Uncharted: The Lost Legacy has had an interesting development cycle from DLC to standalone game, but I for one am very happy that Naughty Dog took what was to be an expansion to Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and gave it its own identity. It’s difficult to continue from Uncharted 4 because it ended on such a great note. Rather than continue on the legacy of Uncharted with another Drake story, Naughty Dog, quite smartly, has decided to find new characters than can maintain the Uncharted mantle. We get an adventure game with the ever-charming Chloe Frazer, who last made her appearance in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, and her partner-in-crime Nadine Ross who was the head of Shoreline, Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End’s main antagonist. It’s this pairing of Chloe and Nadine that make Uncharted: The Lost Legacy stand on its own.
It’s so odd how a studio like Naughty Dog can just produce one amazing title after another just trying to top itself in every way as it goes along. The Uncharted series in general has always upped its game from one title to the next. With that in mind, I have to say that the visuals in The Lost Legacy aren’t up to par with Uncharted 4. That is not to say they are bad, in fact, quite the opposite. I am merely stating that they don’t seem to have that same level of polish. If this was any other game series, The Lost Legacy would rank as superb but as the Uncharted games are often touted as the best visuals on the PlayStation, The Lost Legacy doesn’t have the same level of detail in some specific spots like A Thief’s End did.
One thing that I did particularly love was the detail on Chloe and how she is not meant to look pristine in the heat of an Indian jungle. She is sweaty, her hair is stuck to her face, her shirt gets dirtier and torn as the game progresses. All in all she is not a model but rather an adventurer and while it makes sense in the wake of the modern reboot of Tomb Raider, so many games forget that these are people are they are not meant to be idealistic but flawed, and that is visually apparent with our characters in The Lost Legacy.
In Uncharted 4, the audio was what I was impressed with least. There are three parts to any audio in a game: music, effects, and voice. The music is where A Thief’s End took a downturn for me because they seemed to have dropped the main Uncharted theme for something a bit different but I wasn’t a fan of that difference. It makes more sense to get rid of that theme for The Lost Legacy because it has new characters on a new adventure but I didn’t particularly enjoy what they chose. The main title theme was haunting in nature and was a cross between The Last of Us and The Walking Dead and, for me at least, did not fit the overall tone.
The effects and voice are terrific, continuing in the high quality from the previous entries. Claudia Black and Laura Bailey reprise their roles of Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross respectively. With that continuity and experience comes a dynamic between the characters that can really be felt. The delivery and evolution of the characters in The Lost Legacy is a lot more dramatic and appreciated than in previous Uncharted titles.
The Lost Legacy is very much an Uncharted game and you can see is a sibling especially to Uncharted 4, lifting many of the gameplay mechanics first introduced in A Thief’s End but is also bringing to the table its own ideas and trying to carve its own identity. Let’s be honest, we know this is an Uncharted game and so with that comes the usual exploration, combat, and wall climbing. Chloe Frazer has joined Nathan Drake as having some of the toughest upper arm strength and finger tips in gaming history. The control schemes are identical and the way we travel is the same as any other Uncharted game. And that is ultimately a problem a lot of times because so often the game became predictable as to what is going to happen. You lost a little bit of that element of surprise and that is not something you wish to happen in such a revered series.
Taking ideas from A Thief’s End, you are able to traverse levels and explore in a jeep, and often have to make use of the winch in front. The rope swing is used multiple times in the level, and you are often sliding down muddy hills. There are couple of new mechanics being tried out here, and while they will not make the difference between a good and great game, it is nice to see something new every now and then. Chloe has a lock picking mechanic to open large weapon caches. And while Drake liked drawing and sketching his environment, Chloe takes the more practical route of taking pictures. But the biggest change of all had very little to do with the main plot but rather how we find the small treasures Naughty Dog likes to hide throughout the world. You can, optionally, find a small bracelet that alerts you through a noise and vibration when a treasure is nearby. This makes finding said treasures far easier and I am not sure if I like this new addition because it now does rely a lot less on exploration. Thankfully, you are able to turn this mechanic on or off depending on what you prefer.
After all is said and done this is very much an Uncharted game, down to the menu design. It took me just shy of 7 hours on my first run through, and with the aforementioned bracelet, I was able to collect the majority of the treasures in my first try. While this is a shorter game than others, that difference is also reflected in the price of the game ($49.99 CAD or $39.99 USD), which is much appreciated.
The Lost Legacy is set some undefined time after Uncharted 4 and deals with Chloe Frazer’s history, her heritage, her family, and ultimately about her legacy. The MacGuffin is the Tusk of Ganesh which is important in Hinduism. I think this was my favourite goal of any Uncharted game, even above Henry Avery’s treasure, and it has to do mostly with the characters and their relationship but above all else, their emotional connection with it. Yes, Nathan Drake did have a boyhood link to Avery’s treasure, but Chloe’s visceral reactions to the Tusk of Ganesh made me want to know more and learn all about it and appreciate the ancient history and stories associated with it.
The best part of The Lost Legacy is the relationship between Chloe and Nadine. You can see how their dynamic changes throughout the game, their characters experience a real arc together. From their uneasy, business-like relationship, to literally putting their lives in each other’s hands, to an appreciation for each other by the end, it’s one of the greatest pairings in Uncharted’s history. And while some of the quipiest moments was making fun of Nathan Drake, I really enjoyed taking on a new role and never did I miss Drake’s presence.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy could easily be called Uncharted 5 if they wanted to put some more time into it. I really enjoyed all of the parts to it, but the most success Naughty Dog has with this game are the characters and their interactions together. While the gameplay is by and large the same, and in that repeats many notes from Uncharted 4, the writing and character moments excel here above and beyond the previous entries in the series.
- Character development is unparalleled
- Full experience with lots of variety
- Proven combat and style
- Little innovation in gameplay from Uncharted 4