Uncharted: The Lost Legacy – review

Uncharted 4’s polarising ending seems to leave little doubt that Nathan Drake is now out of the treasure hunting business. His days of breaking things as soon as he touches them and shouting “No, no, nononono!!” are behind him. Yet here we are with a new Uncharted adventure; originally planned as DLC but also available as a standalone product, The Lost Legacy sees old hand Chloe Frazer team up with former antagonist Nadine Ross. Can a Nathanless Uncharted work? Yes. Yes it can.

An unforeseen side effect of the emphasis on Chloe & Nadine is that it serves as an uncomfortable reminder of the industry’s insistence on casting porcelain-white actors in virtually all non-white roles of any significance. Make no mistake; Claudia Black and Laura Bailey give stellar performances, infusing their characters with life and offering an inestimable amount to the overall experience. It’s just a shame that, here in the real world, no non-white humans that actually exist can add one of these leading roles in a globally recognised hit to their CV.

With that unpleasantness behind us, let’s concentrate on the virtual stuff. The plot, in case you’re unaware, finds our new dynamic duo in India on the trail of ‘The Tusk of Ganesh’. This leads to the issue of Chloe’s Indian heritage being raised now and again, with Nadine occasionally expressing surprise at Chloe’s apparent indifference to the theft and trashing of Indian relics. It also gives new villain Asav and his cronies a few opportunities to throw deeply unpleasant insults at “half-breed” Chloe.

The new location also affords an opportunity for some typically gorgeous places to explore, particularly when it comes to the obligatory lost cities. A perfect storm of stunning art, convincing architecture, incredible detail, and carefully designed ruin. Naughty Dog has some of the best environment artists in the business, and it’s never anything less than sheer joy to wander around their work.

Gameplay is very Uncharted, in both good and bad ways. There’s plenty of jumping and clambering, and liberal use of the enjoyable grappling hook. Chloe and Nadine are badass enough to make their casual acceptance of regular death-defying leaps entirely believable, and subtle visual cues usually mean that grababble surfaces are easy to identify. There are exceptions to this, though, leading to some atmosphere-shattering moments on the ground when trying to find a way forward. It’s almost embarrassing to see Chloe fail to mount a waist-high obstacle, or fail to jump more than a few inches, just because you’re trying to take a path or climb a wall the developers hadn’t anticipated.

Combat is lifted almost directly from Uncharted 4; same UI, same weapons, same occasional stealth options (though Nadine will sometimes run straight in front of enemies while you’re undetected, hilariously unseen), etc. Also, unfortunately, same eventual introduction of tank enemies and a few awkwardly-designed combat set pieces. The fact that Chloe almost constantly has Nadine by her side, however, does throw a few interesting elements in. She’ll sometimes tag enemies that you’ve missed; come help you if you’re grabbed, or call for your help when she is; offer the chance to take enemies down with partner melee combos; and just in general actually prove useful.

Something something swimming trunks.

It’s not the world’s greatest combat system, but it works. The cover system and recharging health ensure that you don’t (can’t, in fact) just run around in the open shooting until everybody’s dead. On a related note, the checkpoint system is generous to the point of amusement, and indicates that the devs are aware that some encounters could do with sharpening up. Sometimes, if you die in a hail of gunfire or plummet to your doom just before an invisible line, you’ll respawn at that ledge or cover you didn’t quite reach (and perhaps didn’t even realise you were meant to). This comes to a head in two set pieces where, surrounded by enemies at various angles, you need to take out a vehicle with multiple explosive hits. At higher difficulties, you pretty much have to rely on the checkpoints to make it through. A slightly disappointing pattern of ‘hit vehicle/die/respawn undetected/hit vehicle/etc.’ quickly emerges.

Nonetheless, the positives of the experience outweigh the negatives. There are a smattering of puzzles too, smart and engaging. Although the introduction of a character from the last game is unwanted and unnecessary, it remains a gripping tale until the end. Dialogue is razor-sharp and witty (better than Uncharted 4), and the script overall is brilliant stuff. It’s almost – but not quite – enough to stop you asking yourself “how the hell did they get up there before us?” of enemy soldiers at certain points.

There’s multiplayer too, though be aware it is exactly – and we do mean exactly – the same as that in Uncharted 4. If you’ve played that game online, you’ll find your unlocks waiting for you here. In addition to the third person cover-and-grapple shenanigans of the standard modes (team deathmatch, king of the hill, etc.), the newer Survival mode is also present and correct. We found this to quickly become frustrating on higher waves though, with the ‘boss’ on the final one difficult to the point of it really being no fun to fight at all.

That’s The Lost Legacy, then. A flawed yet still hugely enjoyable Uncharted game with an eight-hour story (on Hard, as we played it) that is, we would argue, just about better than 4. If this marks the beginning of more Chloe and Nadine adventures, then we can’t wait to see what comes next.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Written by Luke K

Luke plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. Chances are, if you pick up a copy of the latest Official PlayStation Magazine or GamesMaster, you'll find something he's written in there. Luke doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

Leave a Reply