campaign, a few fun additions open up to you. Using unlock points earned by playing the game, you can toggle modifiers, which can do things such as modify voices, grant you unlimited ammunition, or change the way the game renders graphics entirely. A photo mode is also included, with all the typical filters and camera adjustments you would expect. However, it also includes the ability to set poses on characters’ faces, which can result in some hilarious shots.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a fun addition to the consistently solid Uncharted franchise. While this entry may be quite a bit shorter than the main numbered games, that doesn’t mean the key components that constitute an Uncharted game aren’t just as present. Indeed, you’ll rarely see a game with this high of production values for only $39.99. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a tight, action-packed adventure in India, and a trip well worth taking.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.