Explosions, breaking environments, bullets and more – Uncharted: The Lost Legacy echoes the stylings of its predecessors. What I want to discuss, though, is whether The Lost Legacy distinguishes itself as more than a homage to the Uncharted series. After four excellent games, what does developer Naughty Dog have left to offer with their action epic?
Originally intended as DLC, The Lost Legacy is a standalone expansion to the Uncharted series that focuses on Chloe, the love-interest and frenemy of series lead Nathan Drake in Uncharted 2, and Nadine, the Shoreline mercenary who made her debut appearance in Uncharted 4. Focusing on Chloe’s journey to find the Tusk of Ganesh in the mountains of India, Nadine comes onto the scene as muscle and backup. Thankfully, this comes in handy when the duo clashes with the game’s antagonist Asav, who is also in pursuit of the Tusk. I initially had reservations about how they would manage to give depth to both Chloe and Nadine given the smaller scope of the game, but just like always Naughty Dog answered me with the best kind of narrative slap to the face.
Despite not having any prior history together, Nadine and Chloe begin to form a friendship both out of necessity and genuine affection for one another. The juxtaposition of both characters is great, and arguably even more dynamic than the wise cracking duo of Sully and Drake with the disciplined and angry Nadine playing a great counter to the sarcastic and pithy Chloe. I simply love how Naughty Dog does character work and narrative, and The Lost Legacy is no exception. As time has gone on, the series has started to remind me a lot of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films and how tight and punchy the dialogue and stories are.
With less time and resources available, Naughty Dog decided to stick with a more centralised environment for The Lost Legacy. This still manages to work well, though, as you traverse the jungles of India and drive across the open landscape from destination to destination with relative ease. My only real issue with this choice of design is that it makes the game feel less epic in scope than prior releases, where you are travelling to multiple different locations across the world. Still, I think Naughty Dog did an excellent job in designing a more contained experience that still feels sprawling in scope despite development constraints. There is such a significant level of attention given to each environment, and this only continues to help immerse you in the game and feeling like you’re watching a documentary or film shoot take place in India.
Where The Lost Legacy is left wanting, however, is the gameplay experience. While employing all the fantastic elements of Uncharted 4, there are just minimal new features that are on offer for veteran players to sink their teeth into. Sure, I can understand that it was only intended to be a DLC and later expanded upon after the fact – but Naughty Dog left me yearning for more that I just didn’t get. In some ways, it even exposes The Lost Legacy, and made me wonder how much of an afterthought the game was for the studio? Was this done purely for financial gain? I would personally like to think this is not the case, as I’ve respected Naughty Dog’s stance on artistic integrity since their release of Uncharted 4. For fans of Uncharted 4 who were left wanting more of what was on offer, however, you will be in for an absolute treat as The Lost Legacy does not miss a beat when placed alongside A Thief’s End.
Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a game that manages to distinguish itself from its counterparts but also shows the series is best suited to an infrequent release schedule. Uncharted has managed to captivate players up until this point with its ability to leave you wanting more, and while DLC would have been a nice nightcap for Uncharted 4, The Lost Legacy’s expanded yet limited scope and more of the same approach doesn’t evoke the same excitement as a mainline release. It is still a fantastic adventure none the less, though, and while I don’t think it has or will create the same fervour with fans as its predecessors, I’d be happy for Naughty Dog to continue and shed light on two characters who have the potential to be contemporary favourites. Plus, how great would an all-female A-Team collaboration between Chloe, Nadine and a grown-up Drake’s daughter Cassie be? Right? RIGHT?! RIIIIIIIIIIGHT?!