Can Chloe Frazer really fill Nathan Drake’s shoes? We take a look at Uncharted: The Lost Legacy…

Last year Naughty Dog unleashed Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End on the world and in doing so raised the bar on what the PlayStation 4 was capable of. While the Uncharted franchise has always delivered class leading storylines with first rate voice acting, Uncharted 4 was also visually staggering.

When you’ve been playing videogames for as long as I have, it’s rare to be truly blown away by anything, but last year I found myself staring in awe at the sheer beauty of Uncharted 4. And it wasn’t just the location backdrops that were so impressive, the character animations and environmental effects all added to the feeling of immersion, and created one of the most memorable gaming experiences of recent years.

The only truly disappointing thing about Uncharted 4 was that it would be the final chapter of Nathan Drake’s story – he was hanging up his guns for real this time, not just telling Elena he was doing so and going back on his word. No, this time Nate was out for good, which was sad news for any Uncharted fan, especially after experiencing the spectacle that was A Thief’s End.

But in December 2016 Sony threw out a lifeline, announcing a new Uncharted chapter, this time not featuring Nathan Drake as the protagonist. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy would place Chloe Frazer at its centre; a character that played a big part in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, and appeared once more in Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception.

While handing the reins over to Chloe didn’t seem such a bad idea, bringing in Nadine Ross as the main supporting character did feel a bit odd; after all Nadine spent much of Uncharted 4 trying to kill Nate and his brother Sam! So, while I was excited about playing a new Uncharted game, I was also a little reticent; but now that I’ve played Lost Legacy through to the end, I can honestly say that I needn’t have worried.

First up let’s cover a question that I’ve been asked a few times already – how long is Lost Legacy? The reason for the question is that the initial expectation was that this would be a DLC pack for Uncharted 4, so when it was announced as a standalone game many fans worried about how much they’d be getting for their money.

You’re probably looking at between 10 and 12 hours of gameplay, depending on whether you bother with the side quest and try to gather as many of the hidden relics as possible. While that’s not anywhere near the playtime that Uncharted 4 delivered, Lost Legacy is priced accordingly – I pre-ordered it from Amazon for £23, which seems pretty fair.

Taking on the role of Chloe doesn’t feel particularly alien – this is a character that any long term Uncharted player will be very familiar with, and if you’ve only ever played Uncharted 4 you won’t be as tuned into Nathan Drake as the hero anyway.

The action takes place in India, where Chloe is following in the footsteps of her father, himself an experienced treasure hunter who mysteriously disappeared while on an expedition. Sounds familiar, right? I’m sure there’s another female adventure that followed in her dead father’s footsteps, but I’ll come back to that later.

It’s easy to like Chloe, just as it was when we first met her in Uncharted 2, but Nadine is harder to get along with, especially after the events of Uncharted 4. But don’t forget that Naughty Dog is simply brilliant at character development, and I think that Nadine could turn out to be one of its finest moments.

The scripting of Lost Legacy is nigh on perfect. You’re not expected to suddenly forget how much you hated Nadine; instead you’re slowly introduced to new facets of her character, most notably her vulnerability and fear of trusting and relying on anyone other than herself. The developing relationship between Chloe and Nadine is arguably the most impressive aspect of the game, and certainly one that I wasn’t expecting.

Visually Lost Legacy looks every bit as breath-taking as Uncharted 4 did, although with slightly less environmental variety – you spend pretty much the whole game in the jungle, as opposed to the plethora of locations seen in Nate’s last adventure. Despite the lack of visual variety, this is still a game that will make you stop and stare; there’s a reason why you’re prompted to take photos throughout the adventure!

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review

Gameplay follows the tried and tested mix of running, jumping and climbing, along with a smattering of puzzle solving. Of course, that’s when you’re not fighting for your life against the army of an evil dictator – there seems to be no end of these guys.

Combat is well handled, and there’s enough variety of weapons to deal with the bad guys the way you see fit – you’ll even win a trophy for taking out all the enemies in an encounter silently, which isn’t easy given that you need to get up close and personal with each of them.

One new aspect is lock picking, which doesn’t require a huge amount of skill, but does take a bit of time – something you don’t always have. There are various locked boxes scattered around, which usually contain special weapons, one of which is a silenced pistol, which can come in very handy.

There are nine chapters to play through – Uncharted 4 had 22 – each of which drives the story on convincingly. However, the big set pieces that elevated Uncharted games above the competition are conspicuous by their absence. Don’t get me wrong, there are some great challenges to play through, from taking down a helicopter or APC, to chasing a train, but there’s nothing on the scale of, say Uncharted 2, where the tower block you were standing in was destroyed right from under you.

And that’s perhaps my biggest disappointment with Lost Legacy, the fact that it hasn’t moved things on in any discernible way. It’s essentially more of the same, and while part of me is happy to lap that up and enjoy it for what it is, another part would like Chloe to bring a bit more depth to the Uncharted universe.

Remember that other female adventurer I mentioned? Well, in preparation for the release of Lost Legacy, I went back and played Rise Of The Tomb Raider through again, and I was surprised at how well it holds up two years after release. In fact, even though 2013’s Tomb Raider reboot took a lot of inspiration from Nathan Drake, it’s fair to say that Nate and now Chloe have learned a few tricks from Lara Croft along the way.

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review

But the main thing I took away from playing Rise Of The Tomb Raider again was that Crystal Dynamics managed to add some depth to the gameplay – skill trees, weapon upgrades, crafting tools and ammo, etc. This extra dimension could have made the game cumbersome, but it didn’t, and I’d really like to see the gameplay similarly expanded in the next Uncharted chapter.

All that said, it’s unfair to have expected Lost Legacy to bring major gameplay changes given that it’s essentially an extension of Uncharted 4, and while it doesn’t deliver anything you haven’t seen before, it’s still beautiful to behold. Add to that Naughty Dog’s customarily superb storytelling and character development, excellent performances from both leads and copious amounts of action, you’d be foolish not to grab Lost Legacy, especially considering the bargain price.


Riyad Emeran

Uncharted: The Lost Legacy review
Aug 30, 2017