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If you do a search for Uncharted 4 reviews, you will find that most of the big sites consider it to be an incredible experience. The game received glowing reviews across the board. Personally, I think it’s boring. Compared to its predecessors, I find the pacing to be horrendous. But that’s not to say I think the game is all bad. In fact, I enjoy everything about it except actually playing it. The story is great and it looks and sounds amazing but it’s just too slow and padded for my liking. When I heard an expansion was coming, I was hoping for a more action-oriented experience. I did not acquire the expansion at launch but I did end up getting it for some insanely low price well after it released. Developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was released for PlayStation 4 in August, 2017 as a standalone expansion to Uncharted 4. This was my first time playing through it and I did play it on a PlayStation 5.
The story follows Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross as they travel around India searching for the legendary Tusk of Ganesh. In typical Uncharted fashion, they’re not the only ones after it and must contend with insurgents led by a ruthless warlord. After the duo discover the insurgents have kidnapped Sam Drake expecting his knowledge to lead them to the Tusk, friction develops between the two primarily because of Nadine’s history with Sam. The story is a typical Uncharted tale so veterans of the series can probably predict how things will play out. I don’t think the plot is as good as that of Uncharted 4’s campaign but I do like how it fleshes out the main characters. The writing and voice performances are excellent and I really enjoyed much of the banter exchanged between the characters.
Lost Legacy’s multiplayer is shared with Uncharted 4 so the real highlight of this is the new campaign. It took me six hours to beat on the Moderate difficulty and does come with some replay value thanks to the numerous difficulties and rewards. Finding treasure, taking photos, and triggering optional conversations among some other things rewards you with points that can be spent on various add-ons like character skins, camera filters and game play modifiers to mix up subsequent playthroughs.
Right off the bat, I want to say, from a gameplay standpoint, I enjoyed this campaign more than I did Uncharted 4. The pacing is a lot better. There’s a much better balance of action and adventuring. It’s far from perfect but more often than not, I wasn’t bored. You’re put in the shoes of Chloe and she plays just like Nate. There are some rather long stretches of downtime with some puzzles thrown in here and there and unlike Nate, Chloe doesn’t have a journal that will give her the solutions.
Overall, the gameplay is that of Uncharted 4. You typically have the option to engage enemies all guns blazing or take the stealthy approach and tag enemies to keep an eye on them. Throughout most of the campaign, you’ll be accompanied by Nadine and she will help you out in combat situations. Lost Legacy does introduce some new stuff like lockpicking and a silenced pistol which allows you to silently kill enemies from a distance. You’ll often come across lockboxes which can be picked and often contain weapons and sometimes treasure.
Thankfully, Lost Legacy doesn’t have as much padding as that of Uncharted 4. There’s only one segment that I think could have been entirely conveyed through a cut scene. There’s a part where Chloe and Nadine help a trapped elephant and then ride it to their next destination. This entire segment is designed to serve the narrative. The duo discuss their woes and whatnot and that’s all fine and good. But again, this could have been a cut scene. The funny thing is, a part of this segment is a cut scene and it should have been the whole thing because it adds nothing to the gameplay. Nothing exciting happens during the ride and, honestly, it’s a little disappointing that the elephant isn’t utilized in any meaningful way. I was hoping there would be some crazy chase sequence or the elephant would become a new way to get around but no.
Much like Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy is a primarily linear game that does encourage exploration and encounters are often set in open-ended environments allowing for different approaches. Whether you sneak around or shoot, both options are viable and prove to be a lot of fun. There is an expansive open-ended area near the beginning of the campaign that is both cool and unnecessary. It’s so big, in fact, that you’re given a map that Chloe will update as you make discoveries and you do have access to a jeep so you can drive around this area freely. In my opinion, Uncharted games work best as linear action games and the open-ended areas work best for encounters. But not exploration. As it relates to the gameplay and pacing, I still say Uncharted 2 is a great example of what an Uncharted game should be and Uncharted 4 is a good example of what it should not be.
