Uncharted: The Lost Legacy Review — Expanding on Excellence
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.
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.
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”]
LEGO 2K Drive to arrive on May 19
Build, explore, race
2K and the LEGO Group has announced May 19 as the official worldwide release date of LEGO 2K Drive for multiple consoles.
The driving adventure game is developed by Visual Concept. It is the first title to be released as part of a multi-title partnership between 2K and the LEGO Group. They seek to evolve the LEGO experience in exciting new ways.
The game will feature a combination of open-world driving and competitive racing. Players can explore the vast world of Bricklandia, build any vehicle LEGO-style, drive anywhere, and become a racing legend.
The Sky Cup Trophy is the game’s coveted prize. Players will have to compete against a series of rivals across a broad range of tracks while taking advantage of unique power-ups that can guide them throughout a race.
LEGO 2K Drive also offers unique customization, with over 1,000 LEGO pieces available when building a vehicle. Color designs, stickers, flairs, and more are likewise customizable.
Players may also collaborate with others in a two-person split-screen mode or multiplayer mode.
There will be three editions for the upcoming game:
- Standard Edition – US$ 59.99 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch; US$ 69.99 on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S (both physical and digital)
- Awesome Edition – US$ 99.99; includes new vehicle, flair, in-game LEGO minifigure, Year 1 Drive Pass (covers four individual post-launch seasons of Drive pass content)
- Awesome Rivals Edition – US$ 119.99; includes multiple new vehicles, flair, in-game LEGO minifigures, Year 1 Drive Pass
Preorders are now open, and those who purchase before launch day will receive an Aquadirt Racer Pack.
All TEKKEN 8 characters revealed so far
Get ready for the next battle!
Even though TEKKEN 8 is still miles away from being released, there’s no stopping the train on what you can expect. Starting off, no fighting game is complete without the list of fighters themselves. Of course, TEKKEN 8 is no exception to this. Several familiar faces have been revealed over the past few days, with more incoming.
Without further ado, here’s all the confirmed characters for TEKKEN 8 so far. Don’t worry, this list will be updated as more fighters and gameplay trailers are revealed.
Honestly, it wouldn’t be a modern TEKKEN game without the main protagonist himself, Jin Kazama. After spending most of TEKKEN 7 healing up and watching from the shadows, Jin is ready to strike back in honor of the Mishima Zaibatsu. Overall, he sports a much buffer look than before. Jin is now rocking the whites and reds compared to previous versions.
What makes Jin different this time around is how he’s harnessing the Devil Gene inside him to power his moveset. From the trailer alone, we see glimpses of the power he wields as he unleashes a barrage of attacks. Also, his character model even reveals one of his Devil’s wings, which most likely means he’s embraced the Devil in him.
Now, the one on our minds is, well, will the Devil Jin character from previous games also make its way onto this one?
In every TEKKEN game, someone portrays the ultimate villain that holds all the power and will not yield for anyone. For TEKKEN 8, that man is Kazuya Mishima, the leader of the G Corporation and Jin’s biological father. After the events of TEKKEN 7, Kazuya seemed more poised to take over the world than ever before with the G Corporation continuously waging war.
By this point in time, he has fully embraced the Devil and has since showed flashes of its power since TEKKEN 7. It’s not to say that just him alone isn’t already a ton to deal with, as his moveset is just as hard-hitting as before. With the addition of his Devil form as he enters his Heat State, it turns him into a wrecking ball of chaos.
Nina Williams returns to the roster and is one of the characters that has appeared in every TEKKEN game since its release. The silent assassin has made quite the list of alliances and enemies through the years, and is on the hunt for her next target. However, after the events of TEKKEN 7 and her failure to locate Jin, she’s taking an approach from the shadows.
From a design standpoint, she loses the wedding dress she had on from the previous game and goes back to the leather jacket and purple dress — something familiar and comfortable. Moveset-wise, she retains the cat-like reflexes she showed off in previous titles and can throw punches with the best of them. Also, she had dual pistols now, so be careful when going up against her.
