Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review: The return of the series' winning formula disguises a lack of new ambition

 
Steve Hogarty
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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
4.0

You would think that by this point, about half a dozen games into the Uncharted series, we’d have explored every tomb that ever was. That we’d have plundered every haunted crypt filled with swinging blades and little piles of dusty skulls, pillaged the very last mausoleum’s worth of goblets and swiped the world’s only remaining accursed amulet.

But Uncharted continues to invite players to ransack a seemingly limitless supply of lost cities, each of them somehow having evaded the lens of the Google Maps satellite. The Lost Legacy is exactly what you’d expect from the series: a thrilling adventure through ruin-riddled jungles and sepulchre-spattered plains across India’s remote and dangerous mountain wilderness.

Not much has changed since the last game, besides the scenery and the star. Series hero Nathan ‘Abercrombie Indiana Jones’ Drake is out on his ass, so this time you’re in the adventuring boots of former secondary character turned lead protagonist Chloe. You team up with the previous game’s villain, gasp, to find an arbitrarily important piece of treasure in an arbitrarily stunning part of the world.

The pair’s evolving relationship – told through the series’ trademark incidental conversations and outstanding (for games) performances – drives the plot more than anything else. Certainly, the one-dimensional bad guy, the half-hearted attempt to relate the main character’s Indian heritage to all the ancient artefacts she’s guiltlessly destroying, and the MacGuffin-y as hell objectives don’t help with the narrative heavy lifting.

When not storytelling, Lost Legacy’s platforming and gunfighting sections are as idiot-proof and spectacular as ever. The game’s second act takes the adventure off-rails, as Uncharted 4 did, by allowing you to freely drive about in a muddy stretch of countryside, tackling objectives in whichever order you want. A welcome change of pace that lends real breadth to the environments, this open-world area also houses the most “gamey” puzzles the series has ever seen. Incongruous and not all that satisfying to solve, they’d be more at home in Brain Training.

Still, the series’ ability to drop you into the centre of a cinematic action sequence (and make you believe that you’re in complete control) is still unequalled. Uncharted’s bread and butter is the crumbling ledge, the hail of gunfire and the last minute tree branch to catch you at the end of a death-defying cliff fall. Lost Legacy eats bread and butter for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

An eight-hour add-on turned stand-alone release, Lost Legacy lacks the fresh ambition of a numbered Uncharted sequel, but thrills all the same.

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