Gaming

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review — Expanding on Excellence

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Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End was the perfect send-off to the blockbuster franchise’s hero Nathan Drake, and would’ve been the best conclusion to the series. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy tries to make the case for even more Uncharted.

Originally planned as exclusive DLC for 2016’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has been released as a stand-alone expansion, complete with a physical disc release for just US$ 40. As a nice gesture to loyal fans who got Uncharted 4’s version of a season pass (originally priced at US$ 25), Lost Legacy is available to download for free. It also comes with the entire multiplayer feature from Uncharted 4, while adding a new co-op survival mode.

AAA production at budget value

Like its predecessor, Lost Legacy looks absolutely gorgeous. The many breathtaking screenshots are proof that money was no concern in creating hyper-realistic urban and jungle environments.

The animation is as lifelike. As it was in Uncharted 4, Lost Legacy excels at infusing humanity into its characters through the smallest of motions. The brief upward curve at the corner of one’s lips, the downcast eyes during a tough conversation, the quick head-tilting and hand-waving to show disbelief and disagreement; it all adds up to make the cast convincingly human.

Leading ladies

Speaking of the cast, you play as Chloe Frazer, treasure hunter and former partner in crime (and romance) of Nathan Drake. Fans should recognize her from her supporting roles in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. She was noticeably absent in the last entry. Here, she comfortably slips into the spotlight as lead protagonist, brandishing a familiar roguish charm that is simultaneously cooler and warmer than franchise face Nate.

Alongside the thief with a heart of gold is badass merc Nadine Ross. She was the secondary antagonist in Uncharted 4, but she finds herself in Lost Legacy having to work with an associate of the two brothers that led to her ruin. She’s a no-nonsense, get-things-done type who is quick to anger when crossed.

Together, they seek the Tusk of Ganesh, a legendary artifact tucked away in the Western Ghats of India. A rebel group, led by intellectual strongman Asav, is also on the hunt for this relic to consolidate power and create conflict. Chloe and Nadine must then set aside their differences to find the Tusk before Asav and his murderous men do, fulfilling personal goals on the way to preventing a civil war and the deaths of millions of innocents.

Positive performances

 

The odd couple dynamic isn’t anything original, and the plot plays out like a conventional summer action flick. It’s that signature snappy Naughty Dog dialogue grounded with quiet moments and elevated by authentic voice acting that make this story feel fresh. Having it unfold through the eyes of presumably amoral individuals in Chloe and Nadine also makes their decisions to act nobly more satisfying than Nathan Drake’s heroic deeds. Not to downplay Nate’s accomplishments, but there was never any doubt that he’d eventually do the right thing. But for two fairly simple side characters with a history of checking out when things get too tough, it’s a lot more interesting to see how they react under pressure.

Another thing worth noting is that the two leads are women and the three major players are people of color. The past four games all had white main characters, most of which were dudes. While Chloe and Nadine are both voiced by Caucasian women and this isn’t a numbered entry in the series, it’s still a step in the right direction towards diversity in representation for big-budget titles. Naughty Dog is an industry leader, and it’s encouraging to have a renowned studio put out a game of this caliber with the heroes as black and brown-skinned females who aren’t sexualized.

Familiar, fine-tuned foundations

It’s no surprise though that the actual gameplay doesn’t break much ground. Every mechanical element from Uncharted 4 is carried over here. You’re swinging with a grappling hook, winching trees and doors to your jeep for leverage, mounting craggy walls with a piton, sliding down watery and/or muddy slopes, marking enemies with your weapon, and smoothly transitioning in and out of sneaking and gunfighting.

The puzzles are a bit more elaborate. A lot of them require sliding pieces around, but they’re presented in a variety of ways that they don’t get monotonous or frustrating. There’s a new lockpicking mini-game to get more powerful weapons and collectibles, too. It feels more like an afterthought, however, with how rare you actually need to engage in it.

There is one chapter that builds on the design of a standout section in Uncharted 4. Like the beginning part of Madagascar in that entry, you have the freedom to go wherever in this huge picturesque landscape to clear out important enemy fortifications in any order. The difference is you have more incentive to actually explore this time, evoking that open-world feeling akin to Skyrim or GTA where neat rewards or challenges await you.

Scaling gigantic ancient architecture and commando-ing your way through frenetic set pieces with state-of-the-art graphical fidelity continues to be an attraction. Only a handful of games out now look as good, and maybe only Horizon Zero Dawn matches these last two Uncharted games in scope through raw technical power.

A perfectly paced and priced package

While I didn’t mind how it took me about 18 hours to finish Uncharted 4, its slow beginning put me off from continuing with a replay. I can see myself going through all of Lost Legacy again because of its more evenly spread out moments of downtime and adrenaline. It also helps that I beat it in under eight hours, and that’s with a decent amount of time spent exploring and taking plenty of screenshots… which leads me to the strongest argument for getting this game.

