Review: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy clears a major hurdle for the franchise
Following in the footsteps of Nathan Drake
It’s not easy to follow in the footsteps of Nathan Drake. The Uncharted series has become a staple in the PlayStation lineup, and the wise-cracking treasure hunter has been the face of four commercially and critically successful titles. But with Uncharted 4 being the final chapter of Nathan Drake’s story, Naughty Dog had to find a way to continue the treasure hunting adventures.
They did so with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a new, full-fledged adventure starring Chloe Frazer. Now for fans of the Uncharted series, the name is probably quite familiar. For those of you possibly entering the series for the first time with The Lost Legacy, I advise you not to. Not because you won’t enjoy the gameplay or appreciate the story, but because knowing these characters in advance brings so much more to the table.
In any case, The Lost Legacy takes the the western Ghats of India, where Frazer is in search of the legendary tusk of Ganesh. As far as character goes, Chloe is a fantastic choice as the lead protagonist. She’s a safe choice, easy to like for newcomers, and interesting enough that veterans of the series will want to know more.
Though Chloe is the playable protagonist, much of the game is spent with a sidekick that fans of Uncharted 4 are probably also very familiar with: Nadine Ross. Nadine might feel like an odd supporting character given that spent much of Uncharted 4 trying to kill Nathan Drake and his brother Sam, but The Lost Legacy allows Naughty Dog to expand upon her story and introduce you to new facets of her character, most notably her vulnerability and fear of trusting and relying on anyone other than herself. It’s Nadine’s past history that also makes the second half of the game particularly enjoyable, especially for those who are familiar with her.
They dynamic between Chloe and Nadine is easily the most impressive aspect of the game. It very much reminds me of The Last of Us: Left Behind. The experiences shared between Chloe and Nadine make for some memorable moments and some brilliant character development.
At this point, I’d like to think we’re all over the idea of a “strong female protagonist.” We’re seeing it more and more, and I consider it a good thing that it’s no longer a foreign idea to many. But even Naughty Dog, for as good as they are with storytelling and character development, sometimes fall victim to the stereotypical tropes of introducing a strong female protagonist. Although most of the dialogue in the game is strong, there were a few times I found myself rolling my eyes to blatant pandering lines.
As far as gameplay is concerned, it’s another Uncharted game. Predictable (but enjoyable) story, gorgeous visuals, giant set pieces, explosive sequences, and functional shooting mechanics. Sprinkled in between all of that are fairly simple puzzles that encourage you to explore the lush landscape of India. I was a bit surprised to see that the middle portion of the game expanded into an open-world of sorts, though admittedly there’s not much to do other than drive to a specific location to hunt for a collectible. The third act returns to the linear action-packed blockbuster we’re used to with Uncharted franchise, and it’s no surprise that it is the game’s strongest part.
Depending on whether or not you take up the challenge of solving all the puzzles and finding all the collectibles, The Lost Legacy will run you anywhere from 6 ½ to 10 hours. That’s noticabely shorter than past Uncharted games, but that’s reflected in the price. After all, the game was originally announced as DLC before becoming a full-fledged release.
Despite the absence of Nathan Drake, this is still very much an Uncharted game, and it hasn’t lost a beat. From a gameplay perspective, it doesn’t do much to revolutionize the Uncharted series, but perhaps it doesn’t have to. With The Lost Legacy, Naughty Dog has accomplished something much bigger: successfully carrying on the torch from Nathan Drake. Whether or not the inevitable next Uncharted game will see the return of Chloe remains to be seen, but it’s clear Naughty Dog will have no problem replacing one of PlayStation’s biggest faces.