|Dev: Naughty Dog|
|Release: August 22, 2017|
|Players: 1 Player|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||Not yet assigned a final ESRB rating.|
One of the weird things about E3 is figuring out the dynamics of what’s on the public show floor and what’s behind closed doors, as well as what form these games will be in. Typically, the show floor has several demo stations of a game lined up. In the “behind closed doors” areas you have less, but a more relaxed environment and less time limit restrictions. Sometimes games that aren’t on the floor are also playable. Other times, games are only shown via video or live play demonstrations in little theater rooms. Sometimes games are split between the two, with a video portion and playable bit that are likely divided based on available time slots and other such logistical minutiae. Usually, video-only demos are for games further out, which brings us to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. It comes out this summer and was only present in theater demo form.
Now, I use that setup to preface the abstract complaint I’m about to make. An isolated, run and gun section of an Uncharted game doesn’t demo very well! That’s the kind of thing I’d expect to see out in front of the public, especially for a game that drops in a few months. I scanned the floor for it, but it was nowhere to be seen. It’s a head-scratcher for sure, unless Naughty Dog has a habit of keeping its games under lock and key. Either way, what will undoubtedly, inevitably be a cool game didn’t really impress me as I watched a Naughty Dog representative run, shoot, and climb his way across a 20 or so-minute demonstration of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
Here’s the pitch: Chloe, a fan-favorite from past Uncharted games, is the star of the show. She’s teamed up with Nadine, an enemy character from Uncharted 4. They’re on an adventure in India on the typical Uncharted “treasure hunters as murderous sociopaths with Real Human Problems” artifact hunt for something called the Tusk of Ganesha. The two will encounter a treasure hunter of worse moral standing (who was effectively introduced at the very end of the demo) and compete in a cat and dog chase throughout the story to see who gets their hands on the treasure, and likely its fun, campy, and supernatural secret, first.
The demo started in a jungle setting as Chloe and Nadine get the drop on a couple of mercs. It began with the familiar “you take this one, I’ll take that one” Sneaky Game Tutorial Moment, but then Nadine burst forward and took out both of them. It’s a gag, but also showed off that Chloe and Nadine have a different, more flashy fighting style than Nathan Drake, and that continued throughout the demo. After some sneaky bits and the return of Uncharted 4’s rope-swinging and sliding gimmicks, things got real bad real fast as a big, armored tank-like vehicle took the form of a boss fight of sorts and kicked off a chase scene.
As the chase gets going, I got a feel of the run and gun sections. Chloe was able to swap between several different guns, show off the (destructible) cover systems, and shoot from several different positions. Things got pretty exciting as the tank became more and more overbearing, and the scripted chase segments showed Chloe and Nadine scraping past certain death and eventually falling through the ground into some kind of temple and/or crypt. Again, it’s another classic Uncharted-style moment; it made me feel like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is definitely hitting all the expected beats.
Chloe and Nadine explored the area briefly, before they came across a key part of the treasure hunt. This was of course immediately followed by the boss tank gaining the powers of Jason Vorhees and crashing through a wall as if it knew exactly where the women were, despite them being underground. Then Asav, the villain, was introduced as he delivered his trademark, villainous monologue. The demo closed as he pointed his gun in Chloe’s face for dramatic effect. And scene.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy seems like a fun, popcorn romp through a nice, bonus chunk of Uncharted gameplay. It’s a side story with a different director from Uncharted 4 and definitely feels like the standalone expansion it’s being touted as. So as long as you go into it with proper expectations, it’s probably not a hard sell at $40. But as far as watching a low spectacle, cover-shooting-heavy slice of any Uncharted game goes, it was not great for a preview. Uncharted is about the characters and spectacle, with everything else in-between being, well, in-between. This is probably a case of unnecessary marketing for a sure thing, since I’m sure when Uncharted: The Lost Legacy drops on August 22, the fans who plan to pick it up have long made up their minds.