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The Lost Legacy is Uncharted meets MGS5 – and it works

Just a little over one year after the release of Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog has returned with a new, slimmer entry in the franchise. With a change in protagonist and a new location, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy offers a taste of both old and new. Nathan Drake’s globe-trotting adventures are replaced with a less expansive, single-location story but there’s a strong argument that the gameplay is now wider as a result. The series’ signature linear storytelling is melded with more pronounced infiltration, stealth and exploration elements set within a larger gameplay area, so in this sense, Uncharted has incorporated mechanics reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 5 and even Crysis. The good news is that the evolution in the approach really pays off.

To a certain extent, this is a consequence of the nature of The Lost Legacy itself – it’s a different type of production. Starting life as a simple piece of DLC, Naughty Dog’s latest has evolved into a full-blown standalone Uncharted adventure, but this faster production also brings along a different approach to the series than we’ve seen in the past, and a different way of exploiting the team’s state-of-the-art technology. In fact, you might argue that The Lost Legacy is in some ways a prototype for what an open world Uncharted game might be.

Once you break free from the linear, action-packed introduction sequence, you’re dropped into a vast Indian ruin on the hunt for treasure. Uncharted 4 previously included a similar section that has Drake and friends driving a jeep around Madagascar, but The Lost Legacy takes things further by offering multiple objectives that can be visited in any order, alongside enemy fortifications and bonus quests. It’s in this sense that the new Uncharted integrates some aspects of MGS5, though it is worth noting that in this adventure, the map isn’t anywhere near as vast as the Kojima classic.

However, the new design pushes aspects of Naughty Dog’s technology further than before, with a map larger than anything we’ve experienced in previous series entries. And despite this, map density is on par with the most richly detailed areas in Uncharted 4. It’s this sense of scale that provides the greatest sense of change: Naughty Dog itself has confirmed that the game lacks any significant changes to underlying renderer but it feels fresh because of its size and because of the tasks the developer sets for the player.

Naughty Dog’s focus on a single location also pays off beautifully. Without the globetrotting element, the adventure winds up feeling more cohesive, a feeling not unlike the original Drake’s Fortune. India is rich with dense foliage peppering the terrain while intricate stonework acts as a framework for the game’s temples. You’ll go from beautiful scenes with crystal clear water that warps and reacts to each step to muddy rain soaked parallax occlusion map-enabled terrain where realistic footprints are left behind as you move through it.