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‘Uncharted: The Lost Legacy’ Charts a Course to Success in a Post Nathan Drake Era

Anyone who feared for the future of the series because of the absence of Nathan Drake can rest easy. The Lost Legacy is a brilliant game that proves Uncharted still has a lot to offer.

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Uncharted The Lost Legacy Story and Review

Please be aware, this article contains minor spoilers

An Uncharted game without Nathan Drake: sounds slightly odd, doesn’t it? Like a Super Mario title deprived of horny (literally and figuratively) antagonist, Bowser or a new iteration of Final Fantasy absent summon monsters, over-sized weapons, and gravity-defying hairstyles.

Yet, as Uncharted: The Lost Legacy proves, there’s life after Nate.

In Chloe Frazer, The Lost Legacy possesses a protagonist who’s every bit as good as Nathan Drake; a character who’s more than capable of providing the focal point for this entertaining, compelling, and visually stunning game.

Set shortly after the events of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, The Lost Legacy revolves around treasure hunter Chloe’s search for the priceless ‘Tusk of Ganesh’; an ancient Hoysala artifact that her father devoted his entire life to finding.

Unfortunately for Chloe, in true Uncharted fashion, an insidious, sadistic rebel leader named Asav is also seeking the relic, forcing her to enlist the services of straight-talking, hard-kicking mercenary, Nadine Ross, as backup.

It’s a well-written and intelligently structured narrative that, though brief, features the usual cocktail of witty dialogue, amusing one-liners, and dramatic scenes, punctuated, as always, by a selection of expertly crafted action set pieces that push the player’s suspension of disbelief to the breaking point.

However, as engaging as the story is, there are an awful lot of parallels between it and previous Uncharted titles in terms of tone and style, if not content, which gives rise to an inescapable sense of déjà vu.

Chloe’s sentimental connection to the Tusk via her father, for example, mirrors the link between the brother’s Drake and captain Avery’s treasure in A Thief’s End. Likewise, Chloe’s transition from covetous treasure hunter to selfless savior toward the end of chapter 7, is almost a carbon copy of Nate’s character arc in Among Thieves.

Consequently, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy tells a tale that, though undoubtedly enjoyable, doesn’t feel quite as fresh or original as its forebears.

Where the game really shines, however, is in the characters of Chloe and Nadine, and the relationship between the two.

Chloe’s habitual wit and charming demeanor, which is due as much to Claudia Black’s comic timing and acting ability as it is the quality of the script, might not be wholly new for an Uncharted protagonist, but her pragmatic, initially mercenary outlook provides a refreshing change of pace from Nate. She’s a natural protagonist that possesses all the requisite attributes to lead the series going forward.

Similarly, Nadine offers something a bit different as a side-kick. Where Sully would reply with a flippant remark, Nadine’s responses are stern and to the point; where Elena might favor caution, Nadine opts for a direct and combative approach. And, while there’s no excuse for giving the part of a black South-African woman to a white American, it’s only fair to say Laura Bailey puts in another very strong performance as the Drake brother’s former adversary.

But, just as the mixture of gin and tonic produces a whole that’s far greater than the sum of its parts, the combination of these two vastly different characters gives rise to something truly sublime.

Still feeling each other out and deciding whether they can trust one another in the early stages, their relationship matures over the course of the adventure; uncertainty quickly giving way to mutual respect. It’s an entirely different relationship from Nate and Sully’s father-son dynamic, based, as it is, on reciprocal affection and years of shared experiences.

However, thanks to the quality of the writing and performances, by the end of the game, Chloe and Nadine’s bond feels perfectly plausible, despite the speed with which it’s developed. Indeed, so natural and effective are they as a duo, it would be almost criminal for Naughty Dog not to reunite them in future installments.

As far as gameplay is concerned, meanwhile, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy shares more in common with the narrative than the characters. That’s to say, there’s little to distinguish it from previous titles in the franchise.

This is most notable in the parkour and cover-shooting elements, which remain as imperfect and fiddly as they were back in 2007. On multiple occasions, I found myself cursing the game because Chloe either failed to jump in the direction intended or took cover behind the wrong piece of scenery during a firefight, making it difficult to capitalize on the game’s stealth opportunities and even a little frustrating at times.

