At no point in The Lost Legacy did I think I was playing anything other than an Uncharted game. At the same time, I never felt that Nathan Drake was missing. That is probably the biggest compliment you can pay to this game.
The question before release was: would Uncharted work without Nathan Drake? The answer? Yes. In fact, it flourishes.
If you’ve played Uncharted: A Thief’s End, then The Lost Legacy won’t feel like anything new. This DLC-come-standalone adventure starring series sidekick, Chloe Frazier, and Uncharted 4 antagonist, Nadine Ross, seems very similar to the previous game. On the search for the mythical Tusk Of Ganesh, these two very much embark on a Nathan Drake-style adventure.
The best way to think of The Lost Legacy is a refinement on Uncharted 4. Gunplay is very similar to its predecessor. Fighting waves of slightly diverse enemies with a multitude of weapons feels different with every encounter. New ways to tackle an encounter, be that sneakily or using your structural surroundings to outflank your enemies, keep every encounter fresh, even when repeating them after death. You rarely find yourself hiding behind a low wall for very long, combat is dynamic fast paced and makes use of the mechanics the game introduces, like useful weapons being hidden away for the players to find and utilise during a heavy firefight. Essentially, though, it is very similar to Uncharted 4.
However, while it refined some, The Lost Legacy wasn’t afraid of ditching gameplay mechanics that were infuriating in Uncharted 4. Winching is down to a minimum–which we are grateful for–and crates are nowhere to be seen. In fact, they reference players’ annoyance with crates, in-game. Early on in the game, Chloe pushes a crate to the floor below, with the intention of using it as a climbing tool, and it crashes through the floor taking Nadine with it. Nadine’s response is to, “avoid crates from now on”!
Puzzles too are freshened up, with new and more elaborate puzzle’s being introduced. Solutions to these often force you to think. Usually, the answers are in plain sight, but you are forced to stop, look and take stock, rather than just randomly press or push things until you get it right.
As is a series staple, the Western Ghats of India is a jungle–Naughty Dog’s fascination with jungles is now a running joke for the series. Like the gameplay, India is a subtle revision on Uncharted 4’s Madagascar–lush, green, tall and perfect for photo-mode. This can lead to a sense of Deja Vu when first entering the Western Ghats, but the area feels diverse enough to not be stale. The new open-world area is enlarged and pocketed with structures to explore and climb, and enemy encampments to fight. It’s not a traditional open-world, it doesn’t have a myriad of things to do, for example, and there aren’t exactly an abundance reasons to explore, but it makes a nice change of pace, sandwiched in between traditional linear portions of the game.
As a side-effect of the change of pace, the set-pieces benefit, feeling more intense and more of a spectacle than other games in the series. Whether it’s running over the rooftops under heavy fire or climbing huge structures that are falling apart as you go, in The Lost Legacy their intensity is ratcheted up thanks to their relative scarcity.
Without doubt, the reason to buy this game, though, is the characters. Taking a side-character and an antagonist from previous games and throwing them together could have been a disaster, but through a combination of incredible writing and brilliant acting, it works. Watching Nadine and Chloe’s dynamic grow as they learn about each other really left a sense of realism. None of the conversations felt forced or wooden. Instead, these two passed the time by organically getting to know each other. It felt completely genuine.
As the game progresses, we see them find common bonds. Their motivations for the “job” they are embarked on may differ, and their own way of working may differ, but they find common ground as the game progresses. Their banter outside of a cutscene, where you are walking or driving, is a particular highlight. In some games, during the gameplay, you can switch off and do other things. But in The Lost Legacy, to get the full picture, you have to concentrate and listen because that is where a lot of the character exposition done.
The Lost Legacy doesn’t bring anything new to the Uncharted series. It’s systems, puzzles, fighting and set-pieces, have instead been refined and updated. However, what makes it flourish is its characters, writing and setting. It has its problems; the open-world feels shoe-horned, the Jeep is a pig to drive, and it could bring on series fatigue for some. The Lost Legacy, though, took all the brilliance of the Nathan Drake part of the series and switched it out for Chloe and Nadine, and it is them, and their stories and interactions, that you should buy this game for.