Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review – A Standalone Experience

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While the initial rumors surrounding Uncharted: The Lost Legacy started as a story DLC/Expansion to Uncharted 4, the game turned out to be a standalone entry into the Uncharted franchise; a spin-off of sorts to a franchise that closed the story of its main character.

Naughty Dog has always treated its Uncharted franchise right, and wrapped up Nathan Drake’s story quite succinctly through its tetralogy of games. This begs the question, that even at a discounted price, does Uncharted: The Lost Legacy contain enough to justify going back into the well as a standalone game, or is it another lackluster attempt to milk a successful franchise like God of War Ascension and Mass Effect Andromeda?

Thankfully Lost Legacy stays true to the quality of the legacy of Uncharted games, and presents a new adventure that explores different side of this franchise’s universe, without sullying the past and trampling on the journey that was beautifully tied together in Uncharted 4.

Like all the previous entries in the franchise, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is an action-adventure game with core gameplay elements of 3d person shooting and linear platforming. The game continues with the tradition of featuring entertaining character moments spliced through in-game cinematic action set-pieces, environmental puzzles and adventure sequences.

In addition to retaining all the game elements from previous Uncharted games and features like rope swinging and pick climbing introduced in Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy also introduces some additions and changes like spruced-up stealth abilities, lock picking mini-game and introduction of larger environments that includes a semi-openworld component on traveling and exploring an overworld in a 4×4 vehicle.

Events in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, which loosely connect to previous Uncharted games, never require the knowledge of previous games for a player to understand or enjoy the game’s story.

Conversely, since the story is not about series staple lead, Nathan Drake, it is also not required for series’ veterans to experience Lost Legacy to understand or cap-off the story of arc of the main Uncharted games. This is purely a standalone story and not an unnecessary extension to the beautifully resolved narrative of Uncharted 4.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is set sometime after the events that transpired in Uncharted 4. The main thrust of this narrative focuses on Chloe Frazer, the supporting character from Uncharted 2 and 3, and her exploration of her heritage that takes her to partner up with one of the antagonists from Uncharted 4; Nadine Ross.

Though unlike the previous Uncharted games, Lost Legacy does not consistently focus on story beats. The whole narrative experience of the game centers around the dynamic between Chloe and Nadine.

Chloe Fraizer is a scoundrel, a thief and, for a lack of a better term, a tomb raider, and replaces Nathan Drake’s charming rogue attitude with her own brand of cocky confidence; and acting as her foil and straight-man is Nadine, who is a buttoned-down, disciplined yet aggressive paramilitary woman.

Their dynamic is expertly brought together through the series’ staple amazingly detailed character models, buttery smooth animation, witty script, sharp dialogue and pitch perfect delivery by actresses Claudia Black and Laura Bailey.

Though unlike previous Uncharted games, the flow of the story focuses less on narrative twists and more on ever changing chemistry between two women through their banter. This change is probably due to the non-linear nature of its mid-game, that suffers from the same problem that plagues most open world games, in that most of its story beats are backloaded into the final few hours of the game.

Similar to the pace of its narrative, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is also backloaded in terms of pacing of its gameplay elements. Whereas majority of it is centered around stealth, exploration and few conflicts, last few hours of the game are an absolute rollercoaster ride.

That is not to say that the rest of the game is boring. There is plenty of enemy encounters in the game that the player can opt to resolve in a full-on firefight, close fisticuffs, stealth takedowns and, in some cases, even avoid completely by driving away.

Whereas these 3rd person shooting gameplay mechanics have stayed the same since Uncharted 4, the developers have added couple of more options to the stealth takedowns, as well as allowed for a more martial art inspired moveset for Chloe, in comparison to Nathan Drake’s more brawler fighting style.

In addition to action and fighting, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy also brings back the environmental puzzles and linear platforming segments that are a staple of Uncharted games. Players can explore jungles, mountains and temples that are filled with ancient Hindu mythos and iconography.

Despite the unique structures and monuments, there is not much location variety in Lost Legacy; unlike Uncharted 2, 3 and 4, where players were able to explore locations across the world, the whole of the game takes place in India. Aside for the small portions in urban area and other detours, most of the campaign takes place in forested areas and archeological sites.

Though, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy does changes things up by offering an open-world environment called the “Western Ghats” that actually becomes a mid-game overworld that players can explore through the return of free-form vehicle traversal, which offers a refreshing change of pace from usual Uncharted formula.

This open-world area is similar in nature to the plains of Madagascar in Uncharted 4, however unlike the plains, the Western Ghats are much larger in size and scope. It features a lot of different ruins, temples and sites that offer objectives which can be freely tackled and explored in a fairly non-linear fashion.

The natural diversity of the Western Ghats area also allows for beautiful vistas where the lush green grass and trees are complimented with vegetation that is presented in the vibrant colours of reds, oranges, yellows, blues and violets.

However, whether it is due to its more open environments or due to lower budget, Uncharted: Lost Legacy occasionally lacks same polish that was found in Uncharted 4, as certain graphic elements like waterfalls and running stream splashes do not look good in play and come off as visual blemishes in an otherwise spectacular looking game.

Overall, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has most of the production values of the last Uncharted game and is similar in length to the first Uncharted game; it features a campaign that lasts from 8-9 hours and offers enough gameplay variety and a strong narrative journey that is pretty good for a standalone $40 expansion.

Adding to this value, Lost Legacy rewards players who explore its environments with optional ruins and temples to explore, as well as lots of collectables hidden throughout the map; including usual treasure objects, cellphone picture spots and lockboxes containing special weapons like silenced pistol, RPG or even a collectable treasure.

Moreover, the game also features an optional secret side quest, where players can collect Hoyesha Tokens, that can be obtained through small puzzle segments hidden throughout the mid-game overworld; a quest that actually rewards successful players with bonus that has a small gameplay value.

In addition to its single player component, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy also contains all of the multiplayer content in Uncharted 4, including the newly introduced additional content tied to Lost Legacy, as well as the new Survival arena that offers over 100 new waves with new enemy types, new siege zones, and new wave modifiers to the survival mode.

All in all, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a very enjoyable action adventure game that features amazing production values and familiarly fun gameplay that will surely satisfy all the casual and hardcore fans of the franchise, and offers enough content to warrant its $40 price tag and a standalone release.

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