“A treasure unto itself:” Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review

Posted in Kulturecade by - August 29, 2017
“A treasure unto itself:” Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review

I’ll admit that I was skeptical heading into Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. Uncharted 3 could have served as a finale for the franchise, and while I did like the ending of Uncharted 4 better, that game had to play the long-lost relative card to justify its own existence. The thought of another entry in the series after one ambiguous ending and another definitive ending made me wary, afraid that The Lost Legacy would be little more than a cash grab, one last attempt to eke money out of franchise that had run its course. I’ve never been happier to be wrong. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy isn’t just a great addition to the series, it’s the first game in a while that has left me hopeful for a sequel.

The Lost Legacy stars Chloe Frazer, returning to the series after being noticeably absent from Uncharted 4. Her adventure finds her aligned with Nadine Ross, the mercenary leader from Uncharted 4, now working solo after the events of that game. Chloe’s carefree snark and Nadine’s no-nonsense attitude create a pretty familiar dynamic, but this kind of pairing is a classic for a reason; the banter between the two is fun, and there are some well-earned emotional beats in the last third of the game. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy doesn’t deliver a compelling antagonist (an unfortunate trend in the series as a whole), but otherwise it delivers a solid, enjoyable narrative.

Gameplay in The Lost Legacy is largely the same as Uncharted 4. The gunplay is competent, with enough freedom of movement and stealth options to make combat feel fun, and less like filler in between more interesting moments. Platforming is still fairly linear, but is made more dynamic by the addition of the rope from Uncharted 4. There are a fair number of puzzles in The Lost Legacy as well, running the gamut from easy to legitimately challenging, without becoming frustrating. Perhaps the most notable difference between this game and previous entries is the distinct shortage of the big setpiece action scenes the series is known for. Rather than this being a detriment to the game, however, I found the increased focus on player agency refreshing. The high point of the game is undoubtedly a middle chapter that places players in a wide-open level with multiple sets of ancient ruins to explore, leaving players to complete objectives and search for collectibles at their own pace. There’s even a side quest of sorts built into this level that offers a meaningful reward outside of the joy of exploration. Honestly, I think this level stands as proof that if the Uncharted series continues, it might be better served by a quasi-sandbox structure not too different from Hitman or Metal Gear Solid V. The scripted action scenes are still largely fantastic (barring the stiff melee-centric scenes, the one unfortunate holdover from Uncharted 4), but I could go for more open levels like this in the future.

After players have finished The Lost Legacy’s roughly six-hour campaign, there are a couple of multiplayer options. The suite of multiplayer modes from Uncharted 4 is included here; it’s perfectly fine, but it didn’t impress me when Uncharted 4 was released and nothing has changed. More successful is the co-op survival mode, which was only released as DLC for Uncharted 4 until now. Again, it’s nothing groundbreaking, but Uncharted’s gameplay lends itself better to leaping around and shooting AI grunts than performing awkward acrobatic combat against more dexterous human beings.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a worthy continuation of the series, and I sincerely hope that Naughty Dog revisits this spinoff eventually to make a sequel. The story and characters are fun, and the gameplay is the best it’s ever been. If not for a recycled multiplayer component and a weak villain, this game would be nearly perfect. As it stands, however, it’s still a great game and a satisfying final outing for the series, if this truly is the end.

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