Nathan Drake's story ended in Uncharted 4: Among Thieves, but the franchise continues in the latest from Naughty Dog: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. While technically a side story, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has the production value of one of the games from the main series. This time, however, you take on the role of Chloe Frazer in the search for an ancient Indian artifact called the Tusk of Ganesh. Those that have played previous Uncharted games will recognize Chloe and her AI controlled sidekick Nadine Ross, the duo you're saddled with for the whole ride.
Despite my feelings toward Chloe during her earlier appearances with Nathan in the previous Uncharted games, I found a wholly enjoyable and exciting romp that proved to me the Uncharted universe is still budding with greatness here and there. I still don't like her, mind you, but she was certainly good for a few laughs and an enthralling adventure. That's what we always want to see from an Uncharted game anyway, right?
Old Faces, New Adventures
The Lost Legacy takes place around a year after Uncharted 4 and forgoes continuing any plot strands of the previous games. It centers almost wholly around Chloe's race for the tusk against the big bad of the game, a warlord named Asav. In the backdrop is the budding partnership between her and Nadine, who start out as rivals and slowly warm to each other. For anyone who was worried that you need knowledge from past Uncharted titles to know what was going on here, you can lay those fears to rest. Although previous characters and events are referenced, the story is almost entirely separate from the rest of the series. In fact, the Lost Legacy is a great title to start with for anyone who has been looking to start playing through the Uncharted games.
As with previous Uncharted games, the production values are fantastic. The title is wonderfully optimized for the PS4 Pro, and even with 4K and HDR, the frame rate stayed steady throughout no matter what was happening on screen. Each character (especially Chloe and Nadine) rocks some absolutely amazing textures and animation. Seeing how human Chloe looks while walking, running, climbing, and so on shows just how far technology has come since Nathan Drake took his first steps in the original Uncharted.
For the most part, the gameplay consists of moving from location to location to obtain an item you need or unlock a contraption to continue moving forward. The Lost Legacy has sort of a pseudo open world that serves as a hub which you can traverse using Chloe and Nadine's four by four. When you reach a location, you normally have to dismount and partake in a set piece battle against Asav's soldiers.
I had read that this title was going to offer more options when it came to combat than the series previous "kill 'em all" gameplay. However, the fighting is much the same in the Lost Legacy as in past titles. Shooting and maneuvering feel great, but for a title that seems like it encourages stealth so much, there are surprisingly few options for non-lethal or silent takedowns. The only major options you have for eliminating enemies from the shadows is either a melee attack you can perform on enemies that haven't noticed you or silenced pistols that you happen upon from time to time.
A Bit More Variety Please
Unfortunately, this can lead to the game feeling a little stale after a few hours. The overall presentation of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is somewhat toned down from the over-the-top bluster that came with the previous titles in the series, but the same familiar, explosive set pieces are still in place from time to time. But despite this, you stay in the same environment for most of the game so everything can feel a little samey sometimes. I never stopped caring about progressing, but there were a few times I was like, "Man, another group of soldiers?" This isn't anything new for Uncharted, but it felt particularly noticeable in some areas here.
The game also clocks in at a lower playing time than the five games that make up Drake's adventures. Most players will make it through in seven or eight hours. By contrast, Uncharted 4 takes around 15 hours for just the main story with extra content and collectibles tacking on another 10 hours for a total of 25 hours worth of content. However, The Lost Legacy makes up for this by costing only $40 as opposed to the $59.99 that Uncharted 4 cost.
A bonus that comes with the game, but isn't original content is the multiplayer and survival modes. These two options are simply the same modes from Uncharted 4, but it's sweet of Naughty Dog to throw in just in case you don't own the previous title. But what really impressed me was the game's immensely satisfying Photo Mode. This isn't a new thing in gaming by any means, and we most recently saw it displayed in Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice. It's used, however, to fantastic effect here because there's so much you can do with it. The lush landscapes and myriad of character models offer so many opportunities for you to zoom out and take a photo of the environment for snapshots that look absoutely breathtaking.
On the other hand, you can use it to take pictures of Chloe and other characters in the middle of some particularly hilarious situations. You can change Chloe's expression, the lighting, what time of day it is, and more to sometimes extremely comedic effect.
It's a veritable treat for the eyes, and even after having finished the game I find myself going back to Photo Mode just to mess about with all of its myriad options. It's by far one of my favorite additions to Uncharted yet, much like with Uncharted 4.
The Legend Continues
There was some doubt that Uncharted could continue without Nathan Drake, but The Lost Legacy proves the series can march on with another lead role. I loved the previous titles in the series, and although this new one can miss the mark at times, it's a beautiful treasure hunting romp that brings back that same Uncharted feeling.
Naughty Dog hasn't revealed definitive plans on whether or not it'll continue the franchise after Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, but I hope it revisits other characters in the series deserving more time in the spotlight for any additional adventures. For Uncharted fans or those new to the series, this game is an excellent PlayStation 4 exclusive and will make a great addition to your library.
This review was based on a PS4 retail copy provided by the publisher. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy releases on August 22 for PS4 for $39.99.