After Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End launched back in spring 2016, the folks at Naughty Dog planned on adding an expansion similar to what the team did for The Last of Us and its Left Behind DLC. But once the team started digging their heels in developing the Uncharted 4 expansion, which would star treasure hunter Chloe Frazer and mercenary Nadine Ross, they realized that the game was becoming a bit bigger than an expansion and was turning into a full-fledged game. Thus Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
While Uncharted: The Lost Legacy references prior Uncharted games, it is a standalone story and it isn’t absolutely necessary to play the earlier games. The game follows Chloe (who you control) and Nadine as they traverse the Indian wilderness in search of the Tusk of Ganesh, an artifact that is also wanted by Indian rebels led by a new villain named Asav.
For those who never played Uncharted, or just forgot who was who, Chloe Frazer was Nathan Drake’s partner and love interest in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves and the working relationship continued in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception until midway through the game she backed out of the mission to take care of another character. Chloe doesn’t appear in Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End, but it is where we meet Nadine Ross, the leader of a South African private military company called Shoreline. She and her mercenaries are hired to help the story’s main villain find a treasure. Before the game ends, however, Ross became tired of the drama between Drake and her boss and left. We’re not sure where she ended up.
In Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Chloe hires Nadine to help her find the Tusk of Ganesh with the plan of splitting the profit from the valuable artifact 50-50. In the midst of an Indian civil war, the duo dive into India’s wilderness to get the artifact before Asav and the rebels find it. While the story in itself isn’t that imaginative, getting to know Chloe and Nadine throughout the process was satisfying. Watching the two characters with different backgrounds, perspectives, and ideas partner up and build a friendship while overcoming a common enemy was fun to experience. In other words, just watching two kick-ass women having each other’s back in an ultra-action-packed game was a blast.
Aside from the game starring two women of color, Chloe is Indian-Australian and Nadine is South African (albeit both voiced by white women), there isn’t anything terribly innovative or new in The Lost Legacy in terms of gameplay. Instead, it’s a continuation of everything we loved about Uncharted 4 and the franchise as a whole. The gameplay is still a great mix of cover-based shooting, platforming, and puzzle-solving with clever dialogue between two likable characters. One of the noticeable aspects of the gameplay, however, is how Chloe and Nadine work together throughout the journey. In melee combat, Nadine will come over and help you finish off a goon and you’re able to help her if she’s going toe-to-toe with a baddie. Also, when in stealth, if you’re slow to take out an enemy, Nadine will flank him and wring his neck without raising suspicion.
The game’s environment, as with most Naughty Dog developed games, looks absolutely stunning. Whether the characters are running across rooftops in a city or exploring Indian jungles and ancient ruins, the scenery is incredibly immersive and gorgeous. So much so, that I was considering taking a trip to India to look for forgotten ruins. The game’s lush foliage, numerous waterfalls, and mountaintop views are breathtaking. Kudos to the development team for making one of the best looking games on PlayStation 4.
One aspect of The Lost Legacy that really hasn’t been in past Uncharted games is the Western Ghats area. Uncharted games have mostly been a linear experience but the Western Ghats is a small open world. The area allows Chloe and Nadine to drive around in a jeep and refer to a map to explore different sites and ruins to collect artifacts and solve puzzles to move the story forward. While the puzzles aren’t that difficult to solve, there was one platform puzzle (actually, one of three!) that had me on edge every time I took a step because the wrong choice could bring a swinging axe on top of my dome.
The optional task in the Western Ghats is the collecting of tokens spread out across the area. Collecting these tokens reminded me of the optional tombs in the rebooted Tomb Raider games. Some of the tokens are just sitting there in a tunnel or cave, others are hidden through secret passages or behind puzzles. Every one of the tokens is protected by band of rebels. Once you collect all the tokens, you take them to one final contraption that gives you a special item that becomes pretty useful for the rest of the game. Once you complete these tasks in the Western Ghats, Chloe and Nadine continue forward with the linear story.
If there was anything I didn’t like about The Lost Legacy, it’s what I call “busy work.” The menial tasks in the game that seem to just prolong the game and not offer anything in terms of reveals or moving the story forward. There was one instance in the game where you’re tasked with moving a cart up a hill so it can roll down to crash through a wall. Once you’re on the other side of the wall, you find that the ladder to get to the next area is broken so you have to back to the other side of the wall and push the cart back to where it was, and use it to climb to the next area. It just feels unnecessary. There were a handful of these tasks sprinkled through the game and I rather have a revelation of some sorts to reward my hard work. That cart was heavy, man!
Other than that, I enjoyed the game. The fast-paced, adrenaline pumping action sequences that we’ve all come to love from Uncharted games are aplenty, and specifically, the game’s finale might be one of the best Uncharted sequences in the franchise.
There are nine chapters in the campaign and I completed it in about eight hours. I did quite a bit of exploring so I’m sure some players might be able to complete it in six. The short campaign is why the game is less expensive, at $39.99, than previous Uncharted games.
With the game, you get Uncharted 4’s entire multiplayer suite, which includes six different modes of competitive multiplayer, co-op survival mode, and the brand new Survival Arena Mode. The difference with Survival Arena Mode is that each of the 10 waves has a different type of modifier. One wave could require only headshots to kill an enemy. Another wave might require you to stay in a specific area to get kills. And yet another wave has you battling only one type of enemy but rewards you for using explosives. Once you reach the 10th wave, you take on a Warlord boss who likes to teleport into different bodies across the map and prove difficult to kill without a focused team effort. While I’m not a huge enthusiast of Uncharted’s multiplayer, I did have a good time playing Arena Survival Mode.
The multiplayer also comes with Asav as a playable character and different skins for Chloe, Nadine and the rest of The Lost Legacy characters.