It goes without saying that in order to receive the full effect of the experience, one mustn’t leap into Uncharted: The Lost Legacy without first working through its predecessors—and let’s be honest, no one’s arm should have to be twisted in this case. Naughty Dog’s spectacular adventure series has reached its unwanted, yet satisfying end, with a finale that was delivered on a much more deserving platform than that of the ending of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Following the adventures of Nathan Drake and his colorful friends as they traveled the world in search of treasure, uncovering lost mysteries, and thwarting villains—some devious, some obnoxious, some…trust-fundy, green-with-envy; The Lost Legacy feels like a grandeur encore subsequent some neverending applause after Uncharted 4’s curtains closed. The standalone adventure, which can indeed very well be played alone, is packed with beautiful landscapes and fascinating monuments, and is dripping with allure that incites desires to travel to India—it’s also peppered with anecdotes and references to previous Uncharted adventures, the humor and fond memories of which would be lost on anyone who opts to dive into The Lost Legacy without first visiting the previous epic adventures.
The Lost Legacy marks the return of Chloe Frazer, an Indian-Australian treasure hunter and thief-for-hire, last seen in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, as she partners with Nadine Ross, former leader of the paramilitary organization, Shoreline, and secondary antagonist of Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End. Chloe and Nadine are in India, following the trail left behind by Chloe’s father, as they search for the fabled Tusk of Ganesha—Indian mythology suggests that Ganesha lost his tusk to Parashurama after being struck with an axe given to the latter by Shiva; the Tusk of Ganesha is a pivotal artifact of Indian culture. From the beginning, the relationship between Chloe and Nadine, two opposite ends of a spectrum, is an unlikely but remarkable dynamic that grows more and more fascinating as the journey unfolds; with two side characters from previous games given a spotlight in this epic adventure, it really adds a fantastic level of diversity in the franchise, and not once did it feel out of place. Well, admittedly, initially it did feel a bit like The Last of Us: Left Behind meets Tomb Raider, it’s well known that Uncharted has always managed to stand firmly on its own two feet and bring innovation and originality to the table, despite its similarities to other things. Looking back, though, I still find it quite interesting that Chloe and Nadine are strongly reminiscent of Ellie and Riley, respectively, in both personality (sort of) and hairstyle.
The Lost Legacy is indeed reminiscent of Uncharted 4 in more ways than one, but the similarities are minimal when taking into account the refreshing locale and different, diverse protagonists this time around. The Lost Legacy manages to take cues and mechanics from its father installment and work and mold them into methodologies that brilliantly fit the setting and situation. It’s worth mentioning that the experience is almost self-aware and diverts from the expected outcome, peppering some elements of variation into it. For example, there’s a key moment early in the game where our heroes need to find something to climb on, and oh look—a crate, just like in Uncharted 4! The Lost Legacy becomes almost self-referential when the crate smashes through the floor and one of them comments, “No more crates.” As consequence, those boring and tedious crate-finding segments are rid from the remainder of the seven-hour campaign. There’s some additional segments of similarity, including a rope swinging incident, for instance. The remaining borrowed mechanics are essentially recreated to be seemingly less ubiquitous and as such, are often overlooked.
One of the more noteworthy inclusions this time around comes by way of collectibles, as usual, but something different; there are some key vistas in which when prompted, Chloe can whip out her smartphone and snap some shots of the gorgeous vistas around India. Naturally, these charming anecdotes can be viewed from the bonuses section of the menu, like every other collectible found in the adventure. Chloe’s got the right idea, because I found myself all too often using the generous in-game photo mode to capture some remarkable moments and scenery. When it’s all said and done, it’s safe to say I spent as much time snapping screenshots as I spent actually playing through the adventure. I now have a heap of desktop background-worthy imagery; no regrets. It’s something that Naughty Dog does remarkably well, and that’s creating this awe-inspiring and jaw-dropping environments that even in the significant distance are impossibly detailed and absolutely gorgeous; I almost want to travel to India, but looking back, I’ll be highly disappointed knowing that the country won’t look the way it did in The Lost Legacy.
It wouldn’t be a solid finale without charming anecdotes and key references to past memories and pivotal moments in the Uncharted lore, and The Lost Legacy has quite a few of them. The camaraderie of Chloe and Nadine is a magnificent dynamic in itself, but the dialogue between the two is truly terrific, especially when they make a point to recall elements of their past; key points in which the player will have laugh-out-loud responses or lightbulb moments in memory of history. Some important events and characters are mentioned, with Chloe and Nadine’s commentary adding a touch of both insight and humor. We learn more about these two diverse characters and the depth of their personalities and compulsion, truly discovering why it is that they do what they do. It’s a dynamic I didn’t think I’d get to explore with two side characters that I found myself captivated by soon after their respective introductions in the series. With these worthy mentions incorporated into the narrative, The Lost Legacy indeed feels like a well-rounded wrap-up of the franchise and helps achieve some solid closure and answers some previously unanswered questions on both sides. It’s such an element that propels the narrative forward and despite some familiar territory, helps The Lost Legacy achieve its own pedestal to stand proudly on.
It goes without saying that The Lost Legacy has its fair share of cinematic action sequences that are really propelled forward by the dynamic of Chloe and Nadine; while those cinematic moments are on-the-whole scripted, it doesn’t alter the level of mind-blowing brilliance in which they’re delivered. In previous Uncharted adventures, hand-to-hand combat with your companion (i.e. Nathan and Sam) was pretty cool, it has nothing on the significant explosive duo of Chloe and Nadine; the pair can truly deliver some unparalleled moments of pure badassery. There are some moments in which The Lost Legacy switches it up and gives us an open-world exploration hub, much larger than that of Madagascar in Uncharted 4, but it’s unfortunately lacking in things to do and in turn, results in it being somewhat boring at times; it is, however, redeemed by the level of beauty and initial feelings of intrigue and wonder, as you navigate the roaring plains. I think the one particular area in which The Lost Legacy falters is within scene transitions; there are a small handful of moments that could have added a bit more gameplay here and there, but instead, the scene jumps ahead to the next segment from one cutscene to another, almost as if someone hit the ‘skip scene’ button, which is an awful shame.
Like previous Uncharted adventures, upon completion, players are able to use the in-game currency earned by discovering hidden treasures to purchase some bonuses ranging from character outfits, instant-unlock weapons, gameplay visuals (8-bit, Cell-Shaded, etc.) and more. While some are purely cosmetic, some allow for some game-changing dynamics, such as being able to equip the most powerful weapons with infinite ammunition, which adds a layer of arcade-style fun into the mix. I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with some of the cosmetic bonuses; as Nadine has a wealth of varied skins from Uncharted 4, Naughty Dog missed the mark with adding some classic skins for Chloe and instead, opted for some of their more whimsical appearances cut-and-pasted from the Uncharted multiplayer component—and something tells me that we won’t see Chloe’s classic outfits in a future update, either. While it is indeed a minimally unfortunate downside, I can’t help but feel a little shafted in that regard.
The Lost Legacy serves as one final indicator as to what made the Uncharted series so successful and well-loved since day one, ten years ago. The franchise always managed to stand on its own gilded pedestal and deliver unbelievable storytelling and an amazing cast of colorful and well rounded characters that only contribute substantially to the overall experience. The Lost Legacy brings the Uncharted series to a gratifying end, and goes out with an absolute bang. I’m truly saddened to say farewell to an amazing series, but if Naughty Dog decides to start a second series, please, for the love of all things holy, let it be with Chloe and Nadine.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is available now, exclusively on PlayStation 4.