Hearing that a new Uncharted game was coming, announced within the same year that the final Nathan Drake adventure completed, excited and frightened me, it is like seeing a different actor play Indiana Jones, but now that the game is here, how did it turn out?
The Lost Legacy is more the story of Chloe Frazer than it is Nadine Ross, but while it is centred around Chloe, Nadine is no slouch either, with both characters discovering that they are more capable than they thought possible. For Chloe, it is the chance to discover something that not even her father was capable of doing, Nadine is in it for the money, to help recover her father’s company, Shoreline, that she lost after the events of Uncharted 4 and while each is in it for their own reasons, together they form a bond that helps them out in the end. Sadly though, they are in the race against time, which seems to be a requirement, against Asav who is the leader of the local the rebels, in a race to find the Tusk of Ganesh.
The story is less about the Tusk and more about Chloe and Nadine and how two people, that could be considered opposites, working together to achieve combined goal for their own reasons. The problem is Chloe as a character is very much the same as we last saw her and its not until the final third of the game that she grows, there are of course, glimpses into her past as the game progresses, which help explain some things about her. Nadine is where I have issues, to begin with she is gruff and demanding, which matches up with her Uncharted 4 appearance, then she becomes friendly and compassionate, then angry and hurt, then she moves onto a reluctant partnership, before finally settling into a true partner roll. Given though, that the entire story takes place over a few days, that is a lot of growth for a single character to go through. The problem is exacerbated further by not really explaining her reasons in detail, they are talked about, but nothing like Chloe’s are, which leaves her underdeveloped.
Gameplay wise, if you played Uncharted 4, then you know exactly what you are going to get, rope swinging, mud sliding, explorable open world, action chase sequence and such, there is absolutely nothing new to the gameplay. The puzzles are different, but there are so few of them compared to the rest of the game, that they rarely made a dent in the experience, the bulk of the gameplay comes from running and climbing, with a helping dose of combat. The combat again pulls from Uncharted 4, offering up stealth based options for players who wanted to try things an unique way, each of the spaces where combat is likely to happen, offers up tall grass, swing points and plenty of ledges to hang from. One of the best zones I had to fight in, had Chloe and Nadine entering it from underwater, which meant that I was at a distinct disadvantage right off the bat, it made me think about my approach a little bit more.
The lack of difference between the gameplay offered here to the last number entry is perhaps the games biggest drawback, each game has introduced a mechanic or two, which has helped create a much larger and diverse gaming experience, but here it feels more like Uncharted 4.1 than anything substantial. While lack of innovation is a drawback, the game had many more technical issues than I would have expected from a Naughty Dog game, there were a lot of times where Chloe would clip into a wall, leaving half hidden and half exposed. I had instances where I would get stuck on nothing and I had to restart the checkpoint, in order to free myself from whatever was keeping me held, but the worst was when I was swinging, a lot of the time, I would swing without issue, but randomly, when I would reach for the ledge, I would launch off in another direction entirely, the funniest had my launched skyward like the rope was elastic, the reason why I laughed is it got me to where I needed to go, without having to climb up and around the structure.
From a performance point of view, the game is solid across the board, but like you would expect anything less from Naughty Dog at this point, each of the characters is wonderfully animated and their interactions with each other is spot on. Chloe being returning character looks the most different and that is expected after the number of years since we last saw her. She has ages, slight things sell it, like wrinkles around the eyes, but she is still her and Claudia Black has done another excellent job with the character. Nadine however looks identical to her Uncharted 4 appearance, but with more fleshing out, her mannerisms seem subtle and each time you catch an eye roll or something, it helps flesh the character out a little more, while Laura Bailey has done a great job, I still don’t like Nadine as a character. Asav however is a mixed back, he is well acted and comes across as dangerous at the right times, however as most of his exploits are told to Chloe by Nadine, there is little space for him to really deliver the gravitas that is hinted at by Nadine.
The games score is once again amazing, with compose Henry Jackman returning to the series after his Uncharted 4 debut and the entire composition is wonderful to listen to, with the main Uncharted theme making a return are the right times. As with the voice work, the secondary and background characters all have a solid performance, but it is Chloe and Nadine that steal the show, with a scene set between the two after escaping another impossible scenario, the relief on their faces and in their voices, is evident and then add in a nice dose of humour and you get a great mix.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a solid game and while it is short, my first play through clocking in at just under six hours, it still offers a fantastic way for people to experience more of the Uncharted world. Having Chloe Frazer come back was a great touch, as one of the fan favourite characters, her return is welcome and being the lead means it is her show, if only the other characters could match that level of importance and perhaps most of all, if only the game offered something new for players to do.