I was thrilled when Sony unveiled Uncharted: The Lost Legacy at last year’s PlayStation Experience event. Naughty Dog has always said that they’d release some form of single player DLC following the release of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, a game I’d called “A beautiful bookend to the adventures of Nathan Drake” upon its release last year. My excitement peaked when it was revealed that the lead character would be Uncharted 2: Among Thieves’ sass-machine Chloe Frazer, a particular favourite of mine. Following the reveal, Naughty Dog divulged that the length of this new sans-Drake adventure would be roughly double the length of The Last Of Us’ Left Behind DLC and would have a physical release as well as a digital one.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy follows Frazer and former Shoreline leader Nadine Ross in search of The Tusk Of Ganesh, setting the pair on an adventure steeped in Hindu mythology. The game treads a familiar path in terms of gameplay with equal parts combat, exploration and puzzle solving. In a departure from its predecessors, all of The Lost Legacy’s action takes place in one country, namely a civil war-torn India; though as the seventh largest country in the world there’s still a wide variety of scenery to behold. Of course, things are never straightforward in the Uncharted universe, as antagonist Asav and his band of insurgents are also on the hunt for the ancient (and priceless) artifact.
Although the vistas are different, a few of the scenes and action sequences look and feel eerily close to some of A Thief’s End’s big set pieces. Naughty Dog has once again raised the bar in terms of visuals with The Lost Legacy, as the environments are equally as, if not more impressive than A Thief’s End. The game begins in the dank streets of the slums of an unnamed city, strewn with litter and garish neon signs. Further on, Chloe and Nadine make their way to the Western Ghats mountain ranges which is all clear blue skies, wide open spaces, and ancient ruins. You’re regularly given the chance to stop and admire the views as Chloe whips out her smartphone to take snaps of scenery, statues, and wildlife at certain pre-defined photo opportunities.
At the outset of the game, Chloe’s moral compass is a little off centre compared to Nate’s – she’s not averse to taking liberties with the safety of those around her, regardless of being friend or foe. Chloe and Nadine have an uneasy alliance which blossoms into friendship. As ever Naughty Dog has taken the time to craft an intriguing story, strengthened by amazing vocal and mo-cap performance by Claudia Black (Frazer), Laura Bailey (Ross) and Usman Ally (Asav); all of the dialogue is delivered with gusto and is sprinkled with one-liners and banter that the series is known for as Frazer and Ross’ trust in each other grows ever so gradually over the course of the game.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy also does an excellent job of expanding on Chloe and Nadine’s respective backgrounds, giving players a greater insight into what motivates them. Asav is portrayed as a narcissistic warlord and to my mind comes across as more nefarious than all four of the series’ previous antagonists combined. Without giving away too much of the plot, it’s easy to compare Asav to Heath Ledger’s version of The Joker in The Dark Knight, as both ultimately thrive on anarchy.
As The Lost Legacy is essentially a spin-off of A Thief’s End, the game uses a lot of the same gameplay mechanics. The grappling hook and pick make their return, allowing Chloe to cross vast chasms and climb otherwise unscalable rock faces. The improved stealth sequences, giving you the ability to tag enemies to better plan your assault also makes a comeback. Frazer and Ross can also team up in melee combat in order to take down enemies, and much like the Drake brothers did, will help each other out both in combat and platforming sequences.
Despite all these familiar features, Chloe brings her own set of skills to the table. Being a self-confessed thief, Chloe’s also a dab hand with a lock pick. Picking locks trigger a mini-game as the camera switches to a three-quarter perspective of Chloe and the lock. Rotating the left thumbstick until the sweet spot is found, signified with the on screen icon turning green and a slight vibration of the controller, forces the lock to open. Chloe can pick up lumps of C4 in addition to grenades, which can then be lobbed at enemies, vehicles and structurally weak walls, albeit with a player controlled detonation by pressing down on the D-pad.
Chloe can pick up golden weapons such as silenced pistols and miniguns which pack more of a wallop than standard firearms. These more specialised weapons can be acquired either by raiding the insurgents’ arms caches or defeating certain enemies, though it’s wise to keep an eye on your ammo as the chances of finding more for that particular weapon before you expend your clip are slim. As with all other Uncharted games, Chloe is able to carry a sidearm, long and up to four explosives at any one time.
An Uncharted game would be incomplete without having puzzles to solve, and The Lost Legacy is no exception. Thinking outside of the box or an ability to look at the bigger picture are needed to work out some of the trickier puzzles, although if you are struggling Nadine will offer her thoughts on what’s required to overcome them should you fail your first few attempts. Anyone who’s played any of Lost Legacy’s predecessors will be instantly familiar with the types of puzzles on offer – pull levers or step on switches in a certain order or rotate puzzle pieces so that they make an overall picture.
During the duo’s travels, they come across a set of optional mini “tombs”. Completing these areas yield a series of discs that are required to obtain a desirable artifact. This side quest is well worth having a go at as it extends the game’s lifespan by about an hour or so and the ultimate prize is invaluable to anyone who enjoys tracking down the bonus treasures scattered throughout the Uncharted games. The areas where the discs are found are similar to the tombs found in the Tomb Raider series, as they’re often hidden away and involve a mixture of platforming and puzzle solving elements. I personally enjoyed completing them and at no time did I ever feel like the mission was a chore.
Whilst Uncharted: The Lost Legacy doesn’t really break any new ground, it has just enough tricks up its sleeve to feel fresh. The absence of Drake doesn’t detract from the game as Chloe is just as capable of filling his adventuring boots. The game clocks in at around ten hours-worth of gameplay from the opening scene to closing credits, including completing the side mission. There are also just enough tongue-in-cheek nods to past events to keep fans amused, whilst at the same time being accessible to newcomers as an entry-level into the series. I loved Naughty Dog’s decision to base the game on Hindu mythology and enjoyed learning about a culture that I know very little about. I truly hope that this is the start of a new chapter in the series, as much as I enjoyed getting to know Chloe and Nadine a little better and was genuinely engrossed in their adventures; I did feel that the game left me wanting more.