Join Screen Critics Jason Noyce as he takes a look at the latest Uncharted – The Lost Legacy. How does it fit into the popular series?
The Lost Legacy Naughty Dog’s final outing in the Uncharted series swings in as a somewhat unusual end to this action adventure but one that proves this developers worth. The original Uncharted was released back in and followed the story of Nathan Drake a charismatic adventure who found himself on the hunt for buried treasure. Throughout the years Nate has appeared in a total of four games the latest, A Thief’s End in 2016, set to end this characters story once and for all. Bringing an end to Naughty Dog’s iconic series but while developing a DLC for this fourth instalment, The Lost a Legacy was born. A further farewell to Nathan Drake in the form of a new game focusing on a different character from the series one who has their own story to tell. A world without Nathan Drake that honestly doesn’t miss the man in the slightest, with Chloe Fraser taking centre stage with her plucky partner Nadine Ross. Together these characters take us on a new journey one that happens to show off all the best features from the Uncharted series. But the real question is does the series suffer without Nathan Drake?
The Answer is of course no, in fact it feels rather refreshing to see these previously sidelined characters take a shoot at adventuring and witty one liners.
Chloe is her own character and not just a Nathan Drake replacement and a lot of work has gone into making sure that is the case. Making the decision to bring these two characters together was a great one and pays off big time through their encounters and dialogue.
The story of the Lost Legacy follows Fraser and Ross as they search for The Tusk Of Ganesha a relic of the Hoysala empire. This adventure takes them crashing through India as they search for clues as to the location of this ancient artefact while competing in true treasure hunt style with a crazed antagonist Asa’s who wants the tusk in order to start civil war. These two adventures must work together in order to find the treasure before their enemy but as they come closer to the prize they must overcome their personal demons, which will only strengthen their growing friendship for better or maybe worse. This is probably sounding very familiar as there is nothing here that hasn’t been seen before, even in this series, but it brings a refreshing feeling to the genre. This by all definitions is the perfect adventure game full of puzzles, dynamic action pieces and relatable characters. The game never feels rushed and doesn’t overstay its welcome containing just enough for you to get swept away on the joyride.
The history element has always been a large part of the treasure hunting series and this time feels familiar yet also new. This is due mostly to the new puzzles and detailed locations that you visit through the levels. One of the most interesting levels in the game was during the fourth chapter the wastelands where you are able to explore an open world area of the map. You can make your own choices as to how you handle this area, giving you a side objective alongside the main quest. This felt like quite the detachment from an Uncharted game but was one of the more interesting experiences within the game, for me this was the first moment that felt new and instantly drew me into the game. Testing out this game’s mechanics in such a way, provides the developers a chance to experiment while giving us a distraction from the linear story missions we have come to expect from Uncharted.
As for the gameplay this instalment consists of the usual gunslinging, puzzle solving and fight scenes that have made the series what it is. I would say from this aspect that The Lost Legacy is most unremarkable, following basically the same build as Uncharted 4 including bringing back the use of vehicles, grappling hooks and good old treasures. As stated before The Lost Legacy tried to do something different with its exploration. In the open map we have a chance to collect tokens that unlocked a bracelet that will hum when you are close to a treasure. This mechanic served them well especially while playing, if your anything like me while engrained in the game the last thing on your mind is that you could be walking over a tiny glinting treasure but this time whenever I heard that hum I would drop everything and go on my own little treasure hunt. This added feature made me more engaged with this activity for the first time in the series. Collectibles are fun but when you have to hunt around at all times it can lose the wonder of it. Personally I thought the bracelet reawakened my interest in the concept. This is the only real change in The Lost Legacy the rest of the game follows the treasure hunt while you solve puzzles and shot bad guys right between the eyes.
Though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table what The Lost Legacy does best is intertwine this gameplay with strong characters who you will come to love during your adventure. Much like you once did for Nathan Drake, you are quickly routing for Chloe and Nadine above anything else. This bond between you and these characters is strengthened as the adventure continues. As these character playfully bicker with one another or when they fall out you are always wanting to see where the story will take them next. If nothing else Naughty Dog have proven without any doubt that Uncharted could survive without Nathan or any other Drake for that matter, as much as they try to throw Nate’s less likeable brother Sam at you.
As for the survival mode it is pretty much the same as it was for Uncharted 4 and honestly I haven’t really played this mode, though I am aware it has grown a loyal following but still doesn’t match up to the likes of COD and Overwatch. This game mode also feels very out of place next to the linear story that Uncharted is known for and doesn’t really excite me.
The Lost Legacy is a combination of what Naughty Dog has accomplished with the Uncharted series. Comparing it with the original Uncharted you can see the many advancements within gaming come to life through the high definition graphics and vastly improved interface, plus you can take pictures on your own virtual iPhone. The deeper character narratives structured to bring you closer to the characters.
Naughty Dog says goodbye to this series with a game that celebrates what has been so great about their series, this decision seems strange considering how they ended A Thief’s End. Finishing the story of their long time leading man with a satisfying conclusion for him and his family made a lot of sense and allowed the developers to move onto future projects but this ended up not being the case. With the knowledge that this game was meant to be a DLC the decision makes more sense but choosing to create a completely new adventure after their ending with a brand new main character seems to be Naughty Dog’s attempt to almost make a Legacy that would outlive them and possibly live on at another studio.