While most reviewers agree this title is a success, in terms of the Uncharted franchise, reviewers seem to have very differing opinions as to the scale of that success. Some say it’s a great standalone title and a promising entry point for potential new fans, yet other opinions are that this is more like an Uncharted greatest hits, best enjoyed by those who have played all the previous titles. So which is it? Well, I definitely don’t agree that to enjoy or full appreciate this title you need to have played the rest of the series.
The Lost Legacy has a self contained storyline and new protagonists, Chloe and Nadine. While it’s true that they’re existing characters of the franchise with Chloe first introduced back in Uncharted 2 and Nadine in Uncharted 4, their previous status as side characters has left much to flesh out, in terms of back story and characterisation. There’s little baggage carried over from the Drake days. In fact, if you haven’t played Uncharted 4 then Nadine might grow on you a little a quicker as while I, personally, enjoyed watching her kick Nathan’s butt a few times in the last title, many seem to hold it against her, but even they’ll soften to her newly fleshed out character over time, as the motivations behind her actions become clear.
Without a doubt the pairing of Chloe and Nadine was a masterstroke. The differences in their personalities and obvious trust issues at the start of their working relationship leads to some great tension and humour, and it’s great to see the bond between them strengthen and their partnership flourish as the game progresses, particularly when a certain other character pops up to rock the boat. This new lead feels like a fresh start for the franchise and I, for one, think it’s a great thing that they didn’t just go for the easier option of just switching to the other Drake.
In terms of gameplay, it’s true that this title doesn’t really add anything new. However, it’s worth remembering that this title began life as an Uncharted 4 DLC and not a standalone title. What it does offer is the best of what the series has presented, so far, offering a streamlined and better balanced gameplay experience. The storyline, fight scenes and exploration are presented in a better mix, leading to improved pacing which had suffered in previous titles. I’ve heard numerous complaints of the Uncharted games feeling more like occasionally interactive movies rather than games, and while I don’t, personally, agree, I can understand the sentiment. In the main franchise, the different gameplay segments had expanded in size to fit the larger maps in each title, rather than offering a variety in each location which The Lost Legacy seems to have fixed. It takes a few chapters for the differences to become apparent, but certainly by the second half The Lost Legacy feels like slicker and more streamlined beast with story, action, exploration and puzzle solving all intermingled, leading to an overall richer feeling experience.
The game is short, even more so than the shortest title of the main series, the original Uncharted game, but this is reflected in the price tag, which is half the cost of the last title, Uncharted 4. Crucially, this shorter experience isn’t reflected in the environments which, if anything, are bigger, better and more intricate than the last outing. There are also some truly stunning views to take in while journeying across the new Indian based landscape, and the newly included photo mode allows you to capture each and every one. The only complaint I’ve heard, with regards to the environments, is the similarity in design of the open driving section to the one in the last title, which does, in places, look lifted and dropped, but it’s still a well, if familiarly executed section, and its after this area that the title really takes off and forges its own identity from its predecessors.
If puzzles are your thing then there are more gems awaiting you in this title. The scale of the locations are no less grand, but the puzzles staged do manage to avoid the tedious feel, inherent in some of the previous titles, which resulted from the occasionally clumsy/ lengthy execution of over the top, switch pulling, environment traversing based puzzles which I, personally, didn’t miss. The puzzles in this title are more compact and better designed, and while quicker to execute still feel just as rewarding to solve.
Overall, I can see the reason why fans of the franchise would call this title a ‘greatest hits’ selection, as little has been added in terms of game mechanics. However, it has a fresh new story, which provides deep and intricate characterisation for the main cast and also proves absorbing in terms of storytelling. If anything lets the game’s story down then it would be the main antagonist, who does feel a little too James Bond villain like and could have done with a little more development. With regards to level and gameplay design, this title has taken the Uncharted formula, developed across the last four games, and has cut and polished it into a much more defined and well rounded experience. Without a doubt, this title shows there’s plenty of life left in this franchise and provides a solid base on which to build future titles, should production be set to continue. A hope which I’m sure I and many other Uncharted fans share.