When Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End came out last year it was an epic, emotional goodbye to one of video game’s most-beloved protagonists, Nathan Drake. It was also, it has to be said, frequently a little redundant, retreading familiar territory – both in the narrative and gameplay. This isn’t a bad thing when we’re talking about a series as compulsively enjoyable as the Uncharted games, but it did mean developer Naughty Dog needed to bring something new to the table with standalone adventure, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy.
So did they succeed? Yes and no. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy features one obvious and major change: new protagonists. This time around players will be thrust into the shoes of fan-favourite character, Chloe Frazer (Claudia Black) – the smart arse Aussie/Indian treasure hunter who has teamed up with Nadine Ross (Laura Bailey) – the South African former mercenary and general bad arse.
This classic funny/square team up is the biggest joy of The Lost Legacy. Experiencing the growing friendship between Chloe and Nadine as they explore India, looking for the legendary tusk of Ganesh, is well-written and quite emotional at times. Chloe gets to be more than just a quip-machine and Nadine has layers only hinted at in her time in Uncharted 4. During the 6-8 hour playthrough I found myself genuinely invested in these two characters and their relationship to one another.
I was, however, somewhat less invested in the combat. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy features combat that is basically a cut and paste of Uncharted 4, which isn’t bad – but hasn’t improved. The gunplay still feels a tad imprecise and taking cover can be fiddly. That’s not to say there aren’t spectacular moments – they’re numerous – but in Uncharted’s quest to be an action blockbuster you can play, some of the finer gameplay touches are lost.
That said, the exploration and treasure hunting is excellent as always. Descending into Indian ruins is as atmospheric and intriguing as anything Uncharted has ever offered. The puzzles are clever enough to be a challenge but not obtuse enough to cause any real frustration. The plot moves along at a fair clip – and features one particularly enjoyable open area where you can tackle objectives at your own pace, unlocking optional secrets and even meeting some friendly monkeys! Nadine loves monkeys, you guys.
Ultimately Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a leaner, more-focused standalone expansion worthy of the series’ reputation. The graphics are utterly, insanely gorgeous, the lead characters believable and likable and the story has enough twists and turns to keep you engaged for the duration.