Praise Ganesh! – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review
Naughty Dog’s first single-player DLC for the Uncharted series finally dropped and–like the last iteration of Nathan’s saga–hits all the right notes with playful, plundering gusto. Chloe is a treat and the dynamic between her and Nadine is eye-opening. More after the jump!
Since Among Thieves, Naughty Dog wanted to focus a narrative on Chloe. After wrapping Nathan’s journey in A Thief’s End, the team was finally able to do so. The Lost Legacy, in typical Naughty Dog fashion, is a pun. Not only does it describe our journey alongside Chloe and Nadine, it represents something deeper into Chloe’s past, which we learn through the course of the game.
It aptly takes place in the Western Ghats, a mountain range also known as Sahyadri, meaning The Benevolent Mountains, in southwest India. The Ghats are actually one of Unesco’s World Heritage Sites and make up one of the most biologically diverse ranges in the world; current standings have found 7,402 species of flowering plants, 1,814 species of non-flowering plants, 139 mammal species, 508 bird species, 179 amphibian species, 6,000 insects species and 290 freshwater fish species; At least 325 globally threatened species occur in the Western Ghats.
Hello from the Western Ghats.The Ghats made a perfect setting to explore Chloe’s past, for more reasons than biodiversity–and as Naughty Dog has so deftly demonstrated–their knack for character development continues to tie well with the ongoing narrative.
Chloe finds herself following in her father’s footsteps in search of the Tusk of Ganesha and recruits the help of ex-Shoreline leader, Nadine Ross. Anyone who has played the other games in this series would find this a very odd and unlikely pairing. And at first, it was. However, as I pressed on through the Ghats, I learned much about each character and I will make only one statement: if you liked Chloe before, you will absolutely adore her after The Lost Legacy and you will find Nadine to be intriguing and kick ass, yet, infallibly human. I thoroughly enjoyed the duo’s banter and watching as their relationship unfolded. Part of their banter is fueled from their diverse pasts; Chloe, being Indian, has an intellect to offer about the Ghats and the surrounding culture. Nadine, native to South Africa, injected her own culture into the mix and together, the two made a diverse, yet undeniably adorable pair.
The plot is notoriously Uncharted and fairly linear and while there were a couple surprises that had my jaw on the floor, something else stole the show: graphics; it’s worth noting, I am on PS4 Pro with a 50″ HDR television, however, even without the souped-up hardware, it is extremely evident Naughty Dog upped the game in the graphics division. If my screenshots are any indication (check the gallery at the end of this review for all 13), it’s safe to say the next game–whether it be The Last of Us: Part Two, or another Uncharted spin-off–we will see the developer continue to push PlayStation’s boundaries.
I think possibly, my favorite thing about Lost Legacy however, was the score. Uncharted has typically kept a similar theme with its score, but this time around, there are noticeable changes. More atmospheric than in-your-face, the out-of-action music is subtle and inviting, utilizing microtonal raga typical of Indian culture–raga is one of my most favorite “modes” (quotations here, because raga does not have a typical mode like traditional Greek-influenced scale) to create atmosphere. That being said, its subtlety during somber moments is calming and perfectly sets the mood of the Western Ghats. During combat, the score vamps in volume, and subtle tabla (Indian drums that utilize the tips of the fingers and side of the palm to create a diverse tonal quality) can be heard complementing the pulse-pounding action. It is my most favorite percussion instrument and you can catch a glimpse of it as well as the traditional raga sound in the video below.
Gameplay is also typical of Uncharted.However, Chloe’s brawl animations differ from Nate’s in a few ways: she is more agile; she is faster and less cumbersome than Drake, utilizing kicks and slides along with faster punches. She is infinitely more stealthy; her footsteps are less noisy and enemies take slightly longer to spot her; her agility also plays part here as she moves faster in stealth than Nate which is extremely helpful for those of us playing on Crushing.
All in all, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is typical Uncharted fanfare with improved graphics, sound, and animations. Character development is amazing, per Naughty Dog standard and the dive into Chloe’s life made me appreciate her so much more.
As with its base game Thief’s End, I give it a
And, as promised, the gallery.