The wonderful little details in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy
Naughty Dog once again flexes its muscles.
The Uncharted games are known for their attention to the little things. Whether it's a room packed with incidental clutter or the way playable characters interact with the environment, Naughty Dog often delivers a level of detail beyond most other developers. The recently-released standalone expansion The Lost Legacy is no different.
I've been playing The Lost Legacy this week and have been struck by the little details. This is a game with all the stunning vistas, realistic grass and at times photorealistic environments we've come to expect from a Naughty Dog game. But despite The Lost Legacy being a standalone expansion, as opposed to a full fat numbered Uncharted sequel, it's still got all the wonderful little details you'd hope from the series.
The first cool little detail I noticed was how treasure hunter Chloe Frazer's sweaty hair sticks to her skin. This sounds disgusting, but let's be honest, it's what would happen if you were climbing Towers in India's Western Ghats. It's energetic work in a hot place.
We see Chloe's hair do this in cutscenes and, if you look close enough, during gameplay. It's not a fudge.
Continuing the how Chloe would actually look if she were treasure hunting in India theme, I appreciated her battered and bruised hands whenever I browsed pictures on her phone. That sounds weird, but you know what I mean. Of course Chloe would have cuts on her fingers and dirt under her fingernails, given she spends most of her time swinging from tiny hooks stabbed into cliff faces.
This extends to Chloe's use of the map, too. The Lost Legacy drops players in a modest-sized open world and lets them get on with exploration, puzzle-solving and occasional bouts of combat. There's no mini-map on the bottom left of the screen, nor a waypoint market, or a little arrow at the top of the screen that points you in the right direction. Instead, there's an actual map Chloe unfolds whenever you want to look at it.
Kirk Hamilton over at Kotaku wrote about how Chloe's map displays the correct, updated information even when the player isn't looking directly at it - another awesome little detail.
(As an aside, one of The Lost Legacy's chief designers pointed out on Twitter that when you pull up the map, the camera simply moves to right on top of it. Awesome!)
What's really going to bake your noodle later on, @kirkhamilton is there is no "map screen". We just point the camera at her in game map. https://t.co/S2Y3YZXDKq— Kurt Margenau (@kurtmargenau) August 23, 2017
Other wonderful little details we've seen in prior Uncharted games, such as the way the playable character realistically passes the jeep tow bar from hand to hand depending on how you move. Then there's the way Chloe moves through the gears as she's driving the jeep. Oh, and if you run off and leave the jeep, Nadine will drive it to you without you even having to ask. Now that's service.
And I just love how she trudges through waist-high water, and remains wet for a time after getting to dry land (again, that sounds a bit weird).
Here's another cool detail, noticed by Android Cactus designer Sanatana Mishra:
In dark areas where the handheld lights turn on you can make Nadine react by squinting and raising her hand when the light hits her face.— Sanatana Mishra 🔜 GDC (@SanatanaMishra) August 25, 2017
Anyway, it perhaps comes as no surprise to find The Lost Legacy packed with wonderful little details, but it's worth pointing out - once again - that it's the wonderful little details that combine to make Uncharted great. Have you noticed any I've missed? If so, pop them in the comments below.