Written by Joe Ahart // Edited by Andrew Busch // Images courtesy of Naughty Dog
After last year’s epic installment to the supernaturally athletic treasure hunters we all know and love, the Uncharted series returns once again with its latest title, The Lost Legacy. Unlike the previous games, this episode does not feature our beloved Nathan Drake, but instead focuses on the supporting character Chloe Fraizer. Chloe made her first appearance in Uncharted 2, and since then has dipped in and out of Drake’s various adventures around the world as a supporting character. Despite the unique shift in the primary character focus, The Lost Legacy has a ton to offer in terms of story, gameplay, and innovation.
Taking place four months after the previous game, A Thief’s End, the story now takes the player to a previously untapped cultural world, diving into Indian culture and mythology. Hinduism is the name of the game; Chloe is looking for Ganesh’s tusk, an artifact belonging to the elephant god of wisdom and triumph. Unlike the slower build of the previous game, this time you are thrown into the action almost immediately. Being a shorter spinoff of the major titles, I was a bit relieved to get right into the story rather than walking around your apartment for a good half hour. The pacing from there remains very well laid out. Uncharted has always had a blend of action filled experiences and calm, breathtaking moments to let the player take in the scenery and listen to the characters, and this game certainly keeps up with that tradition.
What helped a lot with this pacing was the new open world system incorporated into the game. This system was touched upon in A Thief’s End, but truly shows its potential in The Lost Legacy. A large chunk of the game is a single, wide open level with multiple routes to take and no particular order to solve things in. With gorgeous landscapes and mysterious structures to accompany the level, I was beyond excited to explore, plunder and climb around ancient ruins. I made sure to take my sweet time looking for treasures and secrets, finally being able to have the freedom to do so at my own pace. The open world allowed for a sense of freedom which the Uncharted games previously never really catered to. Levels were always very linear in the past, only with certain nooks and crannies to allow for secrets to be hidden, but not much else. With The Lost Legacy, they have now given much more control and agency to the player instead of letting the linear paths guide your way around.
In terms of gameplay, don’t expect too much to be different from the previous game. I was not really surprised by this, having this game be more of a tangent than a sequel, yet I wasn’t too thrilled either. Besides a few new mechanics, such as lock-picking and enemy marking, nothing new was really offered in the sense of gameplay. If anything, there seemed to be a reduction in the smoothness with which Uncharted is known for. Chloe’s movements were very sharp and quick, more reminiscent of Drake’s Fortune on the PS3 than modern day adventure games. Not that this was a deal breaker by any means, but the noticeable downgrade was quickly apparent once you take full control of the character. With the slate already established for gameplay, it allowed for more room to improvise on things like level design, world-building, and plot structure. So in this sense I am willing to forgive slightly jankier gameplay for a solid narrative and level design.
Without tampering with what makes the Uncharted series great, The Lost Legacy puts a new and fresh game on the table, and remains a perfect example of everything that makes the Uncharted series so great. A fun story, breathtaking environments, and a true sense of exploration are the foundations of a good adventure game. All I can say was that by the end of Chloe’s adventure, I felt compelled to pick it back up and start all over again.
BUY, BORROW, or PASS?
VERDICT: Most definitely a BUY.