One glaring omission from the Uncharted world during the main four games of the series was Chloe Frazer. She first appeared in Uncharted 2 as a central character and moved on and also appeared during the first few chapters of Uncharted 3. During the otherwise astounding Uncharted 4, Chloe was reduced to merely a mention that was done in passing. Her story with Nathan Drake was clearly finished, but the quick-witted and charismatic thief lacked a proper send off. However, with Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, the game lives up to its name by providing Chloe with the story that she deserved and fully establishing her legacy.
One can be mistaken to think that The Lost Legacy is a simple spin-off that may not have the same explosive power as a larger game would, but that would be a gross misrepresentation. Make no mistake, this is a fully-fledged game that will take you around eight hours to complete and is perfectly capable of being a standalone experience. The only difference is that the game was made entirely with the Uncharted 4 framework and the two games play almost identically. However, The Lost Legacy does more than enough to make itself stand out from its identical predecessor.
Thick as thieves
The Lost Legacy features Chloe Frazer in the leading role with Nadine Ross as her support. Chloe is on a quest for the Tusk of Ganesha, an ancient Hindu artefact that is said to be from the god himself. Her journey is a perilous one as a power-hungry warmonger called Asav also wants the tusk for his own personal gain. Because of that, Chloe needs to enlist the help of an unexpected person, Nadine Ross. The former paramilitary commander accompanies Chloe on her adventure to find the tusk before Asav and they plan to split the rewards between the two of them.
The narrative evolves from being superficial, where the duo is just looking for treasure, to becoming immensely personal.
Obviously, Chloe and Nadine have personalities that exist on opposite ends of the spectrum with Chloe being a charismatic joker and Nadine being a by-the-book disciplinarian. This causes the characters to be wary of each other, but also creates a space where their relationship can grow throughout this dangerous adventure. The dynamic between the two is the biggest focal point outside of the religious pretext that frames the story. This relationship is done very well as conflict predictably arises, but they also start to learn more about each other and their own individual stories and motivations.
Chloe and Nadine have some fantastic back and forth rejoinders as you are exploring the world and you soon start to grow attached to this unlikely couple. The narrative evolves from being superficial, where the duo is just looking for treasure, to becoming immensely personal. This dynamic makes for such a compelling experience that it rivals some of the other games in the series rather easily. The central antagonist, Asav, is both fearsome and believable. He’s cunning, vindictive and evokes a sinister charm around him. Among the other antagonists in the series, Asav ranks rather comfortably among the top of them. There’s a lot more depth to him than he initially lets on and it’s also satisfying to see his arc reach its conclusion.
The India-based setting is also extremely well realised with all of the Hindu legends being meticulously researched and implemented. From the massive statues you’ll encounter to the architectural structures, the Indian aesthetic never ceases to be interesting and it’s also another way in which this game crafts its own identity masterfully. The writing is incredibly solid and the voice acting still has Naughty Dog’s signature level of quality. There were a few instances where the interactions between Nadine and Chloe felt a little forced, but those instances were few and far between.
A familiar adventure
There isn’t much to say about the gameplay that hasn’t been said a thousand times over already. Since it uses the Uncharted 4 engine and subsequently the same gameplay system, this is a very traditional Uncharted experience. If you have played Uncharted 4, you will be instantly familiar with all the systems and gameplay features. That is by no means a condemnation as Uncharted 4 was the epitome of the Uncharted formula and there wasn’t much room for improvement.
There are some new features such as Chloe’s lockpicking ability which is just a simple stick mini-game that requires you to find the sweet spots in a lock through means of controller vibration. These locks usually open crates with special weapons or gain you access to new areas. It’s not a game-changing feature, but it gives Chloe a unique skill of her own that Nathan Drake did not possess.
There is also an open-world section during the very beginning of the game where you are given free reign to travel where you want to go and they also introduce small puzzle sections which allow you to get a very useful item for later in the game. This open-world section was wonderfully realised as you can drive where you please and in turn, you can choose how you want to handle encounters. You also get different pieces of dialogue depending on what you do and in what order which was pretty interesting.
Chloe’s story is one that has to be experienced.
Puzzles have always been a mainstay in the Uncharted universe and they’re still very much present in The Lost Legacy. However, I’ve noticed how the puzzles in this game were much more complex than what I was used to from the series. They felt more nuanced and more complex to solve than previous efforts. They never err’d on the side of frustration, thankfully, as they can be figured out rather easily if you give them some thought, but overall the puzzles were very satisfying this time around.
The combat still feels as fluid as ever and the platforming still enforces why the Uncharted series is on top of the game when it comes to action-adventure titles. Because you are playing as someone other than Nathan Drake, it does have an element of freshness associated with it, even if a lot of it is based on the same systems. It’s a typical example of not fixing something that isn’t broken.
Possibly the most standout feature is just how awe-inspiring this game is to witness. If you thought Uncharted 4 was beautiful, you will be astounded by what is achieved in The Lost Legacy. Vistas that will make you want to snap pictures for days, massive structures that really give you a sense of their scale and beautifully crafted environments with such meticulous attention to detail that you can potentially walk around for hours in order to take everything in. I didn’t even want to use very specific pictures in this review because you need to experience them for yourself and be as awe-struck as I was. Combine this with the excellent sound design that we already heard in Uncharted 4 and you have an experience worthy of being a feature film just from look and sound alone.
Let me just reiterate what I’ve said at the beginning of this review: Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is completely a standalone experience and should be respected as such. It’s easy to tie it down as a derivative since there aren’t many changes outside of setting and playable character, but the experience they crafted is more than capable of standing by itself. Think of it as a sequel rather than a spin-off and you can conceptualise it easier. It also makes recommending this game easy since if you enjoyed Uncharted 4 or any games in the franchise, you will undoubtedly enjoy this. Chloe’s story is one that has to be experienced and there isn’t much I can say that was glaringly wrong with the eight hours I spent with the game.
Also worth noting is that the game comes with the Uncharted 4 multiplayer which includes the new Survival Arena that allows you to play a survival mode with all kinds of crazy new enemies with special powers and fight your way with two others through waves. The versus multiplayer and previous Survival Challenges are also included, just in case you needed even more value for your money.
If you’re looking for an incredibly solid Uncharted adventure with a new face and a new treasure to chase, you don’t even have to think twice.