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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Genre: Action/Adventure
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Naughty Dog
Release Date: Aug. 22, 2017 (US), Aug. 23, 2017 (EU)


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PS4 Review - 'Uncharted: The Lost Legacy'

by Cody Medellin on Aug. 22, 2017 @ 12:15 a.m. PDT

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a new standalone chapter set in the Uncharted series, featuring Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross.

Buy Uncharted: The Lost Legacy

The Uncharted series and its protagonist Nathan Drake are pretty much inseparable. He's the focus of all four main games across the PS3 and PS4, and the Vita game features him front and center. He's even been the focus of the motion comic that was released sometime after the second game. To that end, it was refreshing to hear that Uncharted 4's major piece of DLC, subtitled The Lost Legacy, would not include Drake at all. When that DLC grew into something that Naughty Dog considered to be big enough to be a stand-alone title, some wondered if Nathan's absence would affect the experience. With the final game in hand, it's safe to say that the series is just fine without Nolan North's character.

When compared to the rest of the series, the tale here reins things in for less intense consequences. In fact, it's fair to say that this matches more closely with the vibe of the first game instead of what came afterward. You play the role of Chloe Frazer, adventuring thief and fan favorite character since the series' second outing. Already in India, she's on the hunt for the Tusk of Ganesh, a valuable artifact for the Hindu people and a treasure that's being hunted down by Asaf, a warlord who wants to start a civil war in the name of ethnic cleansing. Helping you on your expedition is Nadine Ross, one of the antagonists of Uncharted 4 who has lost control of her private military company and is trying to use the funds from this expedition to get it back.

What always drives the plot in the Uncharted series isn't the subject matter or the villains but the relationship between Nathan and his AI partner, whether that's Elena, Sam or Sully. That sense of kinship is also present with Chloe and Nadine, and there's a natural progression toward friendship given their conflicting attitudes. Chloe is more quippy than ever, and much of the game's humor comes from what she says to diffuse the moment or ward off her fears of dying. Nadine, by contrast, is more by the book and professional, focusing on the job more than anything else. As expected, their relationship is strictly business, but they warm up to one another as the journey goes on. There are parts where they reveal what's bothering them, but they soon start trading jokes, and by the end of the game, friendship is on full display. The pairing doesn't feel forced, so you wouldn't mind seeing the duo on another adventure.

If you've played an Uncharted game before, you'll know exactly what to expect. There's lots of climbing up rock faces and ancient ruins and swinging on ropes to make spectacular jumps across large chasms. Brain-teasing puzzles are designed to unlock doors and reveal artifacts and collectibles. Combat can be done with just your fists and feet, and you'll get a few co-op moves along the way, but you'll mostly confiscate enemy weapons on the field and use it against them. Mix in a few playable cinematic chases and a few scenes showing off deep characterization between the protagonists, and you have a winning formula.

Some tweaks are mainly improvements over mechanics that were introduced in earlier games. Stealth was introduced in the last game, and it returns here, when you use the patches of tall grass to lurk around undetected. You still don't have other stealth mechanics, like the ability to hide bodies or throw items to divert enemy attention, but you can find a silenced pistol to take out enemies from afar, provided you're good at administering headshots. New to the game is a lockpicking mechanic that you'll use to open chests for weapons. Beyond a few mandatory scenes where you'll do this on doors, lockpicking is completely optional. However, it's handy if you want to enter a fight with fresh weapons.

The most noticeable change is the move to a more open-world setting for at least half of the campaign. It isn't new, as players have seen this before in the Madagascar stage in Uncharted 4, but the scope here is broadened more, even if it doesn't necessarily match up with other open-world titles. The title is set in the Western Ghats, so you'll traverse jungles and rivers to explore tombs that are key to unlocking the final temple, where the Tusk of Ganesh is stored. Thanks to the open-world setting, you can drive and explore those temples in any order. There's also the chance to engage in some side-quests, as there are 11 smaller ruins that hold keys to a larger ruin with a treasure that greatly aids completionists.

Though the series has excelled in providing players with a very cinematic linear experience, it also works well when expanding that world to let the characters breathe. The open world lets cinematic moments flourish, but the pacing is more controlled, since players have some agency over how things go. You learn about your heroes through their witty banter during car rides. The only other people in the stage may be Asaf's soldiers, but the lush setting still makes it lively. Combat also gets a chance to expand, since you've got more room to work with on the field. The lack of standard things like a GPS or a guide don't feel like missing elements, since you know where to go by instinct. If anything, the open setting proves that the series' standard formula can work, regardless of whether the setting is linear or more open-ended.

Outside of the main campaign, the title features the same multiplayer mode from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End — at least if you're buying the retail disc version. This can be confirmed by the fact that the Trophies you earn in multiplayer are all listed under Uncharted instead of The Lost Legacy. The community is still pretty healthy, so it's easy to find matches for the game. This is also good news for owners of Uncharted 4, as they're able to get the character skins and models from The Lost Legacy in their title.

With the game originally meant to be DLC, it should come as no surprise that the presentation matches Uncharted 4 almost exactly. The voice work from the protagonist duo to the villain Asaf is masterfully done, though there are times when you'll hear Chloe respond to something that Nadine said, but you won't hear Nadine's original question or response since you're a good distance away. The music is fantastic, especially during the few chase sequences, while the graphics hold steady to provide something cinematic. Character models are well detailed and large, while the environments are breathtaking thanks to loads of foliage and other effects, like light bloom and water that actually distorts your image if seen from above. Even one year removed from the release of the main game, this title is a stunner.

If Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is Naughty Dog's last run at the series, then it is good to know that they ended their involvement on a high note. Everything that made the series so memorable is present, from the witty banter and deep characterization to the white-knuckle action. Chloe and Nadine make a perfect duo, so you aren't going to miss Sully and Nathan. The lone new change, the expansion to a semi-open world for a majority of the game, works since the world isn't too large, and it means side activities are part of the game. For action fans, The Lost Legacy is a title that can't be missed, even if it's your first foray into the game world.

Score: 9.0/10

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