Another staple of the TEKKEN franchise is Paul Phoenix, one of the hardest hitting fighters in the game. In fact, the trailer literally shows off his power as he brings a brick wall with him when he enters the battlefield. Although in TEKKEN 8, he grew his hair out and didn’t really bother to fix it in an upright position as his previous character models showed.
In terms of his moveset, the trailer makes it look as hard-hitting as before, if not more than that. You can tell that the man aged like fine wine in his combat, especially with all the punches he’s thrown. As seen in the last few seconds of the trailer, he even threw a punch that had so much power in it, it resulted in a sleeve getting ripped.
One of the franchise’s key returnees from previous games is Marshall Law, Namco’s tribute to the legendary Bruce Lee. As with his previous appearances, he is agile, likes to take the fight to his opponents, and has an arsenal of moves relying on quickess and dexterity. In TEKKEN 8, however, it looks like his body has grown significantly.
Law maintains most of his moves from the previous games, with a bit of fine-tuning and power added to them given his growth over the years. Also, this game shows off his nunchakus which make a comeback after appearing as an item move in TEKKEN 6. Unlike that game, however, he only gets to use the nunchakus on specific moves instead of wielding it infinitely.
Yes, for all the wrestling fans out there, King is back! And he is in much better fighting shape than ever before. Of course, the man still dons the same jaguar mask as his predecessor, and is hungry for competition wherever he goes. If all goes well, the eighth edition of the tournament will give him the glory he seeks.
As one of the franchise’s elite wrestlers, his moveset only improved from the previous games. He still boasts a series of gut-wrenching blows and grapples that turn the tide on his foes in combat. Also, he uses a variety of wrestling moves that fans will recognize from a mile away. This time around, as the trailer suggests, he adds more to his kit with moves from WWE superstars, Triple H (Pedigree) and Randy Orton (RKO).
Jack-8, Lars Alexandersson, and Jun Kazama?!
BANDAI NAMCO also released a Story and Gameplay Trailer to help build more anticipation on the upcoming fighter game, and shows what the TEKKEN Saga has in store for us. Also, this particular trailer showed us a few more characters to watch out for:
From this trailer, we can find two familiar faces in Jack-8 and Lars Alexandersson. The former is the eighth iteration of the JACKs since the first TEKKEN. For Jack-8, the main objective remains the same: destruction at all costs; it’s design to learn its opponents and strike at their core. For Lars, coming from the events of TEKKEN 7, the protector of Jin Kazama must now help him in his plot to overthrow Kazuya and put an end to the war.
Perhaps one of the biggest returns for TEKKEN 8 is Jin’s biological mother, Jun Kazama. She was presumed dead prior to the start of TEKKEN 3. Jun reunites with her now all-grown up son to help Jin find some form of inner peace. Whether or not she reunites with Kazuya has yet to be shown.
Let us know who you’re most excited to play for TEKKEN 8!
Ubisoft announces an AI writer for video games
To streamline dialogue writing
Video game dialogue gets a bad rep these days. Though a good number of titles come from acclaimed writers and storytellers, a sizable chunk can leave gamers grasping for a mute button. Now, in a move to streamline the writing process, Ubisoft has announced an AI writer to automatically create video game dialogue.
Conspicuously called Ghostwriter, the upcoming AI tool can create dialogue based only on a few prompts. Writers only need to input a character and the type of dialogue to create an exchange. The tool can create a few variations for writers to consider and edit as need be.
The tool wasn’t created to replace writers. Rather, according to the reveal, Ghostwriter will help writers focus on larger tasks like grander narratives and important cutscenes.
Currently, Ubisoft has not showcased any examples of how the writer can work. The company is still working on implementing the tool in its production cycles. With huge sprawling games, using an AI writer to streamline dialogue creation will help deadlines. However, it’s still an unknown whether the tool will improve quality as well.
Over the past few months, companies have tried creating their own takes on AI-based chatbots and creators. Ubisoft is the latest to integrate the technology into its own company and one of the first to try it in the gaming scene.
SEE ALSO: Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Red, Jade, showcased at Ubisoft Forward
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