Nor has there been any substantial refinements to Naughty Dog’s puzzle formula or enemy AI. All but the rather tricky shadow puzzle in chapter 5 can be solved with minimal effort, while hostile NPCs continue to move in a jarringly unconvincing manner and, worse still, fail to perceive Chloe’s companions, no matter how conspicuous they are.

That’s not to say The Lost Legacy’s a chore to play. Despite the aforementioned problems, which are as much a result of the game’s provenance as anything else (it was originally slated to be a standard DLC offering, rather than a stand-alone title), there’s plenty of fun to be had, especially with the inclusion of Uncharted 4’s robust multiplayer content.

There are even a few small innovations that help to improve the overall experience, such as Chloe’s lock-picking skill which serves both as an effective method of distributing rarer gear and distinguishing her character from Nate and co., and the Queen’s Ruby Bracelet which, when obtained in chapter 4, dramatically simplifies the process of collecting the numerous optional relics that are littered throughout the game.

It’s just that, after years of playing through the same old scenarios and completing the same old challenges, the series is crying out for an update to its core mechanics.

Visually speaking, there’s little if anything to criticize. Though that should hardly come as a surprise given that The Lost Legacy is easily one of the most beautiful games ever made.

From the evocative depiction of an embattled Indian suburb that’s borne the brunt of Asav’s insurrection, to the vibrant, verdant Ghats region and the abandoned tombs that lie hidden therein, The Lost Legacy is brimming with gorgeous panoramic views and poignant vistas, all of which are brought to life by Naughty Dog’s masterful use of lighting.

So breathtaking is the scenery, it’d be almost impossible to reach the end of Chloe’s adventure without having spent an hour or two ensconced in the game’s photography tool first.

That being said, certain aspects of the sound design aren’t great, specifically, the shooting and explosion sound effects which sound uncharacteristically cheap when compared to the superlative visuals. Be that as it may, the ambient noise – chirruping birds, collapsing masonry etc. – is extremely impressive, setting the scene flawlessly whether Chloe’s touring the jungle in her rented 4×4 or exploring the remains of the Hoysala throne room, and the game’s soundtrack is decent, though not particularly memorable.

All in all, anyone who feared for the future of the series because of the absence of Nathan Drake can rest easy. The Lost Legacy is a brilliant game that proves Uncharted still has a lot to offer.

  • John Websell

[penci_review id=”98242″]

Counting Final Fantasy VII, The Last of Us, the original Mass Effect trilogy, and The Witcher 3 amongst his favourite games, John enjoys anything that promises to take up an absurdly large amount of his free time. When he’s not gaming, chances are you’ll find him engrossed in a science fiction or fantasy novel; basically, John’s happiest when his attention is as far from the real world as possible.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. andrewsqual

    September 2, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Hmm, maybe change the pic at the top as part of the background, its a bit spoilery.

    But yeah, just completed it myself. Took 9 hours. I actually think it was better than 4 lol. It just keeps getting better the whole time and never lets up. Every time I thought it must be over now, it kicked off into a higher gear. ^_^

    Will have to do my second playthrough at some point and you can actually unlock ANY of Nadine’s outfits from Uncharted 4 including her awesome perm afro lol.

  2. Ricky D

    September 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    I really dig this game but it did feel way too familiar. Every set-piece seemed like it was recycled code from a previous game. All in all, a great game still. I just hope they keep making more.

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Game Reviews

‘AVICII Invector Encore Edition’ Review: Rhythm and Melancholy

‘AVICII Invector: Encore Edition’ is a music and rhythm game perfect for newcomers and fans of the genre.

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AVICII Invector Encore Edition Review

Developer: Hello There Games | Publisher: Wired Productions | Genre:  Rhythm | Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Steam | Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch


In terms of a pure adrenaline rush, nothing tops a well-designed rhythm game. Good rhythm games let players feel a euphoric sense of flow and even excitement. But the best the genre has to offer taps into the heart of music itself. AVICII Invector Encore Edition is a rhythm game perfect for newcomers to the genre but also works as a moving tribute.

