The standalone expansion to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End has arrived, signaling the beginning of this year's powerful Fall line-up of games. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is here to remind us why Naughty Dog is one of the most famed gaming studios in existence, and send away the legendary franchise on a high note.
I've spent a few hours playing Uncharted: The Lost Legacy so far, and it's a been a great experience. Leading up to my full review I figured I would share my thoughts at this point in the journey.
Off to a slow start. Similar to Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, the introduction sequence is a weak point. It does its job of introducing a couple characters, in addition to providing instruction for gameplay, but not much else. It isn't until around 60 minutes in that the experience kicks off. This is surprising given how strong introduction sequences were for the second and third games in the series, but at the very least the tempo kicks into high gear after this brief section, and when that happens it's a huge rush of adrenaline.
Melee combat is more important than ever. During the first few hours I've found myself in far more melee battles than in prior games. These sequences are intense and intimate, interlacing offensive, defense, and timeliness in a way that plays well into the tonality of the game. Melee gameplay is relatively tight, especially when compared to earlier titles, so it works out well in the long run.
Naughty Dog visual magic. Once again, an Uncharted game has pushed what's possible on console. Some of the outdoor environments in The Lost Legacy are the best that gaming has ever seen. This is an outstandingly beautiful product that has arrived with a Photo Mode. You might just find yourself pausing for a moment to take in a scene while listening to the melancholic environmental sounds.
I miss Nathan Drake. I had a feeling this would be the case, as Nathan's wittiness is a big part of what has made Uncharted special to me. Chloe is a great character, don't get me wrong, but she's no Drake, and neither are any of her supporting cast in this adventure.
A solid antagonist. Without revealing too much, the main enemies in The Lost Legacy are much more interesting than in the prior two games. Naughty Dog hasn't gone too far to make them evil, but presents them in such a way that you want to serve justice sooner rather than later.
Characters are unbelievably lifelike. I've found myself looking forward to cutscenes, if only to be able to enjoy the modeling and animations up close. Eye movement and non-verbal communication here is truly outstanding, and could very well be the new standard for gaming presentation.
Level design is on-point. Finding where to go takes some investigation and, at times, intuition. In many cases there's more than one route to your destination, inviting exploration. I've found that the pathing is some of the best the genre has seen, making the climbing elements that are so important to this series less repetitive than they would otherwise be.
There are some striking similarities to Tomb Raider, and in a good way. Yes, playing as a female character plays into this, but it's the rope swing and level design that most give me Tomb Raider vibes. Crystal Dynamics should be flattered, because this is definitely a game that takes inspiration from its main competitor.
India is a great locale. Few games have bothered to travel to this part of the world, and in this instance we're after one of the most famed mythological relics in human history, the Tusk of Ganesh. What's here does include some assets from the prior game, but deviates as you get farther into the experience in a way that is most reminiscent of the second Uncharted. I haven't completed the game yet, but the new locales have made a great impression.
It's longer than you might think. This is nearly a full Uncharted game, but at $39.99 MSRP. I get the feeling it's going to sell a lot of units, though that might be obvious.
You can expect GameRevolution's full review of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy early next week.