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Uncharted: The Lost Legacy steals the show in new collection

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection marks an exciting moment for PlayStation fans. It finally gives Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End its much anticipated PS5 upgrade, bringing faster load times, DualSense integration, performance boosts, and more. One of Nathan Drake’s finest adventures just got better.

But it’s not actually the best Uncharted game in the bundle. That honor goes to Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. After revisiting both games via the new collection, Lost Legacy stands out as a sleeker adventure with gorgeous landscapes and innovative game design. The PS5 bump only pushes those strengths forward, retroactively turning it into one of the PS4 era’s best exclusives.

Get lost

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a 2017 spinoff of developer Naughty Dog’s action-adventure series. It features the same shooting, puzzle-solving, and climbing as its predecessor, but with some notable changes. For one, it doesn’t star Nathan Drake. Instead, it follows Chloe and Nadine, who are on a mission to stop a warlord from sparking a civil war.

Chloe stands in the rain in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

It’s also much shorter than your average Uncharted game (which is why it originally retailed at a bargain price point). Clocking it at around seven hours, it’s half the length of Uncharted 4. Brevity is its secret weapon. After two hours of playing Uncharted 4, I was still moving through its long-winded plot setup. At that same point in Lost Legacy, I was already at the best section of the game.

That section is Chapter 4, The Western Ghats, and it’s the series’ finest moment. Early in the game, Chloe and Nadine get in a jeep and enter a small open world. There’s a central tower that gives the duo several points of interest to chase, but players are free to explore the zone to their heart’s content. It’s full of secrets, from hidden collectibles to rare weapons guarded by insurgents.

The Western Ghats is still a remarkable chapter nearly five years later. It takes everything that makes Uncharted great and folds it into a fluid experience that rewards curiosity and thorough exploration. It seamlessly has players jumping between combat, puzzles, and awe-inspiring parkour climbs as they drive around the map. The environment itself is gorgeous, filled with scenic landscapes and colorful birds roaming the skies. Plus, the driving provides a natural way to develop the relationship between Chloe and Nadine, as they chitchat during joyrides.

Chloe and Nadine drive a jeep through The Western Ghats in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

That’s the clear highlight, but the rest of the game is just as strong from start to finish. It has the best hand-to-hand combat in the series with Chloe and Nadine performing duo attacks so natural to execute that they almost feel like scripted events. It does an excellent job of introducing new mechanics without halting the action (something Uncharted 4 struggles with early on). And its lead characters are genuinely charismatic, easily selling the idea of an Uncharted game without its lead hero.

On replay, I’ve only come to appreciate it more for how much it’s able to accomplish in half the time it takes for other games in the series to do the same.

The PS5 bump

The main appeal of the collection is the PlayStation 5 tech bump. The package doesn’t include anything too out of the ordinary in that sense. There’s haptic feedback and adaptive trigger implementation via the DualSense, but neither change much about the games. Sound gets the standard 3D Audio boost and the PS5 essentially eliminates load times with its high-speed SSD.

It’s the visual boost that does Lost Legacy the most good, though. Both games in the collection can now be played in 4K at 30 frames per second. A performance+ mode even lets players run it at 120 fps at 1080p, if they so desire.

Chloe swings by a statue of Ganesha in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.

Those features reminded me how stunning Lost Legacy looks at times. The game opens in a bustling Indian town square that feels like it’s brimming with every color imaginable. Later, Chloe climbs onto a rainy rooftop and finds herself bathed in the warm glow of neon purple signs. Even when she’s exploring the more natural world, Lost Legacy makes heavy use of bright color to stylize its visuals. Perhaps the game’s most memorable moment comes when she drives through a flock of flamingos that scatter in every direction with their bright pink wings spread wide.

Naturally, Uncharted 4’s visuals benefit from the same visual bump, but it’s more immediately impactful in Lost Legacy. Uncharted 4 doesn’t exactly present its most awe-inspiring visuals upfront. The opening boat chase is a spectacle, but one that’s bathed in muted dark blues. Similarly, the rooftop section that follows feels a little visually bland next to Lost Legacy’s aforementioned neon chase scene. It takes a good four hours to really feel the full benefit of 4K in Uncharted 4, but it’s clear from the first minute of Lost Legacy.

Nathan Drake explores a pirate ship in Uncharted 4.

None of this is to downplay how much of an achievement Uncharted 4 is. Replaying it, I’m once again reminded of just how well Naughty Dog weaves gameplay into cinematic storytelling. It introduces melee combat in a prison brawl that feels like it’s pulled straight from a movie. Gunplay gets tutorialized via a cute scene where Nathan Drake fires a toy gun at targets in his attic — a scene that effortlessly sets up how much he misses his action hero days.

But when I replay both games, it’s Lost Legacy that has me saying “wow” more often. Each landscape is genuinely sublime and has me excited to explore the world. In a series that’s essentially a riff on Indiana Jones, that’s exactly the kind of reaction I desire.

Uncharted: Legacy of Thieves Collection launches January 28 for PlayStation 5. It will come to PC later this year as well.

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