I can’t tell where the journey will end
But I know where to start

Whether it’s tapping buttons in time with the beat, smashing feet on a dance pad, or moving an entire body in front of an IR camera, rhythm and music games have always been popular. AVICII Invector Encore Edition takes inspiration from music games that came before it but stands firmly on its own. It’s wonderfully accessible, truly a music game for anyone. From diehard fans of the rhythm game genre to people who are simply AVICII fans who also have a console, Invector checks a lot of boxes.

Levels across AVICII Invector play largely the same. The player picks a track and a difficulty level, and is off to the races. They control a slick spaceship moving forward along a track, and must tap or hold buttons as the ship passes over them. This “falling jewel” style has been popular from the Guitar Hero franchise and beyond, but Invector finds ways to make it feel unique. The art direction is breathtakingly stellar, taking players on far-out trips through cyberpunk-esque cities and crumbling pathways. There are even portions of each level where the player can steer their spaceship Star Fox-style through rings and around pillars to keep their point multiplier up.

Invector feels like it’s trying to affect as many sensory inputs as it can. Though Encore Edition is fully playable on handheld mode on Switch, Invector shines brightest on a big screen with a thumping sound system. The neighbors might get annoyed, but who would hear them complaining?

Tracks are divided up by worlds, with four to five tracks each. Worlds must be cleared sequentially, by scoring at least seventy-five percent on each level in that world. While this may sound initially restrictive, Encore Edition gives players access to two extra worlds with five tracks each right out of the gate, so players have plenty to play with at the start.

There are three difficulties available, and each mode offers a different experience. For players who just want to experience AVICII’s music in a low-stress way while enjoying amazing visuals and ambiance, Easy mode is the way to play. Anything above that amps the difficulty up significantly, with Hard mode escalating the required precision to an unbelievable degree. Building up a competitive high score can only be achieved by hitting multipliers and keeping a streak going. At higher difficulties, Invector feels challenging but exhilarating. Scoring above ninety percent on any difficulty mode above Easy feels extremely good, and the online leaderboards are the perfect place to boast about that achievement. During high level play, earning a high score feels transcendent.

Worlds and levels are strung together with brief, lightly-animated cutscenes. It’s a slim justification for a rhythm game, but they’re better than nothing and provide just enough context to keep things interesting. AVICII Invector is both visually and aurally pleasing, but even if the player isn’t a diehard fan of EDM or House music, there is plenty to love.

This world can seem cold and grey
But you and I are here today
And we won’t fade into darkness

AVICII Invector is a truly fantastic rhythm game. But it’s also more than that. It is impossible to play Invector and not feel a twinge of melancholy. The game is a tribute to a hard-working perfectionist, but the man behind the music had his demons. Though the visuals are enticing and the gameplay electric, it is difficult not to feel sad from the opening credits. It is to Invector‘s credit that all throughout, the game feels like a joyful celebration of Tim Bergling’s music. It is a worthy tribute to a man who revitalized and reinvigorated the EDM and House music scene.

At the end of the day, almost every aspect of AVICII Invector reflects a desire to connect. For players connected to the internet, global leaderboards are a great opportunity to share high scores. Invector is much more forgiving than Thumper or Rez or even anything in the Hatsune Miku catalog. Players can cruise through this game on Easy mode if they want, and they won’t be punished. The Encore Edition even includes a split-screen multiplayer, which is fantastically fun.

In his music, Bergling worked across genres to expand what pop music could look like. With Invector, music lovers and players of nearly any skill level can have a pleasing experience. In video games, that’s rare, and it should be celebrated.

According to publisher Wired Productions’ website, all music royalties from AVICII Invector Encore Edition will support suicide awareness through the Tim Bergling Foundation.

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Game Reviews

‘Tamarin’ Review: Monkey Trouble

Like Yooka-Laylee before it, Tamarin flounders in its attempts to recreate its source material for a more modern audience.

