The Uncharted franchise is known for being one of the most consistent high-quality series in video games. Four installments featuring Nathan Drake—the Indiana Jones of video games and then some—have toured gamers through a fictional version of our world filled to the brim with lost civilizations to find, armies of terrorists to fight, and a wonderful mixture of satisfying gameplay and story beats to experience.
With Uncharted: The Lost Legacy having been upgraded from the campaign DLC of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End to a standalone, budget title, does it bring all the fun and catharsis gamers have come to expect from Naughty Dog's renowned action series? As expected, it does so in spades.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy seeks to continue these trends as well as give Uncharted 4 lovers more to chew on, as it really is a full adventure. While it can be beaten in about six hours the first time through, doing all the optional content available will keep players engaged with a title just about equal in length to the original Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Chloe Frazer, a fan-favorite character introduced in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and featured again in Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception, stars as the playable protagonist this time around with Nadine Ross, the secondary antagonist of Uncharted 4, serving as her sidekick. These gals can do just about everything Nathan Drake can do in Uncharted 4. Including recent mechanics such as sliding down muddy slopes and using a grappling hook to swing through obstacles, all the trigger-happy gunplay and fearless climbing also returns. If you have played any game in the series before, you know what to expect here: Uncharted's gameplay staples at their finest.
Just because there are no major innovations in the formula this time around does not mean the gameplay has gone stale, however. Some of the more intricate puzzles of the series await, including one platforming puzzle that had me stumped for minutes—but I enjoyed every failure because it was just that much fun.
With its optional content, The Lost Legacy actually fulfills more open-world potential than Uncharted 4 did in its campaign. One chapter in particular features Chloe and Nadine exploring a large map filled with secret markings and treasure galore, and while much of it can be skipped completely, it offers a worthwhile detour that even gifts the player with a new ability if the area is traveled thoroughly enough.
Hand-to-hand combat also makes a return, but it is admittedly too simple to prefer over the two dozen weapons Chloe has to choose from throughout the course of her adventure. However, one thing gamers who have not played Uncharted 4 may not be accustomed to is the stealth mechanics it introduced last year. They return in full force and are just as satisfying to use as they were in A Thief's End; marking enemies from behind cover or in tall grass allows for the strategic takedown of most if not all goons on a certain map, but this strategy can also be foregone completely if one only enjoys raking in the headshots or blowing up enemies.
The difficulty of The Lost Legacy felt just right on moderate—perfect for newcomers to the series or fans who have not played a similar game since Uncharted 4 released more than a year ago. Tutorials do spring up when needed, but they usually strike the right balance between being short and unobtrusive for experienced players and informative enough to let newcomers understand the basics.
Just as the gameplay overall feels as fresh as its predecessor's, the audiovisual spectacle of The Lost Legacy is also on par with Uncharted 4. This is one of the most gorgeous and visually stunning games to take in on the PlayStation 4. The art design within the game itself is also very nice. More than several times, I found myself putting the controller down and just marveling at the ancient Indian architecture and jungle expanse laid out before me.
Henry Jackman also returns as the composer for the Uncharted series here, and he brings more than a few memorable melodies to the table. New songs hit the heartstrings of the player with the typical sweeping, epic arrangements Jackman is used to composing for these games.
I may be touching on this last, but the story of The Lost Legacy might, in fact, be its strongest suit. A tale of unraveling myth with these types of characters is something no other Uncharted game has in store. I am sure many gamers will find two lead women kicking villainous butt inspiring; honestly, I felt just as attached to Chloe and Nadine's struggles as characters as I was to Nathan and Sam Drake's exploits in A Thief's End.
The way Naughty Dog handles their storytelling continues to be marvelous. The script and cinematics are handled with more style and professionalism than in most feature films these days, and optional conversations or just conversations held between the characters while the player drives through or otherwise explores the surrounding wilderness do well to build up history and bonds that both Chloe and Nadine share.
There are some major surprises in store in regards to the plot, and they strengthen the overall narrative too. I will not be spoiling those here; you should simply experience them for yourself, especially if you count yourself a fan of Uncharted 4.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a worthy follow-up to one of 2016's greatest games. And as a $40 USD experience (only $20 USD if Uncharted 4 players purchased the season pass), this adventure is a steal. The only way I can see fans of this type of game and this franchise in general being disappointed is if they were holding out hope that The Lost Legacy would revolutionize the gameplay of Uncharted. My personal sentiment, however, is that Naughty Dog was right in not fixing what was not broken. The gameplay is simple, intuitive, and satisfying. The storytelling might be even more so, and all the while playing through this journey, players will be treated to one of the most polished and exciting video game epics of 2017.