Uncharted: The Lost Legacy plots a bold new course for the time-tested Uncharted formula. Last week I went hands-on with a sequence set in India’s Western Ghats region. The freewheeling, open-ended structure may represent the series’ biggest gameplay evolution since the introduction of multiplayer way back in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.
Though you’ll surely hear comparisons to Uncharted 4’s wide-open Madagascar sequence, The Lost Legacy’s wide open spaces are far more interesting to explore, whether by 4X4 or on foot.
It’s more than just a larger scope. It’s the attention to detail, the sense of place and the feeling of three-dimensionality. Jutting rock formations and bridges crisscross the lush landscape, begging to be reached and explored. Shrines and fortresses dot the region, each offering combat challenges and narrative moments that further the relationship between unlikely partners Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross.
Combat sequences feel more varied, too, building on the improvements introduced in Uncharted 4. Stick to the tall grass and focus on stealth, or swing in guns blazing? The choice is yours.
Other interesting details abound. Instead of dropping intrusive on-screen waypoints to help players navigate the large environments, Naughty Dog opted to include a (digital) map ala Far Cry 2 that you can pull out with a tap of DualShock 4’s touchpad. It might seem like a minor detail, but it was easy to use and helped ground me in the game’s universe.
As Chloe, you’ll also be able to pick the locks of various supply crates scattered throughout the game – you might find a grenade launcher, a silenced pistol, or other gear to help even the odds against Asav’s men. This addition helps mix up your arsenal, and keeps the combat feeling fresh.
All the changes add up to an Uncharted game that feels looser, more playful, and if I may be so bold, more interesting to play. Case in point: a navigation puzzle where I used the grappling hook to swing from tower to tower, triggering pressure plates before time ran out.
The new locale — India’s lush Western Ghats region — also opens up some of the most beautiful vistas seen in the entire series. Running on PS4 Pro and a 4K TV, the increased resolution and HDR effects made an impression.
The chemistry between Chloe and Nadine is also shaping up nicely. Nadine chides Chloe on everything from her impulsive combat tactics to her wardrobe (“Red in a jungle scenario? Seriously!?”).
And though I won’t spoil anything here, series fans should know that they’ll learn far more about both Chloe and Nadine — their backstories, their motivations, and how they relate to the world. The game’s open design also impacts the way in which the narrative unfolds, but it’s better if you experience it for yourself.
Luckily, we don’t have long to wait: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy hits PS4 on 23rd August. It’s a standalone title, so you won’t need to own Uncharted 4.