On hearing that Naughty Dog were going to be releasing a spin-off game within the Uncharted universe, I was somewhat sceptical. This is a game series that I’ve adored since first owning my PS3, and although Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End wasn’t without its flaws, it was still for me the perfect ending to the action adventure series. At the same time however, Naughty Dog have built a reputation for making strong games dating back to Crash Bandicoot on the Playstation 1, so I also had my hopes that the game would deliver.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy places the characters of Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross as protagonists, characters who fans of the series will know to be more side characters than main leads, into the arduous task of uncovering the secret behind the legendary golden tusk of Ganesh on a journey that sees them at odds with a gang of cutthroat mercenaries who want the tusk for themselves. This may not exactly sound like uncharted territory storywise *queue comedy drumroll sound effect* and in many ways it isn’t. The series has built upon a formula for globe trotting adventures across ancient ruins in search of priceless artefacts, and it is one that has mostly gone untouched, save for trotting to different locations and different ancient ruins. But this is very much an “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” scenario, and The Lost Legacy definitely has a plot that can stand tall with its predecessors.
My initial fears of an Uncharted story without Nathan Drake were soon gone, as both Chloe and Nadine make for excellent protagonists within the game that work as a surprisingly entertaining and at times comical duo. This is in part due to them being interesting characters in previous games, and also due to the strong writing that has been consistent with Naughty Dog’s games since their games took on more of a linear approach. Directing duties this time go to Shaun Escayg and Kurt Margenau who despite this being their first time helming an Uncharted game have managed to pack it full of the charm and wit of the previous games, as well as lightly rubbing away at the characters’ souls rather than wacking players over the head with forced sentimentality. I did feel that more could have been done to give the main villain Asav more layers to him, but he was nonetheless a strong antagonist to the game.
As is to be expected with the series The Lost Legacy looks gorgeous with locations that really feel alive and that pop with the use of colour and structure. The levels and ruins are similarly well designed providing a sense of grandiosity where needed and giving the player many breathtaking moments. The controls also haven’t altered, they’re still very intuitive and fluid, and running and gunning is always thrilling to experience. Despite all of this being very strong I do also feel that it was something of a missed opportunity to not innovate in some way, particularly in the controls. The game feels exactly like Uncharted 4 in its mechanics, which is in no way a bad thing, however I feel there was opportunity here to set itself apart in some way, particularly considering the new protagonists we have for this game.
Overall Uncharted: The Lost Legacy continues the tradition of the series by providing players with an exciting adventure to go on full of wit, excitement and plenty of action. The dialogue and interaction between the characters feels natural and always a pleasure to see, and the story is paced perfectly so as not to make players feel short changed, but also to ensure they don’t become fed up. This game does definitely hold a lot in common with its predecessor, in terms of story, visuals and controls, so innovation definitely takes a back seat on this one. However, when the predecessor in question is Uncharted 4, you could definitely say there could be worse problems to have. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a solid addition to the franchise, and one that definitely has me open to more “spin-offs” from the main series in future.
By the way, on the off chance someone from Naughty Dog is reading this, 70’s spin-off featuring Sully on a globe trotting con artist adventure? Come on, you know we’d buy it.