Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Is Exploring a New Star [E3 2017 Preview]

As we slowly pan down past an absolutely stunning stone sculpture of a gigantic elephant hidden deep in the Indian wilderness I wonder, “could this game actually look better than Uncharted 4?” And from my time with Naughty Dog’s next blockbuster entry in the Uncharted series, the answer is yes.

I left Sony’s E3 press booth very impressed with what I witnessed of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. And while I didn’t have the chance to play, I did the chance to see developers play through a new level, controlling Chloe as she follows Nadine on a trek through various mountains, tombs and bouts of gunfire in order to find a fabled Indian artifact, the Tusk of Ganesha.

The demo hit the ground running with gunplay and cinematic events that really hit a rhythm (the developers definitely put their practice in before playing), and before I knew it was caught up in the excitement. Like going to the movies to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean, I was back in the Uncharted universe for a new movie.

“There is definitely going to be a familiarity, this is still the Uncharted we all love,” said Naughty Dog designer James Cooper. “It’s got all the gameplay you’re familiar with, but it has more than 10 years of Uncharted experience behind it.”

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The demo starts out with Nadine and Chloe scaling a mountain near some Indian ruins, there is a bit of platforming before they start to encounter a handful of generic mercenary type bad guys. They went unnoticed and pushed the unsuspecting guards off the cliffside, continuing in stealth until an explosive cinematic rock slide revealed them to enemy NPCs.

It all felt incredibly familiar. If you’re looking for something new, it’s clear that the biggest change we’ll see in this new entry is the focus on Chloe and her story.

“We have a new character, and that comes with everything you’d expect,” said Cooper. “We had to sit down and say, what does it mean to have Chloe as our main character, what does it mean for her move sets, her fighting style.”

Cooper emphasized the inclusion of silenced weapons for the first time in the series, making stealth a more robust approach to dealing with an enemy encampment. “We’ve built upon the stealth mechanics we had in Uncharted 4,” said Cooper. “We’re building on the the concept of player choice.”

It looks like all the different ways to approach combat are receiving more depth and polish, building of the foundation of earlier games. But the demo we were shown was clearly focused on the franchises action-adventure elements.

After the short bout of platforming and stealth, the demo takes a violent turn. Gunfire erupts as Chloe is discovered when she slips down a steep incline. From then on the duo moves from area to area as they gun down adversaries until a machine gun touting armored car forces them to flee into nearby ruins.

Once in the ruins we’re greeted with a short respite from the relentless violent of the nameless mercenaries that are chasing our protagonists down, they move from room to room and talk about the clues they need that will get them closer to finding the Tusk of Ganesha.

As soon as Chloe discovers the under aqueduct that sign that they are on the right track, the same armored vehicles bursts through the wall (in an accident that would leave most outside the car dead), revealing a stereotypically evil Uncharted villain, the warmongering rebel Asav.

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The demo ends right as Asav is about to kill Chloe. It’s a scene we’ve seen with Nathan Drake several times before. A sign that The Lost Legacy might be a little too similar to its counterparts, even what it features a new star.

And that’s my hope, and what seem like the developers intentions, for the game. I really want to explore Chloe’s history– especially if it’s vastly different and more diverse than the four games of backstory we got on Drake.

“It’s the lost legacy of Chloe as well,” Cooper said.“She’s going back to India, she can explore her Indian heritage.” Drake and Chloe seem similar in a lot of ways, especially in attitude and temperament– but I’d imagine their background could be quite different.

While I don’t think we need a flash back to Chloe breaking out of her foster home, I do want see how she became the ally-turned-villain-turned-ally that double crossed Drake back in Uncharted 2. The exploration of a new character in the Uncharted universe combined with the narrative wonder of the franchise is shaping up to be something really special.