UN­CHARTED: THE LOST LEGACY

OUT NOW FOR­MATS PS4

Empire (UK) - - ON.SCREEN - MIKE DIVER

DI­REC­TORS Shaun Es­cayg, Kurt Mar­ge­nau CAST Clau­dia Black, Laura Bai­ley, Us­man Ally

PLOT Set af­ter the events of 2016’s Un­charted 4:

A Thief’s End, The Lost Legacy shifts the se­ries’ fo­cus to char­ac­ters that pre­vi­ously had sup­port­ing roles. We fol­low Chloe Frazer (Black) and Na­dine Ross (Bai­ley) as they search for a price­less trea­sure from In­dia’s Hindu past, en­coun­ter­ing chal­lenges of brain and brawn along the way.

UN­CHARTED DIDN’T NEED The Lost

Legacy, but at the same time, this Un­charted 4 epi­logue-cum-new ad­ven­ture is a mostly wel­come ad­di­tion to the Sony se­ries’ over­ar­ch­ing story — one that’s so far been stretched across four main games. And it’s re­ally the story that’s go­ing to make you fight, climb, swim and drive your way through The Lost Legacy, as there’s very lit­tle in­no­va­tion on dis­play here in terms of how you ac­tu­ally play the game.

While this ad­ven­ture casts you as Chloe Frazer (Black) rather than se­ries sta­ple Nathan Drake — her last ap­pear­ance came in 2011’s

Un­charted 3: Drake’s De­cep­tion — she slips and slides, rolls and leaps much like the wise-crack­ing, shirt-half-tucked hero of old. In hand-to-hand com­bat she’s ev­i­dently schooled in mar­tial arts, whereas Drake would sim­ply slug it out; but truly, the mo­ment-to-mo­ment stuff here is al­most ev­ery se­cond alike to what pre­ceded it.

This, and the rep­e­ti­tion of me­chan­ics, is ac­cept­able, given The Lost Legacy’s roots — it was in­tended as down­load­able con­tent for Un­charted

4, be­fore Naughty Dog re­alised it could go big­ger and cre­ated a stand­alone ex­pe­ri­ence. And with an eight-to nine-hour du­ra­tion — Un­charted 4 ran over 15 hours — you’re un­likely to feel fa­tigued by do­ing the same stuff, sev­eral times.

Frazer is joined on her quest into ru­ral In­dia, in pur­suit of a pre­cious relic, by Na­dine Ross (Bai­ley), a not-quite-re­formed mer­ce­nary who served as an an­tag­o­nist in Un­charted 4. The two be­come con­vinc­ingly closer over the course of the game, oc­ca­sion­ally com­ment­ing on what they’re see­ing in a very nudge-wink fash­ion. “Ev­ery­thing al­ways comes in threes,” is one such re­mark — and yes, don’t they just, from an­tique puz­zles to rock­ets needed to take down an at­tack chop­per.

Cutscenes carry the plot on­wards, in­ter­ac­tive el­e­ments typ­i­cally com­pris­ing either com­bat against in­sur­gent forces, tra­ver­sal of of­ten-ver­ti­cal en­vi­ron­ments (al­ways look for the white ledges, of course), and ele­men­tary brain-teasers that have to be cracked to un­lock both pro­gres­sion-es­sen­tial path­ways and tro­phyt­ick­ing ex­tras. One of the game’s nine chap­ters is set in a mod­est open-world area, of­fer­ing a few hours’ worth of 4x4 ex­plo­ration.

As is stan­dard with Naughty Dog pro­duc­tions, the voice act­ing is top-notch, and ev­ery­thing moves swiftly enough to keep the player en­gaged, even when wear­ing their tri­an­gle but­ton out with per­sis­tent quick-time events. Yet, some things don’t quite click.

The main vil­lain, the be­spec­ta­cled Asav (Ally), rarely feels gen­uinely threat­en­ing due to a short­age of screen time. And when The Lost

Legacy prop­erly refers back to Nathan Drake and his brother Sam, it feels like cheap fan ser­vice. It would have been sweet to see these girls get on with it, largely for­get­ting the men who were neg­a­tive in­flu­ences on their past lives.

But then, the weight of prece­dent was al­ways go­ing to be bag­gage here — and per­haps the real story of Frazer, a like­ably sar­cas­tic and em­i­nently re­source­ful char­ac­ter, is yet to come in a Drakes-free Un­charted of the fu­ture.

VERDICT The Lost Legacy wears its se­ries his­tory on its sleeve, for bet­ter and worse. Its rep­e­ti­tion could im­pact on what’s an en­joy­able story, al­beit one that’s never as block­buster­pro­por­tioned as Drake’s ad­ven­tures.

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