GameTech: Uncharted territory looks very familiar

THERE’S a point in ‘Uncharted: The Lost Legacy’ where an ancient gate is torn from its hinges, writes Ronan Jennings

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy replaces Nathan Drake with female leads, but everything else is the same, including the slick production.

This beautiful structure, which had stood for thousands of years, is then used as a ramp for a jeep. So much for legacies.

Thankfully, ‘Uncharted: The Lost Legacy’ sequel treats its own history with much more reverence. In fact, aside from the change in lead characters, this is a carbon copy of the
‘Uncharted’ experience, a beat-for-beat checklist of Nathan Drake’s adventures, just without Drake.

Story begins in a city or settlement? Check! Hero is searching for artefact with connections to villain? Check! Hero finds themselves travelling to ancient ruins and jungle landscape in search of key to artefact? Check and check!

‘The Lost Legacy’ is everything you should expect from an ‘Uncharted’ game, especially if you played the last instalment. It’s brilliantly written and acted. The combat remains a superb mixture of ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and ‘Gears of War’. The platform and puzzle sections are always satisfying.

So, why does ‘The Lost Legacy’ feel a little redundant? Perhaps it’s because, for the first time, Naughty Dog haven’t pushed the boat out with their flagship series. Instead, they’ve just given the boat a new lick of paint.

This is perfectly acceptable — every other company does it, so why not them? The truth is, we’ve come to expect more from Naughty Dog. They’ve earned that anticipation by being
exceptional, every time.

‘The Lost Legacy’ was sold on the fact that Chloe Frazer, brilliantly played by Claudia Black, would take the lead role and she doesn’t disappoint.

She punches, puzzles, and quips even better than Drake does. The chemistry between herself and Nadine Ross (Laura Bailey) is by far the best addition to this pseudo-sequel. They aren’t buddies, by any means, with very different approaches to problem-solving.

That isn’t enough, however, to stop ‘The Lost Legacy’ from feeling like ‘just another Uncharted’.

There can only be so many ancient artefacts and hidden temples in the world, before we start wondering how Google Earth has missed them all. Why not make ‘Uncharted’ about modern heists in a city skyscraper? Why not drop the treasure-hunting altogether?

‘The Lost Legacy’ is still a brilliantly-made game that’s worth your time and money. But, next time, we’d like to see the series really start a new lineage, by inheriting some new ideas.

WAITING FOR EMPIRES SEQUEL

Speaking of lineage, few games have the pedigree of ‘Age of Empires’. For a time, this series ruled over the historical war genre with an iron fist.

Or a bronze fist, depending on the age you were playing.

The first game was released in 1997 and the series has sold over 20m copies.

‘Age of Empires III’ was released 12 years ago, which means fans have been waiting (you guessed it) an age for a sequel.

Their patience paid off this week, with the announcement of ‘Age of Empires IV’, which will be developed by Relic Entertainment, arguably the best strategy developer in the industry.

Relic have been responsible for ‘Homeworld’, ‘Company of Heroes’ and ‘Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War’. Judging by the pedigree, fans can expect a new take on the venerable series.

While no release date was given for ‘Age of Empires IV’, Microsoft Studios, who own the franchise, did announce that a remastered version of the first game would be released on October 10, with enhanced graphics, overhauled user interfaces, and tons of tweaks.

The second and third games will follow with their own remasters. Now, that’s how to honour a legacy.

NFL IS GAME

The goal of many sports stars is to leave behind a legacy, but is the same possible in the world of video games?

The NFL, in America, aims to find out with the ‘Madden NFL Club Championship’, based on the Madden series by EA Sports.

Madden gamers will qualify for the tournament by playing games online, before every team in the NFL has a single player representative.

Each of these players will then face off’, until a ‘superbowl’ event with a total purse of $400,000.

The NFL claims this is the “largest competitive gaming commitment ever by a US professional sports league”.

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