Yep, that’s Chloe Frazer, star of Uncharted: Lost Legacy, making the (dum)best faces. It’s the single greatest addition to the robust Photo Mode that was in Uncharted 4. You can pause the action at literally any moment and have Chloe sneer in disgust, wink with smug delight, or do a duck face, among other lovely facial expressions. I don’t usually touch photo modes in games, but I took full advantage of this ingenious feature to great comic enjoyment.

It’s that sense of fun packed into a breezy, balanced adventure that I greatly enjoyed. Lost Legacy diving into the diverse set of people in this universe makes me want to play yet another one of these games. At this cheaper price that doesn’t sacrifice production values, more Uncharted (without Nathan Drake) doesn’t sound like a bad idea after all.

SEE ALSO: Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review

[irp posts=”3117″ name=”Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End review”]

 

Gaming

ASUS ROG Phone receives US pricing

Last piece of the puzzle

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ASUS is certainly taking its time with the release of its one and only gaming phone. First announced at Computex 2018, the ROG Phone finally has an official price to go with its US release.

For the model with 128GB of storage, you’d have to shell out US$ 899. For the larger 512GB storage variant, the cost goes up to US$ 1,099. Both come with a high-end Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of memory.

Of course, there are accessories to go with it. First is the ROG Mobile Desktop Dock, which costs US$ 229; the ROG Phone Case retails for US$ 59; the ROG Professional Dock is valued at US$ 119; you can buy the ROG TwinView Dock for US$ 399; the ROG Gamevice Controller is at US$ 89; and lastly, the ROG WiGig Dock goes for US$ 329.

Those are a lot of accessories for one phone, but that’s what makes the ROG Phone a truly gamer-centric device.

As stated last week, the ROG Phone will hit US shores starting October 18, with other regions to follow soon after.

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Gaming

PlayStation’s PSN Online ID change coming soon

Full rollout coming early 2019!

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You’ll soon be able to retire your DarkWarrior1214 PlayStation ID. In a blog post, Sony PlayStation said they will soon begin testing the PSN Online ID change feature as part of their preview program.

Beta testers part of the preview program will be able to change their PSN ID as much as they want. However, once the feature rolls out to everyone, only the first name change will be free. Succeeding name changes will cost US$ 9.99 for regular users.

PS Plus users will be charged a smaller fee of US$ 4.99. The online ID can be changed through the profile page on your PS4 or at the Settings menu. There’s also an option to display your old PSN ID alongside your new one so your friends can recognize you right away.

Not for all games

The feature isn’t available for all games, though. Only PS4 games published after April 1, 2018 along with other most-played titles that were published before that date will have the feature. PlayStation also warns that changing the ID might cause some issues with some games that can be fixed by reverting to the old ID. Here’s to hoping PlayStation finds a way to address those issues some time down the line.

The planned full rollout of the feature is in early 2019. What will be your new PSN Online ID?

SEE ALSO: Sony unveils PlayStation Classic, comes pre-loaded with 20 games

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Gaming

Razer Phone 2 is a faster, more streamlined gaming smartphone

Truly flagship all around

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Razer has been synonymous with gaming. Last year, they embraced the mobile gaming scene with the launch of their own smartphone simply called the Razer Phone. This paved the way for the popularity of gaming smartphones and other manufacturers, like ASUS and Honor, unveiled their own. Of course, Razer must fight back and now we have the Razer Phone 2.

At first glance, you won’t be able to tell the difference between the new Razer Phone and the old one. The Razer Phone 2 has the same size, same boxy shape, and same thick top and bottom bezels that house the front-facing speakers.

Don’t be fooled, because the Razer Phone 2 has some significant upgrades over its predecessor.

The new Razer Phone offers up to 30 percent better performance with the use of a Snapdragon 845 processor, Adreno 630 graphics processing unit, and an improved vapor chamber cooling system. It also comes with 8GB of memory and 64GB of storage.

As for imaging, it still has dual 12-megapixel rear shooters, but the main sensor is now equipped optical image stabilization. An 8-megapixel front-facing camera takes care of selfies and live-streaming duties.

With a new glass back, the Razer Phone 2 is capable of wireless charging. And to complement this new feature, there’s also a wireless charging accessory with Chroma — Razer’s popular RGB lighting system.

Speaking of Chroma, the Razer Phone 2 also has it. The rear triple-headed snake logo lights up in 16.8 million colors. Let’s also not forget about the added water and dust resistance with an IP67 rating.

The rest of the great specs is carried over from the predecessor including the 5.7-inch IGZO display with 120Hz refresh rate and touch sampling, and the 4000mAh battery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4+ support.

The Razer Phone 2 is priced at US$ 799 and it’ll be available in Mirror Black and soon in Satin Black. Pre-orders start on October 11 on Razer’s website.

SEE ALSO: Razer Phone 2 hands-on: Not only for gamers

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