I love Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series, and although I was pleased with the resolution of A Thief’s End I was a bit despondent at the thought of no more excursions into that universe. So hooray then for The Lost Legacy! Originally conceived as a DLC package for A Thief’s End, the game grew into a standalone product. Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher are left at home, and Victor “Sully” Sullivan is (hopefully) enjoying his retirement somewhere. In The Lost Legacy we’re following Chloe Frazer (always my favourite character) and Nadine Ross as they try to stay one step ahead of rebel leader Asav and his soldiers in the hunt for the Tusk of Ganesh.
(By the way, you can click on any of the images below to open them – they’re all 1920×1080 pixels – in a separate tab/window.)
Everything you love and hate is present. Those who loathe Uncharted are not going to be converted, and those who adore the series are not going to be dismayed. One criticism is that the series has become little more than a collection of interactive movies, but then it’s not aimed at the Call of Duty gamer who can score a head shot on a pixel from a mile away. This world is aimed at people who want a more relaxed experience that looks and sounds amazing, has a great script, and most of all is FUN to play. Don’t get me wrong – there are plenty of high-octane thrills and spills but there are also deliberately slow sequences that encourage you to stop and smell the roses (or pet the yaks, as happened back in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves).
There’s plenty of choice when combat does come a-calling. Sure, you can go in all guns blazing (and with the variety of weapons on offer that’s always tempting), but why not try making less of a scene? The silenced pistol is one way to pick off Asav’s troops, but more satisfying is to sneak through long grass, or come at them from above or below, and take them out one by one with your bare hands. If you’re more inclined to run around strafing your enemies there is an online multi-player mode which (probably) encourages that sort of behaviour.
It’s not a long game, although that is reflected in the budget price. I finished a normal run through in 8 hours (and I don’t know if all the cut scenes are included in that time). I then did a speed run through the game (ignoring all bonus items, side quests and cut scenes) in under three hours, and it was still still immensely satisfying.
Predecessor A Thief’s End introduced an open world driving mode, although it still seemed to be very much a case of driving from A to B. In The Lost Legacy things are taken a step (or a drive) further: you have three main tasks that can be approached in any order, plus twelve completely optional missions (collecting tokens to gain a bracelet that helps you find treasures throughout the game). A map is provided to assist you, and Chloe and Nadine engage in a number of conversations as you drive around. This section can be the shortest or the longest chapter of the game – it’s completely up to you.
Naughty Dog have always been responsive to player feedback, whether it’s complaints about the game being too linear, the “stupid monsters” of parts 1 and 2, even the Guardian’s specious claim (when Uncharted 4 came out) that the series is guilty of cultural imperialism. They’ve also always innovated, with extra abilities introduced in every game so it never gets old. I’m really enjoying the expanded photo mode which, combined with the post-completion game modifiers (such as different render modes and skins), allows for the creation of some great images. My favourite style at the moment is for pirate Chloe (complete with hooked hand!) to fight enemies who suffer a gravity free death, in a render called Rainbow Fun Land. All while gurning. It’s bloody good fun:
The website Kotaku recently pointed out the detail of the in-game map (and I’d imagine that applies to Chloe’s mobile phone too), but there are ridiculously brilliant little details all over the place. The title screen changes as you progress through the game and discover different items. Be in the right spot as the sun shines on a waterfall and you’ll get a rainbow in the mist. Watch and smile as the clouds move across the sky, or as the sun’s rays stream through the trees. Out of curiosity I zoomed in on Chloe’s watch in photo mode. It’s a fully functional watch!
The Lost Legacy plays like a Greatest Hits collection – all the best innovations of the previous 4 are present and correct, with some new features to boot. There’s plenty of replay value, and loads of great features and Easter eggs. It’s visually stunning and really good fun, with a spectacular ending and some cute credits. Please, Naughty Dog, please make more Uncharted!
Spoiler alert: how to get the Cannonball! trophy:
23 August 2017.