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Tamarin Game Review

Developer: Chameleon Games | Publisher: Chameleon Games | Genre: 3rd Person Shooter/Platformer| Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC | Reviewed on: PlayStation 4

You have to be of a certain age to recall a game like Jet Force Gemini. One of Rare’s one-off titles of the N64 era, like Blast Corps, Jet Force Gemini never earned itself a sequel but was a fun sci-fi adventure for its time. It’s this same energy that Tamarin, from Chameleon Games, attempts to channel.

Made up of former Rare staff, the folks at Chameleon Games are almost certainly the best team to make an attempt at rekindling such a long dead franchise with their spiritual successor. However, as can be the case with retro throwbacks, sometimes it’s better to ask whether you should bring back an older style of gaming, rather than if you could.

As we’ve seen with games like Yooka Laylee and Mighty No. 9, it often seems that the idea of an older game or franchise being resurrected for modern audiences is better to imagine than to actually play. While the occasional Bloodstained does come along to buck the trend, more often than not we get a game which is too faithful to its sources to make a mark or too different to rekindle that old love and nostalgia.

All of which is to say that Tamarin, while very faithful to its inspirations, never quite hits the mark that brings it to the next level. Part of this is the natural aging process, particularly of the first era of 3D platformers and adventure games which spawned on the PlayStation and Nintendo 64. While many of the games of that generation packed in endless hours of fun, so too have many of their mechanics aged terribly.

Tamarin Game Review

This accounts for Tamarin‘s weakest point, which is undoubtedly its combat. The shooting sections of the game, while channeling another Rare franchise that balanced cuteness with cartoonish violence, are just so mechanically terse that they drag the game down egregiously each time they crop up.

Like with Jet Force Gemini, players will spend much of Tamarin battling troubling insectoid enemies that threaten the peace of all of civilization. Also like the game which was such a clear inspiration for Chameleon, Tamarin brings back the clunky 3D aiming reticle. Not only is the shooting janky here, it feels downright unwieldy when you first get your hands on a firearm.

Though players can get the hang of it with a little effort and some reworking of how they see shooters, there seems to be little point in doing so. Tamarin‘s braindead AI and sparse few enemy types make combat feel like much of an afterthought to the experience, despite how central it is to progressing through the game.

To be fair, Tamarin does also bring some of the good from its spiritual forebear. The gradually growing arsenal of laser guns and rocket launchers does feel fun to play with, and the game is peppered with plenty of upgrades for the guns along the way. Sadly, then another of the Space Invaders style mini-games will pop up and derail things all over again.

Yes, there is a strange reference to yet another long gone gaming franchise here. Unlocking certain doors requires players to start from the center and aim the analog stick around firing at hovering, shifting rows of bugs. Again, it feels very unwieldy, and by the end most players will simply settle for spinning the analog stick wildly while firing with the machine gun for maximum ease.

Fortunately, more successful are the platforming sections. Making up the other side of Tamarin‘s coin, is a game more inspired by Banjo-Kazooie and Donkey Kong Country 64 than anything else. As players travel through the outside world, gathering collectibles and gaining new abilities as they go, Tamarin shows much more variety than its combat sections.

With clear cues marked on the terrain to denote which areas require upgrades or new abilities to traverse, Tamarin is generally able to point you in the right direction across its world, though a map or minimap would help matters considerably. Though the game is split into many separate areas, they often look so similar that it can make the game hard to navigate and harder to remember where previous markers were for exploration. Even a rudimentary map feature would make this far less of an issue.

Alas, the exploration flounders on occasion as well. Jumping sometimes feels a bit too flighty and can even break the game at times, allowing players to jump off of surfaces they shouldn’t be able to normally. Further, the need to hold down a button and press another to grab certain collectibles is totally unintuitive and is another feature that seems to be more or less pointless.

As such, for all of it’s cute mascot spiritedness and lovingly attributed influences, Tamarin ultimately falls short in bringing back some of the best franchises of yesteryear. Though the effort is a valiant one, Tamarin, hampered by the flaws of the games it attempts to emulate, is just too clunky in its execution.

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Game Reviews

‘Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered’ Review: Some Games Age Like Milk

Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered fails due to problems that existed in the original title, as well as flaws in this remastered edition.

