Despite being a side story to the four-game long main franchise, “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy” feels like an almost-perfect standalone game, unless players have never encountered the series before. If that’s the case, they may be out of the series’ loop.
Released Aug. 22, 2017, the game focuses on the side characters Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross, who are featured throughout the rest of the series, during an adventure to the forests of India to find the lost treasure of the Hoysala Empire.
For gamers who have never played an Uncharted game and feel like “Lost Legacy” would be a good jumping-in point, they may feel a bit let down with their decision. The game is great, but doesn’t provide enough backstory for new players to completely understand the story.
The game starts suddenly in a war-torn India, with Frazer jumping into the back of a truck to pass a military checkpoint. Like many recent highly-rated games, players start out knowing nothing about their protagonist, and this feeling continues throughout the game. Frazer follows mysterious text instructions to meet with someone, and then suddenly Ross drops in.
The two escape from Indian rebel fighters and meet the game’s main villain before new players ever find out about the protagonists’ relationship to one another. Frazer hired Ross to help her find the Hoysala Empire and its treasure, the tusk of Ganesh.
There is, of course, name dropping of the famous series’ protagonist Nathan Drake but little mention of how the two women know him. Frazer worked with him and Ross against him.
These are the struggles new players may face with the game, but it will easily be overridden by the graphics, animation and actual play of the game.
The graphics, as with any major 2017 PlayStation 4 release, are phenomenal, with the exception of the birds in the opening scene. Instead of looking graceful, they looked like paper cranes being controlled with wires. The views of the beautiful mountainous terrain of India are stunning when dotted with ancient temples and empires, however.
The graphics and animation pair beautifully together. Claudia Black and Laura Bailey returned to the motion capture stage to reprieve their roles of Frazer and Ross respectively. The characters’ faces move almost exactly like their human counterparts but lack the strange edge that typically sends motion capture to the uncanny valley, where people feel a sense of unease while looking at a lifelike computer-animated face.
New players will also fall in love with the gameplay. Puzzles that keep players intrigued instead of feeling redundant and dull or, even worse, too hard, will bring in fans of games like the classic “Assassin’s Creed” and “Tomb Raider” franchises. The action fits in with the comparison as well, blending in the jungle-based adventure of a classic Lara Croft story and the suspense and acrobatics of an Ezio Auditore stealth mission.
For fans of the series, however, the game may feel redundant. The six-hour adventure doesn’t add any new mechanic or surprise to the series, instead opting to fall into the backseat of the series’ vehicle like a baby in a car seat. The gameplay is predictable following the other four games in the series, the last of which came out in May 2016. For this reason alone, some players may find the typical price tag of $60 too high, but Lost Legacy sits at a respectable $40.
The only addition “Lost Legacy” brings is more information about Frazer and Ross. So if players are a fan of the thief and mercenary, this game will grab their attention. If not, it is still worth a play.
“Lost Legacy” recently beat the new and confusing game “Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle” at the top of the United Kingdom sales charts according to GameSpot and Metro. Both games were announced at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) this July.
Players interested in “Uncharted: The Lost Legacy” can purchase the game for PlayStation 4 for $40 in the PlayStation Store and at all major gaming retailers.