Naughty Dog never does things by half, does it? Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was originally intended to be downloadable content for Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, but once it started plotting out stories the award-winning Californian company knew it needed to make a standalone game. But not just any game, of course: Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross’ Indian adventure is actually host to the largest area in the franchise’s history – and we’ve played it.
Set amid the vibrant greenery of the Western Ghats, we find ourselves in familiar territory: behind the wheel of a 4x4 with the environment stretching as far as we can see. If the memorable Madagascar sequence in Drake’s last ever adventure was the developer dipping its toe into what it describes as “wide linear”, then this represents the studio wading waist-deep into the choppy waters of the nebulous buzz word.
Frazer – apparently now of Indian descent – has a map of the surrounding area, and you’re free to tackle it however you wish. Fortunately, there’s a tower conspicuously sitting in the middle of the location: climb to the top and we reckon you damn well know what happens next. Honestly, it’s laughable that the game so obviously falls into the most obvious of open world tropes, but it is what it is.
The actual exploration fares better. Combing the surroundings uncovers a densely populated environment: ruins make way for treasure, puzzles, and combat scenarios – sometimes all at the same time. Once again you’re free to tackle firefights exactly how you want to, with stealth just as viable as all-out warfare. You can also avoid conflict entirely in some situations – this is wide linear level design, after all.
It’s unquestionably Uncharted, make no mistake about that: a new lock-picking mechanic allows you to open chests, but otherwise you’re effectively playing as Nate with a much more prominent rump. That’s no bad thing, though – especially if you still haven’t gotten your fill of the franchise’s distinctive brand of third-person combat.
And the studio does leverage the larger area to good effect. One example comes in the form of a map that we stumble upon, alerting us to the presence of Hoysala Tokens. As with all instalments in the buccaneering brand, there’s a clash of real-life history and fiction here, and you’re in pursuit of the Tusk of Ganesha, an artefact that’s proving pretty popular with all sorts of seedy characters – including the protagonist herself.
The aforementioned tokens, though, can be found all over the world, gated by environmental puzzles. One sees us platforming our way across water fountains within a time limit to nab one – in another sequence we’re tasked with shooting bells in order to generate the right pitch to open a locked door.
While you’re busy doing all of this, Chloe and Nadine will engage in some trademark Uncharted banter. Perhaps most noticeable is the way conversations meander depending upon what you’re doing: should you get into a gunfight while exposition is being dropped, the characters will temporarily break their conversation, only to return to it when the coast is clear. “What were you saying again?” is a common question.
Naughty Dog tells us that the Western Ghats environment is quite early in the game, so the somewhat slower pacing gives it opportunity to drop tons of exposition as the heroes (or anti-heroes, who knows?) get to know each other. Given how divisive some of the “walking simulator” sections in A Thief’s End were, this seems like a better solution, as you still get plenty of character building but the title keeps you occupied.
Like we say, this is unmistakably Uncharted, though, and you’ll probably already know whether that appeals or not. Chloe can do things that Drake can’t – like take photographs on her smartphone and scroll through them as part of a pseudo journal – but she can also do pretty much everything that he can. Perhaps the most important thing we learned from our hands on time, then, is that this really does appear to be a feature complete standalone story – and a mere year on from Uncharted 4, fans of the franchise probably couldn’t have asked for more.
Do you like the sound of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy’s largest ever level? Do you want the franchise to keep growing, or are you already beginning to miss the linearity of previous entries? Prove you’re this year’s model in the comments section below.
How much is this supposed to cost?
Happy to take any questions any of you have, just copy me in.
@Diymhoshei A copy will run you £25 on Amazon.
@get2sammyb Ok cool thanks! S am I right in thinking this is approx 3/5 the size of Uncharted 4?
@get2sammyb Do you think Chloe and Nadine hold up as central characters based on what you played? Does Chloe fit into the protagonist role okay?
@Diymhoshei Apparently, will be able to better answer that question when I play the full game.
@ShogunRok Would need to see the story through, but based on what I've seen, I like the pairing a lot. If it delivers what they say it will, I'm really looking forward to learning more about Chloe.
Nadine was rather underused in UC4 so I'm glad we're gonna see some more of her.
Added a video to the article.
Sammy you lucky son of a gun. That said, there is nothing wrong with Nate's rump either. Or so I have been told.
I have this pre ordered and I can't wait but I have to say that towers are by far the laziest and worst gameplay element to have ever been created, the sooner they are banished the better 😃
It's sounding good to me. Glad to see the alternate stealth combat return from U4, I preferred that. Although, Chloe is more of an all out action gal judging from what she was like in Among Thieves.
Already pre-ordered this so can't wait!
I cannot wait. <3
Towers make sense in an open world game. It may be predictable but that doesn't make it a bad idea.
Do you know for those who get this through the season pass etc if we can pre download the game?
I've seen no news on this yet
Contextually the tower here makes total sense. It's the highest point in the environment and allows the characters to get a proper lay of the land.
I just couldn't help but laugh as soon as I realised what was about to happen.
I haven't been this excited for an Uncharted game since... well, Uncharted for I guess. But that's still really excited.
I'll give it a buy once it goes on sale. I don't feel burned by paying full price for UC4, even though I've only played through once and haven't touched the MP, but the price sure did drop quick for such a high profile game.
@RedMageLanakyn Did it? Seemed to follow the same trajectory as all major non-Nintendo titles — especially one that was heavily bundled.
I think I'm the only one that likes the "climb a tower to get map objectives" thing xD
@get2sammyb Yeah, it did follow the usual 3-6 month price drop, i guess I expected it to hold onto that full price tag at least a bit longer though.
Surprising as it took TLOU a long time to go down. But isn' t this cheaper than your normal retail game?
My bro has been playing the PS3 Uncharted games, after he beats them then I beat it on Crushing and unlock the rest of the trophies for the Plat. So I will probably pick this up after he is done with 4, as I won't bother trying to plat that one. The trophies for speedrun and accuracy seem a bit much for me.
@sinalefa It is cheaper, I think $40? Which means it'll hit $20 by black friday. I guess between replaying the trilogy, play ROTTR twice, and then UC4 all in the past year, I can wait it out and spend some time hitting up the backlog.
You guys did a great job getting the info and promoting the game 😀
@get2sammyb Hi Sammy did you get a chance to try out the new silenced weapons and how does that change the gameplay of Uncharted can you Stealth your way in the whole game or is it just for certain sections
I'm about 3/4 of the way through Uncharted 2... need ....to go....faster....
@RedMageLanakyn it really didn't it's been about a year and a half since it released and it's still 40 brand new at GameStop and it just recently went down to that price a coupe months ago
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