Just a quick note before I start this review, it will contain no spoilers whatsoever. This review will purely focus on the game’s content which includes the story, graphics, gameplay, and sound. So now that I have that out of the way I have to admit something I am rather new to the franchise, I only recently completed the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection and Uncharted 4 on PlayStation 4. So I did not “grow up” with the franchise as many other gamers have, rather I experienced the entire franchise within a span of a few months. Not that lessons the experience at all, as I got to experience in my mind one of the best action-adventure franchises in video game history.
When I first popped in the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection disc and started playing the first game it blew my mind with its characters intense gameplay and amazing story telling, and this was a game which is almost 10 years old now! Uncharted 2 managed to top the first game in ways unimaginable, while Uncharted 4 continued to push the franchises boundaries. And just when you think that Naughty Dog could not possibly top those four games along comes Uncharted: The Lost Legacy. With Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Naughty Dog has delivered something so rare in this industry of milked franchises.
And what did they deliver exactly? They took something that was originally planned as DLC for Uncharted 4 and practically turned it into a standalone game starring arguably two of the best female supporting cast members in video game history namely Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross. Chloe Frazer finds herself in India as she enlists the services of mercenary Nadine Ross to help her find the legendary tusk of Ganesh, son of Hindu god Shiva, who lost the tusk while defending his father’s temple, a search that previously consumed Chloe’s own father before eventually claiming his life at the hands of bandits.
I really had my doubts about Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross being able to take the torch from Nathan Drake because those are some pretty big adventure boots to fill. But these two proved themselves worthy of the franchises name. Naughty Dog has also clearly demonstrated that with lots of hard work and good story telling that a franchise can continue without its iconic lead. The personality of Chloe Frazer the roguish treasure hunter we first met in the second Uncharted game perfectly balances out that of Nadine Ross, the ex-mercenary who used to run the military outfit called “Shoreline” and who we first got to meet in Uncharted 4.
One of The Lost Legacy’s greatest achievements is the way that it goes to great lengths and depths to make you understand what drives these two women. The writing and voice acting in The Lost Legacy were of such high levels that I even started sympathizing with Nadine, which was no mean feat. When you consider I spent most of Uncharted 4 hating her and wanting her dead. I really take my hat off to The Lost Legacy’s writers, Josh Scherr and Shaun Escayg, you can clearly see they have an amazing understanding of how real people assess and react to emotional situations, especially when they have so much emotional baggage as these two ladies have.
To be able to read that level of emotion from a video game characters face, rather than having them spell out their feelings through voice acting, is an extremely rare achievement in video games. Naughty Dog has always set the bar high for cinematic storytelling in video games (The Last of Us comes to mind). But the digital performances in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, combined with the talented actors providing the characters voices and movements set the bar for the industry standard even higher than I ever could have imagined. The same amount of perfection and polish that went into the motion capture also went into the rest of the game.
I lost count the number of times I just randomly stopped during the game to gawk at the amazing scenery. You might think that you have seen jungles, exotic ruins and amazing scenery in Uncharted 4. Then you haven’t seen them rendered in The Lost Legacy, just when you think Naughty Dog could not raise the bar any higher they lift it a couple of meters higher. I highly recommend that you play this game on a TV that supports 4K and HDR, anything less and you will be missing out on some of the most stunning visuals Sony and Naughty Dog has to offer. And by now Naughty Dog has polished Uncharted’s game mechanics to a brilliant shine.
The best encounters in The Lost Legacy plays out like a chess game, with you attempting to find a route to outflank your enemies and gain the upper hand. On the harder difficulty levels you end up dying more than once, but instead of it becoming frustrating like other games it becomes more of a challenge, to see what other route or methods you can use to out-fight and outflank your enemies. Having said that there are a few minor niggles I found in the game. The shooting and aiming can be “floaty” like Uncharted 4, but that can be fixed with a few control adjustments. There are some new gameplay elements to be found in The Lost Legacy, which we did not see in Uncharted 4.
Nadine and Chloe have some great tag combat in melee, gun combat or when just sneaking around. There are a number of different combinations they can pull off at random depending on the situation they find themselves in. Chloe also has the ability to pick locks, which comes in handy when opening doors and crates. So make sure you open and doors and crates you might find as it gives Chloe the ability to upgrade her arsenal and stay well equipped for any fights she and Nadine encounter during the course of the game. While The Lost Legacy has plenty of puzzles don’t expect them to be of the same difficulty level as the previous games, but having said that they are still a challenge to complete and figure out.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy had a lot to live up to given the pedigree of the Uncharted franchise, but I can gladly say it lives up to and in some aspects even surpasses the franchise in some aspects. The Lost Legacy takes all of the positives aspects of the franchise rolls them into one and creates a whole new entry into the franchise. The writing is as sharp and on point as ever, and Claudia Black and Laura Bailey do incredible jobs as Chloe Frazer and Nadine Ross, respectively. With Usman Ally as Asav getting a special mention, Ally’s performance is extremely frightening at times, but he never goes over the top with it. Add to that some of the most amazing action set pieces I have ever seen in a game, leaving one to only hope that this isn’t the end of Chloe’s and Nadine’s adventures.