When Uncharted 4: A Thief's End rolled its credits, it felt as if an era had come to a close. 10 years of action-adventure dominance capped off with one final adventure as Nathan Drake, one that was perhaps the most perilous and definitive yet.
During the past year the reality has set in that Uncharted might not play a role in the final years of this generation, and for those who value the series as a keystone to the PlayStation family, that's been a harsh understanding. Though Naughty Dog is moving on to explore new ideas along with a second The Last of Us title, it has one more product to share before the book closes its chapters for the foreseeable future.
Called The Lost Legacy, this standalone expansion for Uncharted 4: A Thief's End serves a similar role to The Last of Us: Left Behind in that it provides a new perspective of the world led by a strong female lead, accomplishing its objective of sending off Uncharted on a positive note.
Starring Chloe Frazer
Set a few months after the events of Uncharted 4: A Thief's End, The Lost Legacy is much more than than just an epilogue. For the first time ever a character other than Nathan Drake is the star of the show, offering a look at what the series is like without its heralded hero.
Chloe Frazer is a confident and at times daring protagonist that holds strong beliefs, and although she might not be capable of delivering the witty dialog of Drake, her thirst for treasure is palpable. Just like in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, she is driven by discovery, willing to do whatever it takes for the name of treasure.
She isn't alone, though. Most of the journey is spent alongside co-star Nadine Ross, a much less interesting character. While she won't demand on-screen time from you in the same way as Chloe, she is a formidable opponent for your adversaries, making herself useful in a way that few supporting allies do in gaming. And even when she's missing shots and tripping over stairs, at least she isn't obstructive.
In this adventure you're after the Tusk of Ganesh, hidden in the mountains of India. As you work your way toward this lost relic, you'll encounter characters such as main antagonist Asav while the country is in a heated civil war. The performances of these characters, especially those who serve as enemies, is some of the best that Uncharted has seen, sometimes rising above Uncharted 4: A Thief's End. Its only misstep is often forgetting the mischief and comical relief of the earlier titles, which is primarily owed to the loss of Drake.
As with the prior game, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy takes a bit to get going. The first hour makes a hard pass at introducing characters and leading you through a tutorial. It's as if it assumes you're brand new to the series, and is overly cautious about players not understanding the background of key characters. While a nice thought, roughly 15% of the experience is lost as a casualty.
Thankfully, once you reach the open wilderness of the Western Ghats, the level design works wonders for both the gameplay and presentation. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a new frontier for the series in that it's set in a true open world, providing a moderate amount of freedom to tackle objectives. Early on you're given a map that indicates your positioning before being set upon this world, using a Jeep to get from place-to-place in reasonable time, and encountering installments of enemies that have plenty of cover and and branch swinging potential.
Playing as Chloe is not much different than Drake. She can scale walls faster than a Ninja Warrior, and deliver shots with the precision of Revolver Ocelot. Movement in tight corridors is, as usual, a bit finicky, but there have been quality of life improvements since the last time you played Uncharted thanks to mechanical improvements to the melee combat system and movement behavior.
These improvements, along with the infusion of new weapon types, do a fair job at deviating the experience from the routines set before it. Though, 95% of your time will be spent doing the things you remember in the same way you remember them. This means lots of scaling walls, battling enemies from behind cover, and completing simple puzzles. On this front, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy can lose your attention if you aren't captivated by Chloe, as she is the only major change from what you've likely been experiencing for many years at this point.
The Beautiful Ghats
Set in India for the series' first time ever, Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is a stunner. The sandstone formations are majestic, paved with green vines and brush. Colossal structures can be seen throughout the map, with clear streams of water trailing through them.
You might find yourself distracted by the included Photo Mode, which is equipped with all the features you would hope for on your conquest to snap beautiful photos to share on social media. This is arguably the most attractive game ever made, and that includes both gameplay and cutscenes.
Perhaps unsurprising, Naughty Dog has once again delivered such a remarkable spectacle without compromise. Even on a regular PS4, the game adheres to a 30 FPS standard even in situations where that may seem unfeasible, playing a huge part in elevating the more significant set pieces.
The audio presentation supports this effort with outstanding voice acting by Claudia Black (Chloe Frazer) as well as the supporting cast, which at times makes this feel much more like a full-priced AAA experience rather than the more DLC-like nature of the expansion.
15 months out from Uncharted 4: A Thief's End's release, Naughty Dog is still king of the action adventure jungle. This new angle on the Uncharted formula, which stars Chloe in a pristine mountain range of India, is often captivating, even though it follows many of the same set of standards that were unearthed a decade ago by Uncharted: Drake's Fortune.
Jonathan Leack is the Executive Editor of GameRevolution. You can follow him on Twitter @JonnyBeoulve.
A PS4 copy of Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was provided by its publisher. Uncharted: The Lost Legacy is exclusive to PS4.