Uncharted The Lost Legacy Review: A Tale Of 38 Deaths

7.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Action-Adventure
2017-08-22
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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a new direction for the franchise. Is it a good one? Naughty Dog/Sony

It’s worth mentioning that I am not an “ Uncharted guy.” I’ve played the previous games, sure, but never at release. So this Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review isn’t being filtered through the lens of a franchise devotee, and I won’t be slavishly comparing it to  prior games. But I am aware of the franchise’s strengths and weaknesses, and it seems that The Lost Legacy does what it can to give service to both. It delivers satisfying, bare-bones stealth combat. There’s plenty of dizzying, free-climbing scrambles across crumbling ruins.

I died a total of 38 times playing The Lost Legacy across ~14 hours. It’s not a big campaign, but runs roughly the same length as the first three Uncharted games. But each death gave me a bit more perspective on what worked and what didn’t work for The Lost Legacy. I scribbled little notes after the deaths as I kept count, so they should give you some insight into what was going on with my experience.

DEATH #4: gunfight because I can’t figure out how to mark enemies in stealth”

Spoiler: I eventually did figure out how to mark enemies in stealth. But this early death illustrates the barrier for entry for anyone who isn’t coming to the game with Uncharted 4 fresh in their mind. The Lost Legacy assumes you’re familiar with its mechanics. I mentioned during a preview event how I was given a pitch about letting players “choose their own path,” then literally not being able to walk a path because I wasn’t in a jeep. This felt like the same thing.

DEATH #13: accidentally hit circle trying to stealth climb? Is that a thing?

Upon figuring out stealth marking I got very aggressive. This was one of many deaths in the style of “using cliffs for cover.” I had already killed a number of guards and more showed up, so when I went to redo the previous pattern I slipped and fell. But it did highlight the fantastic level design in The Lost Legacy. The Hoysala ruins are cleverly laid out, encouraging you to climb in and around multiple floors to get the drop on guards. The bulk of the game is spent sneakily retracing your steps so you can snap more necks, and it is immensely satisfying and addictive.

DEATH #22: leapt before I looked

Gravity is the real villain in The Lost Legacy, accounting for 17 of my 38 deaths. I wish I could say that most were the result of challenging climbing sequences, but that’s not the case. Yes, there are many heart-stopping moments where a ledge falls away under Chloe’s fingers or a statue topples over as you cling for dear life. But my falling deaths were almost always about trying to figure out where I could and couldn’t go. This is the biggest flaw in the game.

There is no joy to be found exploring on foot. You learn that the game wants you to drive to a thing on the map, get out and do stuff, then drive to another thing. The space in between, though gorgeous and detailed, is quite empty. There’s no random patrols or traps, just you flooring the jeep while chatting with Nadine and smashing into invisible barriers until you get to a temple. It’s not bad, per se, but runs counter to what you expect as a gamer when you walk into a massive open jungle space.  

DEATH #26: guy who looked like pablo escobar kicked me off a cliff

Much like Gavin Valoure, I miscounted the men, Liz. A guard I didn’t notice gave me the ol’ heave-ho into a chasm. Soon after, the stealth combat also began to drastically improve once Nadine took on a more active role in the game. Your partnership starts out kind of aloof, with her hanging around but not offering much assistance. When she tags a guard on her own, it feels like a big step forward.

Soon, Nadine’s tagging lots of guards, making kills and occasionally helping solve one of the many “push this lever and then this lever and then this lever” style puzzles. (Most of the puzzles in the game are solved through basic trial and error; there were only two that gave me any sort of trouble, which was a bit disappointing.) The Lost Legacy is about the evolution of this co-op mechanic, and offers a finely balanced companion who helps just enough to be worthwhile without holding your hand through everything. Nadine truly felt like a partner by the end of the game.

UTLL-Launch-Screenshot_06
Just a couple of gal pals having some laughs and melee killing dozens of thugs. Photo: Naughty Dog/Sony

After 38 deaths, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy showed me exactly what I expected from a capable action-adventure game developed by a more-than-capable studio in Naughty Dog. Sure, it’s not the immersive sandbox I hoped for, but gaming already has plenty of those anyway. It excels at telling a story of two strangers who become good friends, and offers a solid stealth experience familiar to anyone who’s used a dual analog controller in the last decade. It’s probably a better experience for players who aren’t longterm/hardcore fans (like me), as there isn’t a compulsion to compare it to everything else in the series. But even those fans, I think, will find a lot to like about The Lost Legacy . I did.

 

REVIEW SUMMARY
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
7.5
Uncharted The Lost Legacy Review: A Tale Of 38 Deaths
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy understands its strengths, but doesn’t address its weaknesses.
  • Great character development.
  • Solid, satisfying stealth action.
  • Gorgeous environments.
  • Open world isn't that open.
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