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Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered

Developer: Square-Enix | Publisher: Square-Enix | Genre: Action-RPG| Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Mobile | Reviewed on: PlayStation 4

There’s a bit of a storied history between Nintendo and Square. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered is an important part of that history. Or rather, the original version, released in 2003, was.

While it might seem to younger gamers like Square-Enix and Sony have always been close, Square had a different best friend for much of the 80s and 90s: Nintendo. Though a rift developed between them when Square opted to focus on CD-roms rather than cartridges for Final Fantasy VII, that rift only lasted for about 6 years. The game that signalled the end it? Well that was a new release exclusively for the GameCube: Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.

Though Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles was released to relatively positive reviews 17 years ago, the game has not aged well. The quest of a caravan of crystal bearers to refill their crystal’s power and protect their homes from a deadly miasma, Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered fails due to problems that existed in the original title, as well as flaws in this remastered edition.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered

The first, and most considerable, problem with the game is that the quest at the heart of Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered is tedious and repetitive. Players ostensibly go from area to area on a world map, exploring uninteresting towns and beating lackluster dungeons. If this wasn’t enough, players are also forced to replay these levels over and over again in order to gain enough upgrades for later levels.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: all RPGs ask players to level up in order to succeed. You’re not wrong, it’s simply the structure of levelling up that makes this experience so trying. The only way to level up in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered is to beat the entire level again. Players are not rewarded experience for killing enemies but instead can choose one stat to upgrade each time they complete a level. What this means is that every tiny upgrade to your character can take 10-15 minutes at a time to get.

This wouldn’t be as trying on your patience if simple, basic flaws in the game weren’t so egregious. Hit detection is incomprehensible at times because, even when your character seems to be standing right next to an enemy or boss, they often fail to connect their attacks. Even worse, rather than mapping different attacks to the face and shoulder buttons, players must cycle through them one at a time, with the attack button standing in for defense, magic, healing or food consumption.

Of course, much of this has to do with the format of the original game. Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles was meant to be played with link cables and Game Boy Advances connected to the GameCube. Each player would have a different bonus displayed on their GBA screens and, as such, players would work together in local multiplayer, aiding each other with their unique screen information as well as their combat skills.

Naturally the GBA had only two face buttons and two shoulder buttons, hence the layout. However, it’s been 17 years, and it’s pretty egregious that Square-Enix didn’t even think of giving players an option to rework the button layout. Doing so would make combat much more dynamic and help to fix the often clunky feeling of battling the game’s monsters.

Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles Remastered

Adding to the tedium are unskippable cutscenes all over the game. Every single time players challenge a boss, they are forced to sit through the same cutscene introducing the boss. Further, there are random events that occur on the world map which are also unskippable, even if they’re repeats of events that the player has already seen. Haplessly tapping the confirm button to skip through dialog that we’ve already heard should not be an issue in a game released in 2020.

These flaws were mostly a part of the original release as well but what’s the point of remastering a game if you haven’t fixed anything? Even the visuals in Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered have failed to receive much polish. The game looks murky and fuzzy rather than sharp and clear. If Square-Enix could clean up Final Fantasy VIII for its gorgeous remaster, what stopped them here?

This is without even mentioning the loading times, which are frankly absurd for a game nearly two decades old. Again, it seems that getting this remaster out the door trumped quality control for Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered, which does nothing to help the game’s case.

Though the game is markedly more fun when players join you to take on a level, even the online connectivity has serious issues. To make matters worse, if a player chooses to use the multiplayer, they’ll have to carry a chalice around themselves if no one joins them, picking it up and putting it down all through the level.

Since single player has an AI character who will carry it for you, this option could be easily added to multiplayer, disappearing when (or if) someone actually joins you. This would allow the structure of the game to remain static regardless of whether someone joins your game or not, instead of making the game harder if no one decides to pop in.

While game director Araki Ryoma has promised to address the issues with Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles Remastered, the game has aged so poorly that, even without the flaws of the remaster, it’s hard to recommend it to modern audiences. Sad as it is, some games are better left in the past. Such is the case with Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles.

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