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Ah yes, that long awaited sense of adventure mixed with witty quips, epic gun battles, stomach churning climbing, and beautiful scenery. If any of this sounds familiar then you're privy to the epic gameplay that developer Naughty Dog has to offer in their infamous Uncharted series. This latest installment, The Lost Legacy, ditches the Drake brothers and their lovable (and seemingly ageless) sidekick Sully and replaces them with Chloe Frazier. Fans of the second Uncharted game, Among Thieves, will recognize her all too well. Added to the mix is another familiar character in Nadine Ross, who made her debut in the 2016 Uncharted game A Thief's End as head of the mercenary group, Shoreline. Much to the chagrin of diehard fans, we will not see Nathan Drake in this game. Naughty Dog has been explicit in their decision to leave the Drake storyline where it is, but hey, a boy can dream eh? After all, no one thought The Last of Us would get another installment, right? There is always room for hope!
However, the lack of Nathan Drake certainly doesn't leave a negative impact on the game, and don't worry, our girls Chloe and Nadine discuss him at great and often comedic length. Plus, Chloe more than fills the shoes of our favorite loquacious treasure hunter by adding a panache of her own, especially with her back and forth banter with Nadine as they traverse India competing with a local warlord named Asav in search for the infamous Tusk of Ganesh (read the background on Wikipedia, it's certainly worth it for a little more context). The cut scenes are vibrant and colorful, the landscape is daunting and vast. However, A Thief's End seemed crisper and more developed in my opinion.
Originally this game was supposed to be an expansion, which leads one to believe that Naughty Dog had it in the works as they developed the final of the Nathan Drake installments. Deciding last minute to release it as a stand alone (and $20 cheaper to boot) could be the difference in the graphics content. While I would love to have a cleaner looking game, it still did not factor in to my experience negatively. As a staunch advocate of the Uncharted games, I was more excited to have the same old same old, if you will. The story is excellent, the characters are complex and harbor the expected dynamics that make them and their interactions so memorable. There is plenty of climbing (arguably the most unique and desirable aspects of the game series), challenging gun fights, and as usual, puzzles upon puzzles sure to make you think outside the box a bit. In fact, I would argue that The Lost Legacy hosts some of the more difficult enigmas of the Uncharted series, something I'm sure is welcome amongst true fans of the franchise. I know what you're thinking, Who wants to play the same games over and over, right? While I argue that each game has a few different characteristics to offer, I would agree that the similarities are more abundant than the differences. However, isn't that what the most die hard fans want? Fear not though, there are a few critical differences, aside from the changes to the story and our protagonists, that enhance the experience.
Admittedly, I have not finished the game yet, but the additions to the gameplay in comparison to earlier games in the series are abundant from the get go. For example, Chloe's ability, as a thief, to pick lock boxes. There are plenty of these boxes throughout the game which hold treasures, specialized weapons, and other useful equipment. Look for enemy trucks, you'll often find them in the beds or close by.
The next big difference comes in Chapter 4. Fans of Uncharted will be more than familiar with the linear aspects of the gameplay. There is often something in the landscape that sort of leads us in the right direction. I am a fan of both linear game play and open world, so I have no preference. However, The Lost Legacy mixes both. The first three chapters are about as linear as they come, while Chapter 4 allows the gamer a little more room to explore and complete side missions at their leisure. Without divulging more, I would absolutely advise completing the side missions in Chapter 4 before moving forward. It will greatly benefit the experience, especially if you're a PS4 trophy hunter, wink wink. Of course, there are plenty of tricks and skills from previous games you can still utilize such as the rope and climbing spike, target locking (if you're a wuss and want less of a challenge), using tall grass as cover, etc. There appears to be a little bit more of an emphasis on stealth in this installment as well, however it's not required, especially if you're a seasoned Uncharted "gunfighter." Get ready to drive the 4X4 a lot, too, during the open world phases and don't forget about the winch! Lastly, sorry fans, you will only get to play as Chloe, but Nadine is vital to the mission and you get some interesting side story on both characters as well!
While The Lost Legacy is shorter as far as the number of chapters, Naughty Dog does a great job making the game feel larger than it really is by utilizing the open world and side mission aspects. It is not as crisp on the graphics end of things, but fans will not be left having to want for much else. It has the same feel and energy of the previous Uncharted games and it is just as intense and action packed. The Lost Legacy is a must have for any adventure gamer and certainly worth the discounted price of $40 in comparison to the average $60 price tag you'll pay for a full length. Buy it up folks, you won't regret it!