The big open area in Lost Legacy features numerous locations that can be explored and your objective is to find specific items and things to interact with and enemies do populate the target locations. But when you’re just driving around and exploring, there’s not much to do. Like Uncharted 4, treasure isn’t hidden in every single corner so I found myself reaching a lot of dead ends and wandering around a lot of empty areas that look pretty.
If it wasn’t for the enemies, this entire segment would be very boring and even as is, this is one of the slowest parts of the campaign simply because you have to discover the target locations on you’re own. And there’s not much else to do except admire the gorgeous environments and hope that wherever you’re navigating has something to collect or shoot. It’s one thing if the game was set in some kind of expansive open world with buildings, temples and caves to explore, numerous places of interest, and NPCs and enemies wandering around. And it’s another thing when a primarily linear action game opens up to the point that exploring consumes way too much time and becomes boring.
This leads me back to what I said in our review of Uncharted 4 and what players get out of games. Both that campaign and Lost Legacy feel like the developers attempting to satisfy those looking for a good adventure and good story. And for some reason, at the cost of action. Thankfully there is a good amount of action in Lost Legacy which should satisfy those craving some fun Uncharted third-person shooter gameplay, especially if they were disappointed with 4. In fact, the final segments of the game feature some of the best action sequences in the series up to this point.
Because the gameplay is basically that of Uncharted 4, that means the action is just as good and satisfying. Weapons have great feedback, they sound great, and visual effects like muzzle flashes and explosions look excellent. There are some cool set pieces and the better ones are at the end of the campaign. However, there is a fun sequence around the middle where you’re running and jumping around while being chased and targeted by an enemy vehicle.
The action really picks up when you get to the railyard. The, railyard, itself is a large area and I decided to sneak around instead of shoot my way through it. And just when I was down to less than a handful of enemies left, I was spotted and the bullets were zipping around everywhere and then I had to deal with an enemy helicopter. Right after this encounter, you’re in a jeep chasing down a train while ramming enemy motorbikes. Then you jump to the train, engage enemies, then hijack a vehicle and can bounce between vehicles and the train all while you’re being shot at and blowing enemies away – it’s all very cool and exciting.
These are the situations I love. These are the scenarios that make the Uncharted games fun. For me, what gives these games a sense of adventure is simply the quest for treasure itself and the exotic and diverse locations. It’s not so much the running and climbing around as it is the long and tough and exciting journey through dangerous and exotic locations. I don’t want to run and climb around a lot of empty spaces listening to dialogue for long stretches. I think the exploration or adventuring works best in brief periods. It works when it’s designed to give you small breathers from the action and to center on story beats. Even side areas branching off the linear paths for hidden treasure is fine. But massive areas with very little to collect or shoot just messes with the pacing and becomes boring very quickly. Basically, I feel the adventuring should break up the action. Not the other way around. I think Uncharted 4 proves that the adventuring on it’s own, the way it’s done in these games, makes for a very boring experience.
Visually, Lost Legacy is on par with that of Uncharted 4 which means it looks phenomenal for the time it released. Absolutely gorgeous. From the character models to the environments, everything looks beautiful. I did notice some pop-in here and there, things fading into view, but I can’t say there was a lot to complain about, visually. You’ll get to see beautiful Indian landscapes, distant mountains, and traverse through a lot of exceptionally well detailed environments. The audio work is also excellent and I really enjoyed some of the tunes. On the technical side, I did not encounter any major issues.
I still say Uncharted 2 is where the series peaked. After that, things started moving downhill. I think Uncharted 4 tells the best story in the series up to this point but I enjoy watching it more than playing it. Luckily, things kind of pick up again in Lost Legacy. It contains a decent balance of action and adventuring. I would have appreciated some more action but at least what is on offer is fun and there was enough of it to keep me engaged in the gameplay. It does slow down a little too much at times but, overall, the pacing is far better than that of Uncharted 4. This time I didn’t feel like I was playing through an interactive movie. But it does retain the cinematic qualities the series is known for and showcases excellent production values.
I would recommend Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. From a gameplay perspective, I would recommend it over Uncharted 4 but I do feel the story isn’t quite as good. I would say check it out when it goes on sale. It looks great, it sounds great, and, ultimately, the gameplay makes for a good time.