When Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was unveiled at E3 last year, it raised more than a few eyebrows.
Since Uncharted 4 had effectively drawn a line under the adventures of Nathan Drake just months earlier, the announcement that the franchise would continue without him was greeted with a mixed reception.
Some players were hyped for it, naturally, but others felt an Uncharted game without Drake bordered on blasphemy – and of course there came a wave of ire from some male gamers who viewed the fact that the game would feature two female protagonists as an invasion of their space.
As it happens, anyone concerned about whether or not Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is worth investing in need only answer one question: how much of an Uncharted fan are you? If that answer contains any hyperbole, you can rest easy knowing that Naughty Dog’s latest release ticks all the boxes the games in this series is known for. Aside from Drake being absent, it’s all rather comfortingly familiar.
The Lost Legacy’s campaign makes a convincing argument that Uncharted may not need Drake’s services to continue. The story this time centres around Chloe Frazer, the sassy thief and treasure hunter introduced in Uncharted 2, and Nadine Ross, the South African mercenary who was ranged against the Drake brothers in Uncharted 4. The pair are in India and have teamed up to find an ancient artefact before it falls into the hands of a local warlord, who wants to use it to rally fighters to his cause.
Revealing anything more would do a disservice to our readers, because one of the game’s greatest strengths is wrapped up in its storytelling. Unlike many other franchises, Uncharted has always dug deep into its characters and presented them as fully rounded people rather than archetypes.
The richness found in an Uncharted story depends as much on what the characters are prepared to reveal about themselves than how they react to their environment and The Lost Legacy is no different. Frazer and Ross have always been hard-bitten women, but their back and forth unveils depths only previously hinted at – and yes, before you ask, the script passes the Bechdel Test with ease. The only slight we can register against the campaign is that it’s pretty short for an Uncharted game – players can clock it in eight hours on moderate difficulty – but since it started life as DLC, and it’s being sold at a reduced price, this isn’t too much of a deal-breaker.
By now players know what to expect from an Uncharted game as every entry in this series has as many familiar beats as an Indiana Jones film. There will be puzzle solving, there will be platforming and there will be numerous kill-boxes in which third-person cover-based shooting will be the order of the day.
There will be numerous cinematic flourishes accentuating the action, such a ledge breaking away as a protagonist lands on it, or the big reveal of an exotic, crumbling temple, shot from a low angle in order to impress its grandeur. You can put money on the fact that there’ll be several sequences in which the heroes run through some structure that’s collapsing all around them, barely making it out alive in the final breathless moment. You know, all the things one expects in an Uncharted game.
The Lost Legacy has also kept a couple of aspects from Uncharted 4 that were wonderful – the fantastic visuals and the grappling hook mechanic – and wisely dumped a couple that weren’t – the jeep no longer needs to be winched up mudslides, thank God!
There are a couple of new additions – such as a camera that players can use to snap vistas, which unlock extras in the home menu. On top of that the game boasts a multiplayer and a co-op mode called Survival.
The former is Uncharted 4’s multiplayer mode – and if you’d like to know what to expect, check out our review of that game, because it’s basically the same, albeit with some content – avatars, skins and the like – that’s tied to The Lost Legacy. Survival is essentially Horde Mode, in which players work together to fend off waves of increasingly dangerous enemies.
At the time of writing, we couldn’t get into a lobby to play a match; it’s possible the servers will only go live on launch day.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review – Verdict
If all that goes off without a hitch, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy can be recommended as a solid buy. It’ll certainly please Uncharted fans who’ve been jonesing for a new game since Drake left us and from an industry perch, its success or failure will be interesting to watch. This is fan service, but it’s also a litmus test to see if Uncharted can survive losing Drake. Place your bets now…
- Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was reviewed on a PS4. A review copy was provided by the publisher.